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    1933 Eagle, Radiant Gem
    A Vibrant, Old-Time Example of This Paramount Melt Rarity

    Rarely Seen, Only 30 to 40 Pieces Believed Known

    1933 $10 MS65 PCGS. The 1933 Indian eagle was recognized as one of the greatest gold rarities of the 20th century almost from the time of its coinage, and demand for it continues to climb, fueled by a mysterious allure that is unparalleled in ten dollar gold pieces. The appearance of an example at public auction, regardless of grade, is a headlining event. In his February 1944 sale of the Beldon E. Roach Collection, B. Max Mehl wrote of the 1933 eagle:

    "Last year of issue, and goodness only knows when the coinage [of the eagle] will be resumed. ... Extremely rare and valuable."

    The coin in that sale realized $175.00, an impressive price for a ten dollar piece that was only 11 years off the press. Just five years later, Mehl's 1949 sale of the Dr. Charles W. Green Collection offered an example which realized $470.00. In 1950, Mehl wrote of the 1933 eagle:

    "The only U.S. Gold Coin of this date that is available to and permissible to be owned by collectors. ... Very rare and valuable and steadily advancing in value. ... This coin is certainly to become one of our rarest Eagles ..."

    Mehl's assessment of this melt rarity was blatantly prophetic. The number of pieces known is extremely minimal, limited to those few coins that were retrieved by collectors directly from the Mint cashier before the confiscation occurred in early April. David Akers' 1980 survival estimate was only 30 to 40 coins in all grades, a figure that is largely upheld by modern research and census data. All known examples are in Mint State since the issue was never released into circulation, and most survivors grade in the MS64 to MS65 range. "Most" is a relative term, however, as the majority of known 1933 eagles still amounts to only a handful of coins. With just a single piece known in MS66 and none finer, nice MS65 examples, such as the current piece, are essentially the finest obtainable, even by well-funded and patient collectors.

    The immense allure and popularity of the 1933 eagle stems not only from the issue's notable rarity, but also from its historical significance as the final issue of the denomination struck before gold coinage was halted as a result of Franklin D. Roosevelt's Executive Order 6102. A world record auction realization for this issue in MS65 was set at our January 2008 FUN Signature sale, where a PCGS coin garnered $552,000. In 2004, the single known MS66 example (an NGC coin) set a world record price for the entire issue at an impressive $718,750. However, when a long-held, old-time representative of the 1933 eagle makes a never before seen appearance in the modern market, the collector demand is staggering, far surpassing that awarded previously seen pieces. The PCGS MS65 coin that appeared in our recent 2015 Central States Signature sale, housed in a green label holder and off the market since 1986, realized $822,500, far and away setting a new auction record for the entire issue.

    The present example is of comparable importance. Also housed in a green label PCGS holder, this glowing Gem last appeared nearly two decades ago in a 1997 Bowers and Merena sale, and its pedigree can be traced back to Kosoff's 1946 sale of the World's Greatest Collection, a legendary encasement of coins assembled by noted numismatist, F.C.C. Boyd. Is it fitting that one of the greatest 1933 Indian eagles known first appeared in what was heralded at the time as the "world's greatest collection?" If nothing else, it speaks to the outstanding quality of this piece. This is a sharp, impressive coin, not only for the issue, but for the type. Mint-fresh, vibrant luster engulfs each side in eye-catching yellow-gold radiance, while yielding the occasional wisp of deeper coppery-gold color, primarily in the headdress feathers. A few light ticks on Liberty's cheek are typical for the issue and are not out of line for the grade.

    While research confirms a few dozen examples of the 1933 Indian eagle survive, the frequency of auction appearances is disproportionately low. These coins are tightly held by the knowledgeable and patient collectors who have painstakingly acquired them, and owning one of these magnificent coins is an achievement to which remarkably few numismatists will ever be able to lay claim. This beautiful Gem, an old-time representative appearing here for the first instance in nearly two decades, is indeed worthy of a record bid. Population: 8 in 65 (2 in 65+), 0 finer (4/15).
    Ex: World's Greatest Collection (Kosoff and Kreisberg, 1/1946), lot 727, which realized $375.00; possibly Memorable Collection (Kosoff and Kreisberg, 3/1948), lot 613; possibly Adolphe Menjou Collection (Kosoff and Kreisberg, 6/1950), lot 1664, which realized $525.00; possibly Melish Collection (Kosoff, 4/1956), lot 2639, which realized $825.00; DuPont Sale (Sotheby, 3/1983), lot 222; Greater New York Numismatic Convention Sale (Stack's, 5/1986), lot 1545; Public Auction Sale (Stack's, 10/1996), lot 1592; The Rarities Sale (Bowers and Merena, 1/1997), lot 348.
    From The New Orleans Collection, Part Two.(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.

    View all of [The New Orleans Collection, Part Two ]

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2015
    4th-7th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 18
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    The Coinage of Augustus Saint-Gaudens as Illustrated by the Morse and Duckor Collections
    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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