EDITOR: | June 4th, 2014 | 6 Comments

It’s official: Gold is money (again!)

| June 04, 2014 | 6 Comments
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Bullion-CardGold bugs of the world will rejoice at the news that holders of physical gold can now, in effect, use that bullion as cash-in-hand. It’s not quite the same as proffering coins with the gold content determining the value of those coins, but we can’t expect change overnight. Still, the operator of a gold vault on the Isle of Man has made a start.

Nelson Bunker Hunt may not have got it quite right when he and his brother made an enormous plunge on silver 35 years ago, but his view that “anything is better than paper money; any fool can run a printing press” will resonate with many.

The big news is that IMGold, the company running the Manx bank vault, is to issue a 14-carat gold card to those who have at least £100,000 of metal bars in their vault. This solid gold Visa card which will allow them effectively to borrow against their gold; the card will be backed by physical gold. According to The Financial Times, the bullion storage company said the card was to allow customers to weather the period of low gold prices without having to sell their metal; they can draw on it in the meantime. If you bought at $1,900/oz in 2011, you would be sitting on losses of more than $600/oz.

So this is something other than your run-of-the-mill gold card. It really is backed by the yellow metal.

The gold enthusiasts will be given hope that we are turning the full circle back to 550 BC  when King Croesus of Lydia, located in what now is Turkey, struck the world’s first gold coin, which circulated through many countries and was accepted as value. Even when paper money came into being, you could present those notes and ask for the equivalent in gold. When the Bank of England introduced bank notes in 1694 they came with a promise that the paper could be presented at the bank and the bearer could be handed gold to the equivalent value. (Try doing that with a pile of your local banknotes these days.)

In 50 BC Roman citizens began using a gold coin called the aureus, but it took the Norman invasion of 1066 for metallic currency to be used in what is today Britain. In 1284 England issued its own gold coin, the florin. Jump forward to 1792 when the Coinage Act established gold and silver as the basis for the U.S. currency system. The U.S. dollar was defined as being worth 24.75 grains of gold or 371.25 grains of silver.

In the modern era, there was the Gold Standard where paper money was convertible into gold. A country could print only as much money as could be backed by its gold. It was a dreadful strait-jacket (much like the euro is today with countries like Spain, Latvia and Italy all having to use the same valued currency as the Germans and Dutch.)

The end of the gold standard tarnished the reputation of using the metal as a means of regulating money supply. But there are those who argue it needed changing, not abolishing. In 2010 World Bank boss Robert Zoellick write an article in The Financial Times suggesting a return of the gold standard, albeit as a hybrid including major currencies and commodities, to provide a stable measure of worth of paper money.

In modern times, the greatest blows delivered against gold were executed by the White House. In 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt banned all private holdings of gold; then in 1942 he ordered closed all U.S. gold mines, as he considered the production of gold non-essential to the war effort (although the British stepped up mining of gold in South Africa and elsewhere in order to be able to pay Washington for war supplies). Then in 1971 Richard M Nixon closed off the conversion of currencies into gold, de-linking the metal to the value of the dollar.

Little by little, though, gold is holding its ground as the original form of money, and the only one than cannot be debased.


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Comments

  • Tracy Weslosky

    LOL – way to kick off the Wednesday AM Robin. I am literally listening to the dismal outcast for gold on BNN while reading this — and I am certain gold enthusiasts everywhere will want to be gold card carrying members — love it.

    June 4, 2014 - 8:53 AM

  • It's official: Gold is money (again!) | Gray Dog Currency

    […] It's official: Gold is money (again!) Nelson Bunker Hunt may not have got it quite right when he and his brother made an enormous plunge on silver 35 years ago, but his view that “anything is better than paper money; any fool can run a printing press” will resonate with many. The big news … Read more on InvestorIntel […]

    June 4, 2014 - 11:00 AM

  • Nevada George

    Yep, … good old FDR issued an Executive Order that citizens must
    surrender their gold to the Government… or go to jail.
    I believe that they received approx 20.67usd/oz in the exchange.
    The next year a gold standard of 35.00usd was established.
    Confiscation of citizen wealth… never give a sucker an even break.

    My father, the old gold prospector, (Hard Rock Jack) was trying for years to hit the mother lode and make a fortune at 35.00/oz… never happened.
    He could have never envisioned the price of gold today.

    Then 35.00usd held firm till Nixon, in 1971, took us off of the gold standard… and then slowly but surely the printing presses started to crank up. All of the above appears to have been orchestrated by the wizard
    behind the curtain… The Creature from Jekyll Island.

    It will be interesting to follow the progression of Manx Bank bullion
    backed credit card. It appears it will be under 10% interest. I hope that
    they are issuing it as ‘chip and PIN’. I wish them all the best.

    This arrangement is being done with other banks for the uber-rich. The credit card by the Russian Sberbank-Kazakhstan which is made of gold,diamonds and mother of pearl upstages the Manx Bank card.
    I think that the card alone costs over 100K.

    In the Islamic Banking system they have found a way to make this type
    of credit card Sharia compliant… a work-around Riba/Usury.

    I do see a direction that this could go… and that is… that masses of
    physical gold could be taken off of the market and hoarded.
    While the owners could loosen up money, in the form of a loan, which
    might circumvent national capital gain taxes… Just a thought.

    If I was working for Manx Bank Vault I would target the rich Russians and
    Middle Eastern high rollers. Offer an enticement to buy and store bullion
    by appealing to their cultural mindset. Maybe, make the card Sharia compliant. Incorporate some nice logos on the card such as a compass
    pointing to Mecca. Show me the money.

    I am not worried by the current gold prices and all the precious metal investment controversies, as I still remember the $35.00 years.
    Gold takes a dip and masses of it is scooped off of the market.
    My layman’s opinion is that we will eventually have a
    multi-year correction… So, I am not going to get shaken out of the market.
    Hey, I need to re-coop my rare earth losses. 🙂

    June 5, 2014 - 11:02 AM

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    June 11, 2014 - 6:31 AM

  • Gold hits 10-month low in the domestic bullion market | Gold and Silver Bull Market

    […] It's official: Gold is money (again!) Bullion-Card Gold bugs of the world will rejoice at the news that holders of physical gold can now, in effect, use that bullion as cash-in-hand. It's not quite the same as proffering coins with the gold content determining the value of those coins, but … Read more on InvestorIntel […]

    June 24, 2014 - 11:37 AM

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