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Old 8 September 2012, 14:57
Brew_City_Guy Brew_City_Guy is offline
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$80M in gold coins seized by USG

So close, and yet so far away... I thought some kind of statute of limitations would have come into effect here, but obviously I am wrong. You want to talk about a roller coaster ride; (The Family) "Holy shit we're $80M rich!!!" (USG)"Oh yeah!?!?".

$80M

A federal judge has upheld a verdict that strips a Pennsylvania family of their grandfather’s gold coins — worth an estimated $80 million — and has ordered ownership transferred to the US government.
Judge Legrome Davis of the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a 2011 jury decision that a box of 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagle coins discovered by the family of Israel Switt, a deceased dealer and collector, is the property of the United States.
In the midst of the Great Depression, then-President Franklin Roosevelt ordered that America’s supply of double eagles manufactured at the Philadelphia Mint be destroyed and melted into gold bars. Of the 445,500 or so coins created, though, some managed to escape the kiln and ended up into the hands of collectors. In 2003, Switt’s family opened a safe deposit back that their grandfather kept, revealing 10 coins among that turned out to be among the world’s most valuable collectables in the currency realm today.
Switt’s descendants, the Langbords, thought the coins had been gifted to their grandfather years earlier by Mint cashier George McCann and took the coins to the Mint to have their authenticity verified, but the government quickly took hold of the items and refused to relinquish the find to the family. The Langbords responded with a lawsuit that ended last year in a victory for the feds.
Because the government ordered the destruction of their entire supply of coins decades earlier, the court found that Switt’s family was illegally in possession of the stash. Even though they may had been presented to the dealer by a Philadelphia Mint staffer, Judge Davis agrees with last year’s ruling that Mr. McCann broke the law.
"The coins in question were not lawfully removed from the United States Mint,” the judge rules.
Despite this decision, though, the attorney representing Switt’s family says the government has no right to remove their own items and transfer property back to the state.
"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," Barry Berke, an attorney for the Langbords, tells ABCNews.com
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Old 8 September 2012, 15:03
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Interesting story, though I doubt this is the end of it. It certainly brings to light once again the too far reaching of our gov into certain matters. The current admin will most likely sell them and fund some more money pit projects with the cash they get from China, but I digress....
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Old 8 September 2012, 15:06
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I sympathize with the family. Interesting case, indeed.

Seems like a great opportunity for the US gov to lose yet more good relations with the citizens.....
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Old 8 September 2012, 15:21
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This is a very disturbing case in my opinion and sets bad precedence for the future. Apparently some are known to be on the hands of other collectors. Has the government stepped in to seize those as well? I am also curious to know how they determined that they hadn't been gifted to Mr. McCann?
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Old 8 September 2012, 15:50
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I've been following this story for quite a while. It's certainly an interesting case.

It'll be interesting to see what happens on appeal.
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Old 8 September 2012, 15:59
Brew_City_Guy Brew_City_Guy is offline
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Originally Posted by Kip View Post
I've been following this story for quite a while. It's certainly an interesting case.

It'll be interesting to see what happens on appeal.
Maybe it's a case of "it's easier to turn a NO in to a YES than turn a YES in to a NO" on this one. But I don't think the Gov. plays by those rules. They want was they "have" coming, $80M.
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Old 8 September 2012, 16:24
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Maybe it's a case of "it's easier to turn a NO in to a YES than turn a YES in to a NO" on this one. But I don't think the Gov. plays by those rules. They want was they "have" coming, $80M.
They have coming bullion value. The Government ordered the coins melted because the Government does not want to look more like greedy thugs. They will do the right thing and melt the coins and take bullion value. They would also go after every known copy of this coin regardless of who the owner might be. I'm sure they will do the right thing.
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Old 8 September 2012, 17:12
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And I'm sure the government will get on with the process of melting these coins down as soon as the final question of ownership is settled.

That's not what they will do at all. I'll bet the government will find some way to auction these coins off in order to raise money for the treasury.

I've read about this case in a coin magazine, they already gave the go ahead for another coin of the same vintage and equally sketchy provenance to be auctioned off by another seller.

What I don't understand is, why did the family turn over all 10 coins for inspection? Bad move.
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Old 8 September 2012, 17:24
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And I'm sure the government will get on with the process of melting these coins down as soon as the final question of ownership is settled.

That's not what they will do at all. I'll bet the government will find some way to auction these coins off in order to raise money for the treasury.

I've read about this case in a coin magazine, they already gave the go ahead for another coin of the same vintage and equally sketchy provenance to be auctioned off by another seller.

What I don't understand is, why did the family turn over all 10 coins for inspection? Bad move.
I think a smart person would have take 9 coins to the Isle of Jersey or another friendly location then done a deal with the Government with the last coin. Would have been a win for everyone but the lawyers.
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Old 8 September 2012, 19:22
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They have coming bullion value. The Government ordered the coins melted because the Government does not want to look more like greedy thugs. They will do the right thing and melt the coins and take bullion value. They would also go after every known copy of this coin regardless of who the owner might be. I'm sure they will do the right thing.
Not necessarily true. If they sell them at auction they will get more than bullion value simple based on the fact that there are only 11 total known in existence(though others have been destroyed in the past). Rich people love limited edition shit.

