June 21, 2024

Government Brazenly Confiscates 1933 Gold Double Eagles – Bury Your Gold Deep

Nothing seems to obsess the U.S. government more than gold.  Could this be due to the fact that gold represents an alternative currency to the failing U.S. dollar, despite the assertions of Fed Chairman Bernanke that “gold is not money?”

The case of the government’s effort to seize 10 1933 Double Eagle gold coins from the heirs of a private coin collector highlight the unlimited time, effort and expense the government is willing to expend in their war against gold.  The heirs of coin dealer Israel Swift discovered the Double Eagles in a safe deposit box.  After voluntarily showing them to the U.S. Treasury, the government promptly confiscated the coins, claiming that the coins had never been officially released by the U.S. Mint due to President Roosevelt’s executive order on April 5, 1933, ordering all private citizens to turn over their gold to the government.

An in depth article by Coin Week examines the case of the 1933 Double Eagles and details substantial evidence against the validity of the government’s right to confiscate the coins.  The article also wonders what implications this case will have on future seizures of rare coins from private citizens and comments on the government’s decades old zeal in pursuing the 1933 Double Eagles.

“It is unbelievable to me how much the government has spent on this,” exclaims Dr. Steven Duckor. “It is ludicrous for the government to be spending this much time, effort and money in the 1940s, from 1996 to 2002, and now in the Langbord case. The government should spend money on more important priorities,” in Duckor’s view. “It would be okay to make a deal like they did last time. I would not mind some type of deal.” Dr. Duckor is an expert in Saint Gaudens Double Eagles. Among living collectors who reveal their names, he is probably the most sophisticated and widely respected.

After the government seized the Double Eagles in 2004, the Swift family heirs sued the government for their return.  Last July, after the conclusion of a civil trial, a jury concluded that the government had the right to seize the coins.  The case remained on hold while a federal judge considered subsequent legal motions filed in the case.  On August 29th, the federal judge ruled that the gold coins “remain the property of the United States” and that “Given the evidence, a reasonable jury could find that the ’33 Double Eagles were knowingly stolen or embezzled from the Mint.”   What a shocker – a federal judge ruling in favor of the government!

The case of the Double Eagle seizure is not an isolated incident and the federal government has become increasingly brazen about suspending or ignoring rules of law to settle matters in its own favor.  In a Bloomberg interview, Professor David Skeel says blatant violations of long established law principles by the government is starting to have a profoundly negative impact on the nation’s economy.

Will government gold seizures and other actions that violate principles of law continue to escalate?   We don’t even want to think about how bad things will get.  GATA reports today that in an interview with King World News , Marc Faber fears that “gold will rise so fast that governments will feel compelled to try to confiscate it from investors.”

The very thought that gold investors need to live in fear of their own government is a chilling thought.  Bury your gold deep!


  1. You need to research this topic a little deeper.

    Israel Switt was twice found in possession of gold coins (handful in mid-30s and early ’40s with 100 stolen gold coins) which were stolen form the US Mint in Philly. Both times he claimed he didn’t know where he got them from but acknowledged they were likely illegally obtained. 2 of Mr. Switt’s close friends (mint employees) were convicted of steeling gold coins during this period. Due to statute of limitations, Mr. Switt was never charged.

    Only man had the key to access to the 1933 gold coins at the time and he eventually served prison time for a similar embezzlement in 1940: George McCann. Pretty easy to deduce, Mr. Switt likely obtained the stolen 1933 Double Eagles through a relationship with the Head Mint Cashier and his close personal friend.

    Theft is theft is theft…no thief should profit $80 million. The 1933 coins were never authorized to ever be released to the general public. That is very clear. It appears pretty clear no one should have one that the mint can’t track. If you purchase stolen property and are caught, the property is seized and you’d be S.O.L.

    I’m not a big fan of the Fed. gov’t, but I think this one they actually got right…for once.

    • I think all American citizens, regardless of guilt or innocence are facing insurmountable odds when the Federal Government decides to come after you. For all practical purposes, the Feds are eternal and they have an unlimited supply of resources in the form of money, investigators, lawyers, legions of bureaucrats, etc . that cannot possible be matched by a private citizen. Considering the overwhelming mismatch of resources, facts of the case may lose much of their relevance.

      I am not an expert on the justice system but something is wrong when the United States has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. It’s a bit shocking to know that we lock up more of our citizens than countries such as North Korea, Russia, Cuba and other countries in which citizens lack many basic human liberties.
      Prison Population By Country

      Coin Week’s investigative report raised many doubts about the government’s case, especially since record keeping regarding release of the 1933 Double Eagles was spotty or nonexistence. This case is not, in my mind, about who gets to keep coins worth $80 million – it’s about the ability of a private citizen to defend himself from the overwhelming power of the state.

  2. Please, they were STOLEN, the government is not required to buy back their own property.

  3. In the 1930s, during the depression, a law was passed that made it illegal to own gold coins due to many people hoarding a lot of valuable gold pieces.

    However, when the law was passed, the U.S. Mint had already minted over 400,000 1933 Double Eagles. So, with the new law in place, the coins never left the Mint and were later ordered to be melted down.

    Some years later it was discovered that when the coins were to be melted down, the Mint’s chief cashier stole around 20 of the coins.

    It’s believed that he got away with it by snatching the coins from a U.S. Mint bag and replacing them with earlier dated Double Eagles, so that the weight and currency count would check out.

    Nine or 10 of the coins ended up in the hands of a jeweler named Israel Switt, who then sold them to individuals. 10 years after he sells them, suddenly another 10 are found … and who has them? Switts daughter!

    They’re stolen property and Switt hid them from the government.

    • Every cloud has a silver lining. Setting aside the issue of property rights, there is a blessing here. The coins are of such beauty, rarity and historical significance, it is best that the coins are now owned by the American public. There is talk of displaying the coins at the U.S. Mint or the Smithsonian.

  4. 2 things we should all take away from this:

    1. Never trust the gov’t. Ever. (Not with your healthcare, not with your gold, not with your taxes, not with your retirement, not with your air, water, environment, not with your energy, not with your education)

    2. Ron Paul was right.

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