Returned Liberty Dollars being hallmarked
- Published: Nov 3, 2017, 9 AM
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 American Eagles. 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.
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Von NotHaus and his Liberty Dollars have been both controversial and popular. The medals and their use made their founder the target of federal prosecution.
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.
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