Skip to comments.Rare Coins: Family Treasure or Ill-Gotten Goods?[1933 Double Eagle]
Posted on 09/17/2009 10:35:27 AM PDT by BGHater
Roy Langbord had guessed that someone in his family might have hidden away a great treasure decades before, but not until his mother had him check a long-neglected safe-deposit box did he realize just how great it was.
Inside the box, opened in 2003, he found an incredibly rare coin, wrapped in a delicate paper sleeve. It was a gold $20 piece with Lady Liberty on one side, a bald eagle flying across the other and, at Libertys left, the four digits that made it so valuable: 1933.
The famous double eagles from that year were never officially released by the government. Only a few had ever made their way out of federal vaults, and only one had ever been sold publicly, in 2002. The price: $7.6 million.
And there were nine more of them in the safe-deposit box.
But after the Langbord family took the coins to the United States Mint to be authenticated in 2004, they got a rude surprise. The Mint said the coins were genuine and kept them.
The government claims that they are government property stolen from the Mint, most likely in the 1930s, by Mr. Langbords grandfather, Israel Switt, a Philadelphia jewelry dealer.
The Langbords went to court and recently won an important ruling. A United States District Court judge has given the government until the end of the month either to give back the coins or go back to court to prove that they were in fact stolen by Mr. Switt, a daunting task after three-quarters of a century.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
The last people you being into confidence are cops, politicans and the federal government.
Lady Liberty looks pretty guilty. Yikes!
But after the Langbord family took the coins to the United States Mint to be authenticated
prove it feds.
or give them back.
they had a different standard of guilt back then!
Couldn’t there be some statue of limitation about this? It was in their possession...and they can’t prove that the present owners had stolen them...
Reminds me of a story I heard many years ago about a guy in Oregon who bought a sheet of stamps and noticed a major printing error. He went around showing off his discover and telling people how this could lead to him making big bucks and a local paper picked up the story and printed it. Within a month the government began printing millions of that stamp with that error reducing his once precious discovery to nothing more than a sheet of stamps.
And announcing you have 9 of them is not a real good idea either. If I recall there were only supposed to be two of the 1933 double eagles in existence and adding 9 more will knock that $7 million price down quite quite a bit.
I have dreams of a find like this.
One of my mother’s EIGHT brothers was a wandering, semi-homeless hermit type. He lived in a cheap hotel room and made his living fixing old broken radios. When he died in 1983, they found a stash of Krugerrands in a shoebox.
No historic value, but worth $250,000 in bullion value.
Split among the 10 living kids (those randy Polish Catholics).
That stuff never happens to me, but I’m keeping an eye on the kids’ great grandma. She can’t last forever.
Uhh, I thought that was the way things were supposed to work.
"No person shall be ... deprived of ... property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."
Court order or not, he’s never getting his coins back.
“took the coins to the United States Mint to be authenticated...”
Ooohhh... That was dumb.
When word got out that he had them, believe me, our benevolent government would have sent the Brute Squad to confiscate them anyway...
But yes, it wasn’t the brightest idea...
The narrative in the story is one of theft, plain and simple. The 'lucky' finders of the coins were idiots to take ALL of them to the Mint.
Proper strategy: take (don't ship) 9 of them to, say, Nevis (which does not recognise civil orders of recovery from ANY other nation). Then, take the remaining coin to the Mint. Have the Mint issue an opinion of authenticity, and then have the remaining coins AND the opinion (or certification, perhaps) of authenticity auctioned by a reputable international auction house.
Oh, and don't forget to expatriate (lawfully) prior to the auction. This way, the coin stolen by the Mint effectively becomes just 'taxes paid'.
In the US Code, only murder and treason are not subject to statute of limitations, iinm.
Do you have title to the US currency in your wallet? No? Then hand it over.