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1933 double eagle tops $18.8 million to new record

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

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1933 double eagle tops $18.8 million to new record

The single-owner sale in nyc on June 8 was titled"Three Treasures -- Collected by Stuart Weitzman."

From the press materials for its sale Sotheby's wrote,"The world-renowned high fashion shoe designer had a childhood dream: to one day own the two biggest stamp treasures in the world, and the most well-known coin on the planet." The famed double eagle was united with the 1856 British Guinea 1-cent magenta postage plus a four-stamp plate block from the 1918"Inverted Jenny" 24-cent stamp, carrying large prices of $15 million and $7 billion, respectively, in an offering the auctioneer called"three paintings which are modest in size but of immense significance; each historic and striking in its own way," before concluding,"Individually each is a celebrity, together they're a galaxy"

Sotheby's initially stated a price of more than $19.5 million for the money, but lowered the total after a few moments had passed.

The three lots all collectively realized $32,039,250, under the large estimate of $37 million. While the dual eagle exceeded the pre-sale quote of $10 million to $15 million, the Inverted Jenny four-stamp plate block sold for $4,860,000 along with the British Guiana 1-cent black on magenta stamp realized $8,307,000, falling below the low estimates. The funds will go to charitable ventures, including The Weitzman Family Foundation.

Graded, maybe not slabbed
Graded Mint State 65 by Professional Coin Grading Service and with a green-level Accredited Acceptance Corp. approval, although not holdered or stickered from the services, the handsome double eagle is described as Sotheby's as follows:"Creamy, orange-yellow surfaces using deeply frosted devices and proof-like blossom from the obverse area between the rays. The reverse exhibits full cartwheel effect."

Benjamin Doller, executive vice president and chairman, Americas, of Sotheby's served as the auctioneer, opening bidding at $7 million, moving quickly at $500,000 increments to $10 million then moving fast at $1 million increments till $14 million on the phone was blindsided with a $500,000 increment on the floor, before going to $15 million by a phone bidder, then to $15.5 million from a floor bidder. A bid of $16 million on the telephone was followed by a flooring bid of $16.5 million. Bidding slowed down after a bid of $16.75 million has been shot on the telephone from an expert in the firm's Impressionist and Modern division, also Doller brought down the gavel after five minutes of spirited bidding for a last price realized of $18,872,250 (originally stated as $19,509,750).

Symbols in the catalog indicated that it had been guaranteed property and the double eagle was subject to an irrevocable bid. The warranty symbol means that the property was guaranteed a minimum price (either as an individual lot or to get the group of 3 ) while an irrevocable bid means a party has provided Sotheby's with a bidding on the lot that will be executed during the sale in a value that ensures the lot will sell. The provisions add,"The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of their irrevocable bid, 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 case that he or she is the successful bidder. When the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for supplying the irrevocable bid may be netted from the irrevocable bidder's duty to pay the full purchase price for the lot as well as the buy price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee." The conditions of these forms of pre-sale structures, which can be utilised to redistribute danger between the auctioneer, consignor and potential bidders, are not disclosed.

The stamps and coin were exhibited to a range of possible bidders in May at Sotheby's leading spring Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art auctions in which the coin was only branded:"The 1933 Double Eagle. The single example of America's last gold coin lawfully sanctioned by the USA authorities for personal ownership," with the quote of $10 million to $15 million. Wall text emphasized that the screen marked the first time these three rarities are brought together under one roof, adding, perhaps optimistically,"All these paintings isn't merely admired by professional collectors, but has entered the subconscious of all of us -- warmly embraced by popular culture"

Sotheby's outlines the appeal of the 1933 double eagle -- that Weitzman bought in July 2002 in a Sotheby's and Stack's auction for $7,590,020 -- composing,"designed by a genius and America's final gold coin, it's been searched from 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 named the owner, preventing publicity but generously lending it to the Federal Reserve in lower Manhattan, the New-York Historical Society, and other places where it could be observed by the general public.

Others prohibited to own
Although U.S. Mint records indicate that 445,500 dual eagles dated 1933 were broke, the mintage was assumed to have been melted in the Mint following President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order prohibiting private possession of gold. Some -- including one that has been part of the collection of Egypt's King Farouk and awarded an export permit -- abandoned the Mint through legitimate or illegitimate channels. The Farouk coin has been set to be offered in a 1954 Sotheby's auction, but was withdrawn at the request of the U.S. government and its whereabouts were a mystery for the upcoming few decades. It turned up in 1996 through 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 first known as the Farouk instance, and has been deemed the sole example that might be legally possessed by a collector. At that time two additional examples were at the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.

A 1944 report from a Secret Service investigation regarding 1933 double eagles that had emerged on the market concluded that none have been published legally. Since 2002, others have subsequently turned up, most especially 10 in the Langbord household (inherited from Israel"Izzy" Switt, who Sotheby's characterizes as"one of their prime suspects of the 1944 Secret Service investigation") that were the subject of more than ten years of litigation, however none of them is authorized for private ownership by the government and all are called government property.

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

The 2021 Sotheby's sale has been declared on March 10 and covered at a two-page article from the New York Times the next day, previewed on the front page of the issue. Weitzman said,"nobody chooses a U-Haul to the cemetery," including on his treasures,"We have to figure out what to do with this stuff." His kids aren't interested in the collectibles and Weitzman said,"They say,'It is good to do together exactly what you did, but we do not want to Need to worry about them, fuss with them, shield them, figure out what to do together '"

Before the auction several well-heeled collectors expressed concern that the 1933 double eagle was an"artificial sanity," with Bruce Morelan writing about the PCGS Message Board at March,"Just because the government deems only one legal to own does not change the fact that there are at least 13 [and probably more] in existence." Sotheby's had partnered with Stack's Bowers Galleries to advertise the D. Brent Pogue collection starting in 2015, though the alliance did not seem to draw widespread attention outside the coin market. The sale of the 1933 double eagle for almost $20 million appears to affirm that the strategic marketing of a fantastic American marching can extend beyond numismatics, possibly bringing new interest and money in the hobby.

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