At his federal trial, witnesses testified to the Liberty Dollar’s criminal similitude to standard American coins. They said his coins included images of Lady Liberty and cheekily reversed “In God We Trust” to “Trust in God.” Then again, his coins were made of real gold and silver, as American coins are not, and came in different sizes and unusual denominations of $10 and $20.
In his own defense, Mr. von NotHaus testified about a “philanthropic mission” to combat devaluation with a currency based on precious metals and asserted that he was not involved in “a radical armed offense against the government or their money.”
It was, of course, to no avail; and in 2011, a jury found him guilty after a 90-minute deliberation.
These days, Mr. von NotHaus paces shoeless in a mansion, in the hills above the ocean, that was lent to him by a friend. His sentencing has yet to be scheduled, and this leaves time for reflection. He feeds the hummingbirds outside his window. He reads books on fiat currency. He is even writing a book — on the gold standard, of course.
“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 man.”