Roger Burdette's Saint Gaudens Double Eagles Book
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2,276 posts in this topic

On 7/16/2021 at 8:27 AM, Ross J said:

While we're on the subject, I dislike the phrase "hoard" in coin contexts.  Every pile of coins that becomes "public" (after "discovery") becomes a hoard.  From Google: noun - a stock or store of money or valued objects, typically one that is secret or carefully guarded.  Since US Gold coins were not illegal (outside the country) They were probably not "secret" in the sense suggested ... just sitting in banks.

Yup, I kinda agree.  If  a few dozens Saints or Liberty's are held in European SDBs for a few dozen individuals, and they all pass on and are sold by heirs/estates at the same time, a single American dealer could get them and consider them a hoard.

Conversely, you could have the same amount of coins owned by 1 person and that is closer to a "secret stash."  That's more hoard-like.  Easier to obtain, too, since you don't need multiple sales, deaths, etc....just 1 family or person.

Even more so....if the new supply is large relative to the existing populations it stands out more as a "hoard."  In my 2 examples above, imagine the impact if they are MS-65 1924 Saints....who cares, right ?  But if you have 2 dozen newly found 1930-S's or 1931 Saints.....KA-CHING !! (thumbsu

On 7/16/2021 at 8:27 AM, Ross J said:

But how much more romantic to to say "the Central America "hoard" was "discovered" in a bank vault" vs. "A dealer went to Central America to negotiate and purchase an assortment of American Gold coins from a bank's inventory."

I believe that hoard was legitimate....El Savador was pretty much a classic 3rd-world non-transparent violence-strewn country.  Not too hard to believe about $1 MM face value in coins was stashed away by some corrupt government official or some military junta leader.

On 7/16/2021 at 8:27 AM, Ross J said:

Moving on, and I am not sure why I think this, but I somehow don't believe the "Saddle Ridge Hoard" story rings true.  It's all just too cute that a couple walking their dog find a "can" of gold coins along the road.  Was the so-called location on their own property? Something about that story makes me think it was made up to hide something funky about the actual source of those coins.... I hate marketing when it obscures the truth or attempts to "create history".

It did seem odd but I believe the coins and the couple were vetted by several outfits.  If there was any skullduggery I think something would have come out.  I do agree with you that the finding was a bit unusual. xD

On 7/16/2021 at 8:27 AM, Ross J said:

The impetus to do this is great. Think about how a good "story" makes a good coin great (and more expensive)!  What would a '33 Saint be without it's plotline and character's like "Izzy Switt"... it sound's like a Dicken's Novel!  Someday someone's gonna  make a musical out of that one.   If I had the talent I would give it a shot!

 I think the storylines are much more definitive and known and ascertainable with the 1933's than the murkiness that we might give the benefit of the doubt in the Saddle Ridge Hoard. 

To the extent we can't fill-in-the-blanks on the 1933's and the Langboard Ten....fairness (IMO) should have dictated a resolution or split similar to the Farouk-Weitzman coin.  Instead, the government lied, used heavy-handed tactics, smeared, and went judge-shopping to stack the deck against the owners of the coins.

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On 7/16/2021 at 11:00 PM, VKurtB said:

I’m never going to change my mind that gold is inherently evil as money. We finally figured that out for all time in the 1970’s, the same era in which I was learning economic history. All that meshuggas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries ruined so many people’s lives. Gold has caused wars and economic calamity like nothing else. Only fiat money and floating exchange rates has literally saved the world from a Third World War and another Great Depression that would have made the one in the thirties look like a spring cotillion. 

Yes... fiat money... the savior of civilization.  Lucky us!  Since we're all dropping quotes... "The opera isn't over until the fat lady sings...."

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On 7/17/2021 at 12:26 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

To the extent we can't fill-in-the-blanks on the 1933's and the Langboard Ten....fairness (IMO) should have dictated a resolution or split similar to the Farouk-Weitzman coin.  Instead, the government lied, used heavy-handed tactics, smeared, and went judge-shopping to stack the deck against the owners of the coins.

At the risk of making me (more) unpopular, I disagree about the Langbord coins.  The only reason why '33's are contraband today is because Izzy Switt lied back in the 40's about how he got them.  If they were exchanged in any legitimate way, and he had been honest about it, perhaps his descendants would be all the wealthier for it now.  Unfortunately, he refused to rat out McCann, and said he "had no more"... I also don't believe his daughter Joan didn't know about them in the safety deposit box until they were "discovered", coincidentally around the time the Farouk coin was auctioned.  She didn't go through all of her father's secret stashes when he died years earlier?

