|Precious Metal Content:||.96750 oz. Pure Gold|
The original Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle design was in such high relief that, in the first issues intended for circulation, it took four or more blows from the coin press to fully bring out all the details. The engravers at the Philadelphia Mint, particularly the jealous Chief Engraver, Charles E. Barber, objected vigorously to the new design and sought to have it modified or eliminated altogether.
Despite these difficulties, President Roosevelt ordered the Mint to "begin the new issue even if it takes you one day to strike one piece!" This did not end the problems, however. Bankers complained that these high relief Double Eagles did not stack well, while the high relief design was unpopular with the staff of the Mint because it did not lend itself well to mass production.
Because of their great beauty, most of these coins were kept as souvenirs and never reached circulation. In fact, these coins immediately sold for a premium over face value, with examples bringing $25 to $30 soon after issue. Only 11,250 of these High Relief Double Eagles were minted before the design relief was lowered to facilitate mass production.
The High Relief remains to this day the favorite U.S. coin design and is considered by many to be the most beautiful coin ever made.