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Liberty Dollar Creator Receives Lenient Sentence; Silver Returned

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More than three years ago, a jury found Bernard von Nothaus guilty for “making, possessing and selling his own coins,” which Nothaus had dubbed the Liberty Dollar. This week, a judge has passed a very lenient sentence on Nothaus despite pleas for a long prison term from the prosecution. More importantly, the judge ruled that the $7 million worth of confiscated silver be returned to Nothaus.

Nothaus was selling silver bullion coins that the government claims too closely resembled American silver coins. Therefore, Nothaus was a counterfeiter in the eyes of the government. The prosecuting attorney even went so far as to claim that Nothaus was attempting to “undermine the legitimate currency of this country,” and that this was “a unique form of domestic terrorism.”

Here’s a picture of the coin – anyone familiar with US Mint silver coinage can clearly see that the Liberty Dollar is different.

14 12 04 liberty dollar

The truth is that Nothaus simply wanted to get physical silver into the hands of Americans, while simultaneously educating them about the loss of purchasing power in the dollar. Nothaus’ Liberty Dollar was meant to draw attention to fact that the government had removed real money – physical silver – from its currency decades ago when it stopped minting coins with real silver in the 1960s.

An article from the New York Sun reviews the case and Judge Richard Voorhees’ sentencing from this week. It ends with some keen insights:

Whatever happens, the logic now is for the issues raised in the von NotHaus case to be pursued in the political arena. We are coming up on the 50th anniversary of the Coinage Act of 1965, which stripped silver from our common coinage. President Lyndon Johnson, who signed the bill into law, called it ‘the first fundamental change in our coinage in 173 years.’ He noted that during that nearly two-century span our coinage of dimes, quarters, half dollars, and dollars have contained 90 percent silver.’

“‘The new dimes and the new quarters will contain no silver,’ the president confessed. ‘They will be composites, with faces of the same alloy used in our 5-cent piece that is bonded to a core of pure copper.’ That is how the debasement began, though LBJ did issue a warning. ‘If anybody has any idea of hoarding our silver coins, let me say this. Treasury has a lot of silver on hand, and it can be, and it will be used to keep the price of silver in line with its value in our present silver coin.’

“It was a vain boast. At the time, the value of the dollar was more than two-thirds of an ounce of silver, as it was in 1792. By January 1980, the value of a dollar plunged to less than a 49th of an ounce of silver and even today has regained nowhere near its historic value. It is a shocking abdication by the United States Congress, a point that von NotHaus has thrown into sharper relief than any monetary gadfly has managed to do in years. That is no small achievement.”

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2 thoughts on “Liberty Dollar Creator Receives Lenient Sentence; Silver Returned

  1. Ron Neil says:

    When he went down, he was holding $165 worth of my coins, I paid for. Do you think I will get it back now?

  2. Alex says:

    I wonder if we will get our money or silver back?

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