Fun History In Under A Minute- Executive Order 6102

Ever wonder how much power we give the US government? Just for fun reading, I have briefly described the time, starting in 1933, in American history where gold ownership was against the law.

It is not quite as bad as it sounds, citizens could still own up to five ounces of gold themselves, as well as collectible coins. Also, you could own gold for business and art, such as dentist and jewelry makers could still own gold for their work. These exceptions would account for a lot of the gold in the average person’s holdings, so it was not a wholesale collection of all gold.

Citizens who were required to turn in their gold were also reimbursed at the going rate at the time, $20.67 per troy ounce.

So why did this happen? At the time, America was in the midst of the Great Depression and the president (Franklin D Roosevelt, or FDR) was looking to resolve issues arising from the economic setback.  One of the problems was that the Federal Reserve wanted to print more money, but, due to a constraint that said federal notes required the backing of gold at a 40% level. Since there was not enough gold to cover additional printing in the federal reserve, they could not put more money in circulation.

While this upset many people at the time, the amazing fact of this Executive Order is that it stayed in effect until 1974, when it was repealed President Gerald Ford. In 1977, Congress took away the president’s ability to confiscate gold for national emergencies, excluding war.

Additional fun fact, because of the act, 1933 Gold Eagles are among the rarest and most valuable coins, because they were almost  all melted down back into bullion.

I don’t have any commentary on this, or how it relates to crypto, just information to digest that I thought was interesting.


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