Roger Burdette's Saint Gaudens Double Eagles Book
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On May 13, 2020 at 8:30 AM, GoldFinger1969 said:

Zebo, report back here or create new threads to discuss the book(s) and/or gold coins covered in them once you start reading them.

I'm about two thirds through Bower's book on gold dollars. It is laid out in the same format as many of his other books (year and mint reviews). Each year Bower provides an overall summary of what happened that year of numismatic interest and sometimes other selected items. I would recommend the book if you are interested in purchasing a gold dollar. I would also recommend that you should use the book in conjunction with Douglas Winter's books on the branch mint gold dollars. Combined - you should be very well versed in the subject and able to make an educated selection/purchase. 

My favorites dollars are the Type II dollars - especially from the Charlotte and Dahlonega mints, even though they were very poorly struck) along with the 1861 Dahlonega dollar (Type III) that is believed to have been minted entirely by the Confederate Sates of America (CSA) after they took over the mint. 

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"But wasn't some Europeans worried about the United States going to adopt the silver standard, even though in reality it highly unlikely (free silver movement), and increased acquisition of gold in response to the perceived threat of a silver standard?"

Nope. The only concern related to silver was an attempt to adopt a truly bi-metallic standard at a fixed, if fictional, ratio. France and the Latin Monetary Union had long before shown that such a system was unworkable. Members of the US Congress - Alexander Stephens principal among them - tolerated such nonsense as Wheeler Hubbell's Goloid and various other silver-gold alloys so long as it served their political purposes. Adoption of a bi-metallic standard never received meaningful support. Even if Bryan had been elected President, and proposed such legislation, it would not have been adopted.

Edited by RWB
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RE: "...1861 Dahlonega dollar (Type III) that is believed to have been minted entirely by the Confederate Sates of America (CSA) after they took over the mint."

This was likely done while the mint was under Georgia State control. [See Carl N. Lester, “An Illustrated History of the Georgia Gold Rush and the United States Branch Mint at Dahlonega, Georgia.” and Roger W. Burdette. From Mine to Mint. 2013.]

Kellogg’s final official report through April, 1861 showed deposits of 300 ounces of Georgia gold, almost $17,000 in coins and approximately $10,000 in bullion, mostly silver. This was sent to Confederate Secretary of the Treasury Christopher G. Memminger. On May 14 the Confederate Congress voted to close the Dahlonega and New Orleans Mints. Charlotte was used as a privately run assay office by Lewis W. Quillian, a former laborer.

If we accept coinage of 1,597 half eagles under the USA and 1,600 under Georgia, that leaves approximately 1,000 gold dollars - assuming the $17,000 in coin reported to Memminger was reliable. This is consistent with estimates by modern gold specialists.

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26 minutes ago, RWB said:

"But wasn't some Europeans worried about the United States going to adopt the silver standard, even though in reality it highly unlikely (free silver movement), and increased acquisition of gold in response to the perceived threat of a silver standard?"

Nope. The only concern related to silver was an attempt to adopt a truly bi-metallic standard at a fixed, if fictional, ratio. France and the Latin Monetary Union had long before shown that such as system was unworkable. Members of the US Congress - Alexander Stephens principal among them - tolerated such nonsense as Wheeler Hubbell's Goloid and various other silver-gold alloys so long as it served their political purposes. Adoption of a bi-metallic standard never received meaningful support. Even if Bryan had been elected President, and proposed such legislation, it would not have been adopted.

Good to know - thanks Roger. 

 

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On 5/27/2020 at 2:14 PM, Ross J said:

That must be the Greg Weinman video (counsel for the Mint).  I was at that talk!  He is a really nice guy.

OK, I finally finished the entire video. 

Weinman is consistent, I'll give him that.  He keeps repeating the Mint BS that the coins were stolen.

He also calls Tripp a "numismatist expert" which I think is BS.  He's not an expert...he's not Roger, or Bowers, or Julian.  How many books has Tripp written ?  How many coin articles ?

He also says that Tripp went over EVERYTHING.  Yeah...so much so that when he got shown the March 7th, 1933 letter authorizing exchanges, he called it an "orphan document."  That's called CYA...Cover....Your....xD.  Clearly, Tripp didn't go over anything.  He got caught with his pants down.

He also ignores the fact that the judge ruled out evidence favorable to the Langbords (I can't get the specifics because I can't find a trial transcript with the evidence list.  Maybe a lawyer reading this can help me ? xD ).  But I know that even lawyer Berke didn't do that great a job, because the clown judge even said so and he was clearly rigging the trial for the Mint.

The Fenton/Farouk Coin was also "stolen property" according to him -- but they agreed to split the proceeds out of the goodness of their hearts.  What BS....they would have LOST at trial thanks to the Treasury Export License document.  And they feared a decision that would legalize ALL 1933 Saints.

He says there isn't any ambiguity that they are stolen.....brazen.:taptaptap:

His statement on when the coins become "money" is not only wrong time-wise but wrong monetarily (this is at the 46:00 mark).  Even I know what he is saying is wrong without reading FMTM or the 8-steps outlined by RWB.

