NEW YORK, Feb. 12 -- Two coin dealers have been charged with trying to sell a rare $20 gold coin that officials say is federal property, the U.S. Secret Service said Monday. Stephen Fenton of North Harrow, England, and Jasper Parrino of Lee Summit, Mo., were charged with trying to sell the stolen 1933 Augustus Saint-Gaudens double eagle gold coin.
They were asking $1.5 million for the coin. The coin was minted in 1933 just months before President Franklin Roosevelt prohibited gold coins from being issued as currency. Most of the 445,500 coins were reduced to bullion, but some disappeared from the Philadelphia Mint. 'These coins, although lawfully minted, were never lawfully issued or put into circulation as money,' the Secret Service said. 'Two of these coins were delivered to the Smithsonian Institution for their National Numismatic Collection. The remaining...coins were reduced to bullion. Prior to this process, some of the coins were stolen.' In December, the Secret Service said learned that Parrino was looking for a buyer for one of the coins. On Feb. 8, Secret Service agents in New York arrested Parrino, 49, and Fenton, 43. Both were charged with conspiring to sell the rare currency, and released on bond. Parrino is the owner of a coin store in Kansas City and Fenton is owner of Knightsbridge Coins in St. James, London.