Skip to comments.One Very Strange Use For Silver Coins
Posted on 10/04/2012 2:24:29 PM PDT by blam
One Very Strange Use For Silver Coins
October 4, 2012
Corruptissima republica plurimae leges. [The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the state.] -Tacitus, the Annals ca. AD 69
The nature of what is legal has become a truly bizarre concept these days. Developed nations of the west have hundreds of thousands of pages of rules, codes, regulations, laws, decrees, executive orders, etc., many of which are contradictory, archaic, and incomprehensible.
Across these free nations, the law is selectively enforced, selectively applied, and completely set aside whenever it pleases the state. As such, even the most harmless of activities (operating a lemonade stand, collecting rainwater, etc.) can be cast as illegal while the direct theft of peoples wealth through taxes and manipulation of the currency is considered legal.
There is no morality anymore in the law. And even still, whatever few activities may still be considered legal are subject to consequences if the enforcers simply decide they dont like it.
I have a good friend you might like to hear from on the subject; his name is Jake Lawless (an assumed pen name for reasons which will become obvious), and he is a bit of a master when it comes to skirting the line between whats legal, and what they just dont like.
In Jakes words:
Im a beneficiary of mortgage brokers who believed that housing prices would rise forever. The US real estate crash, plus high gas prices, forced a lot of people to sell their luxury vehicles and the sudden glut caused prices to fall dramatically.
I didnt think much about the market for pre-owned luxury cars until one day an engine fire from a cracked turbo manifold in my truck left me stranded. After a days search, I found a beautiful car for sale in Nevada, and the asking price was a fraction of the pre-crash peak.
I then contacted the dealer, wired a $500 deposit, and bought a ticket to Las Vegas all after explaining that I wanted to purchase the vehicle with pre-1965 US quarters.
You may know that, before 1965, many US coins had a very high silver content. As such, they had intrinsic value real worth, completely independent of faith or because we decree it thus.
I put roughly 4,000 of these quarters (~$1000 of face value) in a carry-on bag and headed to the airport. The quick math is this 4,000 pre-1965 quarters contains 715 ounces of silver. At the time, silver was about $35/ounce, so 715 ounces was worth $25,000. In other words, every single quarter had a silver content worth about $6.25.
At the airport, I played my part in security theatre, dutifully removing my shoes after heaving my luggage onto the conveyor. There was a flurry of activity on other side of the x-ray machine. A crack TSA operative stormed up, indignant. WHOA sir I have to inspect your luggage.
Mind you, there is no law against transporting 54 pounds (24.5 kg) of quarters onto an airplane, but that didnt seem to matter. He just didnt like it. The TSA guy opened my luggage to find a ziptied cloth bag labelled $1000″.
Whats this all about?
Thats a bag of quarters. Im on my way to Vegas, I said, showing my boarding pass. I have a system for playing the slots.
Wow will you go through all these?
Heck, no. I plan on coming back with even more. I told you, Ive got a system. I cant lose!
Can I cut the zip tie off and have a look?
Id rather you didnt, unless you have another zip tie I dont want 4000 quarters rolling all over the plane.
TSA guy demurred. Oh, ok. Well, good luck. Hope you win big!
Upon arrival to Las Vegas, the dealer picked me up and drove us directly to a coin shop. I gave him the coins, around $1,000 in face value, and he handed them to the clerk who promptly issued a check for roughly $25,000 made out to the dealer.
It was a legitimate swap $1,500 worth of legal tender changed hands (my $500 original deposit plus another roughly $1,000 in face value of the pre-1965 quarters), plus value-for-value was bartered between two grown adults.
I drove away with a bill of sale for $1,500, which I then submitted to my state DMV authorities as a basis for them charging me a vehicle tax. Frankly, I think this is highway robbery. Why my state has its hand out every time two individuals conduct a private transaction is beyond me.
But what can anyone do about it? Lobby the state legislature? Rock the vote? Protest and hope we dont get arrested, beaten, or shot by those sworn to protect and to serve? Give someone at the DMV a stern lecture about economic freedom?
Trying to change this system is a waste of resources. Its a race that everyone will lose. Besides, you could spend your whole life lobbying to change one law, and by the time you succeed, theyll have already passed another 10,000 new, even dumber laws.
Fact is, no one can do anything about this. Just like nobody can prevent Ben Bernanke from dropping money from helicopters. We cant stop the price rises from monetary inflation, we cant stop out of control spending (and theft) at all levels of government.
What we CAN do is take sensible steps to protect whats ours
and then use their own stupid rules against them. Its a much easier way to win.
There was a contractor in the northeast (IIRC) that paid all his subcontractors in gold coins. He and those that received the coins to tax authorities at face value.
He was arrested for tax fraud, I believe.
I’m all about doing it without reporting it. Simple barter.
Coins to = coins reported the transaction to
In my state the DMV goes by NADA or KBB not what you actually paid for the vehicle.
Makes me wonder if your state gives NADA and/or KBB a little special consideration to keep values artificially high for tax purposes. This sort of thing really lends itself to graft.
The TSA will start to get wise to this stuff and have coin experts availible to assess the actual value of the coins. If they determine that the value is high, they will suspect illegal activity and then your coins may be confiscated.
Better to drive to your location and put your loot in the trunk. At least at this point, provided that they don’t ramp up check points and you don’t speed, you have a better chance of avoiding detection.
When I bought my last pickup, it was only a couple hundred bucks above the state’s flat fee maximum, so I asked the dealer how much he paid to get the vehicle ready for sale, which was an estimated $500. I paid the $500 to the garage part of the dealership then paid the remainder to the sales department. Saved myself almost $300 in taxes and fees.
True. But that just proves that the “law” is a crock.
Thanks for posting the interesting article.
Another strange use for silver coins. I keep a half-dozen silver dimes in our well water filter to kill bacteria.
Read that back in the old days the pioneers out west kept a silver dollar in the water bucket on the front porch to keep the algae from growing.
So, this story is very credible.
Since then, I've been gathering coins... but I never thought about the taxes. Is anyone else out there trading pre-1965 coins for cash?
It was tax fraud because he claimed market value of the couns on his taxes, not face value.
And now a plug for our favorite Fredric.....
Pre-1965 coins in circulation are pretty rare these days.
Usually, some kid finds grandpa’s old coin collection and heads for the 7/11.
I don’t know about anyone else, but it sure makes me wish I’d held onto pre-1965 dimes and quarters.
The jug of coins we have right now have been collected just over the past few years. Most are not pre-1965. But we did find several in the bunch. If one quarter is worth a few dollars... I’ll take it!
Yeah, but at the time they just gradually transitioned out - in retrospect you would think that silver coins would have instantly disappeared from circulation with the advent of the silver-free ones. Greshams Law would predict that - but late or soon, it has happened.