The E-Sylum:  Volume 8, Number 35, August 14, 2005, Article 2


On August 11, 2005, the U.S. Mint revealed that in September
2004 it recovered ten more of the missing 1933 double eagles.
The following is from the press release published on the Mint's
web site:

"The United States Mint has recovered ten more of the fabled
1933 Double Eagle gold pieces. These numismatic artifacts
were illegally removed from the United States Mint at Philadelphia
more than 70 years ago."

"To ensure that they are properly secured, the recovered 1933
Double Eagles will be held in the United States Bullion Depository
at Fort Knox. The United States Department of the Treasury does
not intend to monetize, issue or auction them. The United States
Mint will assess the best way to use these historical artifacts,
including possible public exhibits, to educate the American people.

With the assistance of the U.S. Secret Service and the Department
of Justice, the United States Mint recovered the 10 gold pieces in
Philadelphia in September 2004, after being approached by an
attorney whose client allegedly possessed the Double Eagles. With
the help of the Smithsonian Institution, the United States Mint
authenticated the gold pieces on June 21, 2005, as genuine 1933
gold Double Eagles."

"About 445,500 Double Eagle gold pieces were minted in 1933.
However, President Franklin Roosevelt took the United States
off the gold standard in an effort to help the struggling American
economy recover from the Great Depression. As a result, none
of the Double Eagles was ever issued at that time; instead, all but
two of the 1933 Double Eagles were ordered destroyed.

However, in addition to these two, which were transferred to the
Smithsonian Institution, the Government has now recovered a total
of 20 specimens that were stolen from the United States Mint at
Philadelphia. Nine of the 20 Double Eagles were seized by, or
relinquished to, the U.S. Secret Service in the 1940s and 1950s,
and were subsequently returned to the United States Mint and

"One 1933 Double Eagle surfaced in 1996 and was seized
by the U.S. Secret Service. The gold piece was returned to
the United States Mint, and following a legal settlement, was
issued and auctioned in New York City for $7 million on
July 30, 2002.

“The 2002 auction was the result of a legal settlement. At
the time, the United States Mint declared that it would not
monetize or sell future 1933 Double Eagles that might be
recovered,” said Acting Director Lebryk. “We do not intend
to monetize, issue, or auction the recovered Double Eagles.”

To read the full press release, see: Full Story

David Tripp, author of "Illegal Tender: Gold, Greed, and the
Mystery of the Lost 1933 Double Eagle" writes: "As it happens
I was at Sotheby's on something else when the news broke.

It's the story that won't stop; the gift that keeps on giving.
(I've already been on to my editor!).

The coins are clearly Israel Switt's hoard that he spoke of
to James Macallister (who related it to the Secret Service in
1944: Switt said he had 25 and had only sold 14.....which
would have left him with eleven....and ten are now in this

The Secret Service doesn't appear to have ever followed
up on this lead (which was mentioned in both the 2002
auction catalogue...and repeatedly in my book).

Even better, these don't even appear to be the one (from
the 1980 snapshot) illustrated in the back of my book as
the Mystery Coin!

And the controversy will continue!"

On Friday, August 12, the New York Times published a
story confirming that the Switt family returned the coins.

"The lawyer, Barry H. Berke of Manhattan, said the gold
pieces were "voluntarily" revealed to the government by Joan
Langbord, the daughter of the jeweler, Israel Switt, who died
in the early 1980's. He added: "The Mint has responded to
their good-faith efforts to amicably resolve any issues relating
to their coins by seeking to keep the coins. The Langbord
family fully expects that their coins will be returned to them so
they can be freely traded like every other numismatic treasure
with a colorful history. I expect that if they are not returned
there will be litigation."

The article quotes COIN World editor Beth Deisher and Dr.
Wartenberg Kagan of the ANS. In a bizarre touch, the article
includes a photo of the ten coins (attributed to the U.S. Mint)
which shows only the reverse of the coins - the dates are not

To read the full article (registration required): Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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