Papa probably told them to hold onto them until some future time when they might be sold under the radar, or the authorities wouldn't care anymore.  The Langbord's took a chance that the Farouk/Fenton sale gave them the chance they had been waiting for.  I still wonder if "ten" all they had.  I bet they kept back a few... 

  

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On 7/16/2021 at 10:24 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

This guy disagrees with you anti-gold people.  He also has a pretty good line to a British guy xD:

 

Oh yeah, that guy had his head screwed on straight, riiiight. You do know, I hope, that he was supposed to be the villain in that story, right?

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On 7/19/2021 at 7:23 AM, Ross J said:

Yes... fiat money... the savior of civilization.  Lucky us!  Since we're all dropping quotes... "The opera isn't over until the fat lady sings...."

The fat lady never STOPS singing. I’m STILL waiting for the inflation from the 2008-09 stimulus that kept upping metals prices because everyone “knew” it would cause inflation. :roflmao: The idea that it would was ALWAYS preposterous. Monetary policy seldom causes inflation. “Incomes policy” such as we have right now, is far more often the issue that causes inflation.

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On 7/19/2021 at 9:24 AM, VKurtB said:

Oh yeah, that guy had his head screwed on straight, riiiight. You do know, I hope, that he was supposed to be the villain in that story, right?

Yeah, I kinda picked that up. xD

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On 7/19/2021 at 8:39 AM, Ross J said:

At the risk of making me (more) unpopular, I disagree about the Langbord coins.  The only reason why '33's are contraband today is because Izzy Switt lied back in the 40's about how he got them.  If they were exchanged in any legitimate way, and he had been honest about it, perhaps his descendants would be all the wealthier for it now.  Unfortunately, he refused to rat out McCann, and said he "had no more"...

The government seized American's gold at $20.67 an ounce and then revalued it upwards to $35 an ounce.  They prohibited ownership of gold.  They confiscated hard-earned gold coins and bars.  Switt had dozens of gold coins in a suitcase/briefcase seized (about $1,500 face value as I recall) and given no compensation.

I think the gold collectors and gold bugs were justified in not trusting the government for a policy of dubious economic and constitutional justification.

On 7/19/2021 at 8:39 AM, Ross J said:

 I also don't believe his daughter Joan didn't know about them in the safety deposit box until they were "discovered", coincidentally around the time the Farouk coin was auctioned.  She didn't go through all of her father's secret stashes when he died years earlier?  Papa probably told them to hold onto them until some future time when they might be sold under the radar, or the authorities wouldn't care anymore.  The Langbord's took a chance that the Farouk/Fenton sale gave them the chance they had been waiting for.  I still wonder if "ten" all they had.  I bet they kept back a few...  

While it seems dubious that she didn't know, there's no proof she did.  The family apparently only went into the SDB at that time because the bank had a flood and needed to cut into the SDBs.  The fact that the government didn't contact the bank to confirm they didn't initiate the SDB visitation kinda confirms it.

I don't personally believe they have any more coins.  I think they should have only given 1 of the coins for testing, and held the rest.  Joan Langbord's husband was very trusting of the U.S. government and believed they would do the right thing -- the opposite of his father-in-law. 

That was a mistake.  The government lied about the status of the coins once they took possession and they also threatened Roy Langbord (her son), who oversaw the transfer, with arrest once the 10 coins had transferrred. 

They probably thought he worked in the pawn shop/jewelry shop (he had previously) and would be scared by their blowhard thug tactics.  Unfortaunately, they didn't know he was a lawyer with a degree from NYU Law School and so when they started to read him his Miranda Rights and tell him he had the right to an attorney he cut them off and let them know he WAS an attorney. 

They backed off right away.

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On 7/19/2021 at 10:46 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

The government seized American's gold at $20.67 an ounce and then revalued it upwards to $35 an ounce.  They prohibited ownership of gold.  They confiscated hard-earned gold coins and bars.  Switt had dozens of gold coins in a suitcase/briefcase seized (about $1,500 face value as I recall) and given no compensation.

I think the gold collectors and gold bugs were justified in not trusting the government for a policy of dubious economic and constitutional justification.

While it seems dubious that she didn't know, there's no proof she did.  The family apparently only went into the SDB at that time because the bank had a flood and needed to cut into the SDBs.  The fact that the government didn't contact the bank to confirm they didn't initiate the SDB visitation kinda confirms it.

I don't personally believe they have any more coins.  I think they should have only given 1 of the coins for testing, and held the rest.  Joan Langbord's husband was very trusting of the U.S. government and believed they would do the right thing -- the opposite of his father-in-law. 