He says they were CLEARLY smuggled out (by George McGann).....but that implies they were NOT stolen.  Just exchanged in an unorthodox manner.

The audience really didn't challenge him except the guy at the end who brought up the 1913 Liberty Nickel.  Good News, the Mint is too busy to steal those right now.  Caveat Emptor....:)

Weinman kept saying "you probably know more than I do" on a host of other coins like the Liberty Nickel, the 1974 Aluminum Penny, etc....I'd say the same thing about his knowledge of the 1933 Saint-Gaudens, Mint practices, and the law.

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22 hours ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

 I don't think he was there when they were seized or during the trial....but he came from the IRS and is now one of their defenders. 

And his assertions in his presentation are presented as FACTS when in fact key points are more likely SPECULATIONS.

Rant off....xD

 

OK, I'm not taking sides in this fight.  I can see arguments pro and con.  I do know that Greg Weinman is the senior legal counsel for the Mint, not an IRS operative!  He was probably and primarily responsible for providing the legal team on the case with the evidence the mint produced.  He is NOT a numismatist or probably even a collector, which is why in his comments he remarked to the numismatic audience "...you probably know more about this than I do".  The issues of the '33's and their legality are not coin issues, they are legal ones.

Roger has more intimate knowledge of the trial, etc. but the evidence from all I have read (and I have read alot) is clear on a number of points:

1) Since there are no records of the 1933 coins leaving the mint directly (none missing from inventory), the only logical conclusion is that the coins were substituted at the Mint cashier's window: 33's for earlier dates.  Until Roosevelt's inauguration, these were legal transactions.  Almost immediately afterward, gold "outflows" were halted.  There was a VERY narrow window when such transactions involving '33's could have occurred and been considered a legal transaction. Coins moved from the Coiner to the Cashier as early as March 15th, 1933, right in the midst of the period when gold coin payouts, either directly or in exchange for bullion, were being prohibited by executive decree, later codified in law.  Clearly if any sort of swap happened any time after the spring of 1933, it was technically illegal.   

2) McCann (the Mint cashier) and Switt MUST HAVE BEEN the participants in the swap transaction.  No one really disputes this.  I believe Switt has been linked to all of the 1933's ever seized by the secret service... the original 9, the farouk specimen, and the 10 langboard coins.  Let's say for sake of argument that he HAD done the swap in March of 1933, when the only possibility of a legal transaction of that type might have occurred.  Why then, under oath, did he disavow any knowledge of the source of the coins that had been traced to him in 1944, and state that he had no more of them?  At the time, no one could prove that he was lying in any of his statements about the coins.  The subsequent Langboard "discovery" of 10 additional coins proves his second statement at least, that he had no more, definitely was a lie.

In my opinion, Switt's testimony is what directly destroyed any chance for legal status of the coins. Only he could have provided evidence or testimony of having legally sourced the coins he handled, and had he done so, history would have taken a different course.  Did he chose not to because he was uncooperative, or because he knew the transaction was shady/illegal?  He certainly knew the coins were valuable.  He definitely lied that he did not have more and then hid (at least) 10 of them away in a safe deposit box for the rest of his life.  And let's not forget the 9 collectors who purchased "his" coins that were forced to surrender them to the feds in the 40's and '50's.  Their heirs might have benefited handsomely down the road.  No one mentions them!

I do not feel sorry for the Langboards.  It would have been wrong for them to be enriched when other innocent parties and heirs were denied similar enrichment as a direct result of their grandfather's false testimony, if the coins in fact were procured legally.  Don't get me wrong, I think it stinks that the coins are not legal to own.  But I do think justice, was done in the case.  No one has to agree with me.

One last point.  Isreal Switt died in 1990.  The ten Langboard coins were "discovered" thirteen years later in 2003 (one year after the $7.5 million "farouk specimen" sale).  The coins were not included in the grandfather's estate obviously.  They would have made headlines... (and most likely been confiscated then).  Their serendipitous "discovery" suggests to me both calculated timing and additional "storytelling" on the part of the Langbords.  I personally just can't believe that Joan didn't know of the coin's existence until 2003.  She was alive through the coin's entire history and took over the family business.  It's a shame we will probably never hear the full true story (because it would require admission of numerous falsehoods), but it probably would be a fascinating tale and might actually make the family some honest money from the whole affair.  

switt.jpg

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"OK, I'm not taking sides in this fight.  I can see arguments pro and con.  I do know that Greg Weinman is the senior legal counsel for the Mint, not an IRS operative!  He was probably and primarily responsible for providing the legal team on the case with the evidence the mint produced.  He is NOT a numismatist or probably even a collector, which is why in his comments he remarked to the numismatic audience "...you probably know more about this than I do".  The issues of the '33's and their legality are not coin issues, they are legal ones."

He came from the IRS and I think he might have been at the Mint when they got the coins in 2005 under shady circumstances.  Maybe he wasn't the Senior Counsel at that time.  My point was coming from the IRS, he's not prone to compromise or recommend compromise.

