by Jonathan Stempel
A federal appeals court on Monday said a cache of exceptionally rare gold coins stolen from the U.S. Mint in the 1930s belongs to the U.S. government, not the Pennsylvania family that possessed it for decades.
By a 9-3 vote, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said Joan Langbord and her sons Roy and David cannot keep the 10 “double eagle” 1933 $20 gold pieces, estimated to be worth several million dollars each.
Monday’s decision could end a decade-long battle that began after the Langbords, heirs to late Philadelphia jeweler Israel Switt, found the coins in a safe deposit box and asked the Mint to authenticate them, only to have them seized in 2004.