September 05, 2012
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Art Industry News
September 4, 2012 – Unearthed gold coins belong to Uncle Sam
COURTHOUSE NEWS SERVICE – The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has awarded the U.S. Government title to ten uncirculated “double eagle” gold coins produced by the Philadelphia Mint in 1933 and worth today approximately $80 million in total. (See ARIS News, July 7, 2011). The court presumed prior criminal intent because the heirs lacked documentation which showed a legitimate release of the coins from the Mint during a twenty-day window of opportunity in 1933.
[ARIS Commentary: The double eagle coin litigation is an extreme example of the critical importance, in this case it made an $80 million difference, of maintaining proper records and documentation for tangible personal property especially when ownership crosses generations, and when primary actors or prior owners with first-hand knowledge may be deceased. Collectors should maintain title transference records for all works in their collection; this best practice will maximize underlying support for trust and estate plans and facilitate the sale of works and overall underwriting of title insurance.] Access Full Text