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1933 Eagle, MS65
1933 $10 MS65 NGC. The accepted mintage figure for the 1933
gold eagles is 312,500 coins, as published in the Guide Book
and various other sources. While that is accurate as far as it
goes, it is only half of the story. Nearly all of the original
production was melted shortly after the coins were manufactured,
due to the Gold Recall of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
A World-Class Rarity
The 1933 U.S. coinage portrait is an unusual one at any rate, in that the only coin denominations produced were the Lincoln cents, in Philadelphia and Denver (the latter also making an Oregon Trail half dollar); the Walking Liberty half dollar, in San Francisco only; and the two gold issues, only in Philadelphia. (Was the U.S. Mint purposely providing Depression-era "make-work" assignments for some employees at each facility?)
The 1933 eagles are the only U.S. gold coins bearing that date that are legal to own, save for the single celebrated King Farouk 1933 double eagle that was legally "monetized" and sold for $7,590,020 in July 2002. (Ten other examples of the 1933 double eagle, formerly in the estate of Philadelphia jeweler Israel Switt and passed down to his daughter Joan Langbord, continue to be the subject of litigation between the U.S. government and the Langbord family. Two others are in the National Numismatic Collection of the Smithsonian Institution, making at least 13 pieces that survive today; others are rumored.)
The year 1933 opened normally at the Philadelphia Mint, although the country was in the depths of the Great Depression. The Mint's production of the year's eagles totaled 312,500 pieces in January and February. Although for many years it was thought that perhaps two dozen of those coins were released in the normal order of business, it is now believed that from 30 to 40 specimens escaped in this way. Presidential Order 6260, issued in March, officially halted the release of gold coins from the Mint.
All known examples of the 1933 ten dollar are Uncirculated--but Gem examples such as the present specimen are quite rare. Mike Fuljenz writes in Indian Gold Coins of the 20th Century concerning the 1933 eagles:
"For some reason, this date is usually seen with scattered deep marks. The typical 1933 may not have as many abrasions as on the typical 1932 but the marks seen on the 1933 are often located on the prime focal points and they can be fairly detracting. More often than not, the marks are located on the obverse and on a few pieces they are positioned squarely on the jaw or cheek of the Indian."
Acquisition of any 1933 eagle has been considered a badge of accomplishment, one of the coins that separate great collections from world-class ones. The Kutasi and O'Neal-Morse collection specimens were MS65 PCGS examples. The current Condition Census for the 1933 eagle includes a single MS66 at NGC, with three MS65 (including the present piece) and one MS65 in the Gem category. The PCGS population shows seven pieces in MS65 and a single MS65+ as finest at that service; as usual, the probability of duplications must be factored into all of these totals. The certainty of duplications is also present in the total graded at both services combined, 37 coins. A detailed roster of some of the finest known examples can be found in our Permanent Auction Archives.
The present Gem specimen is a coin that is new to us. Bright, satiny luster complements an uncommonly bold strike on both sides, the chief hallmarks of this simply spectacular coin. Note how well-defined the headdress feathers are, all the way to their tips (save for a couple of the lowest ones), and observe the fine plumage details throughout the eagle's wings. The 933 in the date is fully struck, while minor softness occurs on the 1. The predominant coloration is yellow-gold, with a slight accent of reddish patina perceptible on each side. Fortunately, this coin has escaped any overly distracting marks, although some small signs of contact appear below the ear and on the chin area. The super strike and attractive satiny luster more than compensate. Census: 3 in 65, 1 finer (11/10).
From The Las Vegas Collection, Part Two.(Registry values: N14284) (NGC ID# 28HC, PCGS# 8885)
View all of [The Las Vegas Collection, Part Two ]
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Revised Edition by James L. Halperin, Mark R. Borckardt, Mark Van Winkle, Jon Amato, and Gregory J. Rohan, with special contributor David W. Akers
The Coinage of Augustus Saint-Gaudens is an issue-by-issue examination of these two artistically inspired series of gold coins.
Each date and mintmark is reviewed with up-to-date information, much of which has never been previously published. The book is based on
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