Coin Expected to Set New World Record: 1933 King Farouk $20 Saint-Gaudens Set to be Sold
Justice is finally served after a five-year court battle comes to a close. The 1933 Saint-Gaudens $20 double eagle seized in 1996 by the Secret Service has been authorized for private ownership after an earth shattering out-of-court settlement reached on January 25.
The agreement was signed between the U.S. Justice Department and British dealer Stephen C. Fenton. The 1996 seizure of the coin has come under significant criticism by the numismatic community with most people claiming the coin belongs in public hands. I, for one, am very happy, as the settlement should greatly benefit the industry. The industry will benefit because the settlement specifies the coin will be sold! And the proceeds will be split between Mr. Fenton, the coins rightful owner, and the government, whose share will go to the U.S. Mint’s Enterprise Fund.
Since this is only the second time the Federal Government has authorized private ownership of a 1933 Double Eagle, there has been much enthusiasm generated by this landmark agreement. The first authorization came in 1944 when the government issued an export license for the coin given to Egypt’s King Farouk, which the Fenton coin is believed to be. In fact, the case of the last five years hinged on that coin’s export license.
The government so strongly believes this coin is the Farouk coin that the recent settlement calls the coin the “Fenton-Farouk specimen,” for which it will be forever known. This coin is so rare and so historically significant, I fully anticipate it will become the most valuable coin ever traded, eclipsing the $4.1 million mark set by the sale of the 1804 Bust Dollar. I look for this treasure to auction at more than five million dollars!
The sale of the 1933 Double Eagle will capture the imagination of every financial and collector publication and should raise the bar once again on values of classic numismatic rarities. Events such as these increase the public’s awareness of coin collecting and investment, and therefore are good for all coin collectors, investors and dealers.