Liberty Dollars held by collectors may be subject to seizure as
contraband by federal law enforcement, officials with the U.S.
Attorney’s Office and Secret Service said Aug. 24.
Statements by officials for those two federal law enforcement agencies
seem to reverse the position taken in comments released from the United
States Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, N.C., and published in Coin World in April, that mere possession of Liberty Dollars did not constitute a violation of any federal statute.
That position has apparently changed, although officials of the U.S.
Secret Service — which would be the federal agency likely charged with
executing any possible seizures — would not provide any definitive
comments concerning under what circumstances Liberty Dollars would be
The revised stance is tied to the Liberty Dollar being determined in a
federal court to violate federal counterfeiting statutes. Liberty
Dollars, metallic medallic pieces, were privately promoted as a form of
currency that could be used in commerce as an alternative to Federal
Millions of Liberty Dollars in copper, silver and gold versions are in
the hands of collectors and supporters of the Liberty Dollar medallions
who have been concerned the medallions could be confiscated by federal
And that possibility is now apparently real.
Exhibit banned by ANA
The reversal of opinion surfaced after a Michigan collector sought to
display his award-winning Liberty Dollar exhibit at the American
Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Ill. Aug. 16
to 20. ANA officials denied the collector the opportunity amid fears the
exhibit’s contents would be seized off the convention bourse floor by
federal authorities. The collector had exhibited the collection in
various venues previously.
The collector, James Zylstra, had originally hoped his 11th time since
2009 in setting up the competitive numismatic exhibit of medallions
would be during the ANA World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont. Leading up to
the convention, as late as immediately prior to the Aug. 16 official
opening, ANA exhibit judges and ANA legal counsel A. Ronald Sirna Jr.
sought a written declaration from the Department of Justice that Liberty
Dollars could be exhibited for educational purposes without fear of
confiscation. No such declaration was forthcoming.
ANA officials also spoke with officials of the United States Mint. The
U.S. Mint’s legal counsel, Daniel P. Shaver, referred ANA officials to
the U.S. Secret Service.
As a result of not receiving a written declaration on federal agency
letterhead permitting their display, ANA officials denied Zylstra the
opportunity to exhibit the Liberty Dollars at the ANA convention over
concerns the medallic contents of the exhibit could be seized.