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Government Seizes Valuable Coins

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Several coins created by the U.S. Mint in 1933, worth about $1 million apiece, were seized by the government. The double eagles, originally worth $20, are highly valued because they were never circulated.

A few years ago, one sold for $7.59 million, but that one coin is also the only 1933 double eagle legal to own; hence the seizure of the others. All of the remaining coins were believed destroyed before entering circulation.

The owner-collecter found the coins in an antique shop in Philadelphia, and sent the coins into the Mint for verification of authenticity. They confirmed the identity of the coins but shipped them to Fort Knox for “safekeeping,” as they believe the coins were originally obtained illegally through a cashier from the Philadelphia Mint.

The now-prior owners of the coins are preparing to sue the government. Do they have a case?

Updated July 16, 2010 and originally published August 29, 2005. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .


avatar YoungMiser

I depends on if the coins were first obtained by an illegal manner. If they were orginally stolen, then I think they can be taken back, no questions asked. If they were obtained legally then the collector has a case.

avatar henry

They probably don’t. In any case, the govt. doesn’t care about their claims and I don’t think anyone else does either.

avatar mmb

Moral of the story: If you find any two-headed coins don’t tell the government.

Just kidding. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

I am guessing they don’t have a case because as far as I know any illegal property is subject to seizure by the govt irrespective of owner’s direct culpability. Maybe they can sue whoever sold them the coins and at least recover what they paid originally.

avatar Luke Landes

I find it hard to believe that a suit against the government in this case will be successful.

avatar Luke Landes

I believe any of the 1933 double eagles must have been obtained illegally since they never entered circulation, but the government did allow the high-profile sale of one of these coins already.

avatar Doobie

That’ll teach ‘em to go to the government for help.