That was a mistake.  The government lied about the status of the coins once they took possession and they also threatened Roy Langbord (her son), who oversaw the transfer, with arrest once the 10 coins had transferrred. 

They probably thought he worked in the pawn shop/jewelry shop (he had previously) and would be scared by their blowhard thug tactics.  Unfortaunately, they didn't know he was a lawyer with a degree from NYU Law School and so when they started to read him his Miranda Rights and tell him he had the right to an attorney he cut them off and let them know he WAS an attorney. 

They backed off right away.

There was a pretty stout Schuylkill River flood, but that was in 2006. It caused Penske Racing to move his Indy Car shop from Reading, PA to North Carolina about 5 months ahead of schedule. 

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On 7/19/2021 at 1:58 PM, VKurtB said:

I’ll put this as simply as I can, and I apologize in advance if this troubles @GoldFinger1969, but I believe David Tripp’s narrative and not RWB’s.

[I don't know who to believe but I love @GoldFinger1969's narrative style.  I suspect my 🐓's are envious of his love of Saint-Gaudens's golden eagles in flight.] (thumbsu

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On 7/19/2021 at 1:58 PM, VKurtB said:

I’ll put this as simply as I can, and I apologize in advance if this troubles @GoldFinger1969, but I believe David Tripp’s narrative and not RWB’s.

I don't believe in narratives per se -- but I believe the FACTS as outlined by RWB are stronger than Tripp's. (thumbsu

The government and Tripp's track record in record-keeping and facts with the 1933's is less than stellar. 

That said, I respect your right to go with whoever you think has a stronger argument, Kurt.

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On 7/19/2021 at 2:08 PM, Quintus Arrius said:

[I don't know who to believe but I love @GoldFinger1969's narrative style.  I suspect my 🐓's are envious of his love of Saint-Gaudens's golden eagles in flight.] (thumbsu

@GoldFinger1969 seems like a great guy, but he’s an über ideologue when it comes to gold. There was a very telling and infamous post over at Collector’s Universe. It claimed that the Langbord’s side was the HOBBY’S side. If that poster was serious, that’s about the silliest thing I’ve ever seen written, and it goes a long way toward explaining my antipathy with “the hobby” and significant parts of it with me.

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On 7/19/2021 at 3:14 PM, VKurtB said:

@GoldFinger1969 seems like a great guy, but he’s an über ideologue when it comes to gold. There was a very telling and infamous post over at Collector’s Universe. It claimed that the Langbord’s side was the HOBBY’S side. If that poster was serious, that’s about the silliest thing I’ve ever written, and it goes a long way toward explaining my antipathy with “the hobby” and significant parts of it with me.

Well, it wasn't me as I don't post at CU.  But I agree with the sentiment.  

You should be aware that various government officials have said they have the right to confiscate other special coins like the 1913 Liberty Nickel.

Respect for private property rights is the bedrock of the U.S. Constitution and the seizing and making illegal of gold holdings in 1933 was an abomination.  Imagine AOC or other socialists today declaring that private land ownership was illegal and you couldn't sell your home or land for the market value.

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On 7/19/2021 at 2:19 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Well, it wasn't me as I don't post at CU.  But I agree with the sentiment.  

You should be aware that various government officials have said they have the right to confiscate other special coins like the 1913 Liberty Nickel.

Respect for private property rights is the bedrock of the U.S. Constitution and the seizing and making illegal of gold holdings in 1933 was an abomination.  Imagine AOC or other socialists today declaring that private land ownership was illegal and you couldn't sell your home or land for the market value.

And I happen to agree that all 5 1913 Liberty Nickels SHOULD BE SEIZED. All are fruit of a poison tree. Their creation was a crime.

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On 7/19/2021 at 3:19 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

....  Imagine AOC or other socialists today declaring that private land ownership was illegal and you couldn't sell your home or land for the market value.

It was Dwight D. Eisenhower who was quoted as saying:  "If you want total security, go to prison.  There you're fed, clothed and given complete medical care and so on.  The only thing lacking... is freedom."

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I cannot reconcile fundamental logical inconsistencies by too many commentators. The VERY SAME PEOPLE who insist BvNH is a criminal and his pieces are counterfeit and shouldn’t be out there, are COMPLETELY OKAY with other criminally created or “liberated” coins being out there. “Pick a lane and stay in it.” My “lane” is government official misconduct should be treated akin to Treason, while private pieces need forbearance. You won’t see me vary from those principles too far.

Being a Mint insider, or an associate thereof, is being treated as a license to steal, and I cannot abide that type of thinking. We had a past Denver Mint Superintendent die and an aluminum 1974-D cent JUST HAPPENS to show up in his estate?!?! I only regret he was not alive to face trial. We at least had the sense to seize it from an auction.

