Gold has always been a store of value; it has a certain allure with its appearance and rarity. There was a time when all nations had their currency backed by physical metals, most often gold. Some may not believe it now, but there was a time that you could go to your local bank with a banknote and exchange it for physical assets, specifically gold.
In the United States in particular, coins in circulation were manufactured with a standardized content of gold, silver, and copper as per the coinage act of 1792. This occurred until executive order 6102, or “the gold confiscation act” of 1933 (more on that later). The exact quantity of precious metal within the coins changed a few times, in the beginning, they contained “English crown weight” or 22 karat, 91.67% pure gold. In 1834 this was lowered to 89.92% and adjusted again in 1837 to the standard of 90% that would remain till 1933.
On April 5th, 1933, U.S President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed executive order 6102 “forbidding the hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates within the continental United States.” This order effectively banned the ownership of gold for all citizens of the United States (with a few exemptions for jewellers’ dentists, artists and the like). Citizens were ordered to hand in their gold to the Federal Reserve bank in exchange for a set value of $20.67 ($433 in 2021) per troy ounce or face a potential fine of up to $10,000 or up to 10 years in prison. This confiscated gold would then be melted down and turned into bars that were to be stored within the vaults at Fort Knox. This executive order was put in place to remove the constraints of the federal reserve and to increase the money supply during the great depression. Which inevitably would work to help the U.S economy stabilize and weather the storm.
This extraordinary legislation resulted in all 1933-dated gold coins ceasing production immediately, the coins that had already been minted were to be destroyed. About 20, 1933 dated coins were supposedly stolen after the minting, leading to arrest warrants being issued by the US secret service for those involved. One of these infamous 1933-dated gold coins sold at auction in 2002 for 7.5 million dollars making it one of the most valuable gold coins in the world as well as one of the rarest.
We as collectors are still amazed by how many of these pre-1933 coins remain. It wasn’t until 1974 that the limitation on gold ownership in the U.S was relaxed, so for the better part of 41 years these lovely coins remained in the shadows, in basements, safes, and buried in the ground, with little hope they would ever be brought out into the light again.
Purchase your Pre-1933 US gold Coins by clicking here.