I love this little case. A Texas man, Brent E. Crummey, sought to pay his school district taxes with $50 U.S. American Eagle gold bullion coins, and apparently have the district accept the higher value of the coins in the open gold market than their face value as legal tender. The school district said no, so the man sued.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, in New Orleans, ruled against the man on Oct. 2, holding that “as legal tender, a dollar is a dollar.”
“The legal monetary value of Crummey’s fifty dollar American Gold Eagle coin is equivalent to that of a fifty dollar Federal Reserve Note,” the court said in Crummey v. Klein Independent School District .
Incidentally, according to Monex Precious Metals, an ounce of gold was trading for around $829 on Friday. Crummey’s $50 Gold Eagles are one-ounce coins. But, of course, the school district wasn’t going to reap the difference, since Crummey was seeking to have each coin settle $829 (or whatever the market value was at the time) of his tax bill.
A version of this news article first appeared in The School Law Blog.