In 1933, 445,000 gold Double Eagle coins were minted. At this time, during the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt took the U.S. off the gold standard. People were ordered to turn in their gold and no more gold coins were to be issued for circulation. All of the 1933 Double Eagles were ordered to be destroyed. Some of these coins escaped the melting. Two were given to the Smithsonian Institute for the U.S. National Numismatic Collection. In the 1950′s the Secret Service confiscated eight more of these 1933 Double Eagles.
The true story may never be known as to how they left the mint, but a coin dealer sold at least nine of them and one ended up in the collection of King Farouk of Eqypt. 40 years later, the coin showed up in New York in the possession of a coin dealer. The Secret Service seized the expensive coin and a legal battle began in court. During the several years of litigation, the expensive collectible was stored in the Treasury vaults at the World Trade Center, but after the lawsuit was finally settled in 2001 the coin was moved and later auctioned off on July 30, 2002 for $6.6 million, plus a buyer’s fee of 15% for a total price for the world’s most expensive coin $7,590,020.
In 2004. ten more specimens of the gold Double Eagle coins were discovered among the effects of the coin dealer who sold the previous specimens. One of his heirs sent all ten to the U.S. Mint to be authenticated and the Secret Service seized them. They now reside in Fort Knox while a new legal battle is fought over their ownership of these copies of the most expensive coin ever sold.