Secret Service Bans Liberty Dollars on eBay

Posted by Allison Crawford - Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Following a request from the U.S. Secret Service, eBay has begun enforcing a ban on the sale of all Liberty Dollar medallions. When contacted by Coin World, eBay spokesman Ryan Moore said: “The listing for Norfed Liberty Dollars have been removed as they have been deemed counterfeit by the United States Secret Service. Counterfeits are illegal and not welcome on any of eBay's sites.”

The following emails were sent to eBay users whose listings for Liberty Dollars were cancelled:

The United States Secret Service has requested the removal of all Norfed Liberty dollars on the eBay site as counterfeits. … Please do not relist this item(s). We appreciate that you chose to list this coin on our site and understand there was no ill intent on your part. Your listing fees have been credited to your account.”

Created in 1998 by Bernard von NotHaus, the Liberty Dollar was introduced as an alternative form of money for those who do not want to use Federal Reserve Notes. Norfed, formally known as the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act, advocated the commercial use of Liberty Dollars as a “private voluntary barter currency,” which could be used in exchange for goods and services with merchants willing to accept them according to the stated face value on each.

In March 2011, the Liberty Dollar was deemed counterfeit by a federal court in North Carolina. Von NotHaus was convicted on four counts of counterfeiting but has yet to be sentenced. Defenders of the Liberty Dollar like Nolan Chart contributer Dann McCreary, maintain von NotHaus' innocence. In a letter to Judge Richard L. Voorhees, McCreary wrote:

“Sir, my understanding and belief is that I (along with the other 300 plus million citizens of our country) have God-given natural rights to voluntarily exchange property among ourselves privately and without interference by the federal government. Having reviewed the history of the Liberty Dollar, I see nothing at all that exceeds those rights.”

In fact, local currencies have been successful in communities around the country with the significant difference being that these currencies are not coins, but rather printed notes that do not resemble U.S. currency. These have garnered success in places like Ithaca, New York where “Ithaca Hours” have become one of the most widely used local currency systems in the country. These systems allow individuals in a community to support local businesses and strengthen their neighborhoods as well as reduce reliance on large corporate banks.

Obviously the idea of local currency has been around for a long time and historically they do pop up in times of economic uncertainty,” said Julie Gouldener, program coordinator of the Baltimore Green Currency Association.

“We view the complementary currency as a win-win. It's not meant to replace the U.S. dollar. It's meant to exist alongside it and build more local wealth.”

But apparently, as far as precious-metal backed systems like Liberty Dollars go, this is not how the government sees it.

As of yet, Coin World has not received a response to inquiries about the future of Liberty Dollars in the hands of collectors from the Secret Service's Office of Public Affairs or the U.S. Attorney's Office in Charlotte, N.C. It is still unclear whether the pieces are legal to own, sell, distribute or exhibit for educational purposes, or if authorities seek to seize medallions already in private hands.

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