Once collectors began to receive their 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagles from the US Mint, some began to notice that certain examples of the coin displayed proof like surfaces. The noticeable distinction between these coins and typical examples led third party coin grading companies to attribute “Proof Like” or “PL” on their labels for coins meeting their requirements. Higher collector demand for these coins has led to premium pricing.
Proof Like examples of the 2009 UHR Double Eagle will exhibit shinny mirror like surfaces on both the obverse and reverse of the coin. Typical or non-proof like examples will have a satin or matte like surfaces.
When placing a proof like coin next to a typical coin, the difference becomes obvious, however when looking at individual coins in isolation, identification can be more difficult. The range of near proof like appearances, as well as well as coins that will display proof like surfaces on either only the obverse of reverse of the coin can further complicate identification.
Numismatic Guaranty Corporation or NGC was the first grading company to provide the proof like designation for eligible coins. During the “early releases” period, only 22 coins received the designation, including 10 pieces graded MS 70 PL. During the regular period of submissions, there have been more than 1,000 coins which received the designation, including more than 600 graded MS 70 PL. In each case, the number of proof like examples is less than 10% of the overall graded population.
Professional Coin Grading Services or PCGS did not begin providing the proof like attribution for 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagles until March 14, 2011, more than two years after the initial release. No explanation was provided for the delay in recognizing the attribute. The company has graded nearly 500 pieces with the “PL” designation, including more than 100 pieces graded MS70PL. The proportion of proof like pieces compared to the overall graded population is less than 4%. The delayed decision to award the attribution may account for the lower percentage.