"Roger has more intimate knowledge of the trial, etc. but the evidence from all I have read (and I have read alot) is clear on a number of points: 1) Since there are no records of the 1933 coins leaving the mint directly (none missing from inventory), the only logical conclusion is that the coins were substituted at the Mint cashier's window: 33's for earlier dates.  Until Roosevelt's inauguration, these were legal transactions.  Almost immediately afterward, gold "outflows" were halted.  There was a VERY narrow window when such transactions involving '33's could have occurred and been considered a legal transaction. Coins moved from the Coiner to the Cashier as early as March 15th, 1933, right in the midst of the period when gold coin payouts, either directly or in exchange for bullion, were being prohibited by executive decree, later codified in law.  Clearly if any sort of swap happened any time after the spring of 1933, it was technically illegal."

OK, I agree pretty much with everything you say here until the last sentence (more on that below).   Also, the coin-for-coin exchanges appear to be valid until early-April 1933.  And if the 1933's were struck on March 2nd as Roger showed, this was when Hoover was still president....if somebody (Switt ?) feared that FDR was going to ban gold or gold coins in a few days, couldn't someone have come in on March 2nd, 3rd, or 4th and done a coin-for-coin exchange then and there ?  I believe the answer is yes.

As for later exchanges....clearly, if you came in off the street, yes, prohibited.  Did that necessarily apply to a Mint employee like McGann or anybody else ?  I don't know....I've asked Roger about that, and it appears to be a gray area....suppose McGann or another employee told a higher-up "Hey, I want a few 1933's if they're the last ones, should I grab them now or later ?" and was told "You can grab them before any final melting, if it comes to that."  Hypothetical, for sure.  Impossible ?  No way, IMO.

Suppose McGann or another Mint employee had told a higher-up "I'm doing 25 coin-for-coins with the 1933's," got the approval, and then procastinated, never did it, and then did the switch in early-1937 ?  Maybe they told a higher-up, or maybe it was someone with access (or someone who asked McGann for acces, or maybe it was McGann himself).   Is that necessarily ILLEGAL ?  The coins weren't worth a rich premium at that time.  The gold books balanced.  Who was harmed ?

"2) McCann (the Mint cashier) and Switt MUST HAVE BEEN the participants in the swap transaction.  No one really disputes this.  I believe Switt has been linked to all of the 1933's ever seized by the secret service... the original 9, the farouk specimen, and the 10 langboard coins.  Let's say for sake of argument that he HAD done the swap in March of 1933, when the only possibility of a legal transaction of that type might have occurred.  Why then, under oath, did he disavow any knowledge of the source of the coins that had been traced to him in 1944, and state that he had no more of them?  At the time, no one could prove that he was lying in any of his statements about the coins.  The subsequent Langboard "discovery" of 10 additional coins proves his second statement at least, that he had no more, definitely was a lie."

I agree, the MOST LIKELY is that Switt and McGann worked together.  I think it is POSSIBLE and probably MOST LIKELY that they got the coins in March/April 1933...but it's possible that they did the switch in early-1937.

Here's 2 thoughts:  suppose Switt feared FDR was going to ban gold right away and got the coins when Hoover was still president (March 2nd-4th), or a bit later March/April 1937 ? Possible, maybe even the most likely scenario.  But here's another.......suppose McGann got the coins at that time....held them for a few years....and Switt bought them from him in early-1937 ?

As for Switt's testimony...he COULD be telling the truth, but I don't blame him for lying.  He didn't like FDR....he didnt' like the gold ban...he had lost 78 Double Eagles without compensation.  If he broke into the Mint and really did STEAL the coins, no sympathy.  But if he managed to somehow get them with a bit of a conniving Mint employee -- guess what, without that action, we wouldn't have these "national treasures" today.  They'd be part of a gold bar in Fort Knox today. xD 

"In my opinion, Switt's testimony is what directly destroyed any chance for legal status of the coins. Only he could have provided evidence or testimony of having legally sourced the coins he handled, and had he done so, history would have taken a different course.  Did he chose not to because he was uncooperative, or because he knew the transaction was shady/illegal?  He certainly knew the coins were valuable.  He definitely lied that he did not have more and then hid (at least) 10 of them away in a safe deposit box for the rest of his life.  And let's not forget the 9 collectors who purchased "his" coins that were forced to surrender them to the feds in the 40's and '50's.  Their heirs might have benefited handsomely down the road.  No one mentions them!"

Can't argue with your logic here.  Remember, this guy did nothing illegal and yet they looked into charging him with a crime (like they did Fenton in 1996 and maybe Roy Langbord in 2005); they confiscated (STOLE !!????) 78 Double Eagles because of a lapsed gold license.

"I do not feel sorry for the Langboards.  It would have been wrong for them to be enriched when other innocent parties and heirs were denied similar enrichment as a direct result of their grandfather's false testimony, if the coins in fact were procured legally.  Don't get me wrong, I think it stinks that the coins are not legal to own.  But I do think justice, was done in the case.  No one has to agree with me."

I don't feel sorry for them either, but as someone who's been screwed by the government's duplicity and double-dealing myself, I don't like it.  And the hobby would be better off if the Langbord's got the coins, they were sold, and they generated lots of exceitment for us -- and revenues for the government. 

