One of the big reasons people love investing in coins is that they’re usually legal tender that anyone can own. However, not all coins are legal to possess. There’s actually one coin no investor is legally allowed to purchase. Below, the precious metals experts from First National Bullion and Coin, the gold dealers San Diego collectors trust for expert advice on buying precious metals, explain which coin is illegal to own and why.
The Gold Coin No One Can Own
In the United States, there’s only one coin that’s illegal to own. This coin is the 1933 double eagle. It was originally minted as a $20 coin. However, right after it was minted, President Franklin Roosevelt passed an executive order that outlawed the circulation of gold coins as part of a rush to halt the Great Depression. Since the 1933 coins weren’t ever released to the public, they remain the property of the United States government. Therefore, they aren’t meant to be bought and sold by individuals, and it’s illegal for a United States citizen to own one.
Why 1933 Double Eagles Are So Rare
Their illegality alone isn’t the only reason 1933 double eagle coins are rare. Since the government decided not to release the coins into circulation, they melted down all the coins. For years, people thought the only surviving 1933 double eagle coins were a pair that had been reserved for the United States National Numismatic Collection. However, it turned out some were stolen from the mint before they could be melted down. These coins ended up in the hands of private collectors, and in 1944, the Secret Service became aware of the illegal coins and started trying to track them down. Currently, there are 22 known 1933 double eagle coins. However, it’s possible more may exist somewhere.
How to Identify a 1933 Double Eagle
1933 double eagle coins are a version of the Saint-Gaudens double eagle. These coins are minted from gold and feature a design with Lady Liberty on one side and a bald eagle flying over the sun on the reverse. The coins can be identified by the year 1933 printed on the obverse side of the coin. Unlike many other double eagle coins, they also have 46 stars printed in a circle around Lady Liberty. Despite being printed late enough that they should have 48 stars, the 1933 coins used an earlier design with fewer stars.
Consequences of Buying or Selling This Coin
Legally speaking, no one should be buying or selling 1933 double eagles. However, in the past few years, the United States has allowed a few sales of the stolen double eagle coins to proceed. People who happen to find themselves in possession of 1933 double eagle coins need to go through the proper legal channels and possibly turn over a portion of the sale to the United States government. Otherwise, they might face fines, jail time, and confiscation of the coins.
If you’re considering buying or selling gold coins, seek advice from trustworthy professionals with years of expertise. No matter what type of precious metals they’re looking to buy or sell, from palladium bars to silver bullion or gold coins, San Diego residents trust the reputable dealers at First National Bullion and Coin. You can rely on our experienced professionals when you’re looking to add precious metals to your collection or investment portfolio. Call one of our precious metals experts today.
The statements made in this blog are opinions, and past performance is not indicative of future returns. Precious metals, like all investments, carry risk. Precious metals and coins may appreciate, depreciate, or stay the same in cash value depending on a variety of factors. First National Bullion does not guarantee, and its website and employees make no representation, that any metals for sale will appreciate sufficiently to earn the customers a profit. The decision to buy, sell, or borrow precious metals and which precious metals to purchase, borrow, or sell are made at the customer’s sole discretion.