Sunday, July 10, 2011

Where Did Ten of the Rarest Coins in the World Come From? (1933 Double Eagles)

Via Yahoo News:
A jeweler's heirs with a cache of rare $20 gold coins will fight for the right to keep them when they square off in court this week against the U.S. Treasury.

Treasury officials charge that the never-circulated "double eagles" were stolen from the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia in 1933. They could be worth $80 million or more, given that one sold for nearly $7.6 million in 2002.

The coins come from a batch that were struck but melted down after President Franklin D. Roosevelt took the country off the gold standard in 1933.

Two were preserved for the Smithsonian Institute. But a handful more mysteriously got out.
The daughter and grandsons of Israel Switt, a jeweler and scrap metal dealer on nearby Jeweler's Row, say they discovered 10 of them in his bank deposit box in 2003.

Joan Langbord of Philadelphia and her sons went to the U.S. Treasury to authenticate the coins, but the government instead seized them. Authorities noted that the box was rented six years after Switt died in 1990, and that the family never paid inheritance taxes on them.

What's more, the Secret Service has long believed Switt and a corrupt cashier at the Mint were somehow involved in the double-eagle breach....MORE
HT: The Money Illusion's "Tyler Cowen, Richard Rorty, and the truth about wealth".
That $7.6 mil. pricetag was the highest price ever paid for any coin anywhere until a 1794 "flowing hair" silver dollar was auctioned.

Here's the list at Born Rich.
Here's the website of The Cardinal Collection Educational Foundation, the purchaser.