The Official Red Book

Double Eagle Gold Coins

Whitman Red Book Coin Guide

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Page 18 of 295

The biggest buyer was Green, a millionaire playboy heir. Green, who died in 1936, had many double eagles, but unlike for his other holdings of American gold coins, this denomination alone was not photographed. Certain of his coins were sold to King Farouk. In 1932 and continuing for several years, certain of Newcomer's coins unsold by Mehl, possibly including double eagles (no accounting is known today), were catalogued by Wayte Raymond and James G. Macallister for a series of auctions. The sales were conducted by J.C. Morgenthau & Co., the auction firm associated with the Scott Stamp & Coin Co., of which Raymond was the manager of the Coin Department. Macallister, who lived in Philadelphia, was an active dealer. The Baltimore Hoard In 1934 two young lads found a remarkable cache of several thousand gold coins in the cellar of a house at 132 South Eden Street, East Baltimore, an important entry in the annals of the double eagle, for many outstanding specimens of this denomination were included. Likely, they had been hidden in 1856, the latest date seen on any of the coins. No complete inventory of the "Baltimore Hoard" or "Baltimore Find" is known, as many pieces were sold privately. The sale of the majority of the coins was conducted on May 2, 1935, at the Lord Baltimore Hotel, with Perry W. Fuller serving as auctioneer. About 100 people attended including a few outof-town dealers and many local curiosity seekers. Grouped into 438 lots and casually described (most pieces were called "very fine") in a printed catalogue, the hoard realized $19,558.75. Calling All Gold! In the meantime, beginning in 1933, the government stopped paying out gold coins at par, and demanded citizens to turn in what they had. In Philadelphia, coin dealers were having a field day buying coins from bankers and from Mint employees, thus sparing these desirable pieces from President Roosevelt's dictum and eventual cremation (most coins held by the government were melted several years later in 1937). In the early 1930s numismatic interest in double eagles remained low, but began to increase. Frederick C.C. Boyd was early in the date-and-mintmark game in the $20 series, Wayte Raymond was interested, and perhaps a handful of others were as well. Boyd acquired a handful of later-tobecome-scarce 1932 $20 gold coins sometime before the late 1930s. Still, there was little concern as to which issues minted in recent times, including the 1920s, were scarce. Elder's January 1934 sale of the General Walter D. McCaw Collection included a rare 1854-O double eagle, and another popped up in his offering a few months later, in June, of the Robert Brevoort Collection, the last also including a rare 1856-O. Not long afterward, in September, his sale of the Robert J. Bouvier Collection, had a remarkable array of mintmarked Liberty Head gold coins of high denominations, among which was an 1870-CC $20, that had been bought by the consignor from "Mac," probably James G. Macallister, the Philadelphia dealer. In March 1937 at the Philadelphia Art Galleries, Ira S. Reed, an up-and-coming dealer from Sellersville, Pennsylvania, who did a lot of business in Philadelphia and who soon would relocate there, held his VII Auction Sale, including some gold coins which, from the descriptions, may have been fished out of gold deposits, such as a "former Proof " rare-date 1858 $3. In the next month the George M. Agurs Collection, catalogued by B. Max Mehl, had some powerful double eagles, among which were examples of 1856-O and 1870-CC. Such a flood of rare branch-mint double eagles had never been seen before! In New York City, J.C. Morgenthau & Co. had its share of scarce double eagle offerings, what with such items as 1924-S and 1925-S turning up in Sale 397 in March 1939, and two months later in Sale 399, delicacies as 1927-S, 1931, 1931-D, and 1932. A lot of these had come out of gold headed for the melting pot in 1937, and there were so many available from Philadelphia "sources" (Treasury Department employees among them) that it took a few years for market demand to catch up to the supply, including through dealers in that city as well as in New York and in Fort Worth, Texas. A number of 1933-dated double eagles were similarly saved from destruction, adding to a few examples that were probably acquired by collectors in 1933 and 1934. 19

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