On 8 June 2021 morning in New York, Sotheby’s blockbuster sale Three Treasures – Collected by Stuart Weitzman shattered auction records for the world’s most valuable coin and American philatelic item during an unprecedented auction event. The three-lot live sale totaled $32,039,250.
Again The Most Expensive Coin of the World: 1933 Double Eagle
Following competitive bidding, the fabled and elusive 1933 Double Eagle Coin, achieved $18.9 million – nearly doubling the world record for a coin – after 3 ½ minutes with three bidders in the room and one on the telephone vying for the only example that may be legally owned by an individual. The sale marks the second time this 1933 Double Eagle coin set a world record as the most valuable coin, having sold at Sotheby’s New York in 2002 for $7.59 million in an auction conducted on behalf of the United States Government following a landmark legal settlement, which for the first and only time, authorized the private ownership of this 1933 Double Eagle alone.
Stamp World Records
The sole-surviving example of the legendary British Guiana One-Cent Magenta achieved $8.3 million, retaining its place as the most famous and valuable stamp in the world.
The Inverted Jenny Plate Block, the most well-known and sought-after American stamp rarity eclipsed its own record for an American philatelic item bringing $4.9 million, and was acquired by noted American collector David Rubenstein. This price also makes the Inverted Jenny Plate Block the second most valuable philatelic item at auction, after the British Guiana One-Cent Magenta.
The three treasures were offered from the collection of the renowned luxury shoe designer, fashion entrepreneur, and philanthropist Stuart Weitzman. A life-long philatelist and numismatist with a deep appreciation for one-of-a-kind objects, Weitzman grew up collecting stamps and coins from an early age in Queens, New York, and he fulfilled his boyhood dream of acquiring the finest stamps and coins beginning with the Double Eagle in 2002 and the British Guiana and Inverted Jenny Plate Block in 2014.
Richard Austin, Sotheby’s Global Head of Books & Manuscripts, commented: “Today’s sale marked a historic moment in the history of stamp and coin collecting – and one that I think will not be surpassed for a long time, if ever. The Stuart Weitzman collection represented the most prized and sought after stamp and coin specimens known to exist, each with deep histories and remarkable stories that have together captured the imaginations of collectors and the general public alike for decades. To offer any one of these pieces at auction would be a milestone in its own right, but to offer them together in this special sale was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The uniqueness of this moment is a testament to Stuart’s passion and dedication to his childhood ambition of acquiring these prized pieces – and we hope this sale inspires other collectors to start their own journey.”
Stuart Weitzman added: “It has been an honor to be a custodian of these three legendary treasures and it fills me with great joy to have fulfilled a childhood dream of bringing these remarkable pieces together into one collection. I started coin collecting to pass the time in a full leg cast at the age of 12, and later became interested in stamps when my older brother left behind the stamp book he’d started when he went to college. The passion for collecting took root immediately, and today truly marked the culmination of a life’s work. I’m delighted that the proceeds of the sale will help support a number of charitable causes and educational endeavors that are near and dear to me.”
All of the seller’s proceeds will benefit charitable ventures, including The Weitzman Family Foundation, which has supported medical research and higher education such as Boston Children’s Hospital and the Stuart Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. Other major Foundation projects include a museum in Madrid, the first of its kind, devoted to Spanish-Judeo history.
Read this article if you want more details on the difficult legal story of the 1933 Double Eagle and learn why only this specimen may be legally owned by a private person.
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