Quote:
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I've read about this case in a coin magazine, they already gave the go ahead for another coin of the same vintage and equally sketchy provenance to be auctioned off by another seller.
Yep, in 2002 the only one in existence at the time was sold at auction for 7.59 million.

Supposedly the one sold at auction was purchased by King Farouk of Egypt in 1944. The King was deposed and most of his possessions, including the Double Eagle, were put up for auction. The US Government requested the coin be returned and Egypt said they would comply, but the coin disappeared at was not seen again in Egypt.

It resurfaced in 1996 when a British coin dealer was arrested by the Secret Service in a sting.

Charges against the dealer were dropped and the dealer defended his ownership of the coin in court. The case was finally over in 2001 when ownership was reverted back to the US Government and the coin was legally sold at auction after the Treasury monetized it, making it a legal tender gold coin in the US.

Half of the auction proceeds went to the Government, while the other half went to the British coin dealer.
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Old 8 September 2012, 20:09
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Quote:
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What I don't understand is, why did the family turn over all 10 coins for inspection? Bad move.
Why would the government be the ones to authenticate them anyway?

Quite frankly that fact that they had at one time been ordered forfeit to the government should have given anyone with a modicum of intelligence the idea that perhaps they should not let the government get possession of something worth $80 mill and then expect it's return.

Hope they win on appeal, but if they don't, well, that's the price of being stupid.
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Old 8 September 2012, 20:44
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Hope they win on appeal, but if they don't, well, that's the price of being stupid.
Maybe. But does anybody just show up out of the blue with $80mil worth of anything and leave it at the front desk with the intern?
Something tells me they were in talks with somebody high on the food chain to set up the authentication. I'm wondering what assurances were given the family...even if only the guarantee of the safety of the coins. I'm sure there was some kind of paperwork or receipt to document taking "temporary" possession.

I'm rooting for the family on this one. I have a hard time believing they weren't duped into losing them.
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Old 8 September 2012, 21:04
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Fox33C1 Fox33C1 is offline
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your rights and your money is the governments ... be happy they let you use it

from the ATF to your local city council ... those that are in your government are your superiors... do not deny them ... just surrender your dignity ...nor even dare question their actions... or in the name of their safety they have to grind your face into the side walk

dare stand against them in word or deed and be labeled a domestic terrorist and get a hellfire through your front door ... it'll be for our collective safety

take your gold... national face recognition... unmarked traffic cars

it's for your protection... do not question... submit... your rights come from government ... be glad they let you have any

submit ... obey ... drive a prius
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Old 8 September 2012, 21:12
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I believe this was discussed on here a few months ago. The coins never should have gotten out of the mint, correct? Therefore they are illegal to posses.

There is one person who had a double eagle who was able to keep his but I forget the circumstances.

I hate "the man" as much as the next guy but if the coins shouldn't have left the mint then you lose, sorry.
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Old 8 September 2012, 21:44
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I feel sorry for the family. Illegal or not, that would be horrible to find out you inherited $80M worth of valuables only to have it taken away from you.
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Old 8 September 2012, 22:01
Walken1 Walken1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot Mess View Post
I believe this was discussed on here a few months ago. The coins never should have gotten out of the mint, correct? Therefore they are illegal to posses.

There is one person who had a double eagle who was able to keep his but I forget the circumstances.

I hate "the man" as much as the next guy but if the coins shouldn't have left the mint then you lose, sorry.
I'm not sure it's always that straight forward. Reading this case reminds me of an unrelated item that my friend's dad bid on at auction: Jack Ruby's pistol.
Ruby's pistol was obviously a piece of evidence. After a long legal battle Ruby's family was able to take possession of a murder weapon.
The pistol was then confiscated again, and again the new owners were able to reclaim it.
I know it's not quite the same thing, but there are exceptions, and the list of things/artifacts that shouldn't be in private hands is long.
I think the family will prevail...at least I hope so. Possession is 9/10's the law. Handing the coins over for authentication was their mistake. The government wasnt actively looking for these coins and I sincerely believe if they would have gone straight to auction Secret Service wouldn't have barged in and taken them. Once they were unwittingly handed over the Government isn't just going to hand them back.
As for the Ruby gun...here's a quick read on it's history.
http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2008...ns-trajectory/
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Old 8 September 2012, 22:04
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Handing the coins over for authentication was their mistake. The government wasnt actively looking for these coins.
Agreed. Giving the government something is......just plain crazy.
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Old 8 September 2012, 22:06
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What the family should have done is do what the afghans do.... send one or two across .... if they do not get blown to shit... send the rest
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Old 9 September 2012, 06:36
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So the default assumption is the government assumes guilt and the citizen must prove innocence? Because the USG can't find legit proof of transfer(yeah, because pogues are just all sorts of organized), the citizen takes it in the ass?

Is it just me or is this a massive turnabout in the entire legal system? S/F....Ken M
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Old 9 September 2012, 07:38
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I'd file this one under either "bad lawyering" or "no lawyering"
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