Court rules that government rightfully seized 1933 double eagles

A jury in Philadelphia has ruled that the government rightly seized ten 1933 double eagles  from the Langbord family.    The Langbords claimed they discovered the double eagles in a safe deposit box belonging to their grandfather, Israel Switt.  The government claimed that Switt stole them.  See my previous entry on the 1933 double eagle trial for details.

The result of the case leads me to several conclusions:

  1. All other 1933 double eagles will remain in hiding.  It is highly unlikely that the government has seized every 1933 double eagle that escaped.  When the Langbords found the double eagles, they gave them to the treasury to authenticate.  No one else will make that mistake.
  2. Other coins that were not legally released by the mint could be in trouble.  Will  the government attempt to seize 1913 liberty head nickels, the 1804 silver dollar, or other coins made clandestinely at the mint?  So far the government has been fixated solely on the 1933 double eagles.  Other coins are probably safe for now, but should a collector pay millions of dollars for a coin that the government may later seize?
  3. What will happen to the seized double eagles?  For now, the government says it will display them.  Will they be auctioned in the future?

Saint Gaudens 1933 Double Eagle Trial set to start

One of the biggest coin trials ever will soon begin in Philadelphia.  The case, Roy Langbord vs. United States Department of the Treasury involves ten 1933 double eagles .  The Langbord family allege that they discovered the double eagles in a safe deposit box belonging to their grandfather, Israel Switt.  After discovering the coins, the Langbords sent them to the US Treasury to be authenticated.  The treasury confiscated them.  Now the Langbords are suing to get them back.

In 1933, 445,500 double eagles designed by Augustus St. Gaudens , were minted. Franklin Roosevelt then issued an order prohibiting banks from paying out gold as well as all private ownership of gold. Virtually all of the 1933 Double Eagles were melted.  The United States government has been confiscating virtually all 1933 double eagles saying that they were stolen from the mint.  The government believes that Israel Switt was involved with all of the 1933 double eagle thefts.  Switt, however, was never charged.  

How did these coins escape the melting pot?  The courts feel that the government will have to prove the coins were stolen.  Meanwhile, an alternate hypothesis has arisen.  A mint employee kept an open bag of 1933 double eagles on his desk, which he gave to people in exchange for $20 -- perfectly legally.

In my analysis, I have one question.  The government alleges that the Langbord's knew that they had coins that their grandfather stole.  Why then would they submit the stole coins to the treasury?  Perhaps we will get the answer as the trial unfolds.