The 1933 double eagle (United States 20-dollar gold coin) currently holds the record for highest price paid at auction for a single U.S. coin when it was purchased for US$18.9 million. 445,500 specimens of this Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle were minted in 1933, the last year of production for the Double Eagle, but no specimens ever officially circulated and nearly all were melted down, due to the discontinuance of the domestic gold standard in 1933.
A 1933 Double Eagle, is an exceptionally rare $20 gold coin, with only thirteen specimens surviving today from an original mintage of 455,000. Nearly all were melted down by 1937, leaving officialy just only three: two in the Smithsonian Museum and the only one privately owned. However, an additional 20 or 30 coins were rescued from melting, stolen, and circulated among collectors before being recovered. Illegal private possession led to the melting of nine more in the 1940s and 1950s. 10 more coins were recovered in 2003. Experts believe that no more than five or six of these coveted 1933 Double Eagles remain in existence today.
It is a history which is rich in detail; populated by fascinating characters and accented by ironic twists and turns of fate which made a mundane twenty-dollar gold piece into one of the single most enigmatic and fascinating coins ever made.
Production of the 1933 liberty 20 dollar gold coin.
In order to end the 1930s general bank crisis, U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 6102 in 1933 and the Gold Reserve Act in 1934, which outlawed the circulation and private possession of United States gold coins for general circulation, with an exemption for collector coins. But no one told the U.S. Mint to stop making new gold double Eagle! The mint Keep on manufacturing 445,000 new $20 Double Eagle coins for two month after Roosevelt’s executive Order 6102….
Why is the 1933 double eagle coin so valuable?
This act declared that gold coins were no longer legal tender in the United States, and people had to turn in their gold coins for other forms of currency. The 1933 gold Double Eagles were struck for two months after this executive order, but because they were no longer legal tender, most of the 1933 gold coins were melted down in late 1934 and some were destroyed in tests. Two of the $20 double eagle were presented by the United States Mint to the U.S. National Numismatic Collection, and they were recently on display in the “Money and Medals Hall” on the third floor of the National Museum of American History.
The coins circulated amongst collectors for several years before the Secret Service became aware of their existence. The matter came to the attention of Mint officials when an investigative reporter looked into the history of the coins and contacted the Mint as part of his research, as a result of which an official investigation was begun by the Secret Service in 1944. Seven of the coins were discovered and turned over to federal agents (or seized) within the first year of the investigation, with one coin remaining in public possession until 1952.
These two coins should have been the only 1933 Double Eagle coins in existence.
However, unbeknownst to the Mint, a number of the coins (20 have been recovered so far, each of them was melted.) were stolen, possibly by the U.S. Mint Cashier, George McCann. At least nine of these coins, which were illegal to possess, found their way via Philadelphia jeweler Israel Switt, into the hands of collectors. Israel Switt, died in 1990 at 95, was a coin dealer and owner of a jewelry store in the 100 block of South Eighth Street.
Before the Great Depression and during the gold rush, the discovery of abundant gold reserves led to the creation of a new denomination of coin—the $20 gold coin. However, this coin now symbolizes the conclusion of that era’s optimism, as the United States eventually plunged into a colossal economic downturn. It became impractical for the average worker to earn such a coin’s value, and the President decided to abandon the gold standard. This led to the melting down of over half a million of these coins, leaving only a few preserved through unknown circumstances.
Two of these coins found their way to the Smithsonian, while another remained in private hands. After the United States abandoned the gold standard, King Farouk of Egypt sought to purchase one of these coins legally On February 23, 1944, the legendary numismatic entrepreneur B. Max Mehl, sold a 1933 Double Eagle to King Farouk of Egypt for an unknown sum.
Two days later a representative from the Egyptian Royal Legation brought the coin to the Treasury in Washington, D.C. to apply for an Export License. This was in strict adherence with the Gold Reserve Act of 1934; as King Farouk was such a passionate collector of coins it was probably not the first time his representatives had gone through this procedure. Accordingly on February 29, 1944, Export License TGL-11-170 was issued. The coin was picked up from the Treasury on March 11th and ultimately made its way into the remarkable collection housed by the Egyptian King in Koubbeh Palace, Cairo. Of course, as soon as they realized what they had done, the U.S. government immediately contacted their Egyptian counterparts through diplomatic channels to have the coin returned. However, amidst World War II, there wasn’t much room for pressing matters. And there it remained until 1952 when Farouk was overthrown in a coup. His coin collection was put up for auction at Sotheby’s in London, including the Double Eagle. When this came to the attention of the Americans, they demanded it be removed from the auction and returned to them. The new Egyptian military government promised to do so. But the coin disappeared.
