A judge ruled that 10 rare gold coins worth $80 million belonged to the U.S. government, not a family that had sued the U.S. Treasury, saying it had illegally seized them.
The 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagle coin was originally valued at $20, but one owned by King Farouk of Egypt sold for as much as $7.5 million at a Sotheby's auction in 2002, according to Courthouse News.
After the U.S. abandoned the gold standard, most of the 445,500 double eagles that the Philadelphia Mint had struck were melted into gold bars.
However, a Philadelphia Mint cashier had managed to give or sell some of them to a local coin dealer, Israel Switt.
In 2003, Switt's family, his daughter, Joan Langbord, and two grandsons, drilled opened a safety deposit box that had belonged to him and found the 10 coins.
When the Langbords gave the coins to the Philadelphia Mint for authentication, the government seized them without compensating the family.
Jacqueline Romero, assistant U.S. attorney in Philadelphia, explained that the coins legally belonged to the government after Franklin Delano Roosevelt ordered citizens to exchange their gold for cash in an effort to keep the banks afloat during the Great Depression.
“Those coins were all in a vault and were supposed to be melted,” she asserted.
Newsy contributes, including an explanation of FDR’s policy:
Judge Says 10 Rare Gold Coins Worth $80 Million Belong to Uncle Sam - ABC News
Judge: Langboard Family’s $80 Million Double Eagle Gold Coins Belong to Government | Franklin Delano Roosevelt | Video | TheBlaze.com