Bernard von NotHaus, Awaiting Sentencing for Competing with the Federal Reserve with a Hard Money “Liberty Dollar”

Bernard von NotHaus, maker, seller, and advocate of metal rounds
under the name “Liberty Dollar” for them that might want to own
metal rounds, continues to be persecuted by the U.S. government,
and his tale
makes the New York Times today
. Excerpts with

von NotHaus
…is a professed “monetary architect” and a maker
of custom coins found guilty last spring of counterfeiting charges
for minting and distributing a form of private money called
the Liberty

Described by some as “the Rosa Parks of the constitutional
currency movement,” Mr. von NotHaus managed over the last decade to
get more than 60 million real dollars’ worth of his precious
metal-backed currency into circulation across the country — so
much, and with such deep penetration, that the prosecutor
overseeing his case accused him of
“domestic terrorism” for using them to undermine the

if you ask him…he will give a different account of what

“This is the United States government,” he said in an interview
last week. “It’s got all the guns, all the surveillance, all the
tanks, it has nuclear weapons, and it’s worried about some
ex-surfer guy making his own money? Give me a break!”….

At 68, Mr. von NotHaus faces more than 20 years in prison for
his crimes, and this decisive chapter of his tale has come,
coincidentally, at a moment when his obsessions of 40 years —
monetary policy, dollar depreciation and the Federal Reserve Bank —
have finally found their place in the national discourse.

Indeed they have, thanks to Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) who
understands as von NotHaus does that metals have a better track
record at maintaining longterm value than government fiat paper.
(See my book
Ron Paul’s Revolution

I’m surprised the Times‘s reporter apparently got von
NotHaus to use the word “coins” since whether or not these were
meant to emulate U.S. coins was such a sticking point in his legal
travails. He would always insist to me when we spoke that his
Liberty Dollars were to be called “rounds,” and were a “voluntary
private barter currency,” a phrase that appeared on the rounds in
later mintings.

Details on how vonNotHaus ended up in legal trouble, which shows
that it was having anti-government attitudes and “links,” not his
alleged “crime,” behind the prosecution/persecution:

Mr. von NotHaus placed a toll-free number and a URL address on
the currency he produced. If people mistakenly got hold of it, they
could mail it back to Evansville and receive its equivalent in
actual dollar bills.

Now jump ahead to 2004. A detective in Asheville, N.C., learned
one day that a client of a credit union had to tried to pass a
“fake coin” at one its local branches. An investigation determined
that some business acquaintances of Mr. von NotHaus were, court
papers say, allied with the sovereign
citizens’ movement
, an antigovernment group.

Federal agents infiltrated the Liberty Dollar outfit as well as
its educational arm, Liberty Dollar University.

In 2006, with millions of the coins in circulation in more than
80 cities, the United States Mint sent Mr. von NotHaus a letter
advising that the use of his currency “as circulating money” was a
federal crime.

He ignored this advice,and in 2007, federal agents raided the
offices in Evansville, seizing, among other things, copper dollars
embossed with the image of Mr. [Ron] Paul.

Two years later, Mr. von NotHaus was arrested on fraud and
counterfeiting charges, accused of having used the Liberty Dollar’s
parent corporation — Norfed, the National Organization for Repeal
of the Federal Reserve — to mount a conspiracy against the United

Von NotHaus, still free awaiting sentencing, has a warning:

“The thing that fires me up the most,” he will say, “is this is
what happens: When money goes bad, people go crazy. Do you know
why? Because they can’t exist without value. Value is intrinsic in

When the initial raid on von NotHaus’ operations happened, in
mid-November 2007, an ounce of silver was worth around
in “real” U.S. currency. Today, $32.14. Gold was
worth around
; today,

The dollar of 2007, meanwhile, according to this inflation
, is worth just 93 cents now. Just sayin’, as the
kids just say.

I have written previously here at Reason about von
Nothaus’ doings
and travails
, including the initial
and his