a new currency


The national headquarters of Liberty Dollar is housed on the commercial east side of Evansville, Indiana, in a low-slung beige strip mall with an awning that hangs over the facade like a hood. It sits between Strictly Shooting gun shop and a vacant storefront, and faces a service road, disused train tracks, and a state nature preserve cordoned off by a rusted chain-link fence. Though it looks like an average pawnshop, the nerve center of Bernard von NotHaus’s decade-old alternative-currency operation manages the production and shipping of several million Liberty Dollars—elaborately designed coins made of copper, silver, or occasionally, gold—and the sale of “warehouse receipts” redeemable for silver. After a bout with the law last November, von NotHaus changed the company’s name in order to make a semantic distinction between its product and legal tender, but business has only increased as the value of the US dollar has continued its forty-year slide. The headquarters in Evansville, a middling river city just across the Ohio from Kentucky, coordinates the nationwide circulation of the Liberty Dollars with offices in twenty-five states, acting as the hub for satellite communities from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, to Berryville, Arkansas.

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