U.S. Mint Confiscates Rare Coins

A Philadelphia family is considering suing the U.S. Mint to reclaim ownership of rare coins that could be worth millions.

But the government says the coins were stolen, and it’s going to keep them.

Ten “Double Eagle” $20 coins minted in 1933 were discovered last September in a Philadelphia antiques and jewelry store. The coins were given to the U.S. Mint for authentication by the store owners, the Langbord family.

In June, the mint confirmed they were Double Eagles but informed the Langbords that the coins were being sent for safe-keeping to the U.S. Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky, because the family had no right to them.

The double eagle coins are like the holy grail to coin collectors.

Only about 25 out of 445,500 are known to have survived destruction after the United States abandoned the gold standard in 1933 and ordered them melted down.

Two were given to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington for display.

The 10 recently discovered were obtained in 1937 by Israel Switt, an antiques dealer and ancestor of the Langbord family. The coins were found in his store.

Mint officials believe Switt got at least 20 of the coins from a cashier at the Philadelphia Mint who was later convicted of a crime relating to his work there.

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