"One last point.  Isreal Switt died in 1990.  The ten Langboard coins were "discovered" thirteen years later in 2003 (one year after the $7.5 million "farouk specimen" sale).  The coins were not included in the grandfather's estate obviously.  They would have made headlines... (and most likely been confiscated then).  Their serendipitous "discovery" suggests to me both calculated timing and additional "storytelling" on the part of the Langbords.  I personally just can't believe that Joan didn't know of the coin's existence until 2003.  She was alive through the coin's entire history and took over the family business.  It's a shame we will probably never hear the full true story (because it would require admission of numerous falsehoods), but it probably would be a fascinating tale and might actually make the family some honest money from the whole affair."  

I agree this seems fishy.  I believe they looked into the safe right about the time of the sale.  But Joan Langbord wasn't a coin person and Roy was in NY and wasn't in-and-out of the safe.  I'd need to know more about the size of the safe and the location of the coins.  I believe they checked the SDB records and it did appear that Joan went to the boxes at suspiscious times.  But it also could have been a coincidence.  If the family knew about the coins, they probably shouldn't have kept them in a bank (if the Secret Service suspected, they could have seized the SDB) but in the family safes at the store on jewelers row.

Again....I'm not saying Switt was an angel and that maybe the Langbord's had some knowledge about what they had (certainly, after 1990 when Switt died).  But it's clear with 100% certainty that the coins would have been destroyed if not for Israel Switt.  Another 50-50 split like the Fenton/Farouk coin would have been fair for all concerned (the government would have gotten 75% if you add in taxes) and benefitted the Mint, the Langobords, the Treasury, and the coin hobby.

 

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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OK.  I see I've touched something of a nerve here.  I don't believe any legal access to the coins could have happened before the initial transfer of some of them from the coiner to the cashier, which I understand was on March 15th.  I could be mistaken, but that is my understanding.  Also, whether one agrees or disagrees with FDR, the gold confiscation, whether it was constitutional or not, etc.  the fact is we live within a system of rules and laws and one takes risks when one operates outside of them.  If we all operate outside of them, total chaos ensues! The big picture at the time was the great depression, banks failing all over the place, and the bold (if extra constitutional) actions taken to avoid complete economic and social collapse on an international scale.  George McCann and Isreal Switt knowingly tried to take undue advantage of the situation by virtue of their special "access" to what became contraband.  Each eventually did get caught at some kind of wrongdoing.  

As to Mr. Weinman, I have met Greg on a few occasions.  He is an advisor to the Citizen's Coinage Advisory Committee, and is a lawyer by training and profession.  I believe he mentions in the video that he was involved with the story from the  Fenton/Farouk episode on.  He has no dog in the fight beyond doing his job.  Don't shoot the messenger!  As I said, he is actually a very nice man whose willingness to talk to us "coin types" and answer questions should always be respected, welcomed and appreciated.  After all, the Mint's position is half the story... and the STORY (as I suspect Roger would agree) is what makes the coins and the hobby fascinating!  And as to the 1933's, it probably isn't over.  Who's to say the Mint won't one day decide to sell the Langbord coins and generate the revenues you mention and make a few well heeled collectors ecstatic?! 

   

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On your other points....

(1)  I think your March 15th date is solid, but I believe the coins could have been sent to the cashier before then.  It really depends on if folks thought FDR was going to move on a ban quickly and folks wanted the coins in early-March instead of waiting until mid-March.

(2)  I agree with you on following laws, I just don't think any laws were broken, I think there were gray areas that occurred and the reaction (confiscation) has been an overreaction.  There was never a "NO GOLD COINS LEAVE PHILLY MINT AFTER....." proclamation that would have led to a black/white line in the sand.

(3)  I'm not sold that McGann and Switt did something ILLEGAL or AGAINST THE RULES, though they may have conspired to take advantage of the mark-up on 1933's.  But here's a question....if this wasn't "gold bootlegger" Israel Switt but a Catholic nun who collected coins, does anybody think the Secret Service and Mint employees back then would have cared ?  I don't.

(4)  I agree that Weinman may be a nice guy but he's defending what to me are the Bad Boys (apologies to the 1980's Detroit Pistons xD).  The manner in which they got the coins from the Langbords -- "open" to a settlement, just wanting to authenticate the coins, etc. -- and then doing a 180.....that's sleazy and underhanded.  And what about threatening to arrest Roy Langbord or reading him his Miranda Rights ?  They must not have known he was a lawyer.  Same thing they pulled on Fenton in the Waldorf sting.  And booting Roger from the CCAC ?  Wait, let me guess, they got  "coin historian" David Tripp to replace him.xD  

(5)  I agree, this story is fascinating which adds to the allure of the coins and is why we are typing here this evening. xD

These are ultimately GOLD COINS....not plutonium rods that can be made into a bomb.  Personally, I want the Mint to spend the $$$ and time on their website that crashes the next time they have a super-limited proof offering and it's gobbled up by the dealers and scalpers who can then sell it for 5-10x the Mint pricexD

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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3 minutes ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

Personally, I want the Mint to spend the $$$ and time on their website that crashes the next time they have a super-limited proof offering and it's gobbled up by the dealers and scalpers who can then sell it for 5-10x the Mint price.

