MARYCLAIRE DALE

The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -A federal judge says a dispute between the U.S. government and a Philadelphia jeweler's family over a set of rare "double eagle" coins must be settled in a forfeiture hearing.

The judge ruled Friday that the government improperly seized the rare and valuable $20 coins from the family of the late Israel Switt and must seek forfeiture through the courts.

The family is suing to recover 10 coins they say were found in a safe deposit box in 2003. They asked the U.S. Mint to authenticate them but officials instead kept them on grounds that they are government property.

The government says none of the coins legally left the Mint after President Franklin D. Roosevelt abandoned the gold standard in 1933.