Coins & Money

1933 Double Eagle Gold Coin Auction May Set $10M to $15M Record

Illegal United States gold sounds like something involving a crime scene. What the description is referring to is 1933 minted gold coins that were only legal before Executive Order 6102 required all persons to deliver on or before May 1, 1933. All but a small amount of gold coin, and gold certificates owned by them to the Federal Reserve in exchange for $20.67 an ounce which would be $408 in 2019.

Collectors Dashboard is monitoring what may end up being a new record sale price for a 1933 Double Eagle Gold coin.

King Farouk I of Egypt was originally the sole owner of a legitimate legal 1933 Double Eagle Gold coin. His periodically comes on the auction scene and most recently sold in 2002 for $7.59 million and will change hands in a Sotheby’s auction June 8, 2021. The current estimate is $10 million to $15 million and the coin is being auctioned off by shoe designer Stuart Weitzman in a special three-item auction..

There were some 445,500 gold $20 double eagle coins were struck in 1933 but all were to be melted into gold bars after President Roosevelt removed the country from the gold standard on May 1st 1933. A proclamation the previous March 6 signed by Roosevelt had forbid payment in gold or any hoarding thereof.

As noted by Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek, between March 15 and 24 the Philadelphia mint struck 100,000 thousand gold $20 coins, between April 7 and the 27th another 200,000; the final 145,500 pieces between May 8 and 19th. Between March 29, 1933 and April 5, 1933 any persons could have visited the Mint Assay in Washington D.C. turned in damaged gold coins or scrap gold and received an uncirculated 1933 $20 gold replacement legally.

King Farouk I of Egypt received his in 1944 legally when a mistakenly granted export license was granted by the U.S. Treasury, rescued from a soon to be melted batch in the illegal care of Abe Kosoff, a California numismatist whom had reportedly around a dozen offered within the Numismatic community.

While no one will ever tell you to go against the law, the feeling among United States coin collectors over the last century was that if you have illegal gold by definition (the 1933 gold coins) it may be best kept a private matter. Here is why — Ten of the 1933 $20 gold coins were found in a bank deposit box and have been said to be worth $80 million.

Upon having those coins certified by the U.S. Treasury, they were confiscated and only after years of back and forth court cases were they able to be returned to the family who owned them. As recently as 2012 with the courts on the side of confiscation under the 1933 law the coins were to be melted down. Under ownership by the family through favorable appeals they have no plans to sell at this time.