Tags: gold | coins | 1933 | switt

Pa. Family Loses Court Battle over Coins Worth Millions

Monday, 10 Sep 2012 01:11 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

A federal judge has upheld a 2011 court decision ordering that 10 double eagle gold coins worth at least $7.59 million each remain in the government's possession. 
 
The $20 gold pieces were among 445,500 double eagle coins produced by the Philadelphia Mint in 1933, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. They were never circulated because, the federal government outlawed the possession of gold coins that same year.
 
But 10 of the coins ended up in the possession of Philadelphia jeweler and coin dealer Israel Switt until they were seized by the government in 2003 because they were believed to have been stolen by a mint employee. 
 
Switt died in 1990 at the age of 95. His  daughter, Joan Langbord, said her family didn't know anything about the coins until they found them in a safe deposit box in 2003, about a year after the only 1933 double eagle then known to exist was sold at auction for more than $7 million.
 
When they tried to have the coins authenticated and appraised the government seized them, triggering the legal fight ending in the ruling that the coins don't belong to Switt's family  because they were illegally removed from the mint.
 
Langbord said she doesn’t know how her father got the coins and that her family plans to appeal the ruling because the government can't prove they were actually stolen.  
 
In his ruling, however, U.S. District Judge Legrome D. Davis noted that the 1933 double eagles were never lawfully issued and that most were melted down and formed into gold bars. He also referenced a government investigation from the 1940s suggesting a mint cashier took the coins and passed them on to Switt.
 

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