US Coins

PCGS grades sole legal 1933 $20 as MS-65

The former King Farouk I example of the 1933 Saint-Gaudens $20 gold double eagle is graded Mint State 65 by Professional Coin Grading Service.

Images courtesy of SquareMoose via Sotheby’s.

With the upcoming auction June 8 by Sotheby’s of the former King Farouk I example of the 1933 Saint-Gaudens $20 double eagle looming, Professional Coin Grading Service has graded the coin Mint State 65.

The coin is the only example from the Philadelphia Mint production of 445,500 gold pieces that is legal to own.

Collector and noted fashion designer Stuart Weitzman paid $7.59 million, combining the hammer price and buyer’s fee, when Sotheby’s, in conjunction with Stack’s, publicly sold the coin in a single lot auction July 30, 2002, in New York City. Weitzman had to pay $20 additional to the Treasury Department to monetize the gold piece, since none of the 1933 double eagle production is considered to have been issued through official channels.

Until the monetization, the Treasury Department considered the 1933 $20 production chattel and not coins.

The Weitzman 1933 double eagle, offered along with two major philatelic rarities in June, is one of 16 examples identified as extant.

Two examples are impounded in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American history.

The U.S. Mint holds 11 other examples at the Fort Knox Gold Bullion Depository in Kentucky.

Ten of those coins were retained by the Mint in 2005, a year after Joan Switt Langbord and her sons surrendered the gold pieces to the Mint for authentication and expected their return. Another example was voluntarily surrendered to the Mint by its owner in 2018.

The locations of two other examples are reportedly known by the Mint.

All of the surviving examples in Mint and museum custody have been determined by U.S. Mint technicians to have been struck in 1933 with the same pair of production dies.

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