“People of the United States of America have been vindicated.”
This utterance came from Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Romero, the government’s lead attorney in the case Langbord v. United States after the jury deliberation said that the ten 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle coins found by Joan Langbord is government property.
For years, the government has wasted taxpayer dollars on attorneys, staff, investigators, and expert witnesses (the government paid David Tripp $300 per hour) to deny the numismatic world the coins of legend. For what purpose? As a result, the jury set a precedence by saying that these coins “left the Mint illegally and were concealed.” It is an argument that can be used to confiscate any coin or pattern that has left the U.S. Mint.
What does this verdict say about the five 1913 Liberty Head Nickels? While the 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles were legally struck before the order to cease their distribution and melt the coins, the five 1913 Liberty Head Nickels were not supposed to exist. The U.S. Mint was supposed to start striking Buffalo Nickels for circulation, yet someone at the Mint struck five coins using Charles Barber’s Liberty Head design and they left the Mint without any record of their existence.
What does this verdict say about the pattern coins that are in collector hands. None of these patters were supposed to leave the U.S. Mint. Yet there are records of patterns being given out as favors to “important people” to curry favor. Aside from being Secretary of the Treasury at the beginning of the first Franklin D. Roosevelt administration, William H. Woodin was a collector of coins and patterns he collected mostly while director of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Are those pattern now illegal since they left the Mint illegally and were concealed?
What does this verdict say about the 1974 Aluminum Cent? The U.S. Mint struck these patterns to show to try to convince congress to change the composition of the cent to save money. After they were distributed to congress as “demonstrations,” the U.S. Mint asked for their return. Not all of the congress members returned the coins and some ended up in collectors hands. Are these aluminum coins illegal since they were not legally issued coins?
With all due respect to Assistant U.S. Attorney Romero, I do not feel vindicated. I feel cheated!