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    Description

    1933 Indian Eagle, MS65
    Rare Final Ten Dollar Issue
    Only 30-40 Examples Extant
    Ex: Dallas Bank Collection

    Ex: Harbor View.

    1933 $10 MS65 PCGS. Ex: Harbor View. David Akers considers the 1933 "the rarest issue in the Indian eagle series" and one of the greatest gold rarities of the 20th century. Almost the entire mintage of 1933 eagles was melted soon after the coins were struck, when the Gold Recall of 1933 discontinued regular-issue U.S. gold coinage forever. The U.S. gold coinage for 1933 consisted of only the eagles and double eagles struck at the Philadelphia Mint, and only one 1933 double eagle is legal for collectors to own, making the 1933 Indian eagle the only collectible gold coinage issue from this historic final year of production. PCGS CoinFacts estimates the surviving population at just 30-40 examples in all grades today, but even that small total may be too generous. The leading grading services have combined to certify 36 specimens between them, all in Mint State grades, including an unknown number of resubmissions and crossovers (4/20). Heritage Auctions is privileged to present this stunning Condition Census Gem from the famous Dallas Bank Collection in this important offering.

    The Coins are Struck
    The Philadelphia Mint struck a substantial mintage of 312,500 Indian eagles in 1933, the last year any U.S. gold coins were struck for circulation. The coins were all delivered in January and February, but none were sent to Federal Reserve Banks for commercial distribution as there was simply no demand for the issue at the time. A prodigious mintage of more than 4.4 million eagles had been produced the year before, enough to fill the needs of the shrinking Depression-era economy for years to come. The great majority of the mintage was simply held in Mint and Treasury vaults to act as currency reserves or fill future orders that never came. A few residual eagles were held by the Philadelphia Mint Cashier, to be paid out in the normal course of business. In the November 15, 2004 edition of Coin World, David Trip wrote:

    "On March 1, the last (not the first) known authorized release of a 1933 eagle was made, not from the treasurer, but from the cashier's window in the Philadelphia Mint. Thus, the records indicate a total of five 1933 eagles found circulation through official channels."



    Of course, more than five 1933 Indian eagles survive today and, unlike their 1933 double eagle counterparts, the U.S. government has never challenged private ownership of the eagles. Most of the coins we know about today came from unofficial, but not illegal, sources.

    The Gold Recall of 1933
    President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6102 on April 5, 1933 "forbidding the hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates within the continental United States." The real intent of the order was to enable the Federal Reserve to increase the money supply during the hard times of the Depression. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 required the government to hold a gold reserve equal to 40% of the Federal Reserve notes issued by the Treasury. By the early 1930s, the Federal Reserve had just about reached that limit. Executive Order 6102 required all persons to deliver all but a small amount of gold coin and bullion owned by them to the Federal Reserve by May 1, 1933. The Federal Reserve purchased the gold at the going price of $20.67 per Troy ounce. A few exceptions were made for coins with numismatic value and gold used in "industry, profession and art." Executive Order 6102 was followed by the Gold Reserve Act of 1934, which raised the price of gold to $35 per Troy ounce, greatly increasing the value of the nation's gold reserves and enabling the Federal Reserve to increase the money supply. The gold turned in by citizens and the coins held in government storage were eventually all melted into gold bars and stored in the Fort Knox Bullion Repository. Gold coinage was suspended after the Recall took effect.

    It quickly became apparent to Mint and Treasury officials that the 1933 Indian eagles would become extremely rare after the stored mintage was melted. Like-kind exchanges were still legal for a short time after the executive order was issued. As might be expected, a number of Mint employees exchanged common date gold coins for an equal amount of 1933 eagles in the interim between the issuance of Executive Order 6102 and the melting of the coins held in government storage. Those coins were eventually passed on to Philadelphia and New York coin dealers at a profit. Both F.C.C. Boyd and Abe Kosoff recalled buying examples from Treasury employees in this manner in the late 1930s. Most of the coins we know about today were preserved through these unofficial channels.

    Early Auction Appearances and Rising Values
    Contemporary numismatists recognized the elusive nature of the 1933 Indian eagle only a few years after its issue date and the coins began appearing at auction at least as early as lot 413 of the Samuel H. McVitty Collection (B. Max Mehl, 3/1938):

    "1933 Last year of issue. Very few got out in circulation. Uncirculated, with full mint luster. Excessively rare. In point of actual rarity should bring almost as much as any $10.00 Gold Piece."



    The lot realized $233, a remarkable return on a coin that could have been purchased for face value from the Philadelphia Mint Cashier just five years earlier. Not all early public offerings brought as much as the McVitty specimen, but the coins always performed well and by 1944 the Standard Catalogue of United States Coins priced the 1933 Indian eagle at an enviable $200. Two years later, an example in lot 727 of F.C.C. Boyd's World's Greatest Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 1/1946) realized a whopping $375.

