• Bill Gibbs

    Bill’s Corner


    William is the managing editor, appointed to that position on May 1,2015, after serving as news editor for many years. He joined the Coin World editorial staff in 1976 as an assistant editor for "Collectors' Clearinghouse." Bill manages the editorial staff and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the print and online editorial content of Coin World. He serves as chief copy editor for all Coin World publications and directs  ditorial production aspects of Coin World. He has served as lead copy editor for all books published by Coin World since 1985. Bill began collecting coins at age 10. He is a graduate of Bowling Green State University and majored in journalism.

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  • The saga of the 1933 double eagles is our Jarndyce v. Jarndyce

    The government has asked for a rehearing of the April 17 decision of a three-judge panel in the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit awarding 10 1933 double eagles to the Langbord family. Illustrated is one of the 10 coins in dispute. Images by Tom Mulvaney courtesy of U.S. Mint.

    Images by Tom Mulvaney courtesy of U.S. Mint.

    The ongoing legal tussle between the federal government and the Langbord family is starting to feel like the celebrated Jarndyce v. Jarndyce case that is the focal point of the novel Bleak House

    Charles Dickens’ fictional lawsuit involves a large inheritance, not unlike the case involving the 1933 double eagles, though the case in the novel lasted generations before its conclusion. In contrast, the current case involving the 1933 double eagles is merely 12 years old, starting in 2003 when the Langbords revealed the discovery of 10 of the coins and the Mint announced that it was keeping them.

    Still, Coin World has been reporting on legal cases involving ownership of 1933 double eagles for more than a generation. In 1996, one of the coins was recovered from a British coin dealer in a sting operation. The dealer and the government fought a legal battle until 2001, when both parties agreed to a public sale of the coin with the proceeds to be split 50–50 between the two; the sale occurred in 2002.


    And several decades before that, collectors, dealers, and the government fought over 10 other 1933 double eagles sold into the marketplace by the now-deceased father and grandfather of the three Langbords involved in the current case. The earlier cases began in 1944 and did not end until 1952, when a ninth coin was surrendered by its owner, and 1954, when the 10th coin, purported to be the piece sold in 2002, was withdrawn from the collection of Egypt’s King Farouk and went into hiding.


    If one considers 1944 as the true starting date for the current battle, it truly is becoming the hobby’s Jarndyce v. Jarndyce.