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On 7/19/2021 at 2:14 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

I don't believe in narratives per se -- but I believe the FACTS as outlined by RWB are stronger than Tripp's. (thumbsu

I don’t see RWB’s alleged “facts” (as if…) convincing even a little bit, I do not believe ANY of the 1933 DE’s left the Mint prior to 1937. There are just too many coincidences required to believe otherwise. In order to believe they left in Spring of 1933, you have to believe that ALL of the players just happened to “stay cool” for four years until 1937 when the poopy hit the fan from several people at once. Nope, not buying that bull. I believe McCann liberated every 1933 DE that got out sometime in 1937, and that is AFTER releasing ANY date was unambiguously illegal. And you know what? My belief squares with all 12 jurors who heard the evidence firsthand, the trial judge in his rulings during post-trial motions, and the en banc Third Circuit.

It places me in opposition with MANY numismatic writers, most of whom have a private pecuniary interest in the opposite outcome. 
 

Am I comfortable there? No, I’m utterly ecstatic being there. Oh, it also places me in opposition with Judge Midge Rendell, and nothing could POSSIBLY make me happier.

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There are several facts that are not in dispute. However, there are fundamental holes that cannot be explained with available information, and all the original participants are dead. That something is not known, is as much a fact as what is known - only it has no content. Much of the "confusion" is a result of idle and uninformed speculation, and not to the realities of Mint operations or actions of law.

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On 7/19/2021 at 4:07 PM, RWB said:

There are several facts that are not in dispute. However, there are fundamental holes that cannot be explained with available information, and all the original participants are dead. That something is not known, is as much a fact as what is known - only it has no content. Much of the "confusion" is a result of idle and uninformed speculation, and not to the realities of Mint operations or actions of law.

Is that like “known knowns, unknown knowns, and unknown unknowns”? If this had been a “beyond reasonable doubt” standard case, I would fully have come down on the Langbord’s side. RWB’s testimony is/was sufficient to establish reasonable doubt. I have never disputed that. But the case was a civil trial, based on “preponderance” which every judge charges as “just barely tipping the scales”. And RWB’s testimony, while it presented a PLAUSIBLE alternative to the Tripp story, it did not reach the standard of more likely than not. The Tripp story is simply more likely correct than not. RWB offered a POSSIBILITY, but NOT more likely than not.


Yes, losing one’s property based on “50% + 1” is hard stuff. But under law enforcement seizure in this country, people lose property based on faaaar less every stinking day.

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Not that it will be convincing to people who have made up their minds otherwise, but the official provenance of the coin by Sotheby’s says that the transfer from McCann to Switt happened in February of 1937. Those who believe otherwise are running counter to what is now the hobby’s accepted story, IMO. Again, no dealing with “true believers”, but as far as I’m concerned, my belief comports with the accepted story. I seem not to be the outlier any more. People like @GoldFinger1969 seem to be these days. 
 

Now if @RWB is suggesting that a perfectly legal exit from the Mint was done in February of 1937 by “swapping out”, I’m afraid I find that too bizarre to entertain. Every 1933 DE passed through McCann’s hands, two to what eventually morphed into the Smithsonian’s Collection, and every other one, with NO exceptions, to Izzy Switt. If this were “normal procedure”, how on earth could that happen? Was Izzy Switt the only omniscient person? Come on! Museums were refused examples, folks. All the 1933 DE’s were illegally liberated from the Mint.

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On 7/19/2021 at 6:01 PM, VKurtB said:

Not that it will be convincing to people who have made up their minds otherwise, but the official provenance of the coin by Sotheby’s says that the transfer from McCann to Switt happened in February of 1937. Those who believe otherwise are running counter to what is now the hobby’s accepted story, IMO. Again, no dealing with “true believers”, but as far as I’m concerned, my belief comports with the accepted story. I seem not to be the outlier any more. People like @GoldFinger1969 seem to be these days. 
 

Now if @RWB is suggesting that a perfectly legal exit from the Mint was done in February of 1937 by “swapping out”, I’m afraid I find that too bizarre to entertain. Every 1933 DE passed through McCann’s hands, two to what eventually morphed into the Smithsonian’s Collection, and every other one, with NO exceptions, to Izzy Switt. If this were “normal procedure”, how on earth could that happen? Was Izzy Switt the only omniscient person? Come on! Museums were refused examples, folks. All the 1933 DE’s were illegally liberated from the Mint.

This is the kind of ignorant speculation referred to in an immediate and many other prior posts.

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On 7/19/2021 at 7:23 PM, RWB said:

This is the kind of ignorant speculation referred to in an immediate and many other prior posts.

