1933 double Eagle #24: Surrendered in 2018, in U.S. custody.

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In 2018, the Mint disclosed that an unnamed collector had voluntarily surrendered a 1933 double eagle to the United States Secret Service. The coin’s characteristics matched those captured on the Kodak film. Analyzing images from David Tripp’s 2004 book “Illegal Tender” alongside those of a 1933 Saint-Gaudens gold $20 double eagle reported by the U.S. Mint in 2018 to have been surrendered reveals that both depict the same coin. While we cannot definitively affirm if this is the same coin associated with the Naftzger-Browning pedigree as alleged by Liedman, it does seem credible, in contrast to some other dubious narratives.

In 2004, While finalizing “Illegal Tender,” David Tripp received full-color images of a 1933 double eagle taken in 1980 using Kodak paper from an anonymous source. Tripp included the coin in his book, dedicating a section to the rumors he had gathered, but does not name names. It was an authentic coin with distinctive markings not present on the two Smithsonian examples or the Farouk coin sold in 2001.
There is speculation among numismatists that the relinquished coin may have been part of the collections owned by numismatists R.E. “Ted” Naftzger and H. Jeff Browning at various points in time. Julian Leidman, a venerable and highly regarded figure in the national numismatic scene, shared an intriguing story from 1975. During that year, he joined coin dealers Mike Brownlee and Stan Kesselman to acquire a collection of Liberty Head and Saint-Gaudens double eagles from the affluent California coin collector Ted Naftzger.

According to Leidman, Naftzger’s collection included a 1933 double eagle among his gold coin holdings. Leidman asserted that the negotiation and sale of these coins, including the ’33, were orchestrated by Brownlee to Texas oilman Jeff Browning. Following Browning’s passing, the majority of his numismatic holdings underwent public auction. As claimed by Leidman, the 1933 double eagle discreetly found its way into the collection of a close confidant.

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