US Gold Coins
It is the nature of the metal itself, as well as the nature of man, that pro- vides the answer. The properties of gold that have made it the supreme metal for coinage and other monetary purposes do not require great elabora- tion.
But considering that the government of the United States since 1933 has attempted to coerce its Citizens into avoiding all 48 HOW TO INVEST IN GOLD COINS contact with what it lately has termed a “barbarous relic," it would not be inappropriate to restate here the most obvious virtues of the yellow metal: Gold has some unique physical attributes. It is the most ductile and malleable of all metals. A single ounce can be drawn into a wire 35 miles long without breaking, or it can be hammered into sheets as little as 1/250,000 of an inch.' It is unbelievably heavy; a cubic foot of gold weighs more than half a ton, and at the rate of $35 per ounce would be worth about $600,000. (At $70 per ounce it would of course be equal to $1,200,000, and at $100 per ounce,over$1,800,000.)Obviously, very small but valuable amounts of gold can easily be stored, transported, hidden—or smuggled. Gold is a beautiful and noble metal.
Its luster and deep yellow color have, since the dawn of history, proved a powerful and at times irresistible attraction for men—and women.' But what really ex- cites man is that gold is not only beautiful, but virtually indestruc- tible as well. Unlike most other metals, gold is totally immune to the effects of oxygen.” It will not corrode, tarnish or rust. Coins of gold that have been buried in the earth or have lain in the sea for twenty centuries have been recovered and found to be as brilliant as the day they were minted. Gold is the most stable and least chemically active of all the metals; it is literally imperishable—the most permanent of all man’s material possessions. Because of its desirable and imperishable nature, it has been estimated that about 85 percent of all the gold produced through- out history is still available, the remaining 15 percent being permanently lost. Of the total supply presently available to the world, about 60 percent is held by governments as monetary re- serves;" the rest is in the hands of corporations and individuals, with individuals holding the lion’s share. Total world production of gold from the primitive workings of the Egyptians in 3000 B.C. through 1966 is estimated not to exceed 2.5 billion troy ounces, which would equal about 80,000 tons. This may seem like a lot of gold, but by comparison, the U.S. steel industry when working at capacity can pour 80,000 tons of steel in The Color of Gold 49 a single hour. How much is all the gold in the world? If it were gathered together—bars, coins, jewelry, ornaments, everything— and melted into ingots, the ingots could be stacked into a cube measuring 50 feet on a side." Gold and the Value of Money From gold coinage’s crude beginning in the lumps of Gyges and Croesus, money, man, and gold have been inseparable.
It is true that nations not possessing enough gold, but having silver in quan- tity, have been successful in maintaining a workable monetary standard based on this other very desirable but less valuable metal. Copper, bronze, and even iron have also served adequately as minor coin. But on a worldwide and historical basis, gold has always remained the king of money. Yet from the beginning man has had to struggle to understand, not only the endless complexities and technicalities that involun- tarily grew out of the almost casual invention of coined money, but the moral problems and dilemmas it presented as well. The main issue is the nature of money itself, whether it is actual, i.e. ,a specified amount of gold or silver to be used more or less in direct barter, or whether it is conventional: a token signifying a quantity of capital or labor whose value is determined arbitrarily by the state. The issue was inevitable from the moment the Lydian state first set its seal upon a lump of gold, changing for all time the meaning of gold and the meaning of money. It must be understood, however, that neither the clever Lydians nor any other state or government invented money. Ingots of metal, oxen, jars of wine, slaves, tools, and other common objects were variously recognized and widely used as money long before coins became common in the Mediterranean world. The early states merely intervened in the monetary structure as a regulating agency. But as soon as the tremendous economic power and other advan- tages of coined money were apparent, the issuance and control of such money were everywhere seized as a government monopoly.