Original U.S. WWII Navy Atlantic Escape and Evasion Gold Barter Kit - Sealed and X-Rayed - Serial # 1996
Original Item: Only One Available. This example has been x-rayed to confirm its contents and unique serial number 1996. We took a nearly identical kit on History Channel's Pawn Stars last year - watch Alex from IMA evaluate, x-ray and value an identical kit (different serial number) on the show.
Recently two kits sold at auction for:
$14,950 at Rock Island Auction in June 2020 which can be seen at this link.
$9,450.00 at Morphy Auctions in December 2020 which can be seen at this link.
These "Atlantic" kits were documented in the wonderful hardcover book; United States Navy Wings of Gold from 1917 to the Present by Tomas Carmichael and Ron Willis. In it the authors show photographs of an unsealed "Atlantic" kit and wrote:
World War II United States Navy Escape and Evasion Barter "Atlantic Kit". The contents of the sealed hard rubber kits varied in contents, they were developed for use in Europe and Pacific theaters and they were issued to certain airmen. Referred to as "barter kits" for use in case of an emergency landing or bailout in an unfriendly or primitive area overseas. The airman could barter in aiding escape and evasion in difficult situations by local civilians. The kits being of such value were a controlled item and each kit had its own serial number. They were accountable, and the airman had to sign for each kit upon issue and return as instructed if not used. Note: Gold value during this time period was approximately $25 per ounce market value.
Issued to Navy pilots and aircrew, the Atlantic kits contained approximately .90 troy ounces of gold. The gold consists of 5 coins and three rings as follows: French 20 Franc, French 10 Franc, British Sovereign, 2 British Half Sovereigns, and 3 Gold Wedding Band Rings (two at 20K and one at 9K). All designed for military personnel caught behind enemy lines to use as barter, the outside of the kit reads IF FOUND RETURN TO COMNAVAIRLANT (ONAL 34) NORFOLK, VIRGINIA. All of this is contained in an individually numbered solid rubber block that measures 3-5/8" x 4-3/8". This sealed never opened kit is serial number 1996. After an x-ray was performed on this particular kit to determine that it is complete and never tampered with you can even see the lead data plate inside the kit which clearly reads 1996. A printed copy of the x-ray will be included with the purchase of this kit. The number 1996 is also scratched into the rubber exterior which is correct for serial numbers 1000-1999. The value of the gold in today's market is approximately $1800 - $2000.
Many of these kits were sold by the Department of Defense in the early 1980's and sealed ones are extremely rare as the sets are not resealable. A copy of the paperwork from the DOD Auction is also included.
This is an exceptionally rare kit that has value for both the gold and historical context in which is was used.
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