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Gold Confiscation

Posted on: 2016-01-07
Times were very good for many Americans in the mid- to late-1920s: the stock market had grown exponentially, driven, in part, by a frenzy of speculation which sent stock prices well beyond their true value. In 1929, the frenzy ended. Black Tuesday started a stock market crash which ultimately led to the Great Depression. 

By 1933, the demoralized nation looked to Washington, D.C. and President Franklin D. Roosevelt for salvation. Recognizing the inherent value of a currency based upon gold, and seeking to stabilize the U.S. dollar, Roosevelt confiscated gold owned by American.

Americans were required to turn in their gold to a Federal Reserve Bank in exchange for paper currency under penalty of large fines and/or jail sentences. There were only a few exceptions, one being: 

"gold coins having a recognized special value to collectors of rare and unusual coins."

The government melted the majority of the confiscated legal tender coins into lifeless bars. The government then devalued the dollar and raised gold’s value by nearly 75%.

Rare coin collectors, exempted by the confiscation actually profited from the confiscation, melting, and price revaluation in two important ways. Their coins gained value due to the:

1. Significant increase of the gold bullion value of their coins. 

2. Massive official melting of the confiscated gold coins. This melting made the limited number of surviving coins in collections more scarce and, thus, more valuable.

These government actions helped President Roosevelt and Congress inflate the U.S. economy during the mid- and late-1930s. They also led to a loss of a number of important freedoms for the American people - freedom from long-term inflation, expanding government spending, gold confiscation (except collectors), and government intrusion into their private financial matters.

Owning gold coins has helped protect portfolios from inflation, devaluation, and intrusive government for thousands of years. The events of the 1930s and the decades that followed prove the importance of owning collectible gold coins.

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