May It Please The Court

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Quote of the Day - Silence is golden, but gold makes a lot of noise. - Unknown
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U.S. Mint Does Literal Double-take Over Double Eagle Coins

It's the stuff of legends.  You go to a garage sale and find a Renoir that you purchase for $2.99.  Upon authentication, it turns out to be worth millions. 

Well, it's happened again.  The family of Israel Switt found two 1933 Double Eagle coins in Mr. Switt's safety deposit box after his death.  They're pretty rare, and set the record for the highest single coin sale.  One Double Eagle coin fetched just under $8 million at an auction in 2002 that took less than nine minutes to complete.  The rest of them, perhaps with the exception of only eight known coins, were melted down after FDR took the US off the gold standard in 1933. 

I miss gold.  I wasn't alive then, but I still miss it.  The Vienna Philharmonic just isn't the same, despite what the British lady on the CNN Monex commercial says. 

But back to my story.  It's virtually illegal to possess these coins in the United States without government approval since we've retired most of our gold to Fort Knox for safekeeping.  So, to comply with the law, Mr. Switt's family, Joan S. Langbord and her sons, Roy and David, turned the two coins over to the U.S. Mint for authentication.  If it were me, I would have just tried to bite them to see if they were real.  Turn them over to the government?  Come on!  Their teeth are no better than mine. 

And perhaps not unexpectedly (or just plain old expectedly if you don't like the double negative), the U.S. Mint kept them. 

That's right, the government seized them, which is what they do best.  Heck, the government even has a whole department dedicated to seizing money. 

You know, the IRS.  I know,  <groan>, you saw that one coming.  I didn't want to disappoint you.  

So to get the coins back, Mr. Switt's family filed suit in Philadelphia (Mr. Switt's hometown - it's the best you can do since the federal government has a hometown in Washington, D.C., where the Mint is).  We'll see where this one goes, and keep you informed. 

I'm betting on the Switt family, but I'm only taking bets in gold. 

Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, December 07, 2006 at 00:25 Comments (0)


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