From Publishers Weekly
Frankel, senior writer at the American Lawyer
, has produced a thrilling page-turner about the most common of objects—a coin. Granted, the coin in question is no ordinary piece of change. Produced at the Philadelphia Mint in 1933, the $20 Double Eagle was the last gold coin made in the United States and never officially placed in circulation. Still, in the sometimes shadowy world of numismatics, one of the coins surfaced and was chased around the globe for nearly 70 years. In hard-driving prose, Frankel chronicles the events and characters that orbit this small piece of precious metal. Acquired by shady gold dealer Israel Switt, "a squat, balding redhead who wore thick-rimmed glasses, cheap suits, and a perpetual sneer," the coin found its way into the collection of King Farouk of Egypt, a ruler described by Frankel as having an appetite for collecting "so unquenchable and undiscriminating that he seemed almost cartoonish." Frankel demonstrates her journalistic skill with sparkling accounts of deals, investigations and the arcane rituals of the coin world. This is a great read for the obsessed collector and general public alike. 8 pages of b&w photos. (May)
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“Frankel steers her reader through a world of coin fairs, backroom deals, gossip and meticulous scholarship. The result is a thriller-like narrative that tacks swiftly back and forth among the principal players.” (Jason Goodwin - Wall Street Journal