A coin collector called Israel Switt disobeyed government orders in 1933 when, during the great depression, President Roosevelt ordered that all citizens hand in all the 445,500 “Saint Goudens double eagled” gold coins cut in 1907 in order to melt them into gold bars.
Because of the Government order from 1933 and the beautiful design of these gold coins made by famous sculptor Augustus Saint Gaudens, coins from this series are extremely rare and thus considered one of the most valuable and expensive collectibles today.
The Langbords, a middle class family from Pennsylvania, are direct descendants of Switt. In 2003 they found a box containing 10 of these rare double eagled gold coins in a safe box inherited from their grandfather.
As the Langbords were uncertain of the origin of these coins , they handed them to the American Mint to verify their authenticity.
To their disbelief, the State quickly stepped in and confiscated the coins said to be worth about 80 million dollars. The State acted under the pretext that the coins had been illegally hidden and kept despite the US Government’s order issued back in 1933.
Whether the Langbords are entitled to these 80 million dollar coins or the US government is the actual rightful owner is yet to be determined by court.