In the fall of 2007, a group of about twenty New Hampshire residents got together to see what they could do to promote the use of silver as a trade medium. They set a meeting in November, expecting to come together to really ramp up the promotion of the Liberty Dollar. Unfortunately, the government decided to raid them just a few days before the meeting.
The meeting tone and agenda was quickly changed to "what do we do now?" Some analysis and discussion focused on two flaws in the Liberty Dollar model that the group saw:
- The U.S. Dollar denomination & price formula
- The centralized production and distribution system
The dollar denomination & price formula, while creating a strong incentive for using the LD in trade, also tied it too strongly to the government. Most people were also unsatisfied with the sometimes large difference between the spot price of the metal and the face value.
Most everyone agreed the centralized system was the biggest weakness. It gave the government an easy target to strike. It didn't take long to realize that a more distributed system would be at least a partial safeguard against robbery. It was also brought up that there is no real reason why money can't be produced by laymen.
This meeting resulted in a plan to design and manufacture a die set that could be sold or leased cheaply to anyone; who could then use the dies to produce their own silver pieces. A design contest was held, and eventually a design was selected. Concurrently, research into cheap techniques and processes for stamping the pieces resulted in a prototype die set as well as professional estimates for producing quality die sets.
While the prototype die set proved that a cheap stamping setup could work, the estimates for production of die sets were higher than expected. The realization that a cheap way to distribute production was not as likely as expected initially slowed down progress on the project, but it also ignited the flames of inspiration.
A New Model
One of the design ideas we'd had was to make the pieces square or rectangular, in great part just to differentiate them from government coins. It struck us that a bar the size of a credit card would fit nicely in a wallet, but a little calculating showed that in order to be strong enough to handle everyday wear and tear they would have to be too thick to fit more than one or two comfortably in a wallet.
But the credit card idea stuck, and led to testing out ways of embedding wires of precious metal into laminated cards. Our first prototypes were revealed at the 2009 Liberty Forum in Nashua NH, and got overwhelmingly positive responses. We did, however, realize that the silver wires used in the prototype cards were going to be too difficult to manufacture.
By the time that summer's PorcFest came around, we were ready with our first production run of cards. We made a big splash and proved that the model works.
Since then we have sold about $50,000 worth of our gold and silver cards, and we are aiming to make that over $100,000 worth by the end of 2013.