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1933 double eagle tops $18.8 million for new Album

A record for any coin at auction has been set on June 8 in New York City as Sotheby's sold the sole independently owned 1933 Saint-Gaudens gold 20 double eagle for $18,872,250.

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1933 double eagle tops $18.8 million for new Album

From the press materials for the selling Sotheby's wrote,"The world-renowned top fashion shoe designer had a childhood dream: to one day own both greatest postage treasures in the Earth, and the most famous coin on Earth." The famed double eagle was united from the 1856 British Guinea 1-cent magenta postage and a four-stamp plate block of this 1918"Inverted Jenny" 24-cent postage, carrying large estimates of $15 million and $7 million, respectively, in a offering the auctioneer called"three treasures that are modest in size but of colossal importance; each historic and striking in its own way," before concluding,"Individually each is a celebrity, collectively they're a galaxy."

Sotheby's originally stated a price of over $19.5 million to the coin, however lowered the total after a couple of minutes had passed.

The three tons all together realized $32,039,250, under the large estimate of $37 million. While the double eagle exceeded the pre-sale estimate of $10 million to $15 million, the Inverted Jenny four-stamp plate block sold for $4,860,000 and the British Guiana 1-cent black on magenta stamp realized $8,307,000, falling under the low estimates.

Graded, not slabbed
Graded Mint State 65 by Professional Coin Grading Service and using a green-level Certified Acceptance Corp. approval, though not holdered or stickered from the professional services, the handsome double eagle is clarified as Sotheby's as follows:"Creamy, orange-yellow surfaces with deeply frosted devices and proof-like bloom in the obverse field between the rays. The reverse displays full cartwheel effect"

A bid of $16 million on the telephone was followed by a floor bid of $16.5 million. Bidding slowed down once a bid of $16.75 million has been shot on the telephone from an expert in the company's Impressionist and contemporary division, also Doller brought down the gavel following five minutes of spirited bidding for a final price realized of $18,872,250 (initially said as $19,509,750).

Symbols in the catalogue indicated that it had been guaranteed property and that the double eagle was subject to an irrevocable bid. The guarantee symbol means that the property was guaranteed a minimum cost (either as a single lot or to get the group of 3 ) while an irrevocable bid implies that a party has provided Sotheby's using a bid on the lot which will be executed during the sale at a value that guarantees the lot will market. The terms add,"The Realtors, who may bid in excess of their irrevocable bidding, will be paid based on the final hammer price in the event he or she isn't the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event that he or she will be the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the adjusted fee (if appropriate ) for supplying the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder's duty to pay the full cost for the lot as well as the purchase price reported for the lot will be net of these fee that is fixed." The conditions of these types of pre-sale structures, which are used to redistribute danger between the auctioneer, consignor and possible bidders, are not disclosed.

The stamps and coin were exhibited to a range of possible bidders in May in Sotheby's major spring Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art auctions where the coin was simply labeled:"The 1933 Double Eagle. The only example of America's last gold coin lawfully sanctioned by the USA government for personal ownership," together with the quote of $10 million to $15 million. Wall text highlighted the display marked the first time these three rarities are brought together under one roof, including, perhaps optimistically,"Each of these treasures is not merely admired by specialist collectors, but has entered the subconscious of us all -- warmly embraced by popular culture."

Sotheby's summarizes the appeal of the 1933 double eagle -- which Weitzman bought in July 2002 at a Sotheby's and Stack's auction for $7,590,020 -- composing,"designed by a genius and America's last gold coin, it's been hunted by the United States Secret Service, and the subject of innumerable'tribute copies,' thrillers, history books, documentaries, and primetime tv crime reveals." Weitzman had previously not been publicly called the proprietor, avoiding publicity but generously lending it to the Federal Reserve in lower Manhattan, the New-York Historical Society, along with other places where it might be seen from the general public.

Others illegal to own
Though U.S. Mint records indicate that 445,500 dual eagles outdated 1933 were struck, the mintage was likely to have been pumped in the Mint after President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order prohibiting private possession of gold. Some -- including one that was a part of the assortment of Egypt's King Farouk and awarded an export permit -- left the Mint through legitimate or illegitimate channels. It turned up in 1996 during a sting operation led by the U.S. Secret Service.

The 2002 auction has been the effect of a legal settlement, in which the rediscovered coin was called the Farouk example, and has been deemed the sole example that could be lawfully owned by a collector. At the time two additional examples were at the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.

A 1944 report by a Secret Service investigation regarding 1933 double eagles who had appeared in the marketplace concluded that none have been released legally. Since 2002, many others have turned up, most especially 10 in the Langbord household (inherited from Israel"Izzy" Switt, who Sotheby's characterizes as"among their prime suspects of this 1944 Secret Service investigation") which were the subject of more than ten years of litigation, but not one of these is approved for personal ownership by the government and are called government land.

Sotheby's commented on Weitzman's purchase at the finish of the 2002 market,"In an historic moment, the Director of the United States Mint signed a Certification of Monetization that, in return for twenty five dollars, approved the issuance of this single instance." In 2002 the authorities wrote that Weitzman's example was"the only instance the United States Government has ever authorized, or ever intends to detain, for private ownership."

The 2021 Sotheby's sale has been declared on March 10 and covered in a two-page article in the New York Times the following day, previewed on the front page of the problem. Weitzman said,"nobody chooses a U-Haul into the cemetery," adding on his paintings,"We have to determine what to do with all this stuff" His children are not interested in the collectibles and Weitzman said,"They say,'It is great to do together what you did, but we don't want to have to worry about them, fuss with them, shield themfigure out what to do with them.'"

Before the auction some well-heeled collectors voiced concern that the 1933 double eagle was an"artificial rarity," with Bruce Morelan composing on the PCGS Message Board at March,"Just because the government deems only one legal to possess doesn't alter the fact there are at least 13 [and most likely more] in life." Sotheby's had partnered with Stack's Bowers Galleries to advertise that the D. Brent Pogue set starting in 2015, though the collaboration did not appear to draw widespread attention out of the coin market. The sale of the 1933 double eagle for almost $20 million seems to confirm the strategic promotion of a fantastic American rarity can expand beyond numismatics, potentially attracting new cash and interest in the hobby.

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