"Illegal Tender" is a great story in its own right. But for coin afficionados in particular it is an unparalleled numismatic feast and an in-depth look at the world of coin dealing. It also is a detailed description of what a very determined group of U.S. Treasury agents with a clear cut mission can accomplish.
Frankly I was conflicted reading this wonderful tale; you hope/hope/hope the deal can go down and the 1933 Saint Gaudens coin can be sold without interference from the Feds.
But I found myself feeling a grudging admiration for the men of the Secret Service and Treasury Department who showed an unflagging determination to track down this extremely rare and valuable coin in their effort to return it to lawful government possession.
An incredibly diverse cast of characters takes the reader on a whirlwind/world-wide tour which includes such diverse destinations as a Texas truck stop, the vaults of the Philadelphia Mint, an Egyptian auction of a deposed playboy king's luxury playthings (with a sidebar mention of this playboy's pornographic propensities), and the back-room dealings of rival-yet-partner English coin dealers in London.
Seldom has this reviewer enjoyed a book more than "Ilegal Tender: Gold, Greed, and the Mystery of the Lost 1933 Double Eagle".
An Absolute Must for coin lovers, and an enjoyable read for anyone who likes truth that is indeed stranger than fiction. Most highly recommended.
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