1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle
Now one of the rarest coins of all time, the 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagle is also one of the most valuable. When it traded hands at auction in July 2002, it recorded a price $7.5 million. This storied coin, once owned by King Farouk and famously stored in a vault below New York City’s World Trade Center shortly before the complex was destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was actually once a common coin.
Some 445,500 double eagles were made in 1933, but that was the year President Franklin Delano Roosevelt removed the United States from the gold standard. All but 13 known specimens of the 1933 double eagle were melted (the remaining pieces are believed to have been kept by U.S. Mint employees), including most of the late 1920s and early 1930s $20 gold coins. Many other gold coins also met a similar fate, and this is why many pre-1933 gold coins are actually much scarcer than their mintage figures suggest.
Below are specifics about the Saint-Gaudens double eagle:
Face Value: $20
Overall Mass: 33.436 grams
Diameter: 34 millimeters
Edge: Lettered, “E PLURIBUS UNUM”
Composition: 90% gold, 10% copper
Gold: .96750 troy ounces
The Saint-Gaudens double eagle is considered by many to be the most beautiful gold coin the U.S. has ever produced. The obverse design of the Saint-Gaudens double eagle would reappear on U.S. coinage beginning in 1986 with the introduction of the American Gold Eagle.