Government Sued Over Liberty Dollars Seizure
By Joseph Goldstein
government’s attempt to stop a group of
gold-standard activists from minting an
alternative to the greenback is about to face
its first legal test.
A dozen people around the country filed suit in
U.S. District Court in Idaho this week demanding
the return of all the copper, silver, gold, and
platinum coins — more than seven tons of metal
in all — that the FBI and Secret Service seized
in November during raids of a mint in Idaho and
a strip mall storefront in Indiana.
The Justice Department had decided that the
coins, many of which bear the familiar symbol of
Lady Liberty and the phrase “TRUST IN GOD,” were
being illegally marketed as
government-sanctioned currency, according to the
sworn affidavit of an FBI agent.
The creator of the coins, Bernard von NotHaus,
who lives in Miami, claims that the federal
government is trying to shut down production of
his liberty dollars, as the coins are called,
because of the competition they pose to the
greenback. In recent years, his precious metal
coins have outperformed the dollar, whose value
has plunged in relation to gold.
The raids in November were the result of a
two-year undercover investigation of Mr. Von
NotHaus and how he sold liberty dollars. The
Justice Department has not followed up with any
criminal charges against Mr. Von NotHaus or the
regional distributors of his coins.
In the suit filed in Idaho, the various
plaintiffs say the federal government has no
right to continue holding onto their coins any