1933 double eagle gold coin price history.

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A 1933 Double Eagle gold coin was auctioned in 2021 for a record $18.9 million. Previously, in 2002, this coin was sold for $7 million. The coin, owned by American shoe designer and collector Stuart Weitzman, holds the distinction of being the only privately owned 1933 Double Eagle.

The majority of the 1933 Double Eagles, nearly half a million in total, were never released into circulation. Shortly after Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inauguration on March 4, 1933, he issued a recall of gold coins to prevent hoarding, both within the US and overseas, and to bolster the government’s gold reserves for issuing currency and funding the New Deal. All of these coins, with the exception of the two transferred to the Smithsonian, were presumed to have been melted.

Over the years, a few examples saved from melting surfaced.

They were traced back to a jewelry store owner named Israel Switt. While there are no surviving records of how Switt acquired these coins, it is believed that a Philadelphia Mint employee made several covert swaps of common date Double Eagles for the rare 1933 pieces.

Possession of these coveted rarities by private individuals became a source of contention for the Secret Service, who embarked on a mission to recover all 1933 Double Eagles in circulation, starting with the first confiscation in 1944. While numerous books have been written about this episode, the key point is that all 1933 Double Eagle owners were tracked down over the next few years and compelled to surrender their coins.

In the instances that went to court, the government consistently prevailed, leading to the belief in the numismatic community that the ownership of a 1933 Double Eagle would remain permanently prohibited. In the end, approximately nine examples were seized, with the last one melted in 1956. Collectors had to content themselves with viewing the two examples in the Smithsonian collection—or so it seemed.

In 1996, a British coin dealer was apprehended for attempting to surreptitiously sell a 1933 Double Eagle to a US dealer. Federal agents intervened in the transaction, and for several years thereafter, the US Mint engaged in negotiations with the British dealer regarding the coin’s legality. Finally, the US Mint acknowledged that this coin had been legally sold to King Farouk of Egypt in 1944, as the US government’s export license was on record.

Of the known 14 examples, why is this the sole one available for private ownership?

The other 13 are under the government’s control, with two residing in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Numismatic Collection, and the remaining 11 being the property of the US Mint.

None of these government-held coins will ever be sold or divested. Thus, collectors have only the Weitzman coin to dream of obtaining. It achieved a sale price of over $7 million in 2002, a record at the time, and it is anyone’s guess what it will command at this year’s auction. Sotheby’s estimate for the coin’s value is between $10 million and $15 million.

An USA 1933 Double Eagle Fetches $7,590,020 in 2002.

The sale featured the 1933 $20 Double Eagle gold coin, the only one in private hands. The auction received worldwide media coverage, with Barrie Winsor representing Monetarium at the event. The coin sold for a record $7.59 million, nearly double the previous record for a coin sale. The winning bid came from an anonymous buyer after a fiercely contested 9-minute battle against eight other bidders. The auction attracted 500 coin collectors and dealers in person, with an additional 534 observers on eBay. The auctioneer remarked on the astonishing new record, while Stack’s Managing Director noted that he had never seen such interest in any coin sale in his 30-year career.

Auction Benefiting U.S. Treasury for over $3 million.

Henrietta Holsman Fore, the Director of the United States Mint, expressed satisfaction with the sale, highlighting the coin’s remarkable journey from a face value of $20 to its current status as a symbol of significant value in coin collecting. Once the sale concludes, the United States Mint’s Public Enterprise Fund (PEF) will receive the entire amount, distributing a portion to Sotheby’s for their services and deducting expenses related to marketing, auctioning, and safeguarding the coin. The PEF will retain over $3 million, expected to be slightly more than half of the proceeds, as part of an out-of-court settlement, transferring it to the U.S. Treasury as a miscellaneous receipt.