AMEN!  and Yes, I do live in Pennsylvania where it's three minutes to midnight!  Going to bed!

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10 hours ago, Ross J said:

Coins are fun, no doubt about it.  The 33 story is one of the best!  Do you think the grandsons held back a couple of 33's from the ten they turned in?  Wouldn't surprise me!

No, I don't.  I think they were honest and upfront and thought the govt would be amenable to a 50-50 settlement.  And while I have no doubt that Israel Switt may have tried to unload the coins in Europe or in secret, I don't think the Langbord sons wanted to (and certainly not Joan Langbord).

It appears the boys acted like their father (who has his own great story, a WW II hero):  Stanton Langbord thought the government would do the right thing by the family.  His father-in-law, Israel Switt, was apparently the complete opposite and didn't trust the government -- or the Mint.

Here's another interesting factoid:  Switt may have been hated by the Mint higher-ups, but he was a VIP at the Philly Mint through the 1960's (if he was suspected of being a thief, why wasn't he banned from the Mint ?).  The Mint employees apparently gave little Joan free coins in the 1930's when her father took her into the Mint (wonder if the Secret Service is gonna come after those pennies, nickles, and dimes ? xD ).  Switt took his 2 grandsons for tours many times in the 1960's.  So the Mint employees apparently liked Israel Switt and his kid and grandkids -- it was the higher-ups who had it in for him. 

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9 minutes ago, Ross J said:

Coins are fun, no doubt about it.  The 33 story is one of the best!  Do you think the grandsons held back a couple of 33's from the ten they turned in?  Wouldn't surprise me!

I think Berke the lawyer screwed up during the initial handover of the coins.  He should have had it IN WRITING -- he's a lawyer, for crissakes -- unless they had a signed deal to split the coins or proceeds and that was signed.  You don't hand over all the coins based on "feelings" regarding a repeat of the Fenton deal.  You don't rely on "your gut" that the coins will be returned.

If the Mint wouldn't have signed anything, that was a tell right there.  In which case, give them 1 or 2 or 3 coins -- up to 5 -- and say the rest come out when a deal has been made.  Had it been me, I would have probably already hidden 5 coins where they'd never find them.  

Regrettably, Stanton Langbord's faith in the government was misplaced and Israel Switt was proven right.  That's why he hid the coins in the first place.

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2 hours ago, Ross J said:

Switt's testimony is what directly destroyed any chance for legal status of the coins.

You said everything much better than I ever could have. As I posted earlier in this thread, Switt could easily have just said "I bought them from the cashier", if he knew what he had done was legal. Instead, he behaves exactly like a criminal. He didn't technically lie though - his deposition was very craftily worded. "I do not have any records..." - well duh. Who keeps records of their theft conspiracies? I bet you remember exactly how you got them though!  "nor do I have any of these coins in my possession or under my control at this time" - the safety deposit box was in his wife's name, or someone else's that he trusted, or otherwise not in his possession or under his control "at this time". "Here Bob, take these coins for 5 minutes while I write this deposition under oath". I mean, come on. History has proven that 10 of them were soon in his possession or under his control again.

All this picking at little tidbits trying to prove that there could have been an opportunity to obtain these coins "legally" (OK, there never was such a window, there was a window of confusion), is negated by Switt's deposition.

The lesson for me is, don't do anything today that is going to screw over your descendants 70 years from now. Like stealing from the US Mint.

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6 hours ago, kbbpll said:

You said everything much better than I ever could have. As I posted earlier in this thread, Switt could easily have just said "I bought them from the cashier", if he knew what he had done was legal. Instead, he behaves exactly like a criminal. He didn't technically lie though - his deposition was very craftily worded. "I do not have any records..." - well duh. Who keeps records of their theft conspiracies? I bet you remember exactly how you got them though!  "nor do I have any of these coins in my possession or under my control at this time" - the safety deposit box was in his wife's name, or someone else's that he trusted, or otherwise not in his possession or under his control "at this time". "Here Bob, take these coins for 5 minutes while I write this deposition under oath". I mean, come on. History has proven that 10 of them were soon in his possession or under his control again.

All this picking at little tidbits trying to prove that there could have been an opportunity to obtain these coins "legally" (OK, there never was such a window, there was a window of confusion), is negated by Switt's deposition.

The lesson for me is, don't do anything today that is going to screw over your descendants 70 years from now. Like stealing from the US Mint.

The fact that Switt said he didn’t have any records doesn’t mean the coins were stolen, as opposed to obtained legally through an exchange. I have yet to see any evidence or proof that the coins were stolen. And supposedly-meticulous Mint records failed to show that any coins were missing. That seems to support the theory that they were (legally) exchanged.

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9 hours ago, kbbpll said:

... don't do anything today that is going to screw over your descendants 70 years from now. Like stealing from the US Mint.

