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Liberty Dollar - Federal Indictment
June 05, 2009

Bernard von Nothaus Under Federal Indictment

In November 2007 I wrote a posting about the government confiscation of approximately two tons of copper, silver and gold Liberty Dollar coins from Berbard von Nothaus's facilities in Evansville, Indiana. At the time I wondered how long it would take for charges to follow and today I got my answer. The Department of Justice under acting United States Attorney Edward R. Ryan brought a Federal Indictment in the Western District of North Carolina charging Bernard von Nothaus, along with Sara Jane Bledsoe, William Kevin Innes and one additional defendant.

The charges include - conspiracy and uttering and passing coin of silver in resemblance of genuine coins of the United States in the denominations of five dollars and greater and intended for use as current money, plus one count of mail fraud. So now, after a year and a half of the government confiscation of all those assets and materials, Bernie will get his day in court. I wonder if the Feds are giving back all the denominations under $5 and all the copper and gold coinage, since those don't seem to appear in the charges? I am also wondering how a pure silver coin of denominations $5 and high could possibly be mistaken for our copper-nickel plated circulating coins of denomination under $1? But that is the type of evidence I suppose will be presented in court.

Personaly I have seen both the notes of deposit and silver coins of the Liberty Dollar series and NORFED and I couldn't ever imagine anyone mistaking these items for U.S. currency. On the other hand, I know that people have chosen to accept Liberty Dollars in transactions and that is of course what is upsetting to our government. Liberty Dollars have intrinsic value, while U.S. coinage is backed mostly by faith in the government alone.

As a sidebar, I should note a few additional developments in the Bernard von Nothaus story. First, in the year and half since the initial confiscation of coins, computers and records of Bernie's Liberty Dollar business, their website has continued to keep people informed of the growth of their coinage. In particular, I found the Arrest Dollars quite interesting. Some of these new types are pictured in this posting. They feature a set of handcuffs privy mark - so we can assume that Bernie is maintaining his ever bouyant attitude!

Even further afield, Bernie has begun a second front in his testing of government and laws with the establishment of the Free Marijuana Church of Honolulu. With this new endeavor, von Nothaus combines his religious bent and search for enlightenment along with a third push for tax revolt and a new Tea Party Dollar issue which has been selling like crazy according to the website. This all harkens back to that 1968-1978 period of free thinking in American history and in Bernie's case, aslo back to the days of his Royal Hawaiian Mint, when fanciful coin products were produced for happy Hawaiian visitors. For more about that series of coins and medals check out Hawaiian Money Standard Catalog 2nd edition by Donald Medcalf and Ronald Russell.

For additional perspectives on the Liberty Dollar story - read friend and fellow blogger Dave Harpers posting on Buzz with Dave Harper.

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About the Author
Tom Michael has been Krause Publications primary market analyst on more than 80 world and United States coin catalogs produced over the last 20 years. He came to KP in 1987 with a bachelor of arts degree in history, a master of arts degree in economics and a history of coin collecting stretching back to the 1960s. He began collecting world coins as a child by asking friends and relatives to bring coins back from overseas trips, visiting flea markets and having his mother watch for foreign coins in her register at the local grocery store. Today he works with a dedicated base of over 200 contributors to provide accurate market values for the five-volume Standard Catalog of World Coins series, as well as many specialty catalogs, including Coins & Currency of the Middle East and the fifth edition of Unusual World Coins.

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