Federal Jury Finds 10 Rare Double Eagle Coins Are U.S. Property
New York, NY – July 21, 2011 - The U.S. Mint will keep the 10 Double Eagle coins, which could be worth more than $75 million, following a federal jury decision this week in Philadelphia- unless reversed on appeal. Smithsonian Channel will rebroadcast a one-hour special that investigates the history of the 1933 Double Eagles which are widely considered America’s most valuable and beautiful coins. HUNT FOR THE DOUBLE EAGLE will air Monday, July 25 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
The ten coins, which were found to be the property of the U.S. Government, were said to be discovered by the family of a Philadelphia jeweler and were seized by the U.S. Government in 2004 after the family submitted them for authentication. The coins are now in Fort Knox, NY. The family is expected to appeal.
Among those interviewed in the award-winning HUNT FOR THE DOUBLE EAGLE is David Tripp, the former head of Sotheby’s coin department and the government’s chief witness in the trial. Also interviewed in the documentary is Dr. Richard Doty, the Senior Numismatic Curator for the Smithsonian Institution.
This special is a detective story about America’s most wanted coin, which has been likened to the Mona Lisa and the Holy Grail as both beautiful and unattainable. Originally commissioned by President Theodore Roosevelt to reflect the growing glory of America in the early 20th century, the Double Eagles minted in 1933 never entered legal circulation and all were ordered to be destroyed, except for two which were given to the Smithsonian Institution.
Mysteriously, a handful of the coins escaped the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia and led authorities on a decades-long chase. Placed on the United States Secret Service's Most Wanted list, the coins were pursued for nearly three-quarters of a century. HUNT FOR THE DOUBLE EAGLE tells a dramatic story that crosses continents and includes alleged corruption at the US mint, a sting at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, and the 2002 auction of what was thought to be the last example of the coin for over $7.5 million.
In addition to the Monday airing, Smithsonian Channel will air HUNT FOR THE DOUBLE EAGLE Tuesday, July 26 at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.; and Sunday, July 31 at 12 p.m.
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Smithsonian Networks (SNI/SI Networks L.L.C.) is a joint venture between Showtime Networks Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution, formed to create channels featuring programs largely inspired by the assets of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum complex. Smithsonian Channel features award-winning original documentaries, series, and groundbreaking programs highlighting America’s historical, cultural and scientific heritage. Smithsonian Channel brings the American experience home in high definition and Dolby Digital 5.1 and is available to customers of DirecTV, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Cablevision, Verizon, AT&T, and more. Learn more at www.smithsonianchannel.com.