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What’s a 1933 gold $20 worth?

Most collectors are probably pleased that an appeals court ruled Friday that 10 1933 $20 gold pieces should be returned to the Langbord family.

I am in that camp.

Trying to take the coins away from the family seems to be an example of government overreach.

One person who is probably not in this camp is the anonymous buyer of the 1933 $20 that was sold at public auction in New York City in 2002.

The price then was $7.59 million.

If another 10 of these pieces are offered on the market, what exactly are they worth?

Sure, they will be commercially graded by a premier third-party grading service.

They probably will be offered by a top numismatic auction firm.

There would be a wonderfully interesting public relations campaign to build up excitement.

My readers would be following closely the events surrounding such a public offering.

But what all of this probably won’t achieve is a price remotely equal to the $7.59 million price achieved in 2002.

The existence of 11 pieces with a reasonable probability that there might be a few more outside the United States might put a damper on the potential price of each piece.

It is logical to assume that the highest graded specimen would achieve the highest price as is the case even now with three of the five 1913 Liberty Head nickels in public hands.

The most recent sales of these nickels range from roughly $3.2 million to $5 million. That is quite a variation among just three coins.

You would think a coin with a mintage of five with just three in public hands would be considered more valuable than a coin with potentially more than a dozen, yet none of these is close to $7.59 million.

There are arguments to be made to support higher  prices. The nickel denomination is not nearly as popular as it used to be. Gold denominations have increased in popularity in recent years.

But no matter how the market is massaged, it is conceivable that the value of the 10 Langbord coins could in the aggregate barely match the $7.59 million figure achieved by the one coin 13 years ago.

Yes, I know that would put a $759,000 average price tag on each coin, which might seem low, but if you are spending your hard-earned money, how much would you risk on a coin with 11 definitely known and the possibility of more to come?

Fortunately for market makers, when the time comes to find out, experts will likely offer higher estimates than I do here and a managed sale of perhaps one piece to someone who made a fortune in the software industry can easily raise the price floor to a lofty level.

For one thing seems unchanging for those of us active in numismatics: whether we are average or big-time collectors, we show a marked preference to pay more for coins with interesting stories than for those without them.

Can anyone doubt that these 1933 gold $20s have an interesting story behind them?

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”


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2 Responses to What’s a 1933 gold $20 worth?

  1. hrlaser says:

    Anyone who can spend seven and a half million on a single coin isn’t spending “hard earned” money.. the buyer of the 2002 coin most likely inherited the money from a family fortune, or was a rich movie star who gets a few million every time he blows his nose, and since that was thirteen years ago, it probably wasn’t one of these new Internet (i.e. facebook, Google, et. al.) fortunes.. fb didn’t even exist in 2002, and Google wasn’t even remotely the most popular search engine then.. no, I’d guess that “hard earned” money wasn’t an Internet billionaire’s money.. it was probably Wall St. money, or inherited money.. the buyer certainly didn’t make that mountain of cash flipping burgers or digging ditches or running a pet shop.. whenever the Langbord coins get graded and start selling (and it would be the pinnacle of stupidity to sell them all at once), the 2002 coin will Shirley be de-valued by a couple’a three million, because it’s not unique any more.. maybe its anonymous owner will come out of hiding.. who knows.. further, if I rcall correctly, and owning the coin’s auction catalog which has HUGE photos of it, and despite it having an ugly gouge across Liberty’s leg, it still graded MS65.. if Joe Schmoo submitted a common date Saint with a gouge like that, there’s no way in the world it would grade MS65.. since we don’t know how the Langbord coins will grade (yet), nor how they plan to sell them, it’s nothing more than speculation or idle musing as to how much they’ll fetch, but I absolutely believe the 2002 coin will decrease in value, maybe seriously decrease, because it’ll no longer be unique, and all things being equal, the fewer number of an identical and highly sought product that’s made, the more each one is worth, and vice-versa.. and then there’s the grade.. do we know the Langbord coins’ grades yet?.. no, we don’t.. what if some of them grade above MS6?,,should be interesting to watch what happens, and I’m very glad the Feds decided the coins were the property of the Langbord family, and returned them.. I hereby put myself up for adoption by that family 😉 ..

  2. lucky43113 says:

    the guy who bought the 1933 double eagle was King Farouk of Egypt they say he has never even seen it

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