1933 Ten Dollar, MS64+
1933 $10 MS64+ PCGS Secure. The 1933 eagle and double eagle
issues are inextricably linked, owing to the
Only 30-35 Pieces Believed Known
great Gold Recall of 1933 and the subsequent Bank Holiday, beginning on March 6.
The order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt barred private U.S. citizens for
many years from owning gold coins (and related paper certificates) except for
items of numismatic significance. Both the 1933 eagle and the 1933 double eagle are fabled rarities. On the surface, the coins bear many similarities, but, fortunately for bidders on the current lot, there are key differences. The United States continued minting gold coins intermittently for several months after Roosevelt took the country off the gold standard. Two executive orders banned the release of additional gold coins for circulation, but by longstanding practice, collectors could obtain examples of the current year's coinage from the Mint cashier, a practice that apparently continued through at least the first several months of 1933. On April 5, 1933, a Presidential order decreed that owners of gold coins (and gold certificates) were to return them to the Federal Reserve System by May 1, except for amounts of less than $100 per person.
The 1933 double eagle issue has no record of release through official channels before the President's declaration, and only a single specimen is clearly legal to own, having been "remonetized" by the U.S. government. That coin, the former possession of King Farouk of Egypt, set a price of $7.59 million in a Sotheby's/Stack's auction in July 2002, a record that still stands today as the highest price ever paid for a single coin, U.S. or otherwise. The legal status of several other 1933 double eagles was recently decided in the government's favor, who contended the 10 coins in question had been stolen since they were not legally released. However, the legal status of the 1933 ten dollar issue has never been in question. In an article in the March 2003 Numismatist, Lawrence Lee wrote:
"Most of the 1933 coins still were at the Philadelphia Mint when the executive order was issued, and all coins on hand were melted.
"Because the $10 coin was intended for commerce and some had been released legally into circulation, it is not against the law to own a 1933 eagle today; it just takes really deep pockets."
The subject of legal ownership came up recently in the long and convoluted trial of the Langbord family's legal right to own ten 1933 twenties. In his daily summation of the trial for July 14, Steve Roach wrote about the interaction between defense attorney Barry Berke and the prosecution's key witness, David Tripp:
"Berke questioned Tripp about the relationship of 1933 double eagles to 1933 Indian Head gold $10 eagles, to which the government objected, as the coins are not the subject of this litigation. Despite Mint records showing that only four 1933 Indian Head gold $10 eagles left the Mint legally, there are estimates that as many as 35 are available today. Yet the the $10 eagles are not the subject to confiscation, unlike the 1933 double eagles.
"Tripp countered that the 1933 $10 eagles differ from the 1933 $20 double eagles in that no 1933 double eagles left the Mint through legitimate means, while 'once the barn door is open' through legal distribution of 1933 $10 eagles, it became impossible to differentiate legitimate versus illegitimate coins. Berke used this example as further proof that the Mint records of 1933 didn't accurately show what was happening at the time."
The number of examples known has never wavered much. Breen estimated that 30 or fewer pieces were known. Akers estimate has remained constant over the years at 30-35 pieces. The combined certifications by PCGS and NGC show only 36 coins, minus an uncertain number of resubmissions. All known 1933 tens are Uncirculated. The finest is a single MS66, a coin that brought $718,750 in 2004. This is the only Plus coin among the 19 total MS64 pieces (11/11), placing it first among equals -- and very close to Gem condition.
This upper-end MS64 coin shows intense frosted mint luster with a bright sheen and a silky texture. As always, the striking details are strong throughout. The abrasions that account for the less-than-Gem grade are almost all located on the reverse. A couple of angling marks are seen on the eagle's tail feathers and another on the hind leg. The location of these marks are fortunate, especially if the coin is displayed obverse-up, in which case the coin appears to be a full blown Gem. Each side shows even reddish patina with just the slightest hint of lilac around the eagle on the reverse. An outstanding example of this 20th century rarity.
Ex: FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2007), lot 3694.(Registry values: N14284) (NGC ID# 28HC, PCGS# 8885)
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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
two extraordinary collections: The Phillip H. Morse collection and the Dr. and Mrs. Steven L. Duckor collection.
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