Untill it wouldn’t reappear in 1996!
That year, the Secret Service received a rumor that the coin was in the United Kingdom. So, they launched a covert operation to deceive the owner, a London dealer named Stephen Fenton, and have it brought to American soil. And when he did, he was arrested. Fenton argued that the coin belonged to Farouk, and therefore, it was legal to possess it, although he couldn’t prove it. However, it was enough to set him free, but not enough to avoid a legal battle between Fenton and the American government over the ownership of the coin. The conflict wasn’t resolved until 2001. That year, both parties reached an agreement that the ownership would be split 50-50, it would be allowed to be auctioned, and the government would issue a special order for the coin – and only that one – to be remonetized, making it a legal tender.
Despite some bureaucratic mishaps, a deal was struck, allowing the coin to be sold at auction to an anonymous buyer at this time, until 2021 it come to light it was the fashion designer Stuart Weitzman. Rather than granting amnesty to all double eagle holders, the Mint opted for a tactic reminiscent of fairy tales: they changed the law. They officially acknowledged Fenton’s 1933 double eagle, complete with a unique title document that itself became a collectible item. During the auction, the Mint levied an extra $20 fee on the buyer, as if they were purchasing a new coin in 1933. The coin was auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York on July 22, 2002, and it was acquired by an anonymous buyer. The hammer price was $6.6 million, to which the 15% commission for the auction house and $20 for remonetization had to be added, making a total price of $7,590,020. Half went to Fenton, and the other half to the government. At that time, it was the most expensive coin in history, a record it held until 2014 when a 1794 Flowing Hair Dollar was auctioned for just over $10 million.
‘The individual who acquired that coin essentially paid for the paper it came with. In five years, we’ll likely hear of yet another coin emerging with another dubious story,’”A Philadelphia coin dealer, Stephen K. Nagy, The origin of certain highly prized coins in the realm of American numismatics.
By the way, from 1996 to July 2001, that coin was stored in what they thought was the safest place in New York: the vaults of Building 7 of the World Trade Center, the other building that collapsed with the Twin Towers. Up until just two months before September 11. After the auction, the anonymous buyer loaned it for exhibition to the Museum of the New York Historical Society, and then it was sent to Fort Knox. At that moment, everyone thought the saga had ended. End of tthe story.
The sole and only existing 1933 Double Eagle coin still in private hands finally return to US property………how naive they were.
10 other previously unreleased 1933 Double Eagles Gold Coins comes to light..
Israel Switt was dead a longtime ago. (died in 1990 at the age of 95) His jewelry store had been shuttered, left to collect dust. In 2003, Israel Switt’s grandson Roy Langbord decide to empty the old familiy safe in Sovereign Bank, a Pennsylvania bank, which hadn’t been opened for 50 years. Inside the safe-deposit box, inder pile of old papers, was an aged canvas bag from a long-closed company. The bag was suprinsigly heavy. Inside, old gold Mexican pesos and U.S gold coins, a little treasure. And ten additional 2-inch by 2-inch coin envelopes were found, each with a message. “LL” was decoded as “33,” and “DE” indicated “double eagle.” Could it be a code for 1933 Double Eagle? Roy’s suspicions were confirmed when he uncovered a 1933 double eagle coin within the first damager envelope he decided to open. In total, there were 10 envelopes, each holding a 1933 double eagle, concealed inside the bag. In total a trove of 10, 1933 Double Eagles, a discovery with the potential to be valued at over $70 million. Regrettably, the same misfortune trailed these ten coins, much like it had for the preceding one….
In August 2005, the retrieval of ten additional pilfered 1933 double eagle gold coins was declared by the United States Mint, tracing them back to the family of Philadelphia jeweler Israel Switt. Switt, implicated by the Secret Service as a participant in the theft, had initially sold the first nine double eagles fifty years prior, and the one sold to King Farouk. The coins were turned over to the Secret Service by the ostensible owner, Joan Switt Langbord. After authentication by the United States Mint and collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution, the coins were confirmed as genuine 1933 double eagles in July 2005. A range of accounts suggested that Switt’s connections within the Philadelphia Mint might have facilitated his access to the coins during the minting process. David Lebryk, director of the Mint, declared in a news release that the rare coins were taken from the Mint “in an unlawful manner”. Despite legal debates about their acquisition, the ownership dispute culminated in favor of the United States government in a 2011 trial.
