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High Relief the New Thing?
February 05, 2009

Americans buyers like their gold plain. I learned that yesterday in a meeting with the Perth Mint team attending the World Money Fair in Berlin. What that means is that the trend to putting holograms on coins or colorizing coins is all well and good for silver or base metal issues, but when something so traditionally valuable as gold comes along, the buyers rebel at the idea of fancying it up.

Now the Perth Mint has worldwide reach. It could simply ignore American tastes, but the market is significant enough that it will not do so.

Perth also provides coin blanks to the U.S. Mint for the new Ultra High Relief Saint- Gaudens gold $20 coin. It is not the only supplier, but a significant one. These coins don't need fancying up. Many American collectors feel that the design is the most beautiful ever created in the United States. The greater relief is something that the needs of commerce overruled in 1907, but where the market in 2009 is concerned, only collector views need be considered.

Perth has its own high relief coin in the form of a gold Koala. It is a beautiful coin as well. Perhaps high relief is becoming a new international trend. I will look around as the show goes on to see what I can learn.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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