Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) — One of the last gold coins ever traded in the United States sold for a record $18.9 million in New York, on Tuesday.
The coin, dubbed the “double eagle”, is now exceptionally rare and has achieved the most selling value of a coin ever at auction, nearly double the previously achieved world record, according to Sotheby’s, which organized the sale. .
The coin features an inscription of the symbol of freedom on one side, and an inscription of a soaring eagle on the other, and has a face value of $20. The “Double Eagle” coin was not circulated from 1933, and almost all of it was returned to the United States government for destruction.
Only a handful of coins survived this fate, a small number of which entered the market. But in 1944, an intelligence investigation declared that the coins would be considered stolen if they were found in the hands of collectors, according to Sotheby’s.
The coin sold on Tuesday is the only one that can be legally owned by an ordinary person, after a legal battle between the US Treasury and a former owner. The sale marks the second time a record has been broken for a coin at auction, and the last time was in 2002, when a coin fetched $7.6 million.
The coin was one of three valuables offered for sale by shoe designer Stuart Weitzman. The other two pieces, a stamp from a former British colony and a sheet of U.S. postage stamps uniquely misprinted, fetched bids for millions of dollars.
The oldest, 165-year-old purple stamp, was described by Sotheby’s, the “world’s most famous” postage stamp from British Guiana, now known as Guyana, which sold for $8.3 million.
At the time of its issuance, all the colony’s stamps were imported from Britain, but a shortage in 1855 prompted the Postmaster of British Guiana to commission a local newspaper printing press to produce a new series, according to Sotheby’s, and the model sold on Tuesday is the only one left of its kind.
The last of the three, collectively dubbed “The Three Treasures” by Sotheby’s, was a sheet of the first US Airmail stamps, dating back to 1918.
These stamps are famous for an error, in printing, the image of aircraft appears on the front of the stamp upside down.
Only 100 stamps of this model, known as the “inverted genie” in reference to the nickname of the aircraft in the design, were produced before the error was discovered.
The set of four stamps sold for $4.9 million, setting a new auction record for US philatelic collectors.
“Today’s sale represents a historic moment in stamp and coin collecting history, and I believe it won’t be surpassed for long,” Richard Austin, Sotheby’s Global Head of Books and Manuscripts, said in a press release.
Collector Whitsman explained in a press release that he had the honor to be a custodian of these three legendary treasures, adding: “I started collecting coins to pass the time at the age of 12 and later became interested in stamps when my older brother left his stamp book which It started when he went to college.”
“My passion for ownership took hold immediately, and today is truly the culmination of that business,” Whitsman continued, adding that proceeds from the sale “will help support a number of charitable causes and educational endeavors that are near and dear to me.”