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More 1933 Gold $20s to Hit Market?
September 16, 2009

Imagine if 10 more 1933 $20 gold pieces are about to become available to the collector coin market, what would they bring?

The only legal one sold for $7.59 million plus a $20 government monetization fee.

This exciting possibility becomes at least a little more probable because a U.S. District Court judge has given the government until the end of September to either prove that the 10 coins were stolen in court or give them back to the family of Israel Switt, a Philadelphia jeweler who died in 1990, according to a story in the New York Times.

What will the government do?

It is hard to imagine that the government will just fold after spending more than 60 years trying to enforce its view that ownership of 1933 double eagles is illegal.

Certainly many, if not most, collectors are rooting for the family to give the government a good poke in the eye. It seems like a classic case of David vs. Goliath.

Even if the government does give up this particular legal approach, it will have the fall-back position of dunning the family for overdue inheritance taxes on coins that are probably worth tens of millions of dollars combined.

With the IRS calculating penalties and interest, the family will probably owe another 10 1933 gold $20s.

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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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