A double eagle is a gold coin of the United States with a denomination of $20 and the first piece was minted in 1849, coinciding with the California Gold Rush.

Roosevelt

In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt wanted to change the design of American coins and selected American sculptor and artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens for this makeover. Saint-Gaudens' work on the high-relief $20 gold piece is considered to be one of the most extraordinary pieces of art on any American coin.

1933 coins

Regular production continued until 1933, when the official price of gold was changed to $35/oz by the Gold Reserve Act. The 1933 double eagle is among the most valuable of American coins. In the summer of 2002, a 1933 double eagle was auctioned off for US$7,590,020 which shattered the old record of $4,140,000 paid at a public auction for an 1804 silver dollar. This piece is unique as the only 1933 double eagle the U.S. government has deemed legal for its citizens to own.

Regular issue double eagles come in two major types and six minor varieties as follows:

In 1933, President Roosevelt stopped the coinage of gold and made it illegal to own the metal (although coin collectors could retain their pieces). With one exception, no 1933 double eagles were ever legally released, although some were stolen from the government, and over the years several were recovered.

Illegal instances of the 1933 double eagle could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, but it would be illegal for a U.S. coin dealer to broker a deal with one of these coins. There is no other date of Saint-Gaudens double eagle that is worth a significant fraction of this extraordinary coin. A complete uncirculated set of all other Saint-Gaudens double eagles could be put together for just over three million dollars (less than half the price paid for the 1933), including the extremely rare, ultra-high relief, proof pattern. Without the rare pattern, the set would be less than $750,000.

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Updated: 15 November 2019

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