The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 24, Number 11, March 14, 2021, Article 22


Sotheby’s will auction the Farouk 1933 Double Eagle in June. Since 2002 it has been owned by Stuart Weitzman of New York. Here's an excerpt from the sale announcement. -Editor

Stuart Weitzman Three Treasures

Sotheby’s New York is pleased to present Three Treasures – Collected by Stuart Weitzman, a dedicated live auction of three legendary treasures from the personal collection of the renowned fashion designer and collector. On 8 June 2021 Sotheby’s will offer the fabled and elusive 1933 Double Eagle Coin, which set a world record when it last sold at auction in 2002, and the only example that is legally sanctioned by the United States government for private ownership; the sole-surviving example of the British Guiana One-Cent Magenta, the most famous and valuable stamp in the world; and The Inverted Jenny Plate Block, the most well-known and sought-after American stamp rarity. Iconic as they are rare, the Double Eagle and the British Guiana will be offered with estimates of $10/15 million each and are poised to set new world auction records in their respective categories, and the Inverted Jenny will carry an estimate of $5/7 million, set to eclipse its own record for an American philatelic item.

Richard Austin, Sotheby’s Global Head of Books & Manuscripts, commented: As the most aspirational objects in their respective collecting fields and each with their own illustrious provenance, the Double Eagle, the British Guiana and the Inverted Jenny all hold an indelible place in history, and in our collective imagination. Each treasure is unique in its own right: the 1933 Double Eagle as the only legally owned example, the British Guiana as the only one known, and the Inverted Jenny as the only plate block from a unique sheet of stamps. It would be a true privilege to present just one of these sought-after rarities at auction but offering all three one-of-a-kind treasures together in the same sale is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. It is a testament to Stuart’s perennial passion and dedication to his childhood ambition of acquiring these prized pieces that we are able to create a special moment to share their stories with the world at once.

Stuart Weitzman added: I had a life-long dream of collecting the single greatest rarities in the two great collecting areas of stamps and coins and then placing these extraordinary treasures, hidden away for decades, on continuous public view. I determined to do that, and I did that. That was my dream. Today my dream is to leave a legacy of charitable works to which the proceeds from the sales of these treasures will go.

The three treasures will be on public view by appointment in Sotheby’s York Avenue Galleries during New York Asia Week from 11 – 17 March as well as this May alongside the Contemporary and Impressionist Art exhibitions for our marquee spring auctions, and 5 – 7 June in the lead up to the auction on Tuesday, 8 June.

Stuart Weitzman For more than 60 years, entrepreneur and philanthropist Stuart Weitzman pioneered luxury shoe design as founder of his eponymous company and is renowned for creating high-end shoes that are internationally beloved and synonymous with the pinnacle of luxury fashion design. In 2015, the Stuart Weitzman brand was acquired by Tapestry and remains one of the most highly sought-after luxury designers by celebrities and fashion lovers alike. Beyond his highly successful career in fashion, Weitzman is a life-long philatelist and numismatist with a deep appreciation for one-of-a-kind objects. Growing up collecting stamps and coins at an early age in Queens, New York, he fulfilled his boyhood pursuits at the highest echelon with his acquisition of the Double Eagle in 2002 and the British Guiana and Inverted Jenny Plate Block in 2014. Weitzman has been a generous steward of the three treasures, loaning the British Guiana to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum where it has been on public display since 2015 in its own special exhibition, as well as loaning the Double Eagle first to the Federal Reserve in Manhattan and then later to the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library. The Double Eagle has been exhibited at the New-York Historical Society Museum & Library since 2013 and was joined by the Inverted Jenny in 2014 following Weitzman’s acquisition of the plate block.

Stuart Weitzman 1933 Double Eagle One of the rarest coins in the collecting field, the 1993 Double Eagle (estimate $10/15 million) twenty-dollar coin is completely unique in that it is the only one of its kind that may be legally owned by a private individual. When Weitzman anonymously purchased the coin at Sotheby’s New York in 2002 for $7.59 million, it established a new world auction record for any coin at the time, nearly doubling the previous record. The auction was conducted on behalf of the United States Government following a landmark legal settlement, which for the first and only time, authorized the private ownership of this 1933 Double Eagle alone. At the conclusion of the sale and in an historic moment, the Director of the United States Mint signed a Certificate of Monetization turning the coin into legal United States tender – the first time the United States Government had ever monetized a coin in this way.

The 1933 Double Eagle has a uniquely captivating history which encapsulates large swathes of United States history and has been at the center of numismatic intrigue for more than 70 years. Known as the coin that took the US off the Gold Standard, 1933 Double Eagles were the last American gold coins struck and intended for circulation by the United States Mint but were never legally issued for use. Designed by the renowned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens at the behest of President Theodore Roosevelt, its imagery of Liberty striding forward on the obverse, with an American eagle in flight on the reverse marks the apex of United States coin design. In 1933 President Franklin Roosevelt took the country off the gold standard in an effort to lift America’s tattered economy out of the Great Depression. Since they were never officially issued for use, all 1933 Double Eagle coins were ordered to be destroyed with exception of two examples set aside for the Smithsonian Institution. In 1937, several 1933 Double Eagles appeared on the market, which led to a Secret Service investigation in 1944 that deemed all newly discovered coins were stolen from the United States government and therefore illegal to own.

However, only weeks before the Secret Service investigation began in 1944, one of the 1933 Double Eagles was purchased and erroneously granted an export license. It entered the famed coin collection of King Farouk where it remained until 1954 when his collection was offered at auction by Sotheby’s, acting on behalf of the new Republic of Egypt. Upon learning of its presence in the sale, the United States Treasury successfully requested that the coin be withdrawn and the whereabouts of the coin remained a mystery until 1996 when it was seized during a Secret Service sting at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. Following a five-year legal battle, which unearthed the long-forgotten and erroneously issued export license, the case was settled, and this single 1933 Double Eagle was permitted to be privately owned.

In 2005, ten more 1933 Double Eagles surfaced in the possession of the family of one of the individuals investigated in the 1944 Secret Service investigation and another legal battle ensued. More than a decade later, after a jury trial and appeals (to as high as the Supreme Court), 1933 Double Eagles were ruled property of the United States and therefore, with the exception of Stuart Weitzman’s example, can never be sold (following the litigation another 1933 Double Eagle was voluntarily surrendered to the US government).

To read the complete article, see:
Three Treasures – Collected by Stuart Weitzman (

Len Augsburger and Chris Neuzil passed along a New York Times article. Here's an excerpt. -Editor

For years, Weitzman kept quiet about his collecting, not wanting the publicity. In 2012, 10 years after he had bought the double eagle, it was the centerpiece of a display at the Federal Reserve in Lower Manhattan. David Tripp, the special consultant to Sotheby’s on coins, did not know who owned the coin when, at the opening of the exhibit, he was approached by David N. Redden, the Sotheby’s executive who had handled the auction in 2002. Redden had two people in tow.

David said, ‘I’ve got a friend here with his daughter. His name is Stuart. Tell him about the coin,’ Tripp recalled.

Tripp, unsuspecting, went on to describe the particulars of the coin to the man who owned it.

Years later, Tripp said, when David told me Stuart Weitzman was the owner, Stuart Weitzman the great designer of shoes, I clicked on Google and said, ‘I’ve met that guy before.’

To read the complete article, see:
He Owns World Famous Stamps and a Prized Coin. Now He’s Selling. (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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