These are currently in the possession of the American state. The journey of these coins continued, involving court battles, storage at Fort Knox, and even scrutiny by political figures like U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2017, as the coins remained enshrouded in historical intrigue.
The Farouk 1933 Double Eagle back for sale!
The solitary 1933 Double Eagle in private ownership, part of Sotheby’s “Three Treasures” auction held on June 8, 2021. Sotheby’s has announced that on June 8, 2021, they will auction the Double Eagle sold in 2002. Its hammer price is estimated to be between 10 and 15 million dollars. The famous anonymous buyer who acquired it back then was the fashion designer Stuart Weitzman and sold the 1933 Double Eagle for a hammer price of 18,872,250 dollars, about 15.5 million euros. Adding a 14.9% fee brings it to 21,684,215.25 dollars, making it the most expensive coin in history.
Double Eagle’ 1933 gold coin sells for a world record $18.9M
End of the story?
Executive Order 6102 is an executive order signed on April 5, 1933, by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt On March 6, taking Roosevelt issued Presidential Proclamation 2039 that r”egulate, or prohibit, under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe, by means of licenses or otherwise, any transactions in foreign exchange and the export, hoarding, melting, or earmarkings of gold or silver coin or bullion or currency”
Gold as a currency is illegal to own since 6 April 1933.
Nobody told the Mint to stop manufacturing gold coins.
2 March The first 20 dollar 1933 struck at the US Mint, Philadelphia
15 March The first 25,000 coins struck
Between March 15 and March 24, 1933, the initial batch of 100,000 1933 Double Eagles was minted.
The coins were kept out of circulation due to the banking crisis as United States abandoned the gold standard in january 33.
From March 15, 1933, to May 19, 1933, a total of 20 1933 Double Eagles were dispatched to the Bureau of Mint in Washington, D.C., for laboratory testing, and all of them were subsequently melted down.
Between April 7 and April 27, 1933, a substantial quantity of 200,000 1933 Double Eagles were minted.”
From May 8 to May 19, 1933, a total of 145,500 1933 Double Eagles were minted. The last Double Eagles is minted on may 19. None were issued.
27 June, 1933 444,500 1933 coins installed in
Vault F on the East side of the Mint basement The Mint keep the tracking of all the coins: 480 gold double eagles in the cashier’s vault and 445,500 in its Working Vault
Instead the coins, weighing nearly 15 tons, were put into 1,780 canvas sealed in wax bags and sealed behind three steel doors in Philadelphia Mint Vault F-Cage 1 under supervision og custodian Edward F. McKernon and the three members of the Mint’s Settlement Committee (including Mint Cashier George McCann)
January 30, 1934 – Congressional Approval of the Gold Reserve Act of 1934
Before February 2, 1934 – A total of 445,000 1933 Double Eagles were stored in Mint Vault F – Cage 1, with 480 of them segregated for assay and testing purposes.
February 2, 1934 – 34 (Thirty-four) 1933 Double Eagles were removed from the assay holding and either added to the Vault F – Cage 1 holding or kept in the Cashier’s vault.
February 14-15, 1934 – The Assay Commission convened to inspect 446 1933 Double Eagles, resulting in the melting of 9 coins during testing.
February 20, 1934 – A total of 437 1933 Double Eagles were returned to the Mint from the United States Assay Commission and stored in the Cashier’s vault.
March 20, 1934 – George A. McCann assumed the position of Mint Cashier.
October 9, 1934 – George McCann sent 2 of the 1933 Double Eagles to the Smithsonian Collection.
3 February 1937: he Treasury Department ordered that all the coins be melted down.
Mint Director Nellie Tayloe Ross gave orders to have two 1933 double eagles transferred from the Philadelphia Mint to the Smithsonian Institution, where they would join the National Numismatic Collection. By that time, the Cashier’s Vault should have held a total of 469 1933 double eagles.
Between February 6 and March 18, 1937, the Mint took drastic action bymelting down the entire contents of Vault F, which included a staggering 445,000 of the 1933 double eagles that had remained untouched since McKernon sealed the vault in 1933.
18 March 1937 U.S. Mint reported that all coins in Vault F had been melted down
In June 1937 the same fate befell the 469 double eagles held in the Cashier’s Vault.
