December 8th, 2009

LEGAL ACTION: Complaint Filed Against 1933 Double Eagles

[PHILADELPHIA, PENNYSYLVANIA] Consistent with U.S. District Court Judge Legrome D. Davis’ order dated July 28, 2009, the Office of United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has filed a civil forfeiture complaint against 10 1933 double eagles ($20 gold coins). The descendants of deceased jeweler-dealer Israel Switt surrendered the coins to the U.S. Mint. The government also asks the court to declare that, with the exception of one 1933 double eagle that was monetized and sold at auction in 2002, all other 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagles are the lawful property of the U.S. government.

The USAED’s office issued a press release stating that the U.S. Secret Service has investigated this matter since the government first became aware of a single 1933 “Saint” being sold at auction in 1944. The U.S. has recovered every such piece that it could locate, and all of the recovered pieces were traced back to Israel Switt, who had been arrested for unlawfully possessing gold coins in 1934. (For the complete story of Switt and the “Saints,” see the Nov. 2009 issue of COINage.)

Through this complaint, the United States “seeks to establish once and for all that these 1933 double eagles are and always have been the property of the United States.”

2009 . December . News and Notes