Price estimate 10,000,000 – 15,000,000 USD

Interestingly, this 1933 Double Eagle has a propensity to remain inconspicuous, even though it’s on everyone’s radar. When Sotheby’s announced the upcoming auction of this coin on June 8, 2021, it came as a surprise to many. This highly coveted artifact has been off the market since its sole public sale in 2002, and it has recently come to light that the purchaser was Stuart Weitzman, a renowned fashion designer and collector of rare items. Following its sale, Henrietta Holsman Fore, the director of the U.S. Mint, officially declared the coin as the sole 1933 double eagle ever legally issued by the U.S. government. This declaration effectively “monetized” the coin, granting it legal tender status. The purchaser would receive a transfer certificate confirming this status, but only after paying the auction price and a $20 fee, bringing the total sale price to $7,590,020.


Stuart Weitzman’s 1933 Double Eagle Gold Coin Makes History at Sotheby’s fetching $18.9 million.

In a spectacular auction event that sent shockwaves through the world of numismatics and beyond, fashion icon Stuart Weitzman’s 1933 Double Eagle gold coin achieved an astonishing feat, shattering auction records to become the world’s most valuable coin ever sold. Sotheby’s New York was the stage for this historic sale, which took place on a Tuesday morning that will be forever etched in the annals of coin collecting. With its official status now clarified, the coin was sold in 2002 to Stuart Weitzman for $7,590,020, with the proceeds divided between the dealer and the US Mint. A stipulation accompanied the sale, asserting that this particular coin would be the sole one legally available for private ownership, and a symbolic $20 transfer was made to the US Mint director at the time to “monetize” it.

The 1933 Double Eagle gold coin, a remarkable rarity that stands alone in the realm of private ownership, found its new custodian for a breathtaking sum of US$18.9 million. This exceptional price nearly doubled the previous world record, an achievement that left even the seasoned experts at Sotheby’s astounded. The sale unfolded amidst a thrilling three-and-a-half-minute bidding war, with three determined bidders in the saleroom at Sotheby’s York Avenue headquarters and another participating via telephone. The identity of the coin’s new owner remains confidential, adding an extra layer of intrigue to the historic event.

Before this momentous sale, the previous record for the most expensive coin was set in 2013 when a 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollar fetched US$10 million at Stack’s Bowers in New York. Sotheby’s had estimated the 1933 Double Eagle’s value to be between US$10 million and US$15 million, making its final selling price an even more impressive achievement. Stuart Weitzman, renowned for his eponymous line of shoes, originally acquired this iconic coin at Sotheby’s New York in 2002 for a then-record-breaking sum of US$7.59 million. This particular auction was conducted on behalf of the U.S. government, as the coin had a storied history, having once been the property of King Farouk of Egypt before being seized in a secret service sting operation in New York City. Notably, it was the first and only time the 1933 Double Eagle coin entered private ownership, making its auction debut a historic occasion.

The 1933 Double Eagle coin, with a face value of US$20, holds the distinction of being the last gold coin produced for intended circulation. One side features an American eagle in flight, while the other depicts Liberty striding forward. The coin’s unique status can be traced back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the gold standard as part of efforts to address the challenges posed by the Great Depression. Consequently, the coin was never officially issued for circulation, with most of its counterparts being destroyed and declared illegal to own. In a twist of fate, this particular coin survived.

In addition to the record-breaking sale of the 1933 Double Eagle gold coin, two other remarkable items from Stuart Weitzman’s collection achieved significant results at the same auction. The legendary British Guiana One-Cent Magenta stamp, the sole-surviving example, was sold for an astounding US$8.3 million, reaffirming its position as the world’s most valuable stamp. The Inverted Jenny Plate Block American stamp also surpassed its previous record, fetching a noteworthy US$4.9 million. The stamp’s new owner is none other than billionaire David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-executive chairman of the private equity firm, The Carlyle Group.

In sum, the “Three Treasures” from Stuart Weitzman’s collection, including the 1933 Double Eagle, raised an astonishing total of US$32 million. These proceeds will be directed toward charitable ventures, including The Weitzman Family Foundation, which has a long history of supporting medical research and higher education. Additionally, the funds will contribute to the establishment of a new museum in Madrid devoted to Spanish-Judeo history. Stuart Weitzman, reflecting on the momentous sale, expressed his joy at fulfilling a lifelong dream of assembling these remarkable pieces in a single collection. He emphasized that the sale’s proceeds will support a range of charitable causes and educational endeavors close to his heart, marking a fitting end to this historic chapter in numismatic history.


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