Or yourself in the present.  Sounds like a good take-away to me!

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2 hours ago, MarkFeld said:

The fact that Switt said he didn’t have any records doesn’t mean the coins were stolen, as opposed to obtained legally through an exchange. I have yet to see any evidence or proof that the coins were stolen. And supposedly-meticulous Mint records failed to show that any coins were missing. That seems to support the theory that they were (legally) exchanged.

Bingo, Mark.....OTOH, the Mint says that their records are perfect.  OTOH, they clearly let some 1933's leave the Mint.  Instead of admitting their records are flawed OR they undertook some coin-for-coin exchanges, they instead come up with the cockamamie "the coins were stolen" excuse.  Except NO gold was taken in the aggregate since the books balanced (i.e., 10 ounces weren't missing).

Meanwhile....a complete bag of 1928's (250 coins) WERE stolen and their reaction was simply to try and get the head of the Philly Mint off the hook for being personally liable.  No interest in finding the thief, finding out how they got stolen, or finding the stolen coins.  Just pass legislation to get Dessler off the hook and keep looking for those missing 1933's.  Priorities !! xD 

Of course, the 1928's have never been worth more than their face value or bullion content.  The 1933's were worth a multiple of face value in the 1930's and 1940's.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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As several have noted, there is no evidence the Langboard coins, or coins involved in 1933 were stolen - except that they exist(ed) and were not supposed to exist. US Mint history shows many investigations surrounding weight and count discrepancies valued at a few dollars. Mint records are also reasonably accurate, given accounting procedures of the time, and there is no mention of any defect in count, weight or melting. The Secret Service was never contacted about missing coins during the time the 1933 DE were at Philadelphia. This is compelling evidence that nothing was stolen and no crime committed.

Likewise, there is no evidence of when, how, why or by whom the 22 (or more) DE dated 1933 were preserved, with except of the Smithsonian purchase made from the Annual Assay coins in 1934.

RE: "All this picking at little tidbits trying to prove that there could have been an opportunity to obtain these coins "legally" (OK, there never was such a window, there was a window of confusion)"

This conclusion is false. Gold coin was paid out for deposits for several weeks. This is clearly documented.

Speculations and guesses are fun, but please do not present them as facts. Extant USSS reports are NOT conclusions, merely information and speculations by investigators.

No further comments from me on this. The Supreme Court declined to hear the appear and the matter is ended.

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Back to Roger's Book, I would like to mention that his assiduous descriptions of die varieties helped me discover one of my own, which was very exciting.  Roger himself discovered some very strange 1922 S coins with obverse "filing lines" ... some serious die damage that appear as raised lines across the fields in multiple locations.  He postulates someone carelessly or deliberately took a flat file to an otherwise normal die.  The photo is of Roger's discovery coin.

for more information: https://www.ngccoin.com/variety-plus/united-states/gold-double-eagles/saint-gaudens-20-1907-1933/20322/

Note lines to the left of liberty's waist, behind her hair, by her right foot, and elsewhere.  I especially like the lines behind a number of stars at the top, as they make them look like "shooting" stars above lady liberty!  There was a Coin World article about his discovery around the time his coin was auctioned.  He speculated that very few probably existed as the 1922 S itself is a less common and once though rare date/mintmark combination.  

I began searching in earnest for other examples and found a few in auction records.  While looking for them, I discovered a variety of my own, another die damaged '22 S with a die gash behind the first "2" in 1922. (I hope they fired the guy screwing up those 22 dies in San Francisco!  Makes me wonder if there are other die damage 1922 S varieties in other series from that mint!)

Not only did I find a couple of auction photos, but around the same time I managed to "cherrypick" a raw example at a Whitman Coin show.  I showed my information to Dave Lange of NGC, and they wound up adding the variety to their Varieties Plus listings:  https://www.ngccoin.com/variety-plus/united-states/gold-double-eagles/saint-gaudens-20-1907-1933/820273/

NGC even slabbed the raw coin as the "discovery coin" for me, which is one of the highlights of my collection.

Roger mentioned in the book that he hoped his effort would inspire others to find more discoveries, and I was both lucky and happy to oblige him!

Just last fall I was able to find an unattributed (not mentioned on the slab or in the catalog description) example of his "filed die" variety at auction, which I was able to get for a reasonable price.  

I can't overestimate the "thrill of the chase" that variety collecting affords, and until more people find Roger's wonderful book, great opportunities are still out there!  

obverse roger.jpg

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10 hours ago, kbbpll said:

You said everything much better than I ever could have. As I posted earlier in this thread, Switt could easily have just said "I bought them from the cashier", if he knew what he had done was legal. Instead, he behaves exactly like a criminal. He didn't technically lie though - his deposition was very craftily worded. "I do not have any records..." - well duh. Who keeps records of their theft conspiracies? I bet you remember exactly how you got them though!  "nor do I have any of these coins in my possession or under my control at this time" - the safety deposit box was in his wife's name, or someone else's that he trusted, or otherwise not in his possession or under his control "at this time". "Here Bob, take these coins for 5 minutes while I write this deposition under oath". I mean, come on. History has proven that 10 of them were soon in his possession or under his control again.

