Mulligan Mint is sort of like the companies that hawk gold coins through Sunday newspaper supplements and daytime cable TV, in that the money it produces isn't legal tender, but the similarities end there. While the other companies play on the misty-eyed patriotism of octogenarians who still scour the ads in the Sunday paper, Mulligan's coins are marketed to those libertarian-minded Americans convinced that an economy based on paper currency is unforgivable folly.
A look at their merchandise gives an idea of their philosophical bent. Their "Free Market Heroes" collection includes libertarian economist Ludwig von Mises and former congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul. Another line pays homage to Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Their Deluminati coin "repudiates the entire paradigm of a central bank-issued paper currency given legal tender status by the government" and "says no to inflation, crony capitalism and all-powerful government and yes to individual liberty, economic independence and opportunity."
"We were a business that set out to do something important for the world and that was to create a complementary currency system for communities that are overlooked by mainstream banking and finance," company President Rob Gray recently told the Wall Street Journal
Mulligan, established in 2012, quickly found a niche among like-minded gold bugs and now says it's turning out 30,000 to 50,000 coins per month at its manufacturing facility in Dallas, where the company is based.
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Despite the early success, the coin-maker is facing two existential crises. One is an nasty schism between its two founders, Rob Gray and Chris Duane, the arcane details of which you can search out on Google. The other is a couple of tons of missing silver.
The WSJ reported over the weekend that Mulligan filed for bankruptcy last week to stop one of its suppliers from shutting down its 20,000-square-foot factory.
The supplier, Miami-based Republic Metals Corp., says Mulligan hasn't paid for 71,473 ounces of silver. Mulligan doesn't deny that it owes money. It just can't find a portion of its $1.4-million silver shipment, according to the WSJ.
And so, on to bankruptcy court, where a judge will determine if Mulligan can fulfill its mission of creating "a hybrid digital currency backed by a commodity, using commodity banking."