45 votes

Feds Seize Gold Coins Worth $80 Million from Pennsylvania Family

"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.........."


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Family had good reason to believe coins would be seized

Story gets retold in a manner that makes the family seem wounded and dumbstruck that the mean old treasury would keep their coins. They essentially dared the government to seize the contraband coins, which it did. There is no documentation that coins were lawfully sold, meaning they were stolen. Either granddad was a crook or a dupe, but they're not entitled to those coins.

They could have tried selling them gray market instead of daring the treasury to take them away by ludicrously asking for the treasury to authenticate them in order to vastly increase their value. That's what greed will do for ya.

Take back the GOP and Restore America Now.

Wikipedia says:

"Coin experts in the numismatic world have advanced an argument that Switt could have legally obtained the 1933 coins when he was exchanging gold bullion for coins. Although the Mint records clearly show that no 1933 double eagles were issued, there were allegedly three weeks in March 1933 when new double eagles could possibly have been legally obtained.[6] The Mint began striking double eagles on March 15 and Roosevelt's Executive Order to ban them was not finalized until April 5. On March 6, 1933, the Secretary of the Treasury ordered the Director of the Mint to pay gold only under license issued by the Secretary, and the United States Mint Cashier's daily statements do not reflect that any 1933 double eagles were paid out.[6]"


Stolen goods

Stolen back.


This is reported by Russia Today?

Does it strike anyone that a news program funded by Russia should frequently latch onto news items that portray the US in an unfavorable light? RT seems to understand their market quite well. They pick up on the distrust we have of the mainstream media and our corrupt politicians. Their articles are like salt in the wound, IMO. Think of this for a moment. What do they have to gain by giving America a black eye internationally? Why would we trust their reporting more than our own propagandists? Simply because they presently pick up on stories that we agree with?

I do not trust Russia Today. Truth can be used as a weapon even more effectively than a sheer lie. Tell the bad truth about America. Tell the good truth about Russia. See.

If a foreign nation wanted to foment revolution and civil unrest how could it do so best?

If I had a stash of vintage

If I had a stash of vintage 1923 wine, would they destroy it because it was bottled during prohibition?

Hey, good point.

Can they enforce laws that are no longer in effect?

US Postal Service loses $25 Million Daily!

Government can steal the gold from this PA family and hand it over to one of our nations greatest financial Losers...the USPS. The $80,000,000.00 will be sucked up and gone in 3 days...to perpetuate a living parasite that's permitted to exist. No 'real' business could go on unless it was artificially kept alive from the living blood of others.

Oh...and don't be so naive!

Please don't believe the rubbish that the USPS doesn't cost the US taxpayer anything; who is going to pay for the USPS losses?

if i stole a coin and gave it

if i stole a coin and gave it to my family. This still makes the coins stolen.

Ron Paul 2016

What if I kept a coint the government wanted to borrow?

(and never pay back) Would that make it stolen?

I only ask because that is the reason they call these coins stolen.

If i handed you 100 coins to

If i handed you 100 coins to destroy aka meltdown as an employee and you did not destroy them and kept a few. Then you stole coins.

Ron Paul 2016

Except that that's not what happened

The coins in this case were stolen from the US Mint. They were never privately owned. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1933_double_eagle

The original article is very misleading. It tries hard to make it sound like these were coins that the govt tried to confiscate from a private owner under the 1933 executive order, and that the govt never gave up on trying to seize that private property. That's not at all the case. The coins were stolen, and they're easily identified as the stolen coins because none of that date were released to the public.

It's analogous to someone finding the Gardner paintings, stolen more than 20 years ago, in their grandpa's basement. The statute of limitations has passed but the paintings are still stolen property, and still easily identified as stolen property, and if they turn up they'll go back to the original rightful owner, the Gardner museum.

Just Shows to Go

Never trust the gunvernment. These folks took the coins to the Mint to be authenticated. BAM! Confiscated coins.

I think the coins are $20 face value. 10 coinst x $20 = $200 bucks. Take a couple C notes, stick 'em in an envelope, stuff in a note that says "Making restitution on some property possibly stolen from the Mint in 1933 by some relatives. This squares us up to the penny." Lick a stamp and then: Sotheby's here we come - they'll be happy to authenticate for a cut of the action - and after signing off a non-disclosure form.

That would work

if the law didn't recognize the difference between the face value of a coin and the value to collectors. If you collect rare pennies, and someone steals your penny collection, can they square things up with you by sending you the face value of what was stolen?

