To identify Liberty Dollar medals as those seized by federal
authorities in 2007 and now being delivered to their owners, Liberty
Dollar creator Bernard von NotHaus is stamping the pieces, upon
request, with a special hallmark.
Von NotHaus told Coin World Nov. 2 that he had received inquiries
from supporters of the Liberty Dollar that they wanted to have a means
to distinguish the gold, silver, platinum and copper Liberty Dollar
medallions being released under a federal judge’s court order from any
other Liberty Dollar.
Three rarities are identified among the smallest
Also in our Nov. 13 issue, columnists dissect a few poor attempts
at counterfeiting American rarities and explain an obsession to
search for surprise coins.
At an owner’s request, the Liberty Dollar medallions can be stamped
incuse with the hallmark MA, for “Monetary Architect,” the title von
NotHaus gave himself when he issued the first Liberty Dollars in 1998.
Connect with Coin World:
up for our free eNewsletter
Like us on
us on Twitter
Von NotHaus and his Liberty Dollars have been both controversial and
popular. The medals and their use made their founder the target of
Federal agents raided the Sunshine Mint warehouse in Coeur d’Alene,
Idaho, where Liberty Dollars were both being stored for those holding
warehouse receipts and ready to be shipped to customers who ordered them.
Von NotHaus was subsequently brought to trial in 2011 on charges that the Liberty Dollars
violated federal counterfeiting statutes. He was convicted on March 19, 2011, by a jury, “of making
coins resembling and similar to United States coins; of issuing,
passing, selling, and possessing Liberty Dollar coins; of issuing and
passing Liberty Dollar coins intended for use as current money; and of
conspiracy against the United States.”
It would take until Dec. 2, 2014, for von NotHaus to be sentenced. He was sentenced by U.S. District Court
Judge Richard Voorhees in Statesville, North Carolina, to three years
probation on each of the three counts for which a jury found him
guilty. The sentences ran concurrently. Von NotHaus was also sentenced
to six months house arrest.
Von NotHaus had faced up to 22 years in federal prison, the maximum
penalty sought by federal prosecutors.
Judge Voorhees ruled in late 2014 that seized property not deemed as
contraband should be returned pursuant to ownership claims.
Owners of Liberty Dollars who had property seized in the 2007 Idaho
raid had to individually petition the court for the return of their
property. To obtain the return, the owners had to produce evidence of
paper certificates that were backed by silver or digital accounting of
product being sold.
Von NotHaus said those buyers of Liberty Dollars who had orders in
process at the time of the 2007 raid lost the product as well as the
money paid for them.
Von NotHaus said approximately 500 individuals petitioned the court
for the return of their Liberty Dollars, with 265 of them receiving
almost immediate approval.
The remaining petitions are still in process at one stage or another.
Von NotHaus said the government-held product was being returned by
overnight delivery by a firm contracted by the U.S. Marshal’s
Services. All of the seized Liberty Dollars have been held in a
government warehouse under U.S. Marshal’s Service control in Dallas.
Von NotHaus founded the National Organization for the Repeal of the
Federal Reserve Act, or NORFED, to create and circulate the Liberty
Dollar. NORFED produced its first Liberty Dollars in 1998.
Von NotHaus dissolved NORFED as an entity in December 2006 and
renamed the business Liberty Services.
Liberty Dollars were typically manufactured as .999 fine silver
rounds (though some were struck in copper and others in gold) and as
paper certificates in denominations of $1, $5, $10 and $20. The paper
Liberty Dollars were backed by silver, and the silver rounds were
minted by the private Sunshine Mint.
According to von NotHaus, Liberty Dollars were made to circulate as
“private voluntary barter currency” and were never intended to be
mistaken for United States legal tender.