The Most Expensive Coin In The World

The Most Expensive Coin In The World: 8 Interesting Facts

In the world of numismatics, coins hold a special place as both historical artifacts and valuable collectibles. The fascination with rare coins has led to some astonishing prices being paid by collectors and investors. One particular coin that stands out as the most expensive in the world is the 1933 Double Eagle, with its unique history and exceptional rarity. In this article, we will explore eight interesting facts about this iconic coin and delve into the allure that surrounds it.

1. Origin and Design:

The 1933 Double Eagle was designed by renowned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who created a stunning masterpiece that is considered one of the most beautiful coin designs ever produced. The coin features Lady Liberty holding a torch and an olive branch, with the majestic eagle on the reverse side.

2. Rarity and Prohibition:

The 1933 Double Eagle holds its value due to its rarity. However, it is not solely the scarcity of this coin that contributes to its exorbitant price. In fact, the coin’s production was halted due to the Great Depression and the abandonment of the gold standard, making it illegal to possess gold coins for circulation.

3. The Great Gold Heist:

Although the production of the 1933 Double Eagle was officially stopped, a few coins managed to escape the melting pot. Unfortunately, these coins were technically illegal to own, but this did not stop some from obtaining them. In 1934, the Secret Service uncovered the existence of these coins and recovered most of them, with the exception of a few.

4. King Farouk’s Secret Stash:

One of the most intriguing aspects of the 1933 Double Eagle’s history is its association with King Farouk of Egypt. It is believed that Farouk secretly acquired a small number of these coins during his reign. However, after his overthrow in 1952, the Egyptian government confiscated his collection, including the 1933 Double Eagles.

5. The Langbord Family Legal Battle:

Fast forward to more recent times, in 2003, the Langbord family discovered ten 1933 Double Eagles among their late father’s possessions. They presented the coins to the U.S. Mint to authenticate them, but the Mint seized the coins, claiming they were stolen property. This led to a lengthy legal battle between the Langbord family and the U.S. government.

6. Sotheby’s Auction:

After years of legal disputes, in 2002, the U.S. government decided to auction off one 1933 Double Eagle to settle the matter. The coin was sold at a Sotheby’s auction for a staggering $7.6 million, making it the most expensive coin ever sold at the time.

7. The Exceptional 1933 Double Eagle:

The only 1933 Double Eagle that remains in private hands is known as the “Exceptional 1933 Double Eagle.” This coin was once owned by King Farouk and later acquired by a private collector in 2002 for an undisclosed amount. Speculations suggest that this coin could potentially fetch well over $10 million if it were to be sold.

8. Legality and Ownership:

Despite the extraordinary prices paid for the 1933 Double Eagle, owning one of these coins remains a legal gray area. The U.S. government considers the coins to be stolen property, while some argue that the coins were never officially released and are, therefore, legal to own. This unique legal situation adds another layer of intrigue to the story of the most expensive coin in the world.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. How much is the most expensive coin in the world worth?

The most expensive coin in the world, the 1933 Double Eagle, is estimated to be worth over $10 million.

2. How many 1933 Double Eagles were made?

Only 445,500 Double Eagles were minted in 1933, but the vast majority were melted down, making it an exceptionally rare coin.

3. Why is the 1933 Double Eagle so valuable?

The 1933 Double Eagle’s value is due to its rarity, historical significance, and the legal complexities surrounding its ownership.

4. Can you legally own a 1933 Double Eagle?

The legal ownership of a 1933 Double Eagle is a contentious issue. While the U.S. government considers them stolen property, some argue that they were never officially released, making ownership legal.

5. How many 1933 Double Eagles are known to exist?

Apart from the one sold at auction in 2002, which is now privately owned, all other 1933 Double Eagles are in the possession of the U.S. government.

6. How did King Farouk obtain the 1933 Double Eagles?

King Farouk is believed to have secretly acquired some 1933 Double Eagles during his reign in Egypt, which were later confiscated by the Egyptian government.

7. Are there any other coins that come close in value?

While there are other valuable coins, the 1933 Double Eagle remains unmatched in terms of the price it commands.

8. Can I buy a replica of the 1933 Double Eagle?

Replicas of the 1933 Double Eagle can be purchased, but they are not considered legal tender and do not hold the same value as the original.

9. How did the Langbord family come into possession of the 1933 Double Eagles?

The Langbord family discovered ten 1933 Double Eagles among their late father’s possessions, leading to a legal battle over ownership.

10. Has the Exceptional 1933 Double Eagle ever been publicly displayed?

The Exceptional 1933 Double Eagle has been exhibited at various coin shows and museums, allowing enthusiasts to marvel at its beauty and rarity.

11. Is the 1933 Double Eagle the most valuable coin ever sold?

Yes, the 1933 Double Eagle holds the record for being the most expensive coin ever sold at auction.

12. Can the 1933 Double Eagle be sold internationally?

Due to the legal complications surrounding the 1933 Double Eagle, selling it internationally could pose significant challenges and may not be legally permissible.

13. Are there any other coins associated with Augustus Saint-Gaudens?

Augustus Saint-Gaudens designed several other famous coins, including the $20 Saint-Gaudens gold piece, which is highly regarded for its artistry.

14. Are there any plans to release another version of the 1933 Double Eagle?

No plans have been announced to release another version of the 1933 Double Eagle, as the original coins are considered extremely valuable and historically significant.

15. Are there any other coins from the same era that hold significant value?

Coins from the same era, such as the 1907 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle or the 1927-D Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, can also be highly valuable, although not to the same extent as the 1933 Double Eagle.

16. Can I see the 1933 Double Eagle in person?

The 1933 Double Eagle is occasionally displayed at numismatic exhibitions and museums, providing an opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts to view this remarkable piece of history.

In conclusion, the 1933 Double Eagle holds a special place in the world of numismatics as the most expensive coin ever sold. Its rarity, historical significance, and legal complexities have contributed to its extraordinary value. Whether it remains a prized possession in a private collection or is exhibited for public admiration, the allure of this iconic coin continues to captivate collectors and enthusiasts alike, cementing its place in history.

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