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The E-Sylum: Volume 15, Number 38, September 9, 2012, Article 7

JUDGE DECLARES SWITT FAMILY 1933 DOUBLE EAGLES GOVERNMENT PROPERTY

John Mutch was among the E-Sylum readers who forwarded articles on this week's ruling on the ten 1933 double eagles seized from the family of Izzy Switt. One of the articles is from Good Morning America, and cites an August 2, 2009 from E-Sylum. So now I'm quoting an article that cites my article that quotes other articles. My head is starting to spin... -Editor

1933_double_eagle_obv A judge ruled that 10 rare gold coins worth $80 million belonged to the U.S. government, not a family that had sued the U.S. Treasury, saying it had illegally seized them.

After President Theodore Roosevelt had the U.S. abandon the gold standard, most of the 445,500 double eagles that the Philadelphia Mint had struck were melted into gold bars. However, a Philadelphia Mint cashier had managed to give or sell some of them to a local coin dealer, Israel Switt.

In 2003, Switt's family, Joan Langbord, and her two grandsons, drilled opened a safety deposit box that had belonged to him and found the 10 coins.

When the Langbords gave the coins to the Philadelphia Mint for authentification, the government seized them without compensating the family. The Langbords sued, saying the coins belonged to them.

In 2011, a jury decided that the coins belonged to the government, but the family appealed.

Last week, Judge Legrome Davis of the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania, affirmed that decision, saying "the coins in question were not lawfully removed from the United States Mint."

Barry Berke, an attorney for the Langbords, told ABCNews.com, "This is a case that raises many novel legal questions, including the limits on the government's power to confiscate property. The Langbord family will be filing an appeal and looks forward to addressing these important issues before the 3rd Circuit."

The family said in its suit that in another seizure of the 1933 double eagle, the government split the proceeds with the owner after the coin sold for $7.59 million in 2002, according to Coinbooks.org.

To read the complete article, see: Judge Says 10 Rare Gold Coins Worth $80 Million Belong to Uncle Sam (news.yahoo.com/judge-says-10-rare-gold-coins-worth-80-
152750965--abc-news-topstories.html)

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Legrome Davis Jr. held that, since no records showed coins being lawfully taken from the mint, they were almost certainly stolen.

"The Mint meticulously tracked the '33 Double Eagles, and the records show that no such transaction occurred," U.S. District Judge Legrome Davis Jr. wrote in his decision. "What's 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."

Lawyers for the Langbords had argued that the coins could have left the Mint legitimately between March 15 and April 5, 1933, before Roosevelt's recall. The government's star expert, David Tripp, acknowledged gold coins could have left the Mint during that window, but he added that there were no records that 1933 Double Eagles did. "Nobody witnessed the disappearance of the 10 coins, but the jury "could - and did - properly infer criminal intent," Davis wrote.

To read the complete article, see: Judge upholds government's claim to $80M in rare gold coins found in safe deposit box (www.foxnews.com/us/2012/09/07/rare-double-eagle-coins-should
-be-forfeited-to-us-judge/)

John and Nancy Wilson forwarded this article and video from The Huffington Post, which quoted the other articles and even pictured the earlier E-Sylum article onscreen. -Editor

E-Sylum quoted in story

To read the complete article, see: Langbord Family Loses Lawsuit Over $80 Million Gold Coins; Currency Belongs To Uncle Sam, Judge Says (www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/06/family-loses-lawsuit-gold-coins-belongs
-to-uncle-sam_n_1862151.html)

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: JUDGE ISSUES RULING ON CONFISCATED 1933 DOUBLE EAGLES (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v12n31a12.html)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address: whomren@gmail.com

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