Philly Gold Heist Foiled, 80 Years Later

It has all the makings of the next Indiana Jones movie—or maybe something smaller, like National Treasure, only with fewer daring escapades and more bureaucratic accounting. The story is this: Sometime between March 15 and April 5, 1933, 10 rare “Double Eagle” gold coins were apparently pilfered from the Philadelphia Mint. And they stayed pilfered until 2003, when the grandchildren of a coin dealer named Israel Swift—a perfect name for the movie!—found the coins in a safe deposit box after his death. The government seized them, but Swift’s heirs sued, saying the coins had been legally obtained. Not possible, a court ruled: The Philadelphia Mint had no record of a transaction involving those particular coins, making it probable they were stolen. “This absence of a paper trail speaks to criminal intent,” U.S. Judge Legrome Davis Jr. wrote in his ruling. Making the whole story intriguing: All but a few of the Double Eagle coins were pulled from circulation by then-President Franklin Roosevelt and melted down to gold bars—leaving the stolen coins among the few survivors of that era. [Fox News]