NEW YORK, June 8 — A 1933 Double Eagle gold coin sold for a record-setting US$19.5 million (RM80.3 million) at auction in New York today, and the world’s rarest stamp went for US$8.3 million.
The coin, the only 1933 Double Eagle ever allowed to be privately owned, was expected to sell for between US$10 million and US$15 million at the Sotheby’s auction in New York.
It was sold by shoe designer and collector Stuart Weitzman who acquired it in 2002 for what was then a world record price of US$7.6 million.
The buyers were not immediately known.
The coin, with a face value of US$20 and distinctive design of an American eagle in flight one side and Liberty striding forward on the other, was the last gold coin struck for circulation in the United States.
But it was never issued after President Franklin Roosevelt took the United States off the gold standard and all copies were ordered destroyed.
Weitzman, who has been collecting stamps and coins since boyhood, has said he will use the money from today’s sale to fund his charitable ventures including medical research, his design school, and a Jewish museum in Madrid.
Weitzman today also sold a British Guiana One-Cent Magenta stamp, issued in 1856, for US$8.3 million. The stamp is the only surviving one from a series that was printed by the South American nation because of a shortage of stamps sent over by its then British colonial rulers.
The designer had bought it in 2014 for US$9.5 million and continued a tradition started by previous owners by adding his own flourish — a line drawing of a stiletto shoe and his initials — to the back of the stamp.
A plate block of the 24 cent Inverted Jenny stamp, which was issued in 1918 for the first US air mail letters, sold for US$4.9 million. The Inverted Jenny, which was last sold at auction some 26 years ago for US$2.9 million, is a collector’s item because of a printing error in which its biplane design appears upside down.
Both stamp items sold below their pre-auction estimates. — Reuters