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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 39, September 24, 2006, Article 17

DICK JOHNSON, BERNARD VON NOTHAUS AND THE LIBERTY DOLLARS

Dick Johnson writes: "Saturday a week ago (Sept 16, 2006) the
U.S. Mint issued a statement that the Justice Department declared
"Liberty Dollars" illegal for commercial transactions in America.
A little late, perhaps? These have been around since 1998. And tell
me, how can something be declared illegal that was never intended
to be legal tender in the first place?"

The news spread rapidly by the Free Market News Network:
Full Story

Their feedback was immediate. At last count there were over 32
responders venting their individual opinions.

E-Sylum has reported on the Liberty Dollars before (vol 8, no 51,
article 12). The following week carried a brief article "In Defense
of the Liberty Dollar" (vol 8, no 52, article 20) where one reader,
Bob Leonard, likened this coin to the Lesher Dollars of 1900.

Boy is there a story here! The Liberty Dollars were the invention of
Bernard von NotHaus. He built his own mint in Hawaii and has produced
a wide range of private coins. Believe me, Bernard is not a "nut cake,"
he is very determined man who accomplishes what he sets out to do.
He has my admiration.

Before Bernard set up his mint, he contacted me. We had a business
lunch at the Red Lion in Ridgefield, Connecticut -- the kind of lunch
that lasted for three hours -- it must have been fall 1985. He was on
a worldwide trip buying coining equipment and seeking information on
how to operate a private mint. As I recall he mentioned several
problems, one of which was who to engrave his dies. I gave him the
best advice I could.

He established the Royal Hawaiian Mint in Honolulu and struck some
very attractive private coins beginning in 1986. I suspect he sold
these to tourists who carried these away as souvenirs of the Islands.
I sold several sets of his issues in my medal auctions and corresponded
with him over the years. He found most of his coin artists here in
America, and overcame so many of his problems. There is a lack of tool
and die shops in Hawaii, for instance, he had to send his dies to the
mainland just get them "turned" to fit his press!

All the while he was issuing these private coins he was thinking about
the concept of money, its uses and the fact paper money should be backed
by precious metal. At first he issued paper money backed by silver
stored at Sunshine Mining in Idaho. He established an organization,
National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act
(NORFED), just for the purpose of issuing such currency.

In 1998 it was NORFED that issued the Liberty Dollar struck in fine
silver. His coins were just a tad bit over one ounce – his intent was
full value. Obviously the coins traded at silver bullion value. He
was encouraged with the success of these early pieces to issued
private coins in five, ten, twenty and fifty Liberty Dollars in
subsequent years.

These were not intended to replace U.S. coins (of token metal content),
but instead were offered to anyone at any transaction to accept them
or not, recipients’ choice. Supporters and detractors have been vocal
ever since.

These private coins are listed in the Krause Publication "Unusual
World Coins" by Colin R. Bruce II. There are ten pages of Bernard’s
Hawaiian issues and three pages of his Liberty Dollar issues.
Incidentally, it is my opinion this catalog is misnamed – it should
be "Private World Coins." The quantity of such issues from around
the world should scuttle the word "Unusual." You see, every private
mint wants to issue their own coins. Perhaps just like Bernard von
NotHaus did so well.

Visit the Liberty Dollar website: www.libertydollar.org  You will
find illustrations of both his Liberty Dollar paper money and coins."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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