The catalog for Sotheby's June New York sale including the Farouk 1933 Double Eagle is now online.
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.
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 4 – 7 June in the lead up to the auction on Tuesday, 8 June.
THE 1933 DOUBLE EAGLE
One of the most coveted coins in the world, the 1933 Double Eagle (a twenty dollar gold coin) is unique in that it is the only example that may be legally owned by an individual. Stuart Weitzman purchased the coin at a Sotheby's/Stack's auction in 2002 for a world record price, nearly doubling the previous record. That auction was conducted on behalf of the United States Government, following a landmark legal settlement which authorized the private ownership of this 1933 Double Eagle alone. At the conclusion of the sale, in an historic moment, the Director of the United States Mint signed a Certificate of Monetization that, in return for twenty dollars, authorized the issuance of this single example.
The 1933 Double Eagle has a richly captivating history which encapsulates large swathes of United States history and has been at the center of intrigue for more than 80 years. It is America's last gold coin struck for circulation, ending a tradition begun in 1795. Designed by renowned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens at the behest of President Theodore Roosevelt, its imagery of Liberty striding forward on the obverse, with the American eagle in flight on the reverse is lauded as America's most beautiful coin design. In 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt, as part of his effort to lift America's tattered economy out of the Great Depression took the country off the gold standard. Struck but never issued for use, all 1933 Double Eagles were ordered destroyed with the exception of two examples sent to the Smithsonian Institution. In 1937, in the same month the 1933 Double Eagles were melted, several examples appeared on the market, which ultimately led to a Secret Service investigation in 1944 that determined all 1933 Double Eagles in collectors' hands had been stolen from the United States Mint, 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 diplomatically untouchable 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 government successfully requested that the coin be withdrawn. But it was not returned and the coin's whereabouts remained a mystery until 1996 when it was seized by the Secret Service in a sting operation at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. Following a five-year legal battle, which unearthed the improvidently issued export license, the case was settled and the government permitted this single 1933 Double Eagle to be privately owned.
In 2005, ten more 1933 Double Eagles surfaced in the possession of the family of one of the prime suspects 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) the 1933 Double Eagles were ruled the property of United States (another example was voluntarily surrendered following the litigation), and confirmed the government's statement in 2002 that Stuart Weitzman's 1933 Double Eagle is
the only example the United States Government has ever authorized, or ever intends to authorize, for private ownership.
To read the complete article, see:
THREE TREASURES COLLECTED BY STUART WEITZMAN
See the complete online lot description for much, much more background on the fabled coin, including its connections to personalities including Henry Chapman, William H. Woodin, John Work Garrett, Col. James W. Flanagan, James G. Macallister, Izzy Switt, Louis E. Eliasberg, B. Max Mehl, Fred Baldwin, Harry Forman, Roy E. Naftzger, Jay Parrino, Stephen Fenton,
the Red-Headed Philadelphia Sucker, the Crooked Cashier, and more.
To read the complete lot description, see:
The 1933 Double Eagle
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
FAROUK 1933 DOUBLE EAGLE RETURNS TO MARKET
Wayne Homren, Editor
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