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Mint Needs to Get Stolen Coins Back
September 09, 2011

What’s the penalty for stealing coins from the Philadelphia Mint?

We’ll find out Dec. 20 when a former Mint policeman will be sentenced for taking $2.4 million in coins from the Philadelphia Mint and evading taxes on his ill-gotten gains.

The coins involved are reportedly Presidential dollar errors without edge lettering.

Rather than comment on temptation and human frailty, I would like to ask whether the Mint will attempt to take back its stolen property?

In light of the recent Philadelphia court decision denying the heirs of Israel Switt possession of 10 1933 $20 gold pieces on the grounds that they could not have left the Mint legally and are, therefore, stolen property, will the Mint prove to be as aggressive in getting this stolen property back?

The news reports indicate the coins were sold to a California dealer. That being the case, there should be ample records from which to trace a significant portion of the stolen coins.

Some might say that any Mint attempt to get its coins back could have a chilling effect on error coin collecting.

I would say just the opposite.

Coins legitimately found by intrepid collectors through exhaustive searches of the coins in the banking system otherwise will be tainted by the suspicion that collecting errors is a rigged game.

That shouldn’t be.

The Mint needs to make an effort to get back its property.

See news report:–129518468.html

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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