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Articles & Op-Eds

Is Gold Money in the U.S.? What is a Dollar?

Posted by Gonzalo Schwarz
August 30, 2011

From the Federal Reserve:

“’Is gold money?’ [Texas Congressman Ron Paul] asked.  Clearly bothered, [Federal Reserve Chairman] Bernanke told the representative, ‘No. It’s a precious metal.’”

From the U.S. Mint:

“Immediately afterward, Mint Director Fore held a ceremony on the auction floor to make the Double Eagle [gold coin] legal tender. ‘In order to monetize it, somebody had to pay $20,’ says Redden. ‘So I stepped down from the podium and gave her $20. The Mint makes a big distinction between coins that are monetized and those that are not. Two Double Eagles are in the Smithsonian, but they’re not monetized. To the government, they’re curiosities, not currency.'”

From the U.S. Congress:

Sec. 2. (a) Section 5112(a) of the title 31, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new paragraphs:

“(7) A fifty dollar gold coin that is 32.7 millimeters in diameter, weighs 33.931 grams, and contains one troy ounce of fine gold.

“(8) A twenty-five dollar gold coin that is 27.0 millimeters in diameter, weighs 16.996 grams, and contains one-half troy ounce of fine gold.

“(9) A ten dollar gold coin that is 22.0 millimeters in diameter, weighs 8.483 grams, and contains one-fourth troy ounce of fine gold.

“(10) A five dollar gold coin that is 16.5 millimeters in diameter, weighs 3.393 grams, and contains one-tenth troy ounce of fine gold.

(h) The coins issued under this title shall be legal tender as provided in section 5103 of this title.

From the U.S. Attorney’s Office:

“Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Romero… discussed the government’s long pursuit of the [Double Eagle gold] coins: ‘Why do we care? We auctioned one off. You saw the certificate of monetization. We know how Fenton got his coin. He’s not Israel Switt. The coins and bills you have in your wallets carry the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. It means something. The government protects its money from thieves and swindlers. We have to care on principle. If we don’t, we are done. We are absolutely done.'”

From the U.S. Department of Justice:

“‘This is a case about money, greed and fraud.’ The line appeared on screen in court during the government’s opening statement by Christopher Maietta, a trial lawyer from the Washington, D.C., office of the Department of Justice.”

It was unclear from the context to which party this referred…

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net