Atlantis Coin (One Deca)

Discussion in 'What's it Worth' started by Kevin Myren, Jan 21, 2020.

  1. Kevin Myren

    Kevin Myren New Member

    Hello, as I was reorganizing my collection I found an interesting coin that I was unsure of its origin. After some research, I discovered it was from something called 'Operation Atlantis' (Wikipedia article posted below). I have found limited information about the coin produced from this operation and was wondering if anyone here knew any more information on it.

    Thank you!

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  3. pprp

    pprp Well-Known Member

    1 deca means 10 grams of silver. Thanks for reminding me of the story which I heard may years ago but forgot ever since.
  4. Deryk Makgill

    Deryk Makgill New Member

    I'm probably one of the few people who can help on this one since copies of The Story of Operation Atlantis and The Atlantis News are very, very rare.

    I'll share what I know and ask if it's for sale!?

    The Atlantis Deca (named such because it contained a decagram of silver) was the planned official currency of the later stages of Operation Atlantis, Werner Stiefel's plan to create a real-life "Galt's Gulch" in the Caribbean off the coast of Anguilla that would be free from what he believed was the unchecked growth of government force and fraud.

    Though the coin was initially conceived of as an experiment due to the legal limitations on private currency issuance in the US, the plan was to increase production offshore once a suitable island had been acquired.

    Stiefel hoped that with enough freedom from the United States, and of course time, the coins would take on usage and value as an actual medium of exchange, a true free market money.

    Planning the coins began sometime in 1968, and ATCOPS, the would-be private bank of Atlantis, began accepting deposits in silver from friends of the project that could be exchanged later for minted Decas.

    The "first draft" of the coins, of which there were four, were finished December 20th, 1970, and Curt Jones (left) and Frank Traver (right) are featured in the image below inspecting the first Deca ever minted.


    These first coins were described as "well worn" in appearance due to flaws in the early press. Readers of The Atlantis News who inquired about purchasing coins were reminded that these Decas would initially have a numismatic, "store of value" function:

    Please remember that it is unlawful to "utter coins intended for the use as money" within the U.S. Domestically—minted Decas are intended exclusively as a store of value...​

    It is unclear how many coins were minted or how many remain, but issues of The Atlantis News tell us the Atlantis team planned to begin pressing the finished coins in April, 1971.

    The design of the back face of the coin, like much of the Atlantis project, was inspired directly by Ayn Rand's writings on Objectivism. A Q/A that appeared in the same issue to announce the official mint said this:

    The seven points of the star stand for the Objectivist virtues by which we seek to order our lives: Rationality, Independence, Honesty, Integrity, Justice, Productiveness, and Pride.​

    This borrows exactly what Ayn Rand herself wrote in Atlas Shrugged in 1957:

    ...virtues pertain to the relation of existence and consciousness: rationality, independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness, pride.​

    We're also told in an earlier issue of the newspaper before the official minting about the design of the front face of the coin:

    Most of the world's coins feature the face of one of the country's present or former rulers, a concept repulsive to the Atlantis ideals. The front face of the Deca will therefore show the Atlantis ship's wheel logo in the center, with the words ATLANTIS, Reason, and Freedom around the edge, plus the date.​

    From what I can tell, the design did not change for the final mint.

    Stiefel had a strong practical and theoretical grasp of capitalist economics, particularly those of Ayn Rand, and he conceived of the Deca as a private money that would be resistant to government inflation or bureaucratic caprice. Here's another quote from him:

    Since the pervading economic philosophy in Atlantis is that of completely free laissez fair capitalism, no person or institution is forbidden by law to issue bank notes or other forms of money. Whether or not they gain wide circulation -- i.e. become currency -- will be decided by the free market. The Deca is the particular form of money chosen to be issued by the Treasury of Atlantis. It is not coercive legal tender in the conventional statist usage of the words.​

    Here's one more quote.

    The Deca (unit of Atlantis currency) is one of the few examples of true commodity money extant in the world today, and knowledgable people recognize that only commodity money is true money and therefore impervious to the inroads of inflation.​

    That's about all I know now.

    Let me know if we can talk further privately about it and if you're willing to part with it!
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