An employee of the Philadelphia Mint sold ten $20 coins from 1933 to coin dealer Israel Switt between 1933 and 1937. Israel Switt sells the coins, one by one, to various coin dealers – the tenth in 1941.
On February 15, 1937, Israel Switt made the first sale of a 1933 Double Eagle to coin dealer James G. Macallister for $500.
July 1937 Israel Switt sells another two 20 dollar 1933 to coin dealer James Macallister
one for USD 500,- and 550,-
During May 1940, Mint Cashier. George McCann was under arrest for pilfering uncurrent silver coin from the United States Mint.
In February 1941, Smith & Son advertised a 1933 Double Eagle in The Numismatist.
In February 1944, Stack’s issued an advertisement in The Numismatist announcing the sale at auction of the Colonel James W. Flanagan Collection.
On February 23, 1944, The Texan coin dealer Max Mehl bought a 20 dollar 1933 from Chicago coin dealer Jake Shakiro who the very same day sold it on to King Farouk of Egypt. . All identified coin owners receive letters from the Secret Service. This specimen had already passed through six owners.l Secret Service stating that possession is illegal. In 1944 and 1945, eight coins were seized or returned.
The last privately held 1933 $20 coin, other than the one owned by King Farouk, is acquired by collector Louis E. Eliasberg. Sotheby’s auction house announces the sale of the Farouk collection on behalf of Egypt.
The collection includes 8,500 coins and medals. The sale of the 1933 $20 coin is withdrawn at the last minute, without explanation. In 1956, nine 1933 coins are melted down on behalf of the Department of the Treasury.
August 1956 Nine speciemens of the 20 dollar 1933 were melted downon orders by the Treasury Department in Washington
The 1933 $20 coin from the Farouk collection is purchased, along with other American coins, by London coin dealer Stephen Fenton for $220,000.
British dealer Stephen Fenton successfully imported the 1933 gold coin in 1995, which he had acquired from London dealer Andre de Clermont. De Clermont, in turn, had obtained the coin from an Egyptian jeweler known to have connections with the highest echelons of his nation’s military leadership. In 1996, Stephen Fenton is caught selling the coin to someone he believes is a collector. The actual buyer is Secret Service Agent R. David Freriks. The U.S. government wants to retain the coin.
In the afternoon of February 7, 1996, Stephen Fenton, tchairman of the British Numismatic Trade Association and aslo a famous British coin dealer, arrived in New York City on a British Airways flight. He was accompanied by a 1933 Double Eagle coin.
In the morning of February 8, 1996, Fenton met with American coin dealer, Jasper Parrin,o at the Waldorf Astoria to discuss the potential sale of the 1933 Double Eagle. Parrino brought along two individuals, who were supposedly a buyer and a coin expert, but in reality, they were two undercover Secret Service agents. As Fenton handed over the coin for inspection, the agents burst into the room, seized the coin, and arrested both Fenton and Parrino on charges of conspiring.
An agreement has been reached between the U.S. government and Stephen Fenton to divide the earnings from a public sale.
On July 20, 2002, the United States Government publicly auctioned the only 1933 Double Eagle coin that had been “issued and monetized.”
On July 30, 2002 Sotheby’s/Stack’s conducted the auction in New York City, and to the amazement of many, the coin was sold for an unprecedented price of US$7.59 Million. The identity of the buyer, who acquired the coin in 2002, remained a well-guarded secret for nearly two decades.
in March 2021, a New York Times article revealed that the collector behind this remarkable purchase was none other than Stuart Weitzman.
In 2004, the family of jeweler Israel Switt, located in Philadelphia, surrendered ten previously undiscovered 1933 $20 coins to the Secret Service.
Judge Legrome D. Davis affirmed the government’s ownership of 1933 Double Eagle Coins in the Langbord case.
On June 1, 2018, the U.S. Mint recovered another 1933 Double Eagle that had been voluntarily surrendered by its owner.
Fast forward to June 2021, Stuart Weitzman’s 1933 Double Eagle Gold Coin made history at Sotheby‘s, fetching a staggering $18.9 million.
How much is a 1933 double eagle coin worth?
