The Langbord family may have another chance to keep 10 1933
Saint-Gaudens double eagles that were discovered in a safe deposit box
a decade ago.
On Sept. 15, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in
Philadelphia alerted attorneys involved in the case that it
tentatively scheduled the case for review on Nov. 20, while noting
that it may be necessary for the panel to move the case to another day
within the week of Nov. 17.
The panel will determine whether there will be an oral argument and
if so, the amount of time allocated for each side.
The government contends that a jury accurately returned a verdict in
favor of the government on its forfeiture claim for the coins on July
20, 2011, basing that decision on admissible evidence and expert
testimony. Further, the government maintains that the District Court
acted properly when granting the government’s declaratory judgment
claim on Aug. 29, 2012, which stated that the coins were not legally
removed from the Mint and remain government property.
An 82-page filing to the Court of Appeals on Aug. 6, the government
maintains that no 1933 double eagles were ever lawfully issued to the
public. A footnote reminds the court that “The Mint refers to these 10
specimens as ‘gold pieces’ because they were never legally monetized
and issued by the Mint.”
In its 36-page response brief filed Aug. 21, attorneys for Joan
Langbord and her sons Roy and David contend that the declaratory
action that identified the coins as government property should not
have been allowed and that a jury, not a judge, should have made that determination.
Further, the family believes that the jury’s verdict on the
forfeiture claim was tainted by the improper admission of evidence and
testimony related to events that occurred at and around the Mint in
the 1930s and 1940s. The family requests that the Court of Appeals
vacate both the jury’s verdict and the District Court’s verdict and
return the coins to the Langbord family, or, alternately, they request
the Court of Appeals to remand back to the district court for a new
forfeiture trial and if necessary, to submit the declaratory judgment
claim to the jury.
In 2004 the Langbord family, though attorney Barry Berke, informed
the U.S. Mint that 10 1933 double eagles had been discovered and
submitted the coins to the Mint for authentication. The Mint claimed
the coins as government property and a legal battle between the family
and the government began.