Rare 'Double Eagle' Gold Coins Ruled Property of U.S., Not Collector's Family

Family Loses Fight Over Rare Double Eagle Gold Coins

Berke would not comment on the case, and Joan Langbord — who has said she discovered the coins in her safe deposit box in 2003 -- and her two sons are not commenting either. An appeal is likely and may focus on the contentious issue of the admissibility of the Secret Service records from the 1940s probe.

If the government sustains its case, the coins are likely to survive in their present form, says Romero. "I believe that they're going to put them on display for the benefit of the people of the United States," she said. "They're truly national treasures."

In the meantime, Hoge says, coin-lovers can see the "Farouk Double Eagle" at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, where it is on display in a custom-made, bulletproof case. It was given on loan by the unidentified buyer who paid $7.5 million at Sotheby's.

"We don't know who it is, but we certainly appreciate the thoughtfulness of the buyer," says Hoge. "It's very mysterious."

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