Some can make an argument to call the Farouk-Fenton 1933 Saint-Gaudens Gold $20 Double Eagle coin the most famous coin in the world. Although other coins have surpassed it in price since Stuart Weitzman purchased it in 2002, its legend lives beyond any other coin.
The story of the coin spans families, generations, continents, court cases, and was almost destroyed in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Its story was told in two excellent books and the revealing of the coin’s current owner made international headlines.
Now, the world’s most famous coin has been certified, graded, but not entombed in plastic. Sotheby’s requested the grading and certification for the coin and asked that the coin not be slabbed. PCGS graded the coin and provided an image certification. They also announced that the new owner could submit the coin for holdering after the auction.
Although certification is necessary for some coins in this day of counterfeits, there are some coins whose importance goes beyond the need to entomb them in plastic away from the world. The last legal tender gold coin from the time Franklin D. Roosevelt withdrew gold from the market is one of those coins.
There have been other famous coins displayed in slabs that give them a lonely feel. Looking at any of the five 1913 Liberty Head Nickels makes it seem like it’s trapped instead of proudly standing, showing off its fascinating story. The same fate awaits the 1933 Double Eagle should its next owner decide the plastic is more important than the coin.
For the sake of allowing the legend to live, I hope the next owner decides not to hide this coin in plastic and allows the world to celebrate its story and beauty.
And now the news…
In a few days, the U.S. Mint will release the last of the five-ounce silver America the Beautiful Quarters. The ATB series was a follow-up to the 50 State Quarter Program to honor the nation’s national parks and forests. The order of the program was determined by the date the area became a national park or forest.
The Tuskegee Airman National Historic Site in Tuskegee, Alabama, became a registered historic site on November 6, 1998. Formerly Morton Field, the site was the Tuskegee Airmen’s base and training center, the only African-American division of the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.
The end of the ATB quarters also ends the corresponding five-ounce hockey puck-sized bullion coin issues. The big coins are popular with investors and some collectors.
Now that the ATB quarters program has ended, a reverse celebrating George Washington’s crossing the Delaware River will replace the reverse for the rest of 2021. In 2022, the quarters will feature prominent women in United States history. The program will last until 2026, when the quarters’ design will celebrate the American Semisesquincentenial (250 years).
And the law that extended the circulating commemorative programs also includes the provisions for the U.S. Mint to create five-ounce silver hockey puck-sized coins from almost any program.
And now the news…
Every month we look at the numismatic legislation that Congress worked on the previous month. Since the 117th Congress is only three months into its first session, most of the legislative action is introducing bills.
Nowadays, Congress members do not have to drop their papers into the hopper in their respective chambers. Bills are submitted electronically. To prove that they are doing something, these legislators also post the bill on their official websites. Inevitably, an intern or low-level staffer makes a mistake that gets misinterpreted by the press, making it sound like a bill has been passed. According to the Government Printing Office, there has been no numismatic-related bill that has made it past its committee assignment.
A few days ago, Rep. Alexander Mooney (R-WV) introduced H.R. 2285, a bill “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to clarify that gain or loss on the sale or exchange of certain coins or bullion is exempt from recognition.” Although this bill’s text has yet to be published, the title suggests that it will make the sale of coins and bullion exempt from capital gains taxes.
Currently, collectors who sell items from their collections are required to pay capital gains taxes on the profit from the sale of their coins. If you bought a coin for $100,000 then sell it for $150,000, the capital gains tax is applied to the $50,000 profit. Under the 2020 rate schedule, that is a 0% tax, except if you bought the coin within the last year, it is taxed as part of your regular income. But if you bought the coin for $50,000 before 2020 and sold it for $150,000 in 2020, then the $100,000 profit is taxed at 15%.
Are you confused? This is why the potential of eliminating the capital gains tax on coins and bullion will help the industry.
Here is the list of the eight bills introduced in March 2021.
H.R. 1648: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in recognition and celebration of the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
S. 672: A bill to amend title 31, United States Code, to save Federal funds by authorizing changes to the composition of circulating coins, and for other purposes.
H.R. 1842: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint commemorative coins in recognition of the Bicentennial of Harriet Tubman’s birth.
H.R. 1789: To amend title 31, United States Code, to save Federal funds by authorizing changes to the composition of circulating coins, and for other purposes.
S. 697: A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint commemorative coins in recognition of the Bicentennial of Harriet Tubman’s birth.
H.R. 1900: To require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the health care professionals, first responders, scientists, researchers, all essential workers, and individuals who provided care and services during the coronavirus pandemic.