All this picking at little tidbits trying to prove that there could have been an opportunity to obtain these coins "legally" (OK, there never was such a window, there was a window of confusion), is negated by Switt's deposition.

The lesson for me is, don't do anything today that is going to screw over your descendants 70 years from now. Like stealing from the US Mint.

KBB, I have never said that Israel Switt was an angel.  All I am saying is (1) he got mistreated when his 78 Double Eagles were confiscated (2) he had good reason not to like FDR's gold ban (my ancestors didn't, too)  and (3)  he clearly didn't break into the Philly Mint and steal the coins.

Is it possible that he got them AFTER a nebulous deadline for doing coin-for-coin exchanges ?  Sure, I can see that.  But my point is even if that was the case, at worst it was a technical violation.  Do you think if the Mint or Treasury or FDR himself were told that some guy in Philly gave 25 Saints with datemarks of 1932 and 1931 and got 25 1933's that they would have cared ?  Not a bit.  Had the Superintendent or head guy at the Philly Mint done this, or William Woodin (who allegedly had at LEAST 5 Sainits according to a dealer at that time), nobody would have batted an eye.

Again, who was harmed ?

The coins are called "national treasures" today by the Mint.  Well, we wouldn't have them without Israel Switt and while I could make the case for 100% ownership, I think a 50-50 split along the lines of the Fenton/Farouk coin would have been a good and fair deal to ALL sides. 

Instead, the government is a bit full of itself and thinks it should dictate the terms.  I disagree strongly. xD

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51 minutes ago, Ross J said:

Back to Roger's Book, I would like to mention that his assiduous descriptions of die varieties helped me discover one of my own, which was very exciting.  Roger himself discovered some very strange 1922 S coins with obverse "filing lines" ... some serious die damage that appear as raised lines across the fields in multiple locations.  He postulates someone carelessly or deliberately took a flat file to an otherwise normal die.  The photo is of Roger's discovery coin. ..Just last fall I was able to find an unattributed (not mentioned on the slab or in the catalog description) example of his "filed die" variety at auction, which I was able to get for a reasonable price. ...I can't overestimate the "thrill of the chase" that variety collecting affords, and until more people find Roger's wonderful book, great opportunities are still out there!  

Congrats, what grade is your 1922-S and when did you get her ?

I never understood how they made changes to an existing die using the tools of that era.  Did they have really fine files....and do it uner a microscope or magnifying lens ?  I mean, most of the changes to dies needed to be a fraction of a millimeter, maybe meaured in microns, and I didn't know we had stuff back then that fine.  Certainly, I would think you'd need to have everything enlarged to see what you were doing on a die whose total size was under 2".

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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23 minutes ago, GoldFinger1969 said:

Ross, congratulations on having NGC recognize the die variety.  Do you get credit ?

Not sure actually.... if these blog posts survive, perhaps!  I will probably mention it in my talk in August, and at the time I found it, I did email Roger and send him pictures (and thanked him for his inspiration).  Perhaps I will get a mention in a revised edition of his book?  In fact, I think I'm the discoverer "of note".  To be fair, a cataloger for an earlier auction example I later found did remark about the "gash", but didn't call it a die variety or reference other examples.  I think to truly deserve recognition for a variety discovery, you need to find more than one example (which proves it is a "variety" and not just an "error"), which I (and I guess Dave Lange) believe I did first in the case of the "slashed two"  

As I mentioned above, the first coin I bought... the 1924 DDO, I knew was a bit funky 50 years ago, but I didn't pursue looking for another until others described it as a die variety decades later.  This is why a comprehensive book like Roger's is so important.  It lays out the extent of knowledge to the point of it's publication, leading the way to further discoveries.  We all stand on the shoulders of Giants!  

I will post a picture of my "Discovery coin slab" tomorrow (after I get it out of my "Vault"!) :grin:

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Roger's book is THE AX on die varieties and Saints.  I wonder if it will spur new details on that in any subsequent DE or Saint books by Bowers or Akers/Ambio's successor.

To swing back to the 1933's just for a second.....did you finish Roger's book, in particular the 1933 section ?  Thoughts ?

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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Ross, I take it from your avatar that you have a 2009 UHR ?  I wanted to buy a graded one at FUN but believe it or not didn't find any good deals there.  So I bought a modern proof Eagle and my older Saints.

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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When (if ?) the DE book and others are updated/revised, all discoverers of new varieties will be credited in the variety description - but their anonymity will also be respected if that is their preference. (See the 1916-S/S new variety posted about 6 weeks ago for an example.)

Further, if someone identified the variety at an earlier time, but did not follow-up, I like to mention that so others can use the information. My feeling is that we have to preserve these little bits of knowledge so future collectors can benefit.

 

Edited by RWB
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13 minutes ago, RWB said:

Further, if someone identified the variety at an earlier time, but did not follow-up, I like to mention that so others can use the information. My feeling is that we have to preserve these little bits of knowledge so future collectors can benefit.

