John Lupia submitted the following information from the online draft of his book of numismatic biographies for this week's installment of his series. Thanks! As always, this
is an excerpt with the full article and bibliography available online. This week's subject is Albert Hirschfeld, who was involved in a dispute over post-1933 dated gold coins. -Editor
Albert Hirschfeld (1891-1972), was born September 6, 1891 at Ribben, Germany (then Prussia), son of Solomon Hirschfeld (1852-1927) and Lina Levine Hirschfeld (1854-1924). He came to America on
September 27, 1913 settling at first at Galveston, Texas. He began a career in America as a jeweler.
He and his wife Lena were great patrons of the arts and museums establishing the Albert & Lena Hirschfeld Charitable Trust incorporated at Dallas, Texas. For fifteen years he was the president of
the San Antonio Museum Association and chairman of the board of the Witte Museum. He also served on the boards of the San Antonio Symphony and the San Antonio Art League. Among his charitable
organizations he served o the board of Madonna Neighborhood Center, the Guadalupe Community Center, Goodwill Industries, and the San Antonio Association for the blind.
In March 1963 he donated 560 coins to the Witte Museum, San Antonio, Texas, which he kept in the Museum safe for years. In the collection 194 coins were foreign. Among them 46 coins were minted
after 1933. The Witte Museum, was established in 1926 under the charter of the San Antonio Museum Association. The Witte Museum is located next to Brackenridge Park, San Antonio, Texas, on the banks
of the San Antonio River.
On August 13, 1963, three months and nine days prior to the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy United States Customs officers entered the Witte Museum with warrants to seize 21
gold coins of the 46 minted after 1933 they claimed were illegally imported into the United States under the provisions of the Gold Act of 1933 signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The
seized coins were minted in Mexico, Switzerland, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Peru, Bolivia, Syria, Dominican Republic, Luxembourg, Rumania, and Turkey. Dr. William A. Burn, Director of the Witte Museum
protested and appealed to the public to write the Vice-President petitioning the 21 gold coins be returned.
He died of a heart attack on April 8, 1972. He was buried on April 11, 1972, at Congregation Agudas Achim Cemetery, North Palmetto Street, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas.
Interesting - I wasn't aware of this before. Does anyone know anything about the disposition of this case? Were the coins ever returned? -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
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