S. 867: A bill to require the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in recognition and celebration of the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
H.R. 2284: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to clarify that gain or loss on the sale or exchange of certain coins or bullion is exempt from recognition.
Last October, I announced that the Coin Collectors Blog and Coin Collectors News will change the subscription service to use WordPress to send email updates. Unfortunately, the family experienced a tragedy that caused postponement of a lot of plan.
Now it is time to move the subscription system. On April 1, 2021, I will turn off Google’s Feedburner service and exclusively use WordPress. However, WordPress does not allow me to import email addresses from the old system. Those interested in receiving updates via email must subscribe via the form below or in the sidebar.
Please visit the Coin Collectors News site to sign up for updates when the industry makes news.
Thank you for reading.
Thank you for being part of my collecting adventure!
There are many answers to that question. Some will point to price guides. Others will argue that one price guide is better than others. Then some people will deliver a dissertation about supply and demand and the commodity price of the metals to explain their answer.
The price of a coin is whatever the price one person will pay.
In an auction, people will bid until the price exceeds what all but one participant will pay.
This past week, Heritage Auctions sold a 1935 George V silver Pattern “Waitangi” Crown sold for $72,000, a New Zealand coin record.
In Las Vegas, Stack’s Bowers Galleries sold the only privately owned 1822 Half Eagle for $8.4 million. The other two examples are in the Smithsonian Museum. It is the second-highest amount ever paid for a U.S. coin.
These sales come the week after a George VIII Gold Crown sold for £1 million, a record price for a British coin.
Back down to earth, those who were shut out of the 2010-W American Silver Eagle sale are finding the secondary market selling these coins for upward of $150, double their sale price. Collectors trying to maintain complete collections are paying these markups.
Over a year after the coronavirus pandemic shut down the country, there seems to pent-up demand by collectors. All types of numismatic auctions, except scripophily, are experiencing extraordinary realized prices from auctions.
The strong demand is bringing people out of the woodwork trying to cash in. Major auction houses are lowering their commission to attract new sellers of high-end merchandise. Medium-sized auction houses have been contacting collectors looking to sell smaller collections usually left to estate and liquidation auction services.
Collectors are paying higher prices for coins. A recent liquidation auction, an ungraded 1880-CC Morgan Dollar with many problems, including questionable toning, may be worth about $100 according to the price guides. The coin sold for over $200 with buyer’s premium.
If this is how the market is reacting while contact continues to be limited, imagine how it will be when everything is fully open for business.
And now the news…
Some noticed that I did not post a Weekly World Numismatic News last week. It is nice to see that so many readers are paying attention. This week, I will combine the news of the last two weeks with some highlights.
We Know Who Owns the ’33 Double Eagle
The 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle is arguably the world’s most famous coin. The only coin of its type legal to own sold for $7,590,020 in a Sotheby/Stack’s auction to an anonymous buyer in 2002. We learned that the owner is shoe designer Stuart Weitzman and will be selling the coin along with two extremely rare stamps at an exclusive auction. The auction will include a rare plate block of the famous Inverted Jenny stamp, the holy grail for stamp collectors. Sotheby’s is estimating the coin’s value at $10-15 million. I predict it will sell for over $12 million.
British Coin Sells for £1 Million
A rare gold coin with the portrait of King Edward VIII sold for £1 million. King Edward VIII was the shortest-serving monarch of the 20th century. He abdicated the throne 11 months after his coronation to marry a twice-divorced American woman. At the time, the British people felt that the divorces and her ex-husbands were living as an insult to the Church of England. Rather than fight the church, Edward gave up the throne. During his reign, the Royal Mint struck only three £5 gold coins and never circulated. The sale makes this coin the most expensive British coin.
A Britannia of Color
Britannia, the female allegorical symbol of Britain, is depicted on bullion coins as a woman of color. Early in U.S. coin history, Liberty has appeared in ways similar to Britannia. See the image on the Seated Liberty Dollar for an example. Following the United States’ use of a woman of color to represent Liberty, the Royal Mint mint designers produce their own. The new designs are being lauded in the cynical British press for their art and its symbolism. The Royal Mint notes that Anglo-Saxons do not dominate British territories and members of the Commonwealth Realm. It is important to understand that the coin was planned and designed before the Royal Family’s recent controversies.
U.S. Wins COTY
In case you missed it, the 2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing Commemorative five-ounce silver proof coin win the prestigious Coin of the Year competition. World Coin News sponsors the annual competition. Nominations, reviews, and voting are held the year following the coins’ issue. They announce the winner the following year. Aside from winning COTY, the coin won the Best Contemporary Event Coin and Best Silver Coin categories. It is one of the best designs by the U.S. Mint in recent years.
And now the news…