Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 51

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Lot 1592

1933 $10 Indian. PCGS graded MS-65 PQ. Well struck with exquisite natural toning. This incredible gem shimmers with original mint bloom colors. A remarkablly clean example, free from the cuts on the cheek that seem to plague others. The Key Date to the entire Indian Eagle series. An example in our Ohringer Part II Sale, Sept. 2008, lot 1285, NGC MS-65 realized $450,000. This gem being offered is a finer quality example.

Unlike the pre-1920 Indian tens which have a satiny finish, the 1933-dated coins (of which almost all known examples are Mint State) display decidedly frosted mint luster. This piece has, in addition to a golden-orange hue, shades of natural reddish-gold color from the 10% copper alloy used to improve wearability of America's .900 Fine gold coins. The surfaces are exceedingly clean even for a Gem, with virtually no abrasions on the face and neck, and only two slight contacts from stacking at the eagle's wing below the P in PLURIBUS. The design details are razor-sharp throughout, as expected, the 1933 issue being one of the best made $10 gold pieces in the series. A landmark and most spectacular coin for the rarities connoisseur.

In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt assumed leadership of a nation in despair. Banks were closing across the country. Among the country's myriad problems, commodity price deflation had driven many Americans to the point of desperation. One strategy Roosevelt adopted in an attempt to address the commodity price problem was a year-long manipulation of gold. He would attempt to induce inflation, thus raising prices, particularly commodity prices. Roosevelt's strategy moved through three phases.

Immediately upon assuming office, Roosevelt instructed the U.S. Treasury to cease honoring requests from Americans to exchange their paper dollars for gold. This was the first step in removing America from the gold standard. Dollars would, he hoped, remain in circulation and be available for commodity purchases. With prices continuing to drop, however, the President convinced Congress to make unenforceable all contract clauses calling for payment in gold, a common payment requirement in both government and private contracts of the time. This would reduce pressures upon the Treasury to release more gold into the economy. Prices continued to fall. In a final attempt to mitigate the country's economic depression through gold manipulation, Roosevelt and his advisors tried to circumvent market forces by personally manipulating the price that the U.S. Government would pay to buy gold still in circulation. By driving up gold's value, the Administration hoped to pull the metal from the marketplace, to be replaced by paper currency. By January 1934, Roosevelt had revalued the gold price to $35 an ounce from the $20.67 it had been before. (From "Gold Follies of 1933.")

Now, on to the coin: Following its huge mintage of 4,463,000 pieces in 1932, attesting to the panic hoarding then going on, the Philadelphia Mint opened 1933 with a decent supply of 312,500 eagles in January and February. A few of these coins, perhaps 30-40 pieces, were legally released through ordinary channels at this time. The aforesaid presidential order concerning gold withdrawals not only arrested gold coin production, but drove the Philadelphia Mint to melt all residual 1933 eagles. Fewer than 30 came to light in an east coast hoard circa 1952, according to sources. Although a few more individual specimens have since turned up in French and Swiss banks, the 1933 still holds top honors as the rarest Indian eagle in all grades. Pop 7; none finer at PCGS (PCGS # 8885) .
Estimated Value $450,000 - 500,000.

Realized $517,500

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