Steve Roach

The Art of Collecting

Steve Roach

Steve Roach, Coin World’s editor-at-large, has been deeply involved with numismatics for more than 20 years, starting as a young coin collector in Michigan. Two years spent as a coin grader, nearly three years at a major coin wholesaler and a stint as a paintings specialist at an international auction house have given Steve a rich understanding of the hobby, its market and the unique personalities and exceptional objects that make collecting meaningful. He joined Coin World in 2006 as a columnist, and has served as associate editor and editor-in-chief. He received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Michigan, a juris doctorate from the Ohio State University and is a Certified Member of the International Society of Appraisers.

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The 1933 double eagle’s story is one that continues to be written

1933 Saint-Gaudens $20 gold double eagles occupy a unique position among U.S. coins. In 2013 in The New York Times, I characterized the example that was allegedly owned by Egypt’s King Farouk and later sold at a 2002 Sotheby’s/Stack’s auction for a then-record $7,590,020 as “The Hope Diamond of numismatics.”

The comparison of the 1933 double eagle to the 45.52-carat deep blue diamond in the Smithsonian seemed good shorthand for the coin’s mystery, value, beauty, and fame.

The story of the 1933 double eagles continues to be written, although currently the authors are judges and attorneys as the case weaves its way through the U.S. court system.

My understanding of this case has long been intertwined with Coin World. I remember in high school and college reading about the dramatic seizure of the “Farouk” example in 1996 and its subsequent sale. I followed with interest the brewing lawsuit in 2005 when the Langbord coins were discovered and ultimately claimed by the government as property, and continued to cover the case as it developed including daily trial coverage in 2011 and beyond.
Now, as these coins might enter the marketplace, they may travel far and wide to private collections where they will be graded, regraded, sold and resold, lost and found.

As I write my final editorials as Coin World’s editor-in-chief, I reflect on the stories that link each of us to coins, and make our hobby so much more than just acquiring objects.

I look forward to continuing to share the story of these infamous double eagles, and exploring new ways to personally connect people with the pleasures that come from learning about, and ultimately owning great coins. 

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