Nope, just a story that is infinitely more likely than the one you spun, although NEITHER is provable. 

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On 7/19/2021 at 3:58 PM, VKurtB said:

And I happen to agree that all 5 1913 Liberty Nickels SHOULD BE SEIZED. All are fruit of a poison tree. Their creation was a crime.

Let's not go overboard here with tearing down monuments and landmarks, nilly-willy. The nickels were minted and should be preserved and exhibited for those of the numismatic persuasion.

(Let's not endanger our health arguing matters which ought to be resolved by future generations.)

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On 7/19/2021 at 9:30 PM, Quintus Arrius said:

Let's not go overboard here with tearing down monuments and landmarks, nilly-willy. The nickels were minted and should be preserved and exhibited for those of the numismatic persuasion.

(Let's not endanger our health arguing matters which ought to be resolved by future generations.)

Well, two of the five are owned by a single entity, the ANA. And they tend to display them lavishly in public  I’ve seen all five repeatedly. They aren’t going anywhere. At one ANA show, all five were present, and at at least two others, four of the five. They all were created illegally. 

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@GoldFinger1969 must be shaking his head... "Hmm, when do I interject, 'Back on Track' "?

@VKurtB (I am seriously considering barring you from engaging in  rambunctious and tumultuous exchanges which pose a clear and continual hazard to your health.  Is it really that important to debate matters that occurred scores of years ago? Don't forget: 5.5.

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On 7/19/2021 at 3:14 PM, GoldFinger1969 said:

I don't believe in narratives per se -- but I believe the FACTS as outlined by RWB are stronger than Tripp's.

The hobby has tremendous respect for Roger, the depth of his research, and his avoidance of hyperbole, very well deserved in my opinion.  That said, no one can know all the facts of a 80 year old case at this point.  It was a jury trial and the jury was not persuaded that the Langboards came by the coins "honestly".  Neither am I.  Though it may have been possible for some coins to have been exchanged legally, there is no evidence that Izzy got his that way...   and he offered no evidence that he did.  We know he lied.  We know he hid coins he was sure would be confiscated for 60 years.  Had he gotten the coins in any sort of "arguably legal" way, he should have come forward with his story.  Everybody forgets the real losers in this tradgedy (and no, it's not the Langbords who were prevented from profiting from their grandfather's shady dealings)... it was the 9 or so collectors that paid good money for the coins back in the day, only to see them confiscated and "melted", denying "their" decendants some wealth in the next century that would have been honorably passed on.  I don't know the subject as well as some, certainly Roger, but to use another another aphorism.  "You don't have to be a chicken to know a bad egg"

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Let's get back to talking about Saints.  Does anyone have an opinion about the "refreshed" 2021 Gold Eagle obverse?  Supposedly they went back to original galvanos for the re-boot (even to the extent that the new coin only has 46 stars!)

I think it is an improvement of the 1986-2021 "skinny" liberty cartoon version... what does anyone else think?  Sadly it is a restoration of the "Barber" design, not Gus's.  

Glad to see the "family of eagles" (yuck!) reverse go, but the big eagle head is a far cry from an obvious improvement.  The more I look at modern coins, the more original Saints I find myself collecting...  

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On 7/20/2021 at 10:34 AM, Ross J said:

Let's get back to talking about Saints. Does anyone have an opinion about the "refreshed" 2021 Gold Eagle obverse?  Sadly it is a restoration of the "Barber" design, not Gus's.  

[Holy cow!  This guy was on a first-name basis with arguably one of the finest coin creators of all time!  I dub thee Boss Ross!  Quite impressive!  (And sure to make the old fogies on the Forum, including me, feel youthful again.)]  :preach:

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On 4/20/2020 at 9:44 PM, RWB said:

U.S. coins were neither more nore less popular in Europe or South/Central America than those of other large countries. Bank and central national reserves held a preponderance of coins from Britain & colonies, France, and to a lesser extent Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, etc. As with the US, most reserve gold was in bars and earmarks.

South America tended to hold a greater proportion of US $10 than Europe, and also a large proportion of sovereigns, compared to bullion. I suspect - but cannot prove - that some of this was due to chronically unstable governments. Coins were portable, reliable and widely accepted (gold bars were suspect), and each petty dictator likely made off with his steamer trunks filled with coins at a whisper of the next coup d'etat. The Central/South American countries have also had very divisive economic/political structures - a few of privilege and wealth at the top and the rest barely surviving. (The key to a stable country is a large, productive meddle class.)

“Meddle class”? Dr. Freud, call for Dr. Freud on line 2. 

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