A 1933 Double Eagle gold coin sold for a record-setting $18.9 million at auction in New York, and the world’s rarest stamp went for $8.3 million. This extraordinary coin resurfaced in Europe during the late 1990s, sparking a legal dispute over ownership. Despite the coin’s authorization to leave the United States in the late 1940s, the matter of its ownership became contentious. Nevertheless, it eventually found its way to Sotheby’s, and from there, it made its way to Great Collections Coin Auctions. The coin arrived securely in its original holder from the capital plastics, which was entrusted to PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service) for authentication and grading. PCGS ensured the utmost security during this process, a task made easier due to the close proximity of the auction house to PCGS facilities. The USA Coin Book estimated the value of a 1933 Saint Gaudens Gold $20 Double Eagle to be worth $21,602,542 or more in uncirculated (MS+) mint condition
The identity of the purchaser from 2002 was kept secret for approximately twenty years. However, in March 2021, an article in The New York Times disclosed that the collector Stuart Weitzman was the anonymous buyer. In a synchronized move, Weitzman chose to make his ownership of the coin public and announced his intention to auction it through Sotheby’s in June 2021. Designated as Lot 1 in the auction that took place on June 8, 2021, the coin was successfully sold for a remarkable price of $18,872,250.
List of all 1933 $20 gold coins seized by the government:
- Max Bernstein
- J. F. Bell
- Fred C.C. Boyd
- T. James Clarke
- Charles Williams
- James Stack
- Col. James W. Flanagan
- L.G. Barnard
- 1 from Stephen Fenton (Sized but later Resolved)
- 10 coins from Langboard family
Some Number: All the 1933 coins that ever existed.
- 312,500 were struck (six delivery dates from January 19-March 3, 1933);
- 100 were sent to the Treasury (effectively issued for circulation);
- 21 were destroyed during Assay;
- 1 was “Paid for deposit or exchanged for currency” (meaning someone bought a new coin with an old coin—on March 1, 1933);
- The remaining 312,378 were all accounted for on September 13, 1934 as available for melting.
- 25 coins as determined were stolen by Switt and Philadelphia Mint cashier George McCann collaborated to remove from the production facility by other than official means, stolen or purchased in 1933. But No 1933 Double Eagles could have been purchased; Roosevelt’s edicts forbade pay-out of gold coins from Monday March 6th onward (and as we’ve seen the first 1933 Double Eagles were not even struck until March 15th).
Is it illegal to own a 1933 double eagle coin?
Yes, it is illegal to own a 1933 Double Eagle coin, with the exception of one coin that was authorized for private ownership by the United States Government. The reason for this is that none of the coins were officially released to the public, and the government has held since at least 1944 that 1933 Double Eagles are illegal to own Although there were allegedly three weeks in March 1933 when new double eagles could possibly have been legally obtained, the Mint records clearly show that no 1933 double eagles were issued. The only 1933 Double Eagle that can be legally owned comes with an official Certificate of Transfer that makes the coin legal to own.
These two 20-dollar gold coins were set aside from the rest of the 455,500 double eagles struck in the spring of 1933 but never released for circulation. They are part of the National Numismatic Collection and are currently on display in the “Money and Medals Hall” on the third floor of the National Museum of American History.
The financial instability following World War I through-out the world encouraged many private citizens to hoard gold, ultimately also affecting the U.S. gold reserves. The problem was compounded in the 1930’s by a general bank crisis that led, on March 6 to 9, to the closing of all Banks. President Franklin D. Roosevelt succeeded with his legislation “the Emergency Bank Relief Act” of March 9, 1933 and the “Gold Reserve Act” of Jan. 1934, in putting an end to these crises: banks were opened, but gold vanished. The legislation put an end to all circulation and private possession of U.S. gold; an exemption was granted for “gold coins having a recognized value to collectors of rare and unusual coins”. Late in 1934, the 1933 $20 coins were melted down, with the exception of the above two coins and a small number of other specimens, including the recently auctioned King Farouk specimen. The two coins pictured above were added to the National Numismatic Collection on October 9, 1934.
- The Smithsonian Institution, a global cultural behemoth, houses the National Museum of American History, where this coin and its companions are safeguarded. The institution’s primary mission is to preserve the material culture and history of the world, making it accessible to the public. In an age of instant digital information, museums like these continue to play a vital role in educating people about history through tangible artifacts.
Who genuinely believes that only ten 1933 double eagles ever existed?