I found the information on die varieties very interesting but not my favorite part of the book, Roger.  It was a bit overwhelming to absorb ALL the information you included in each year's review.  However, I will be going back and re-reading sections and those on die varieties I will re-hit.

I commend you for your in-depth analysis of Saints.  I really hope the book spurs interest in Saints and collecting them (but only after I've been able to buy more for my collection at depressed prices xD ).

Do you know from HA how many copies have been sold ?  Or is that information proprietary ?

 

Edited by GoldFinger1969
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Agree with Roger that complete information is always preferable.  It is very hard to keep up with everything going on, especially when many individuals are doing independent research.  My research thing is Saint die varieties.  Roger's research is that plus much much more.  I have in the past and plan to continue passing on every bit of what might be new information I come across to Roger for his evaluation and/or possible inclusion with his own research and writings.  I'm doing the same with Bill Fivaz (author of the Cherrypicker's guide) and his team at Whitman, and would with anyone who might be interested.  Roger is sharing the recent 1916 S/S discovery with us!    One of the most rewarding things about this hobby is this sharing of information.  The more that is known about the coins we study, the more interesting they become. 

I don't think "credit" for small contributions (like mine) are important.  What is important is the opportunity to interact and discuss discoveries and other subjects with really knowledgeable researchers (like Roger) and collectors that share our interest and appreciation of the coins we love!  It's a great feeling to be able to add something new to the conversation, which Roger did in spades with his book.

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I don't think other books (like the Bowers one) will absorb much of Roger's new material as they are somewhat limited by format and are aimed at a more general audience.  Dave (Bowers) would do well to review Roger's book and update his "Die Data" entries in future revisions.  The David Akers books are pretty dated at this point.  Even the Cherrypicker's guide will limit what varieties they include, and try to pick ones where premium prices can be documented.  More on this in a bit.  Suffice it to say, Roger's book is on a whole other level from those "cliff notes" summaries.  Not to denigrate the others which have their purpose and following, Roger's is serious scholarship which I already notice being quoted in high end auction catalogs. 

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There is a market problem in numismatics that I like to characterize as a chicken and egg thing.  The Cherrypicker's guide provides a stellar example.  That one book (I'm wrong already...it's actually two!) is Whitman Publishing's second best seller (after the "Red" Book).  It has put variety collecting on the map during the few decades it has existed.  Coins selected for inclusion are chosen partly on the basis of the novelty of the variety, but mostly because examples sell for a premium in the marketplace.  Most of Whitman's "catalog" publications of this type are price guides, and the dramatic price differences between otherwise similar coins makes them go=to guides for dealers and collectors alike.  But therein lies a problem.  Coin entries in Cherrypicker's reach a wide audience, which generates interest and market demand that increases premiums paid for those coins.  But coins that have not previously demonstrated premium demand in the marketplace are less likely to be added.  Coin series that had enough variety "buzz" around them in the hobby (before TCPG) already had the market clout to get included. Think Morgan Dollars, Lincoln cents, etc.  Coins the CONECA (Combined Organizations Of Numismatic Error Collectors Of America) guys obsess over.  Likewise, series where little information is available about varieties have a tougher time.  The problem is information.  It takes a serious treatment (like Roger's book) for available information to reach the critical mass necessary for interest to grow and be noticed in the marketplace.  Roger's book, (and I believe NGC's VarietyPlus web pages), are the catalysts I believe to put Saint varieties "on the map" going forward.  Most important coins have important books associated with them.  Think the 1804 dollar, Gobrecht dollars, 1913 liberty nickels, the '33 saints, the shipwreck coins... books are validation that specific coins are worthy of study and command premiums by serious collectors.  Time will tell if I'm right about this.

Some other factors in favor of collecting die varieties.  They tend to be scarce to rare and outpace date/mintmark series keys in terms of price performance.  Lincoln cents anyone?  Would you rather have a 1909 S DVD or a 1955 doubled die?  Check your red book!  1909 S is $1,350 in MS63 ... the '55 is $4,000.  The real winner in the Lincoln series is the 1943 bronze cent, not a "die" variety per se, but a series variety nonetheless!  There are similar examples in other series.  Point is, in the history of most coin series, collecting usually begins with date collecting, proceeds to Date and Mint Mark collecting, then maybe proofs are added to business strikes, and finally, sometimes 50-100 years later (except in a few obvious cases) someone writes a complete study of the series including die variety information that adds the final definition to what is a "complete" collection.  I think we are just at that point with Saints.  I don't care if I'm wrong, because I having fun in any case, which brings me (phew!) to my last point.

Cherrypicking is the MOST FUN a collector can have, whether it's finding silver dimes, quarters, and halves in rolled coins or filling pennyboards in years past, looking for "W" mintmarked quarters today, or (in my case) looking for special rare examples of otherwise common coins that NO ONE has managed or cared to find in 100 years!  

---------------------------------------------------------------

And YES, i like the 2009 UHR and think it is the coolest thing the mint has ever done for collectors, even making them in sufficient quantity so everyone who wanted one, while they were available, could get one.  Thank you Ed Moy!  

     

 

 

    

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