This is a troubling development: Liberty Dollars Not Legal Tender, United States Mint Warns Consumers But the troubling part isn’t in the headline, it’s at the end of the press release:
NORFED’s “Liberty Dollar” medallions are specifically marketed to be used as current money in order to limit reliance on, and to compete with the circulating coinage of the United States. Consequently, prosecutors with the United States Department of Justice have concluded that the use of NORFED’s “Liberty Dollar” medallions violates 18 U.S.C. § 486, and is a crime.
This represents a reversal from previous rulings from the gov’t; which has, up to this point, given the alternative currency movement a pass. Referencing the code, this appears to be the pertinent section:
PART I -CRIMES
CHAPTER 25 – COUNTERFEITING AND FORGERY
§ 486. Uttering coins of gold, silver or other metal
Whoever, except as authorized by law, makes or utters or passes, or attempts to utter or pass, any coins of gold or silver or other metal, or alloys of metals, intended for use as current money, whether in the resemblance of coins of the United States or of foreign countries, or of original design, shall be fined under this title  or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
But, I would like to know, how do they plan to enforce this? If I want to accept silver for my services, I’m not sure that they have any grounds for prosecution, short of a sting operation.
There is also the issue of use of the term “current money”, which is essentially defined as “legal tender”. Not a term used to describe Liberty Dollars.
If they wish to broadly interpret current money to include ALD, then it also applies to any token used in any business that substitutes for a fixed amount of cash; car wash tokens, bus tokens, arcade tokens, etc.
Maybe the mint and the justice department should have read the disclaimer on the Libertydollar.org website. They might have realised that this issue has been researched already.
“Gold and Silver Libertys are neither legal tender, money, “current money” nor coins; they do not resemble nor appear to be coinage minted, issued, authorized, or approved by any government agency; and do not relate to taxation or avoidance of taxation. They are privately minted one-ounce gold and silver examples of the goods on deposit for the warehouse receipts distributed by NORFED.”
Henceforth, all Gold and Silver Libertys will be provided with the clear understanding that it is NORFED’s intent that all Gold and Silver Libetys are provided as examples of the goods on deposit for the warehouse receipts distributed by NORFED. Of course, what you and thousands of other freedom loving, consenting adults choose to do in response to the government’s fiat money is beyond NORFED’s ability or duty to police.
The International Libertarian has an entry on the subject, as well as several pertinant quotes from Federal Reserve spokesmen (and others) who reviewed the currency and found nothing illegal about it.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if this amounts to anything more than sabre-rattling.