Joan Langbord and two of her sons, Roy and David, had sued to reclaim the coins, which were seized from the Langbord family in 2003. They plan to appeal the judge's ruling, attorney Barry H. Berke said in an email late Sunday.
Mrs. Langbord is the daughter of Israel Switt, a coin dealer and owner of a jewelry store in the 100 block of South Eighth Street. Switt, who died in 1990 at 95, had long been suspected by the government of secretly obtaining 1933 double eagles from a mint employee.
In 2002, the only 1933 double eagle then known to exist, a coin once possessed by King Farouk of Egypt, sold at auction for more than $7 million.
The next year, according to their suit, the Langbords found the 10 gold coins buried at the bottom of a family safe-deposit box.
The Langbords notified the government of their find, seeking to have the coins authenticated, and the government took the coins, prompting the lawsuit.
"In essence, both parties want the coins," Davis wrote.
Langbord said at the jury trial she had no idea how her father obtained the coins.
The family argued they were legally entitled to the coins because the government could not prove they were stolen. There was no way to know how they got out of the mint and eventually into the Switt family's safe-deposit box, the family said.
In a memorandum issued with his ruling, Davis said, "No 1933 double eagles were ever lawfully issued to the public; the vast majority were melted down and formed into gold bars following the Gold Reserve Act of 1934.
"Nevertheless, some managed to escape the mint.
"In the 1940s, the Secret Service traced the leak to George McCann, a Philadelphia Mint cashier, and Israel Switt, a coin dealer and the proprietor of a local antique store."
Davis agreed the double eagles belonged to the government, "regardless of . . . how the coins came into claimants' possession."
Contact Walter F. Naedele at 215-854-5607 or firstname.lastname@example.org.