United States 1933 Double Eagle

On display is one of the most famous and storied coins in the world—the 1933 Double Eagle. The Double Eagle is on display in The Robert H. & Clarice Smith New York Gallery of American History. Designed by the renowned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the coin features the figure of Liberty striding before the Capitol Building on its face and an eagle in flight on the reverse.

In 1933 the United States struck almost a half million twenty-dollar gold coins, commonly known as Double Eagles. At virtually the same time, in one of his first acts as President, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an Executive Order banning the payout of gold, weaning the country off the gold standard. The 1933 Double Eagles, although legally made, became illegal to own and were never circulated. In 1934, two were sent to the Smithsonian Institution for posterity, and in February 1937 the rest were melted into gold bars and sent to Fort Knox—or so it seemed.

The Triumphal Return of Taddeo Gaddi’s Maestà Conserved

Dec 11 2015 - Mar 20 2016

After conservation at the J. Paul Getty Museum and a two-year absence, New-York Historical's Madonna and Child Enthroned with Ten Saints: Maestà(1867.375) will be back on Central Park West. Painted ca. 1334 by Taddeo Gaddi, the major disciple of Giotto, it was recently shown at both the Getty and the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, in the major exhibition Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300-1350. To celebrate its triumphal return, the jewel-like panel will take pride of place in a small focus exhibition highlighting its conservation treatment. 

Taddeo Gaddi, Virgin and Child Enthroned with Ten Saints: Maestà, ca. 1330–1334. Gilded gesso and tempera on panel. New-York Historical Society, Gift of Thomas Jefferson Bryan, 1867.375. Photo courtesy the J. Paul Getty Museum

With its lavish gold leaf background, Gaddi’s panel was an expensive commission for a private Florentine palazzo and for its time was cutting-edge art. Originally the central section of a folding triptych consisting of three panels, it will be exhibited with two wings (sportelli) from a private collection that recently have been linked to it. Their similar dates, measurements, traces of hinges, and related iconographies suggest that the trio may once have been part of the same triptych.


Object name 
Gold, diamonds, enamel
Credit Line 
New-York Historical Society, Gift of Miss Cornelia Fulton Crary, through Mrs. Arthur T. Sutcliffe
Object Number 
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.

In Gold We Trust? A Great Debate

James Grant
David Stockman
Richard Sylla
John Dizard
Thu, May 5th, 2011 | 7:30 pm

Since 1971, the U.S. dollar has not been convertible into anything except small change. Like every other modern currency, it derives its value from the perceived acumen of the government that prints it. But in this era of financial insecurity, is the soaring price of gold evidence that faith in this system has wilted? Experts debate the future of our monetary system: Should the United States return to the gold standard or should it carry on by printing dollars with each successive financial crisis?

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The New-York Historical Society's furniture holdings number more than 500 objects, including seating furniture, tables, case furniture, cradles, clocks and boxes ranging from a late seventeenth-century Dutch kast to a pair of 1960s Bertoia chairs. The earliest acquisition, a chair made for Marie Antoinette's private chambers at Versailles in 1779, was purchased by U.S. Minister to France Gouverneur Morris.


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The New-York Historical Society Museum and Library houses a treasure trove of materials relating to the founding of our country, the history of art in America, and the history of New York and its people. The Museum houses more than 60,000 works and artifacts, including fine art, decorative art, historical artifacts, and ephemera. Fine art holdings include renowned Hudson River School landscapes; masterpieces of colonial and later portraiture; John James Audubon’s watercolors for The Birds of America; an encyclopedic collection of sculpture; and much more.

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