The family would have had a very hard time selling those coins. Anything they did openly with them would result in the coins being seized, because as stolen coins go these coins would have to be the most famous and most easily recognized of all. But trying to sell them secretly could open them up to charges of trafficking in stolen goods, if the way they handled the transaction made it clear that they knew the coins were stolen. Rock and a hard place.

holy sh*t.

... so somebody explain again how the legal rule of temporary insanity works again? ... pretty sure I just had an episode and they weren't even my coins.

seriously. holy sh*t. anyone seen Law Abiding Citizen? I kinda get it. Just sayin'. I get it.

Stolen from whom?

If Doggy Dogs comment is correct then the government does have the right to take back the stolen coins. The poster is not giving both sides of the story and making it sound like the government is stealing from the family. Gonna do some research myself to see which side is correct. If poster only gave half truth then I will have to give negative vote.

If we are going to be on the "right side", then we need to be on the whole truth side.

Plantin the seeds for our Savior. In the End Jesus wins!

They considered them "stolen" because the gvt wanted them

In 1933 and nobody gave them those particular coins. Because they were supposed to have been loaned and later stolen by the government and they weren't, the government now considers them stolen.

I remember these people, they messed up

The went to the treasury to authenticate the coins and of course the government they so loved and trusted stole the coins. It's a hard lesson in reality I'm sure.

Some Libertarians are Born

The government makes the rest.

What do you think? http://consequeries.com/

so they should have left the country

so they should have left the country and been multimillionaire ex-patriots? or maybe melted them and stayed here?

Yes to leaving to become multimillionaire "expatriate's"

Melting them would have destroyed most of the value and they would be stuck in Stasi Amerika!!!

"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere".

It's hard not to be a menace to society when half the population is happy on their knees. - unknown

So sad

This is so sad. These people would have such a better life if they could keep their money.

Think how much they take from us daily...

Not just the taxes out of your paycheck:

***gas tax
***fed service fee on cell phone
***fed service fee when you register your car
***tax on home phone and/or internet service
***property tax
and the list goes on and on....

We all would


"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere".

It's hard not to be a menace to society when half the population is happy on their knees. - unknown

Need a boat

Times like these, you need a sailboat to go to another country where you can take a few at a time...sell them to someone for "cash" and be on your merry way.
I hear sailboats are a deal right now, with the wonderful economy.

you would think

federal statute of limitations would kick in, only way they wouldn't is fraud, and there is no Fraud there because the orginal handler of the coins is dead.

I would have went to the ocean dunked them in the water and claimed it as treasure and paid the federal finders fees.

statute of limitations ran out long ago

But first of all, these were NOT coins that were privately owned and then not surrendered under the 1933 executive order, as some people seem to be thinking. They were stolen from the US Mint, and nobody is disputing the fact that they were stolen. They are easily identifiable as stolen property because they're so rare, and they're so rare because the only ones of that date are the ones that were stolen from the Mint.

The statute of limitations for the theft passed a long time ago. In fact It was the statute of limitations that prevented the Justice Dept from prosecuting Israel Switt for his alleged role in that theft in 1945. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1933_double_eagle

But that's a statute of limitations on criminal prosecution. The issue at hand is ownership. Suppose someone steals something valuable from you, and the thief isn't caught until the statute of limitations has run out so they can't be prosecuted. That doesn't mean the thief gets to keep the property, it just means they can't be prosecuted for the crime.

Or take the 1990 theft of some very valuable paintings from the Gardner museum in Boston. The statute of limitations on that theft has passed. If you stole them, and have them hidden in your basement, you can no longer be prosecuted for the theft. That doesn't mean you can now go out and sell the paintings and keep the money. Ditto for your heirs if you die and they discover the paintings in your basement.

doggy dog good explanation

but not in all cases with property that is owned by others. For example, in adverse possession when real property is involved, the adverse possessor can actually take your property, even though it's yours.

Or let's take pirates treasure, if you find it, it's yours, even though a pirate may have stolen it, or some conquistador may have killed some Mayans and taken it for some countries king.

It's not always "finders keepers"

Not when government pirates are involved. And don't expect the US government to protect its subjects.

"The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up the appeal of American treasure hunters who were forced earlier this year to surrender $500 million in silver and gold coins they recovered from the wreck of a Spanish warship 3,000 feet deep in international waters."