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Record-setting coin sale highlights the value of coin collecting

The world of numismatics observed in anticipation on June 8 when Sotheby's auctioned off among their most unique offerings at the history of American coins. The only 1933 Saint-Gaudens gold $20 double eagle that can be lawfully owned was sold to some other proprietor who paid over $18 million.

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Record-setting coin sale highlights the value of coin collecting

For a single coin.

In realizing this price tag, the highly anticipated auction exceeded its anticipated price of $10-15 million.

This particular coin has an extensive history, such as ownership by foreign royalty and legal struggles for survival, that adds character and intrigue and plays a part in its own attraction. Its story carries additional weight, enabling it to command great attention and record high prices.

The gold coin traces back to King Farouk of Egypt and was afterwards bought in 2002 by shoe designer Stuart Weitzman, who sold it for sale through the June 8 Sotheby's auction.

The U.S. Mint had generated 445,500 double eagles in 1933, which were to be dispersed as others had before into flow. But in one of his earliest acts, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced an effective end to the nation's adherence to the gold standard, prohibited the payout of gold , and limited the private possession of some kinds of gold.

Based on U.S. Mint's documents, the entire mintage of 1933 double eagles have been pumped with the exception of two which were shipped to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.

But in 1937, some of those coins appeared available. A 1944 Secret Service investigation determined that they had been stolen by the Mint and nine were captured from their owners (all nine were afterwards melted).

However, before that analysis, 1 coin was mistakenly awarded an export license when asked by Egypt, whose King Farouk was a coin collector. It became part of his group, thereby making that 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagle outside the legal jurisdiction of the United States government.

Political chaos in Egypt led to King Farouk's abdication from the 1950s. He was sentenced to Italy and a lot of his possessions, including his 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagle, were provided at auction.

However, the whereabouts of the coin were unknown until British coin trader Stephon Fenton surrendered the coin to United States authorities in 1996.

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