The 1849 Double Eagle Chronicle
A year before the first minting of this coin, the gold industry was at its peak. Back then, the minting companies produced only $10 coins. With a mission to create larger denominations, the first 1849 Double Eagle, amounting to $20 was minted in 1849. The coin is composed of 90% gold and 10% alloy. In proof of this, two coins were produced, one of which went to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, an institution funded by the government to be a research establishment, and the other to William M. Meredith, a lawyer and politician who was part of the treasury secretary back then. The location of the latter coin, unfortunately, is now unknown since it was auctioned as part of Meredith’s estate.
Less than a centenary later, 455,500 double eagles were produced, in the spring of 1933. The first two double eagles remained separate from the others and did not go out in the circulation. However, in the same year, President Franklin D. Roosevelt put an end to metal ownership. As a result, the release of the 1933 Double Eagles was put to a stop, completely disabling the market to take hold of such precious coins.
In 1954, the coin appeared on Cairo, Egypt, in the hands of King Farouk who was a great lover for collection of coins. When the US found out that there is a double gold eagle in the auction, the coin was asked to be removed from sale, making the people lose track of the coin again.
Stephen Fenton made a buzz in 1996 after trying to sell the famous double eagle coin to secret service agents disguised as coin collectors. Fenton claimed rights for the coin, but it was decided that the US government and Fenton was to auction the coin and the proceeds be split into two.
For an eye-popping amount of $7,590,020, the coin was sold in 2002, the settlement taking place only in less than nine minutes. With that amount, the 1933 double eagle coin was renowned as the world’s most expensive coin.
With the prominence of the double gold eagle coin and its very controversial background, many swindlers and con artists imitate it to fool coin collectors (and average people) in buying the said memento. If ever you get a chance to meet sellers of the 1849 double eagle, be sure that you are aware of its specifications to avoid being conned.