W. David Perkins of Centennial, CO was the first reader to forward the news about the Switt family 1933 double eagles. -Editor
The U.S. government must return 10 exceptionally rare gold coins worth millions of dollars each to a Pennsylvania family from which the
purloined coins were seized a decade ago, a federal appeals court ruled on Friday.
By a 2-1 vote, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said Joan Langbord and her sons Roy and David are the rightful
owners of the double eagle $20 gold pieces, after the government ignored their claim to the coins and missed a deadline to seek their
"The government knew that it was obligated to bring a judicial civil forfeiture proceeding or to return the property, but
refused," Circuit Judge Marjorie Rendell wrote. "Having failed to do so, it must return the Double Eagles to the
Patricia Hartman, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger in Philadelphia, said: "We are weighing our options."
The Philadelphia Mint in 1933 produced 445,500 double eagles. But they were not circulated because President Franklin Roosevelt, trying
to halt a bank panic, removed gold coins from circulation and made ownership of large amounts illegal.
Most of the coins were melted down, but a few were smuggled out, including one that fetched $7.6 million at a 2002 auction after having
once been possessed by Egypt's King Farouk.
The government had long suspected without proving that the late Israel Switt, a gold dealer and father of Joan Langbord, had smuggled
some of the coins with the help of a Mint employee.
It seized the Langbords' double eagles after the family located the coins in a safe deposit box once belonging to Switt, and sought
to have the Mint authenticate them.
Was it that long ago? Ten years? You know you're getting old when events of a decade ago don’t seem all that distant. The Langbord
family is to be commended for their patience while this case worked its way through the courts. And it may not even be over yet, but this
sure feels like the beginning of the end of this chapter. One day some or all of these coins may hit the market, and we'll all find
out how much they're really worth. But don't hold your breath; in the deja-va-all-over-again-department, remember that in August
2009 the breaking news of the day was that "A judge in Philadelphia has ruled that the federal government must return 10 extremely
rare gold coins to the family of a late Center City jeweler ...." -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
JUDGE ISSUES RULING ON CONFISCATED 1933 DOUBLE EAGLES
To read the complete article, see:
U.S. must return rare double eagle gold
coins to family (http://news.yahoo.com/u-must-return-rare-double-eagle-gold-coins-185510525--finance.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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