Sotheby's to auction rare stamps, gold coin from Stuart Weitzman's personal collection
REUTERS: A 'Three Treasures' sale of rare stamps and a gold coin from the personal collection of shoe designer Stuart Weitzman is set to fetch millions of dollars at an auction at Sotheby's in New York City in June.
The 1933 Double Eagle Coin was originally cast as a US$20 coin, but it was never issued for use. After U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt took the country off the gold standard, all of the Double Eagles were ordered destroyed. However, a handful were released and all but one of them deemed stolen.
Now, the only 1933 Double Eagle Coin ever allowed to be privately owned is up for sale at Sotheby's, with the auction house estimating the coin will sell for between US$10 million and US$15 million.
The exquisite design of the Double Eagle has led to it being described as the "Mona Lisa of coins," said Sotheby's Luxury Division Senior Vice President, Richard Austin. "It's America's most famous gold coin. It's the only one. There are other examples, but they're all owned by the U.S. Mint."
The "Three Treasures" sale also includes the British Guiana One-Cent Magenta stamp and a plate block of the "Inverted Jenny" stamp.
Issued in 1856, the Magenta is the rarest stamp in the world and the only stamp of its kind. Weitzman bought the stamp in 2014 for US$9.48 million dollars, according to Sotheby's - about one billion times its face value. It is now expected to sell for between US$10 million and US$15 million.
The plate of the "Inverted Jenny" stamp is expected to fetch between US$5 million and US$7 million. The 24-cent stamp issued in 1918 is the most recognized and sought-after U.S. stamp.
Austin said the three items are "the very best examples and the rarest in their respective categories."
"Stuart was, I think, groundbreaking in the way that he collected, which instead of having a lot of one thing, he simply had the best in any given area. And that includes stamps and coins," said Austin.
He said each item has had some sort of mishap or mistake that makes them valuable.
The Double Eagle coin went overseas to King Farouk in Egypt before the government was able to halt its export, said Austin.
"In the case of the British Guiana, it was a case of the stamps that had been printed in England didn't make it over to the colony, so they decided to print their own. And this is the only one that survived," said Austin, adding that the stamp was found by a 12-year-old boy 20 years later.
And on the 'Inverted Jenny'? The biplane is upside down.
The three items will be on display to the public, by appointment, at Sotheby's in New York through March 17. The auction is on June 8.
(Reporting by Angela Moore, Editing by Diane Craft and Rosalba O'Brien)