US Coins

1933 double eagles coming to ANA convention

Three of the 11 1933 Saint-Gaudens $20 gold double eagles Fort Knox hold, including the latest piece recently surrendered and never before on public display, are being brought by the U.S. Mint to Philadelphia for exhibit Aug. 14 to 18 during the American Numismatic Association World's Fair of Money at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

It's been a see-saw over the past four months as to whether the nation's coin production bureau would bring any of the 1933-dated gold pieces to the convention. Mint officials initially indicated the 10 examples once owned by Joan Switt Langbord and her family were going to be exhibited. Now the number of coins from those 10 coins the Mint seized (which, after years of legal wrangling, courts have determined the U.S. government owns) has been pared down to two.

All 10 of the former Langtbord coins had previously been exhibited during the World's Fair of Money in Denver in 2006, a year after Mint officials announced they had "recovered" what authorities considered stolen property, since they maintain that none of the 445,500 1933 $20 gold coins were released through official channels.

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The third 1933 double eagle of the three to be on display in Philadelphia was surrendered to the Mint by an individual who did not want to possess a coin deemed illegal to own. Mint officials have declined to disclose when the gold piece was surrendered to authorities, by what means and by whom.

That 1933 double eagles would be brought to the ANA convention was announced in May, during a presentation given in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists convention in Monroeville by U.S. Mint Senior Legal Counsel Greg Weinman.

Weinman's presentation focused on the history behind the 1933 double eagles and his involvement with the litigation. At the time of the May presentation, Mint officials had not yet disclosed the existence of the single piece that was surrendered.

Research reveals that surrendered piece is the "mystery" coin discussed and illustrated in David Tripp's 2004 book, Illegal Tender. The coin had been privately acquired by numismatist Julian Leidman and two associates in the 1970s and offered for resale, and held privately since then.

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