Manhattan is home to a golden piece of American history. In the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in lower Manhattan sits a 1933 Double Eagle – one of the most valuable gold coins in the entire world.
Much controversy surrounds the 1933 Double Eagle minting. It all goes back to the Gold Reserve Act issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, which outlawed the private possession of United States gold coins (excluding collector coins). Citizens were required to turn over their gold coins and bullion to the government, which led to the construction of the United States Bullion Depository in Fort Knox.
The 1933 Double Eagles were struck shortly thereafter. However, because of the Gold Reserve Act, they could not circulate as legal tender or be possessed by the American public. Never meant to see the outside world, the coins (almost 500,000 of them) were packed up at the Philadelphia Mint and shipped to Fort Knox where they were melted down – all except for a select few.
Through means unknown to this very day, several coins (20, it is believed) were stolen out of the Philadelphia Mint and traded among numismatic circles.
However, because the 1933 Double Eagles were never issued, they are still property of the US government. Possession of one is illegal. How did the Manhattan Federal reserve bank get such a rare coin on display? Find out in our next blog post.