1933 Saint Gaudens Gold $20 Double Eagle 

The 1933 Saint-Gaudens Gold $20 Double Eagle is one of the most famous and sought-after coins in American numismatic history. Designed by renowned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the Double Eagle features Lady Liberty striding forward on the obverse and a majestic eagle in flight on the reverse. 

However, the 1933 Double Eagle holds a unique place in history due to its tumultuous backstory. Although several hundred thousand Double Eagles were minted in 1933, none were officially released into circulation.  

As a result, most of the 1933 Double Eagles were ordered to be melted down. However, a few specimens were illegally removed from the U.S. Mint by a Mint cashier named George McCann.  

In 1944, a famous case involving one of these Double Eagles came to light when jeweler Israel Switt attempted to sell one to a collector. 

The U.S. government seized the coin, leading to a legal battle that lasted for decades. In 2002, the U.S. government and the heirs of Israel Switt reached a settlement, and the coin was auctioned off by Sotheby's for over $7 million. 

Today, the 1933 Saint-Gaudens Gold $20 Double Eagle remains one of the most valuable and coveted coins in the world. Only a few examples are legally owned by private collectors, and they rarely come up for sale.  

The saga of the 1933 Saint-Gaudens Gold $20 Double Eagle continues to captivate both numismatists and the general public alike due to its intriguing history and rarity. Beyond its status as a valuable collectible, the Double Eagle serves as a symbol of a tumultuous period in American history, marked by economic upheaval and government intervention. 

The story of the 1933 Double Eagle reflects the broader challenges faced by the United States during the Great Depression. President Roosevelt's decision to halt the circulation of gold coins was part of a series of measures aimed at stabilizing the economy and restoring confidence in the banking system.  

The lengthy court proceedings, which spanned decades, highlighted the complexities of numismatic law and raised questions about the rights of individuals to own rare and historically significant coins. 

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