The idea has been around in one form or another since at least 1992.
Bo Gritz, August of 1992:
Well now, I started digging around in the Treasury a little
bit and it's kind of interesting. I've had a lot of help.
"There's a guy named Byron Dale, he puts this out, and Byron
said, "Bo, last year we minted five hundred million dollars
in coins." Does anybody have a quarter? How much do you
think a quarter is actually worth? It costs us... (Someone
hands Bo a quarter) Thank you. Now, you'll see why you
won't get this back because it's really worthless! A
quarter costs 1.008 cents to make. So, there's no silver in
there. Is there? No. And so that quarter only costs a
cent, but when we give it to the Federal Reserve, they have
to give us credit for 25 cents. They have to give us credit
for the face value. Are you beginning to follow me here?
And so when we mint a silver dollar, it's not really silver,
but how much credit must they give the debt of the United
States? One dollar. It only costs us about 2 cents to do
that, but, it's a dollar. As a matter of fact, a Susan B.
Anthony costs a lot less than a half a dollar does because
Well, if that's true... Let's make sure we've got it all
right, so there won't be any confusion here when you leave
today. You're going to know without locking Congress up at
Andrews Air Force Base exactly how to get America out of
debt if these are given to them at 2 cents because that's
all it costs to make and yet they loan them back to us at
face value and remember that now so we're four trillion
dollars in debt with these, aren't we? And, if this only
costs a cent to make, but they have to give us 25 cents
credit, what is wrong with minting a giant coin (Bo holds up
a 5" diameter, giant coin) that says "Four Trillion
Dollars Debt of the United States Paid in Full In God We
Trust." (Huge round of applause.) Now, I ask you, let's be
very clear about it: is that legal? I'd be very
enthusiastic if I thought I could get my great grandkids, my
grandchild who's thirteen now and my three mules and a
daughter, if I could get them out of debt because they all
owe $42,000. That's what every one of you owe and that's
what your kids owe and if you're born today, that's the
price of being an American. I'd be excited about thinking
on this because is this coin going to be made out of gold?
Is it going to be made out of silver? No, it has to be made
out of pot metal because it has to be worthless! It has to
equal what it is that they have been giving us all this
I verified it directly with Byron Dale that the idea was not Byron's but Bo's as far as Byron knows. I believe that the idea was original with Bo Gritz.