This week I finally had time to watch the movie, “Woman in Gold” on DVD.
I liked it.
It was a David versus Goliath kind of story.
A Gustav Klimt painting was stolen by the Nazis in Vienna in 1938. Approximately six decades later the niece of the owner makes a claim to get it back from the Austrian government, which has had it on public display for many years.
After a lengthy legal battle, she gets the painting.
Would they make a movie of the numismatic equivalent: the ongoing battle of Joan Langbord and her family to get the federal government to return 10 1933 $20 gold pieces?
I hope they do, but that will depend on two things.
The first is Langbord has not actually gotten her coins back despite a court order to the government in April 2015 to return them.
Naturally, the federal government doesn’t want to return the coins as it considers them to be stolen from the Philadelphia Mint by a dishonest employee who in turn sold them to jeweler Israel Switt, Langboard’s father.
She did not know the coins existed until 2003 when she found them in a safe deposit box.
After 12 years and the court decision in April, Langbord still waits as the government wants the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear the case.
How many more years will this drag out the legal proceedings?
Most coin collectors are rooting for the success of the Langbord family, but that has no relevance to the legal case.
Without a happy ending, how could they make a movie?
The second possible impediment to a movie is the question of whether coins are all that interesting to the public, even those that might be worth almost $80 million.
That is the odd thing.
The general public has less contact with great paintings than they do with coins, which are a fixture of daily life, yet they seem more interested in the drama surrounding great art rather than great coins.
Are coins and their owners just too ordinary for a movie?
Perhaps we will find out the answer to that question if and when Joan Langbord gets her coins back.
But that might be a very long time in coming.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
• If you enjoy reading about what inspires coin designs, you’ll want to check out Fascinating Facts, Mysteries & Myths about U.S. Coins.