As is the case with most modern US Mint coin releases, a large number of the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagles were ultimately sent to third party coin grading companies. The two companies that handled the largest number of submissions for these coins were Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC). Coins are examined, assigned a numerical grade, and encapsulated in a plastic holder.
PCGS had the distinction of grading and encapsulating one of the earliest 2009 UHR Double Eagles received by a collector. The coin was submitted by collector Charles Camp of Savannah, Georgia on February 13, 2009. PCGS assigned the highest grade on the scale of Mint State 70 (MS70). The coin was given the “First Strike” designation, assigned for coins received by a certain cut off date, and placed within a TriVue holder, which allows the edges of the coin to be viewed.
The original cut off date for the PCGS First Strike designation was March 11, 2009, set 30 days after the original United States Mint shipping date. This sometimes controversial designation does not refer to the order of striking, but simply to the shipping date. More than two years later, on March 14, 2011, PCGS announced that they would assigned the Proof Like (PL) designation to eligible coins.
PCGS has now graded more than 14,000 examples of the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle. Around 52% of the coins evaluated were given the top grade of PCGS MS70.
NGC announced the use of a special label for 2009 UHR Double Eagles submitted for grading. The label was gold colored and included an image of the designer Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ initials. The company provided the “Early Releases” designation for coins received by the cutoff date of March 9, 2009. The proof like designation was awarded to eligible coins from the start of grading, although the proportion of PL coins is significantly lower for coins graded during the “Early Releases” period.
NGC has graded more than 16,000 examples of the coin. About 53% of the coins evaluated were given the top grade of NGC MS 70 or NGC MS 70 PL.