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The E-Sylum: Volume 15, Number 53, December 23, 2012, Article 14

DO LIBERTY DOLLARS DESERVE TO BE BANNED?

As noted in the previous article, eBay and the Central States Numismatic Society have banned Liberty Dollars from their venues. Humbug! I'm too young to be an old hippie, but I think the government is way overreaching on this. I understand CSNS' position, but wish the numismatic community would take a stand on the issue. Fighting these fights isn't always futile. The hobby worked with the government to roll back oppressive rules on the trading of Confederate currency, and the lawsuit over the seized Farouk 1933 $20 gold piece resulted in its legalization. Are we all gonna be weenies and roll over on this one?

Probably. There may be a small collector community for Liberty dollars, but no powerful hobby voices with a vested interest. But if Liberty Dollars are banned, what about other alternate currencies, past and present? Are Ithica Hours counterfeits? What about Nickolas Veeder's Eutopia dollars or Lewis Feuchtwanger's issues? They were proposed alternative coins, too.

Their issuers were never accused of counterfeiting like Liberty Dollar maker von Nothaus, of course. With his wink-wink-nudge-nudge marketing spiel he built a multilevel army of distributors and shovers who eagerly bought the coins at a discount and resold or spent them at a profit. It was a scam masked as a political statement, and deserved to be shut down. But it's not the coins' fault. Von Nothaus may end up in jail, but his coins shouldn't be imprisoned as well. They are now historical artifacts deserving of a place in numismatic collections.

Liberty Dollar distributor card
A Liberty Dollar distributor's business card

liberty_dollar_group If you ask me, the prosecution's case against von Nothaus is like the tax-evasion gambit that put Al Capone behind bars. They couldn't get him on racketeering charges, but nailed him for tax evasion instead. With von Nothaus they couldn't find a crack in his free speech shield, but instead made a claim that his coins were counterfeits, even though they were no more likely to be mistaken for an official U.S. coin than a Chuck E. Cheese token. Seriously, do these look like counterfeits to you?

I feel compelled to state that the above opinions are mine alone, and do not reflect a position of NBS. I'd be curious to hear what readers think about this issue. Meanwhile, I bolstered my ephemera collection on eBay this weekend. Here are images of a couple different Liberty Dollar brochures and a merchant window sticker. Gee, this would help make a great exhibit...

Liberty Dollar brochure 1 Liberty Dollar brochure 2

Liberty Dollar merchant sticker


Wayne Homren, Editor

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