The Most Vauable Coin In The World

The 1933 Gold Double Eagle Was Never Issued: Officially!

The Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle coin had been issued from 1907 until 1932.  445,500 Double Eagles had been minted with the date 1933, but none were ever officially released into circulation because of changes made to currency laws during the Great Depression, when President Franklin Roosevelt took America off the gold standard. Not only were no more gold coins to be issued for circulation, people had to turn in the ones they owned. It actually became illegal for private citizens to own gold coins, unless they clearly had a collectible value. Since there would be no more gold currency issued in the U.S., the Mint had melted down the 1933 run of Gold Double Eagles and converted them to gold bullion bars by 1937.

Luckily some of the Double Eagles Escaped the Melt Down. 2 of the 1933 specimens were given by the Mint to the U.S. National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institute. These were the only 1 legal specimen to ever become part of a coin collection; however, by 2002, the Secret Service had confiscated 8 more 1933 Double Eagles! This brought up a lot of question.

It may never be known how these coins survived but it is believed that a  Mint cashier, George McCann, exchanged about 20 1933′s doomed for destruction and replaced them with earlier dated Double Eagles. What we do know for sure is that a Philadelphia area jeweler by the name of Israel Switt came into possession of at least 10 of the coins.  Switt sold at least 1 of the 1933 Double Eagles privately to collectors, one of which found its way into the collection of King Farouk of Egypt. When the Secret Service discovered that these coins had surfaced, they confiscated them all because they were considered to be stolen property of the U.S. Mint. However, King Farouk had legally exported his coin before the theft was discovered, and the Secret Service was unable to recover his specimen through diplomatic channels. After King Farouk was deposed in 1952, his 1933 Double Eagle briefly appeared on the market, but when it became clear that U.S. authorities still wanted to confiscate it, it vanished again! More than 40 years later, British coin dealer Stephen Fenton showed up with it in New York, and the Secret Service finally seized it during a sting operation during which they purportedly negotiated to purchase the coin.

The 1933 Double Eagle sold at auction on July 30, 2002, for  $7,590,000, plus $20 to monetize the coin and compensate the Mint for the $20 it believes it lost when the coin was thought to have been stolen. The buyer chose to remain anonymous, so once again we don’t know where the Farouk specimen is, or when it might suddenly show up again. One thing is for sure: the Secret Service can’t confiscate it any more!