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.
I suppose I could say something snarky about restating the obvious, but "FDR was a thief." is the simple truth.
That is not the point, these coins were not suppose to leave the mint. It would be like if the mint stopped production of the penny, yet one roll of 2013 pennies made it out to the general public. The only way that could happen is if someone smuggled them out of the mint. This was the case for the 1933 Double Eagle. Banks could not order the coin, and mint records show no coins left the mint.
I believe that's "liberation", coming from our side.
The mint DID NOT meticulously track first strikings and issues and they were often exchanged to friends and relatives early. As long as the books balanced currency and bullion wise it wasn’t an issue...
Yea, there were only 10 of them, but you’d think they would AT LEAST had the mild stupidity to just send one in. You KNOW these morons vote for democrats, they’re the only people stupid enough to trust bureaucrats this much...
The only thing Chavez took was American dollars
What worthless jurors too, those people suck just as bad as the government...
Correct. These coins were stolen from the Mint. They were never issued to anyone. They are stolen property, and thus always belong to whoever they were stolen from. In this case, the government.
The statute of limitations would only apply to prosecuting the thief.
The property still belongs to it’s rightful owner. Just as stolen WW2 property still belongs to it’s owner, even though it was stolen so long ago.
If you find an old Ferrari in your grandfather’s barn, and it’s listed as stolen, it doesn’t belong to you simply because you have possession of it and you are not the person who stole it.
It belongs to the person it was stolen from, or the insurance company, if they paid the claim on it.
Selfish capitalist pigs! According to my math, with 80 million dollars, our present federal government could create as many as 16 temporary road-working jobs.
You didn’t have to “monetize” every years freakin’ issue. Also, the siezure (overall) was unconstitutional as all get out, but since about 1925 pretty much every politician in the US has had banker ‘nads slapping against their chins...
Additionally, those coins are worth exactly their gold content value because if they can’t be marketed numismatically, they can’t have numismatic value.
Their first mistake was getting the government involved with the coins. It’d be like inviting the DEA over to your house to grade the quality of your pot stash.
The FDR govt. should NEVER have been allowed to confiscate these gold coins....NEVER!
You’re correct, but the government should’ve had the good graces to at least give these a people a finder’s fee for finding stolen property and turning it in. Had they done that there would have been no lawsuit.
Really? If that is so, and the mint, as the boviating bench warmer cited, kept such meticulous records, why did they not list a loss of 10 ounces, or 10 coins?
Because the books balanced, someone either traded in $20 certs, or pre 1933 $20 coins for those... Ergo, they weren’t “stolen”...
The family can’t get them back anyway, betcha George Soros has first dibsies on all of them...
In which case, I'm glad the government they want, and vote for, ripped them off so brazenly.
This judge should be tarred and feathered.
As should have Franklin Delano Roosevelt been tarred and feathered!
Tar and feather them, too. All 12 of ‘em.
Along with the judge.
The FDR government should have been overthrown in a coup d’etat in 1935.
I prefer the John Wayne method, a good rope and a fine hangin’.
Ask any coin collector or dealer and they will tell you the same thing. Your opinions of the government have no bearing on this.
As for monetizing every year’s issue, yes this must be done and is done when the mint director orders production of new coinage and they are offically entered into the books. Go into any US redbook and you will see the exact number of coins that were made every year. The 1933 Double Eagle shows 445,500 but they were not released for circulation. I really don’t know how to explain this any different.
As for the numismatic value, these coins can be marketed for collectors, but it would be illegal and that is why it is hard to price them. Same thing for stollen art and artifacts like Papal Holy Releics, they have no real value because they are not suppose to be sold. If that is true for the coins, even the gold content does not matter as it is stollen property.
Sends a chill down your spine that Obama said at the he’ll need to engage in “persistent experimentation like FDR” to solve the economic crisis, doesn’t it?
Soros has a huge position in gold.
Completely off topic, but what you just reminded me of just sent chills down my spine.
A cautionary tale here... those who make similar finds should authenticate them through a numismatic expert and NOT a government bureaucrat. This is a damned outrage!
Another reason among many to hate that fascist FDR. POS.
Who’s gold was used to mint the coins?
“The FDR government should`ve been overthrown in a coup d`etat in 1935.”
Guiseppe Zangara came within a hair`s breadth of changing history when he attempted to take out FDR in Chicago in February 1933. When bumped by an onlooker, he inadvertantly capped Chicago mayor Anton Cermak instead.
One can only imagine how different things could`ve been.
There was a reason these coins were "under the radar" and since there is no paper trail it sure sounds as if these coins were stolen property (from the US Mint).
Well well well, if there was not a sign of inflation, here is one for you.
Soon the government will acknowledge the worthlessness of paper money and require like in Rome of old or the Middle Ages to be paid in gold for taxes.
Meanwhile Bernanke insists gold is not money...
Next is the guns, I suppose. What was that? OH, that gun buy back program, yeaaaaah!?....
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