1933 Saint Gaudens Gold $20 Double Eagle

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The 1933 Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle holds a unique and storied place in numismatic history, making it one of the most sought-after and rare coins in the world.

Designed by renowned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the Double Eagle was originally minted from 1907 to 1933. However, the 1933 issue stands out due to the circumstances surrounding its production and subsequent withdrawal from circulation.

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In 1933, the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt took measures to stabilize the economy.

As part of the government’s response to the economic crisis, the Gold Confiscation Act of 1933 was enacted, prohibiting the hoarding of gold coins, gold bullion, and gold certificates by private citizens. Consequently, the U.S. Mint ceased production of gold coins, including the Double Eagle.

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While a small number of 1933 Double Eagles were minted before the production halt, the vast majority were ordered to be melted down.

However, a few managed to leave the Mint through unofficial channels. Some speculate that a handful were possibly acquired by Mint officials or other individuals with access to these coins.

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The legal status of the 1933 Double Eagles became a matter of controversy and legal battles for decades. In the 1940s, it was confirmed that the coins were not officially released, leading to the conclusion that any existing specimens were stolen government property.

The U.S. Secret Service, responsible for enforcing the Gold Confiscation Act, actively pursued the recovery of these coins.

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In the early 2000s, the United States government reached settlements with private collectors who had come into possession of the 1933 Double Eagles, allowing them to retain ownership.

However, the government retained its claim to any coins that might surface in the future. Notably, one 1933 Double Eagle was sold at auction in 2002 for over $7 million, making it one of the most valuable coins ever sold.

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Due to its historical significance, legal intrigue, and extreme rarity, the 1933 Saint-Gaudens Gold Double Eagle remains a symbol of a bygone era and a prized numismatic treasure for collectors and historians alike.

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