$18.9 Million Will Buy You the World’s Most Valuable Coin

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The newly auctioned gold coin is the only 1933 "Double Eagle" legally held in private hands. (SquareMoose / Sotheby's)

The World’s Most Valuable Coin Sells at Auction for $18.9 Million

by Nora McGreevy/Smithsonianmag.com

Three small collector’s items, each small enough to hold in the palm of one’s hand, broke records on Tuesday when they sold for more than $30 million in New York City.

Luxury shoe designer Stuart Weitzman auctioned off the rare objects, dubbed the “Three Treasures,” at Sotheby’s, reports James Barron for the New York Times. The trio included a shiny gold coin, a set of famously misprinted stamps and a small scrap of magenta paper popularly called “the world’s rarest stamp.”

Of the three, the 1933 “Double Eagle” stole the show, becoming the world’s most valuable coin by selling for a whopping $18.9 million. (The buyer did not want to be identified.) Per a statement, Weitzman purchased the gold $20 coin for $7.59 million in 2002; this time around, it was estimated to fetch between $10 and $15 million.

The Double Eagle coin was the last gold currency struck in the United States, reports Reuters. The newly sold specimen’s value stems from its status as the only legally privately owned 1933 Double Eagle known to survive today.

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