    Unlike some other gold issues, the 1933 Indian eagle was never found in large numbers in European and Latin American banks in later years. A small number of pieces was rumored to have surfaced in an East Coast holding in 1952, but any coins from that source were quickly absorbed into the market and did nothing to restrain the parade of rising prices realized for the 1933 eagle. Prices have continued to increase exponentially until the present day. Recent sales of interest include the MS65 PCGS example in lot 5419 of the Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2015) that realized $822,500.

    The Present Coin
    The coin offered here was once a highlight of the famous Dallas Bank Collection, formed by Texas collector H. Jeff Browning in the 1960s and '70s. Among his many accomplishments, Browning succeeded in compiling a complete collection of collectible U.S. double eagles (no 1849 or 1933), all in remarkably high grade, with outstanding eye appeal. After his death, Browning's collection, including the 1933 Indian eagle, was held in trust in a bank in Dallas, Texas for many years. Gold specialist David Akers gave the collection its name when he viewed it, along with Mike Brownlee, Harry Bass, and Tom Mulvaney, while researching his book on double eagles in 1981. Sotheby's partnered with Stack's to sell the Dallas Bank Collection in a blockbuster auction in October of 2001. The 1933 Indian eagle was described in lot 599:

    "1933, VERY CHOICE BRILLIANT UNCIRCULATED, of virtual Gem quality. An absolutely magnificent specimen, which can easily take its place among the very finest known. Both sides are a pleasing, original pale yellow color, with a few orange hints. The obverse and reverse fields are incredibly lustrous and frosty. The original mint bloom extends to Liberty's jaw line and neck and can be seen even in the hidden areas of the reverse. Most amazingly, this example has none of the cuts and scrapes that seem to plague even some of the most otherwise perfectly preserved specimens. A crystalline strike, exhibiting essentially full detail below the bonnet on the obverse and in the eagle's wing feathers on the reverse. Numismatists estimate that a mere 30 to 35 specimens survive from the original mintage of 312,500. These were struck in early 1933, shortly before President Franklin Roosevelt's executive order that effectively took the United States off the gold standard. In February and very early March, this tiny handful was released from the Philadelphia Mint, chiefly to collectors who had learned of the mintage and applied for a specimen. In that way, a few, perhaps three dozen or so, 1933 Eagles were lawfully released from the Mint. Following the March and August, 1933 Presidential orders, the remainder of the mintage was retained at the Mint and in the Federal Reserve banks and was later melted. The 1933 Eagle has the distinction of being the only 1933 dated United States gold coin that may be legally owned by private collectors (with the sole exception of the Farouk 1933 Double Eagle). A splendid example of an historically important coin."



    We believe most extant 1933 Indian eagles were preserved by Mint employees who sold the coins to collectors and dealers at a later date, rather than collectors who ordered them directly from the Mint. Otherwise, we have no problem with the Dallas Bank Collection cataloger's description of this coin. The lot realized a strong price of $148,500. The coin was auctioned again by Goldberg Coins and Collectibles in 2009, where it brought an even stronger price of $517,500. We believe the present offering is just the third auction appearance of this remarkable key issue.

    Physical Description
    The present coin is a spectacular Gem that fits comfortably in the Condition Census for the issue. The pale yellow and orange-gold surfaces radiate vibrant mint luster from both sides, enhancing the terrific eye appeal. Unlike most examples seen, the surfaces show only the most insignificant signs of contact on Liberty's cheek and jawline. Two light contact marks on the eagle's wing, below the P in PLURIBUS, are the best pedigree markers, but even those minor tell tales tend to fade into the background of the feathers. The design elements are sharply detailed, with fine definition on Liberty's hair and the eagle's shoulder. This coin possesses an enviable combination of high technical quality, exceptional visual appeal, absolute rarity, and an illustrious pedigree. It may be years before a comparable example becomes available. We expect intense competition from series specialists and Registry Set enthusiasts when this coin crosses the auction block. The 1933 Indian eagle is listed among the 100 Greatest U.S. Coins. Population: 8 in 65 (3 in 65+), 1 finer (4/20).
    Ex: H. Jeff Browning; Dallas Bank Collection (Sotheby's/Stack's, 10/2001), lot 599, realized $149,500; Pre-Long Beach Auction (Ira and Larry Goldberg, 2/2009), lot 1592, realized $517,500.(Registry values: N14284)

    Coin Index Numbers: (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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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2020
    4th-7th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 40
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,386

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

    Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles as Illustrated by the Phillip H. Morse and Steven Duckor Collections
    Revised Edition by Roger Burdette, and edited by James L. Halperin and Mark Van Winkle

    Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles is an issue-by-issue examination of this 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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