Not too long ago, Parrino was captured on tape discussing two additional specimens, and as of today, he claims there are several more in existence. In the aftermath of the auction, David Tripp, the author of Sotheby’s catalog, openly admitted, “There must be more out there.” Israel Switt, the Philadelphia jeweler initially accused of illicitly dealing in these coins, once bragged to a buyer that he possessed over two dozen 1933 double eagles. Even one of the most venerable names in the world of coin collecting dubbed the Sotheby’s auction of 1933 double eagles as “a charade.” The genuine Farouk coin exists, with a clear provenance, and a knowledgeable expert is well aware of its whereabouts. According to the expert, when the government revises the law to categorize 1933 double eagles like other unissued coins, “the truth will emerge.” However, two lawyers involved in the Fenton settlement dismissed such claims, likening the 1933 double eagle to the “Loch Ness monster of coins” with everyone claiming sightings.
Is the 1933 liberty $20 dollar gold coin the america’s most valuable coin ?
Yes. Since the 2021 record-setting auction, the most valuable coin in the world is officialy the 1933 Double Eagle, which is considered the world’s rarest and most valuable gold coin. Designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, it depicts Lady Liberty on the obverse and an eagle in flight on the reverse. Due to the suspension of gold payments during the Great Depression, the entire mintage was ordered to be melted down, but a few coins escaped this fate and have since become some of the world’s most valuable coins The second most valuable coin in America is the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar. It was considered the most expensive coin ever sold until 2021, with fewer than 1,800 of these coins ever produced, and only between 120 and 130 remaining. These coins are highly sought after by collectors and investors due to their rarity and historical significance.
What is the weight of 1933 $20 gold coin?
The 1933 $20 gold coin, also known as the “1933 liberty 20 dollar” or “1933 Double Eagle“, weighs approximately 33.436 grams. This weight corresponds to about 0.9675 ounces of gold, as these coins are composed of 90% gold and 10% copper. Measuring 34 mm in diameter, these coins are highly sought after by collectors and investors due to their historical significance and rarity.
How many 1933 double eagle coins exist?
Although 445,500 specimens of this Saint-Gaudens double eagle were minted in 1933, none were ever officially circulated, and all but two were ordered to be melted down. However, 20 to 25 more are known to have been rescued from melting by being stolen and found their way into the hands of collectors before later being recovered. Currently, with the exception of the one sold on July 30, 2002, 1933 double eagle coins cannot be the legal possession of any member of the public, as they were never issued and hence remain the property of the United States government. Therefore, the total number of 1933 double eagle coins that exist is 13, with 2 being held in the U.S. National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution, 10 by the US goverment and 1 in private hands.
How many 1933 St gaudens twenty dollars coins have been sold at auction?
Only one 1933 double eagle coin has been sold at auction twice. The first sale occurred on July 30, 2002, at a Stacks Bowers auction held in New York, where the coin was sold to an anonymous bidder for $6.6 million, plus a 15-percent buyer’s premium, and an additional $20 needed to “monetize” the face value of the coin so it would become legal currency, bringing the final sale price to $7,590,020.00. The second sale took place on June 8, 2021, at a Sotheby’s auction, where the very same 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle was sold for $18,872,250, becoming the world’s most valuable coin ever sold at auction.
What is the story behind the recall of gold coins in 1933. The 1933 recall of gold coins stands as a pivotal moment in U.S. history, signifying the conclusion of Congress’s authorization of circulating gold currency. That year, the U.S. Mint ceased producing gold coins, and any double eagles minted were never intended for public circulation. Instead, they were slated to be melted down into bullion and sent to Fort Knox. Nevertheless, a handful of 1933 Double Eagles evaded this fate, secretly concealed for decades. This recall marked a shift away from the gold standard, followed by the Gold Reserve Act of 1934. This legislation mandated the transfer of all gold and gold certificates held by the Federal Reserve solely to the United States Department of the Treasury. It also barred the redemption of dollar bills for gold by the Treasury and financial institutions, essentially ending public possession of gold, except for jewelry and collector’s coins. The recall of gold coins in 1933 had a significant impact on the US economy. It was part of the country’s transition away from the gold standard, and it marked the end of the era in which the US Congress authorized circulating gold coinage. The Gold Reserve Act of 1934 prohibited the Treasury and financial institutions from redeeming dollars for gold, effectively ending the ability of the American people to hold gold, with the exception of jewelry and collectors’ coins. The act also authorized the president to establish the gold value of the dollar by proclamation, which led to the deliberate devaluation of the dollar. These actions were aimed at increasing the supply of credit, stabilizing domestic prices, and protecting foreign commerce against the adverse effects of depreciated foreign currencies. The recall of gold coins and the subsequent measures taken had a lasting legacy, shaping the country’s monetary policy and the use of gold in the years that followed
Update December 2023.