What’s the penalty for stealing coins from the Philadelphia Mint?
We’ll find out Dec. 20 when a former Mint policeman will be sentenced for taking $2.4 million in coins from the Philadelphia Mint and evading taxes on his ill-gotten gains.
The coins involved are reportedly Presidential dollar errors without edge lettering.
Rather than comment on temptation and human frailty, I would like to ask whether the Mint will attempt to take back its stolen property?
In light of the recent Philadelphia court decision denying the heirs of Israel Switt possession of 10 1933 $20 gold pieces on the grounds that they could not have left the Mint legally and are, therefore, stolen property, will the Mint prove to be as aggressive in getting this stolen property back?
The news reports indicate the coins were sold to a California dealer. That being the case, there should be ample records from which to trace a significant portion of the stolen coins.
Some might say that any Mint attempt to get its coins back could have a chilling effect on error coin collecting.
I would say just the opposite.
Coins legitimately found by intrepid collectors through exhaustive searches of the coins in the banking system otherwise will be tainted by the suspicion that collecting errors is a rigged game.
That shouldn’t be.
The Mint needs to make an effort to get back its property.