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V14 2011 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 15, April 10, 2011, Article 15

UPDATE ON LIBERTY DOLLAR PROMOTER BERNARD VON NOTHAUS

Coin Update published a link to this local newspaper article with more information about Bernard von Nothaus of "Liberty Dollar" fame. The "high priest"??? He MUST have been smoking something ... -Editor

Bernard von Nothaus Federal prosecutors go to court in North Carolina on Monday in an attempt to obtain government ownership of an estimated $7 million in "Liberty Dollars" and silver bullion seized as contraband at a private mint in Coeur d'Alene.

The forfeiture action comes 17 days after a jury in U.S. District Court in Statesville, N.C., convicted Bernard von NotHaus of conspiring against the U.S. government and manufacturing and selling counterfeit coins.

The case against the 67-year-old is believed to be the first time the Justice Department has brought a successful criminal prosecution against someone minting, selling and circulating coins in direct competition with the U.S. Mint and Federal Reserve.

The coins and silver, gold, platinum and copper that will be the focus of the forfeiture hearing are owned by von NotHaus and an estimated 250,000 purchasers throughout the United States who left their Liberty coins at Sunshine Minting for safekeeping, not realizing they would be seized as contraband, said Michel, of Charlotte, N.C.

The jury conviction of von NotHaus comes six years after the start of a joint investigation by the FBI and U.S. Secret Service into his nationwide Liberty Dollar operation.

During that time, von NotHaus went from promoting private coinage to promoting marijuana as a religious drug. He started the "Free Marijuana Church" in Honolulu, giving away joints and calling himself a "high priest" who had used pot for 40 years.

In 1998, while living in Hawaii, von NotHaus founded NORFED (the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and Internal Revenue Code) and began printing his own currency and minting coins.

His Liberty coins, manufactured at the mint in Coeur d'Alene, were marked with a "$," the word "dollar," USA and "Trust in God" instead of "In God We Trust," which is found on U.S. coinage.

The private coin and currency operation would be to the Federal Reserve what FedEx became to the U.S. Postal Service, von NotHaus boasted a decade ago.

Quickly, von NotHaus and NORFED became icons in anti-tax and radical sovereign citizen movements throughout the United States.

The criminal indictment brought against von NotHaus only involved coins he manufactured, not the companion paper currency.

Included on the forfeiture list are 8 tons of precious metals, including 168,599 silver Liberty Dollars in various denominations, an additional 1,000 pounds of silver bullion and 3,039 pounds of copper coins.

Initially, the value of silver in the Liberty Dollars was less than their face value, and von NotHaus eagerly took Federal Reserve notes for their purchase. Over the past years, the value of silver has risen from $20 to about $35 an ounce, so the government-seized contraband now has a higher value.

With the Liberty Dollars now viewed as contraband by the federal government, their numismatic value to some coin collectors is reportedly skyrocketing.

"They're sort of treating these Liberty Dollars like they were cocaine you know, illegal," Michel said. "That's certain to drive the price up."

What are E-Sylum readers seeing in the marketplace? Is there any increased demand for "Liberty Dollar" currency? I have a few examples of both the coins and paper money, figuring they'd always have an interesting story even if they never became valuable. -Editor

To read the complete article, see: Bogus coins, bullion seized in CdA focus of federal action (www.spokesman.com/stories/2011/apr/03/bogus-coins-bullion-
seized-in-cda-become-focus-of/)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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