08 June 2021
The 1933 Double Eagle, described as ‘the most famous coin in the world’, has sold at auction in New York for $18,872,250 (approximately £13.3 million), breaking the record for the most expensive coin in the world.
The ‘fabled and elusive’ 1933 Double Eagle Coin was sold by current owner Stuart Weitzman at a Sotheby’s sale in New York, which featured just three items, with two philatelic rarities also on offer. One of the most coveted coins in the world, the 1993 Double Eagle $20 gold coin is the only example that may be legally owned by an individual.
The latest sale saw the world record price for a coin nearly doubled, after just three and a half minutes with three bidders in the room and one on the telephone vying for the only example that may be legally owned by an individual.
Setting a second world record
The sale marks the second time this 1933 Double Eagle coin set a world record as the most valuable coin, having sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2002 for $7.59 million in an auction 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.
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Richard Austin, Sotheby’s Global Head of Books & Manuscripts, said:
‘Today’s sale marked a historic moment in the history of stamp and coin collecting, and one that I think will not be surpassed for a long time, if ever.
'The Stuart Weitzman collection represented the most prized and sought after stamp and coin specimens known to exist, each with deep histories and remarkable stories that have together captured the imaginations of collectors and the general public alike for decades. To offer any one of these pieces at auction would be a milestone in its own right, but to offer them together in this special sale was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
'The uniqueness of this moment is a testament to Stuart’s passion and dedication to his childhood ambition of acquiring these prized pieces, and we hope this sale inspires other collectors to start their own journey.’
Stuart Weitzman added:
‘It has been an honour to be a custodian of these three legendary treasures and it fills me with great joy to have fulfilled a childhood dream of bringing these remarkable pieces together into one collection. I started coin collecting to pass the time in a full leg cast at the age of 12, and later became interested in stamps when my older brother left behind the stamp book he’d started when he went to college.
'The passion for collecting took root immediately, and today truly marked the culmination of a life’s work. I’m delighted that the proceeds of the sale will help support a number of charitable causes and educational endeavors that are near and dear to me.’
Money goes to charity
All of the seller’s proceeds will benefit charitable ventures, including The Weitzman Family Foundation, which has supported medical research and higher education such as Boston Children’s Hospital and the Stuart Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. Other major Foundation projects include a museum in Madrid, the first of its kind, devoted to Spanish-Judeo history.