Exceptional 1933 Gem Ten Dollar
1933 $10 MS65 PCGS. Ex: The O' Neal Collection. In an effort
to help reverse the tide of the Depression, Franklin Roosevelt
issued presidential orders in early 1933 halting the release of
gold coins from the Mint, and recalling gold coin, gold bullion,
and gold certificates. These orders created several noteworthy
rarities in the 20th century gold series. Most notable among these
are the 1933 eagle and the 1933 double eagle. While the latter
issue is not believed to have been released before the president's
declaration and, as such, is prohibitively rare (and considered by
the Government to be illegal to own), 1933 Indian eagles are
obtainable, albeit very scarce, and always realize strong prices
whenever a survivor appears on the market.
Following its sizeable mintage of 4,463,000 pieces in 1932, the Philadelphia Mint opened 1933 with a respectable delivery of 312,500 eagles in January and February. A few of these coins, perhaps 30 to 40 pieces, were legally released through regular channels at that time. The aforementioned presidential orders not only halted gold coin production, but prompted the Philadelphia Mint to melt all remaining 1933 eagles. Walter Breen, in his 1988 A Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins, wrote that a small number of possibly 20 to 30 survivors, probably the majority of the coins issued, came to light in an east coast hoard circa 1952. Breen states: "I studied eight of them on a single tray in 1953: gem mint state beauties." A few more individual coins later turned up in French and Swiss banks. All known pieces are in Uncirculated grades.
PCGS and NGC have certified 35 1933 ten dollar pieces to date. One of these graded MS62, four coins rated MS63, and 18 were classified as near-Gems. Eleven specimens graded MS65, and NGC certified a single Premium Gem. It is quite possible that some of the foregoing coins are resubmissions.
In addition to the specimen housed in the National Collection at the Smithsonian Institution, the following roster enumerates 1933 ten dollar coins from plated auction catalogs available to us:
1. MS66 NGC. The Betty Goff C. Cartwright Collection (Stack's, 10/2004), lot
2190; The Collection of an East Coast Family (Heritage Auction Galleries,
6/2000), lot 7627.
2. MS65. The United States Gold Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 10/1982), lot
3. MS65 PCGS. The Floyd T. Starr Collection (Stack's, 10/1992), lot 1279; The
Kutasi Collection (Heritage Auction Galleries, 1/2007), lot 3191; The Madison
Collection (Heritage Auction Galleries, 1/2008), lot 3291.
4. MS65 PCGS. The Present Coin. The Michael I. Keston Collection
(Superior, 1/1996), lot 194 (the Superior catalog indicates that this coin is
"Previously from Stack's 1984 Amon Carter sale, lot 398," but our inspection
of the Stack's catalog for the Carter sale does not substantiate this); The
Phillip H. Morse Collection of Saint-Gaudens Coinage (Heritage Auction
Galleries, 11/2005), lot 6520.
5. MS65 NGC. Ira and Larry Goldberg (5-6/2005), lot 1065.
6. MS65. Smithsonian Institution (per Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth, Encyclopedia
of U.S. Gold Coins, 1795-1933, p.625).
7. MS64. The Norweb Collection (Bowers and Merena, 3/1998), lot 2329
(reported by the Bowers and Merena cataloger to be from the Palace
Collection of King Farouk, 2/1954, lot 224).
8. MS64 PCGS. The Dr. Thaine B. Price Collection (David Akers
Numismatics, 5/1998), lot 71; ANA National Money Show
(Superior, 3/2000), lot 1007.
9. MS64 NGC. The Freedom Collection (Heritage Auction Galleries, 1/2007),
lot 3693; Ira and Larry Goldberg (9/2007), lot 3404.
10. MS64 PCGS. The Richmond Sale I (David Lawrence Rare Coin Auctions,
7/2004), lot 2227; Heritage Auction Galleries (1/2007), lot 3694.
11. Very Choice Brilliant Uncirculated. The "Dallas Bank" Collection
(Sotheby's/Stack's, 10/2001), lot 599.
12. Brilliant Uncirculated (Stack's, 5/1986), lot 1545.
13. Brilliant Uncirculated (Stack's, 10/1996), lot 1592.
14. Brilliant Uncirculated (Stack's, 3/2005), lot 1882.
We want to remind the reader that the foregoing roster only accounts for a limited number of extant 1933 ten dollar gold pieces, which is generally thought to be in the 30 to 40 range. One of the better estimates of surviving examples is perhaps that provided by Carl W.A. Carlson in his article "Tracker: An Introduction to Pedigree Research in the Field of Rare American Coins," published in the 1991 The American Numismatic Association Centennial Anthology, edited by himself and Michael Hodder. Carlson identifies at least 25 different 1933 eagle specimens, along with the auction appearances of 18 others "which either had no photo at all or else had a photo so poor as to make accurate plate matching impossible."
The Gem offered here exhibits lovely frosty surfaces that yield dazzling luster and a delicate blend of peach-gold and light green patination, imbued with occasional glimpses of light pink. A well executed strike leaves sharp impressions on the design features, with the Indian's hair, headdress feathers, and eagle's plumage displaying strong delineation in most areas. All of the peripheral elements are bold, except for minor softness on the lower part of the 1 in the date. The reverse mottos are crisp, as is the separation within the bundle of arrows upon which the eagle is perched. A few minute, grade-consistent contact marks are located on the Indian's portrait and in the lower left (facing) obverse field. A small mark is also noted in the reverse field above the eagle's tail, and a minuscule planchet void is visible beneath the last A in AMERICA. These are all unobtrusive, and mentioned solely to help future catalogers and researchers identify the coin.
In summary, this coin possesses exceptional technical quality and aesthetic appeal. This is an infrequent opportunity to acquire one of the most important coins in American numismatics. Population: 7 in 65, 0 finer (11/08).
From The Jim O'Neal Collection of Saint-Gaudens Eagles.
See: Video Lot Description(Registry values: N14284) (NGC ID# 28HC, PCGS# 8885)
Weight: 16.72 grams
Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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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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