Skip to comments.Judge: Family’s $80 Million Gold Coin Collection Belongs to Uncle Sam
Posted on 09/08/2012 11:35:22 PM PDT by grundle
A judge has ruled that ten rare gold coins worth roughly $80 million belong to the U.S. government, not the family that possessed them, according to ABC News.
In 2003 Joan Langbord and two other family members opened a safety deposit box that belonged to Langbords father, Philadelphia coin dealer Israel Switt, and found the valuable collection. When they asked the Philadelphia Mint to authenticate the find, the coins were apparently seized without compensation and taken to Fort Knox.
The 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagle is one of the most sought-after rarities in history, according to Courthouse News. Originally valued at $20 each, one owned by King Farouk of Egypt reportedly sold for as much as $7.5 million at a Sothebys auction in 2002.
The Langbords unsuccessfully sued the government in 2011, alleging that the coins are rightfully theirs, and now they have lost the appeal.
Jacqueline Romero, assistant U.S. attorney in Philadelphia, explained that the coins legally belonged to the government after Franklin Delano Roosevelt ordered citizens to exchange their gold for cash in an effort to keep the banks afloat during the Great Depression.
Those coins were all in a vault and were supposed to be melted, she asserted.
The family maintains that in another seizure of the valuable coin, the government split the proceeds with the original owner after it sold for $7.59 million in 2002, and that the coins escaped the Mint legitimately through a window of opportunity between March 15 and April 5, 1933, the Huffington Post relates.
However, U.S. District Judge Legrome Davis Jr. wrote in his decision: The Mint meticulously tracked the 33 Double Eagles, and the records show that no such transaction occurred Whats more, this absence of a paper trail speaks to criminal intent. If whoever took or exchanged the coins thought he was doing no wrong, we would expect to see some sort of documentation reflecting the transaction, especially considering how carefully and methodically the Mint accounted for the 33 Double Eagles.
Nobody witnessed the disappearance of the 10 coins, but the jury could and did properly infer criminal intent, Davis added.
Barry Berke, the familys attorney, concluded for ABCNews.com: This is a case that raises many novel legal questions, including the limits on the governments power to confiscate property.
Theft by State
Using this same thinking wouldn’t every pre-1933 gold coin be FedGov’s property (because they were supposed to be turned in?).
Of course lots of them were in foreign hands at that time, and if you lived in France FDR’s little dictatorial decrees were not your law, so that coin was still legal.
I must be missing something. I don’t get it.
"The only thing we all belong to is the government"
Yeah, that's it.
Isn’t there a ‘statue of limitations’?
They are reinforcing FDR’s order. Since there was no paper work trail they confiscated them. Not cool. Blame FDR.
The Fascist on the Dime.
“We will take things away from you for the common good” - Hillary (2008?)
These people took $80M worth of their coins to the government for authentication? Rather than just a few, to see how it went??
Clint Eastwood : “ WE own this country, the politicians work for us “ .
We know who the thief was and it wasn’t their relative.
The 1933 Double Eagle was never offically monetized and thus was not suppose to leave the mint. The King Farouk specimen was monetized in a ceremony where a new $20.00 was taken out of circulation and the coin added to keep the books balanced.
This also is not like the 1913 V Nickel or other examples where mint employees illegally made coins and smuggled them out of the mint.
Yes, I tend to agree with this. They should have known better. You keep those OUT of public knowledge and if you sell them you do it privately.
Taking the coins to the government was a foolish act.
So much for the wonderful FDR.
Man, that bites. On so many levels.
FDR was a thief.
“, the coins were apparently seized without compensation and taken to Fort Knox.”
This will never happen, but if I ever have to go to court for theft, shoplifting or grand larceny, then I will just have to plead not guilty to the charges, and then explain to the judge that his terminology is wrong, and that it was not theft, It was a seizure.