A modern issue taking inspiration from famous, historical American coins.
The minting of the first double eagle in 1849 coincided with the California Gold Rush. Each coin was made of 90 per cent gold and 10 per cent copper, making it 21.6 carat and worth $20.
$10 eagles had been produced in the US since 1795, two years after the inception of the first US Mint. These were the largest US denominations until the arrival of the $20. Worth twice as much as the $10 coin, (and containing twice as much gold) the $20 coins were designated “double eagles”.
The American bald eagle in flight did not appear on the double eagle until 1907, but it quickly became the most celebrated motif of any American coin. It was designed by Augustus St. Gaudens, one of America’s most famous sculptors, under direct orders from President Theodore Roosevelt who wanted to beautify the US coinage.
It last appeared on the $20 gold coin in 1933, when 445,000 were minted. However none were ever officially released to the public because President FD Roosevelt discontinued the Gold Standard, resulting in the entire batch being melted down.
But a few had been squirrelled away, either stolen or issued in error. The US Secret Service investigated, recovering seven coins, but one owned by King Farouk of Egypt remained out of their grasp. Nothing more was heard of the coin until an English collector was arrested in a Secret Service sting operation in 2000. After years of lawsuits and negotiation, it was agreed that the US Government would sell the coin and split the proceeds. In 2002, the 1933 Double Eagle was sold to an anonymous buyer for US$6.6 million, making it the most expensive coin in US history.
The reverse bears the Bald Eagle in flight, whilst the obverse bears a portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
|Country:||The US Mint|