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Family told ten rare Double Eagle gold coins worth $80 million obtained in ‘uncertain circumstances’ belong to the U.S. not them

3 min read

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED:13:10 EST, 6  September 2012| UPDATED:15:47 EST, 6 September 2012

A judge has ruled that ten rare gold coins  worth $80 million belong to the U.S. government and not to a family that had  sued the U.S. Treasury, claiming it had illegally seized them.

The disputed coins are among the rarest  and  most valuable in the world. Known as Double Eagles, each coin was originally  worth $20 when they were minted in 1933, although one  sold for $7.6 million at a  Sotheby’s auction in 2002.

The most value gold coin in the world: The famed 1933 Double Eagle $20 gold coin, one sold for $7.6 million at a Sotheby's auction in 2002 The most value gold coin in the world: The famed 1933  Double Eagle $20 gold coin, one sold for $7.6 million at a Sotheby’s auction in  2002

The coins were originally commissioned by  then President Theodore Roosevelt  because who wanted American coins to be more  beautiful.

More than 445,000 Double  Eagles were minted,  but the President then banned the payout of gold  coins to combat a financial  crisis. Most of the coins were melted into gold bars before they entered  circulation, although some have surfaced over the years.

The Justice Department argued that a cashier  at the Philadelphia Mint in the 1930s was the likely source of coins that left  the Mint under uncertain circumstances and ended up in the hands of local coin  dealer Israel Switt, who died in 1990.

In 2003, Switt’s family, his daughter, Joan  Langbord, and two grandsons drilled open a safety deposit box that had belonged  to him and found the ten coins.

Mystery: The coins left the Philadelphia Mint in uncertain circumstances and ended up in the hands of local coin dealer Israel Switt, seen here in 1944Mystery: The coins left the Philadelphia Mint in  uncertain circumstances and ended up in the hands of local coin dealer Israel  Switt, seen here in 1944

 

When the Langbords gave the coins to the  Philadelphia Mint to get them authenticated, 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.

The Double Eagle $20 gold coin originates from the days of the Great Depression, but never entered circulationThe Double Eagle $20 gold coin originates from the days  of the Great Depression, but never entered circulation

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.’

President Theodore Roosevelt commissioned the Double Eagle because he wanted American coins to be more beautifulPresident Theodore Roosevelt commissioned the Double  Eagle because he wanted American coins to be more beautiful

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.

The ruling could clear the way for the  Mint  to now decide where to store or possibly display the coins, which have  been  kept at the U.S. Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky, since being  confiscated several years ago.

The Mint is assessing the best way to  securely exhibit the coins and  expects to announce plans in the near future, a  spokesman said.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2199395/Judge-says-rare-gold-coins-worth-80-million-belong-U-S-family-obtained-decades-ago-uncertain-circumstances.html#ixzz25lWi6nIE

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