How much Gold was Confiscated in 1933 😒?

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The 1933 Gold Confiscation, a response to the economic challenges of the Great Depression, marked the U.S. government’s departure from the gold standard. Faced with a reduction in circulated currency due to the widespread conversion of funds to gold by both individuals and foreign governments, President Franklin Roosevelt took action on April 5, 1933. Through the signing of Executive Order 6102, he prohibited American citizens from hoarding gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates.

Significant quantities of gold were seized in 1933 through Executive Order 6102, a pivotal move orchestrated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This executive order mandated that individuals surrender nearly all gold coinage, gold bullion, and gold certificates in their possession to the Federal Reserve by May 1, 1933. The confiscated gold, valued at approximately $63 million based on the price of $20.67 per ounce, reflected a substantial government intervention during that period. This event, however, was not isolated, even within the context of contemporary history. A similar directive occurred in 1959, under the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, where the government seized all gold bullion and coins through the reiteration of Executive Order 6102.

Executive Order 6102 

  1. President Franklin D. Roosevelt enacted Executive Order 6102 on April 5, 1933, compelling individuals to relinquish their gold assets by May 1, 1933.
  2. The directive mandated the delivery of gold coins, gold bullion, and gold certificates to a Federal Reserve entity, with a compensation of $20.67 per troy ounce in paper bills for those complying.
  3. The established value of gold at $20.67 in 1933 corresponds to over $450 in 2023, offering insight into the historical market valuation.
  4. Violators faced severe consequences, including fines up to $10,000 and imprisonment for up to 10 years, while citizens were restricted to owning a maximum of $100 in gold coins, equivalent to 5 troy ounces of gold.
During the Great Depression in 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 6102, compelling citizens to relinquish their gold in exchange for reimbursement.

This compelled citizens to sell their gold holdings at rates significantly below the prevailing market prices. In 1933, the total gold reserves of the nation amounted to a considerable $4 billion, equivalent to approximately 6,000 metric tons of gold at the prevailing rate of $20.67 per troy ounce. These historical interventions underscore the government’s strategic measures to control and regulate the nation’s gold assets during critical periods in the 20th century.

Legal Battles and Gold Confiscation: Revisiting the Impact of Executive Order 6102

Prosecutions ensued in response to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 6102, leading to subsequent legal actions under Executive Orders 6111, 6260, 6261, and the Gold Reserve Act of 1934. To address a ruling that declared one prosecution under Executive Order 6102 invalid, a reinforcement of the order became necessary. This stemmed from the case of New York attorney Frederick Barber Campbell, who, despite legal efforts, saw his gold confiscated after a failed attempt to withdraw it from Chase National Bank.

In the aftermath, the Roosevelt administration, under the signature of Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr., issued Executive Orders 6260 and 6261, pertaining to gold seizure and the prosecution of hoarders. Shortly thereafter, Congress ratified these orders through the Gold Reserve Act of 1934. New Treasury regulations were introduced, imposing civil penalties, including confiscation of gold and fines equal to double the seized gold’s value.

The subsequent prosecutions targeted various individuals, including Gus Farber, a San Francisco merchant, who faced charges for selling gold coins without a license. Similarly, the Barabans, owners of a refining company, were prosecuted for fraudulent practices involving gold. Louis Ruffino, convicted under the Trading with the Enemy Act, faced consequences for possessing gold. Foreign entities, like the Swiss Uebersee Finanz-Korporation, experienced gold confiscation, compelling them to accept paper currency in exchange.

An indirect form of gold seizure occurred through executive orders affecting bonds, gold certificates, and private contracts, whereby payments in gold were substituted with paper currency. The Supreme Court, with four dissenting justices known as the “Four Horsemen,” upheld these seizures as constitutional, despite opposition to Roosevelt’s New Deal policies. The legal landscape surrounding gold ownership during this period thus witnessed a series of prosecutions and constitutional validations.

Debunking the Safe Deposit Box Seizure Hoax Amidst Gold Confiscation Claims.

A widely circulated hoax claims that President Roosevelt ordered the seizure and search of all safe deposit boxes in the country for gold by Internal Revenue Service officials. The fake executive order, dated March 9, 1933, purports to prohibit gold and silver holdings, sealing safe deposit boxes and restricting sales or purchases of these precious metals.

This hoax first appeared in the book “After the Crash: Life In the New Great Depression,” with subsequent internet references adding the mention of silver. Analysis reveals that the text is intentionally designed, combining actual excerpts from Executive Order 6102 with invented content. Notably, the hoax falsely asserts that safe deposit boxes held by individuals were forcibly searched or seized under the order.

by Michael William Haga

In reality, the few prosecutions for gold “hoarding” during the 1930s were executed under different statutes, and safe deposit boxes were not subject to forced searches. One case in 1936 involved the seizure of a non-U.S. citizen’s safe deposit box containing over 10,000 troy ounces of gold, executed with a search warrant as part of a tax evasion prosecution.

The U.S. Treasury also gained possession of numerous safe deposit boxes due to bank failures during the 1930s. Over 3,000 banks failed, leading to the transfer of unclaimed box contents to the Treasury. These debunked claims shed light on the historical context surrounding gold confiscation and dispel unfounded notions of widespread forced searches of safe deposit boxes.

Pre-1933 gold coins, viewed as a valuable hedge, are accessible at moderate premiums over contemporary bullion coins. Despite this, it is crucial to emphasize that this information is not a formal legal opinion but an overview to help individuals assess whether pre-1933 gold coins align with their hedging strategy. The document refrains from making categorical statements about the survival of pre-1933 gold coins in a confiscation scenario or predicting the likelihood of such an event.

In light of historical references, including President Roosevelt’s 1933 executive order and its justification under the Trading with the Enemy Act, discussions on the president’s authority to respond to economic emergencies gain relevance. Comments by former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and reports of asset managers expressing concerns about storing gold in the U.S. underscore the ongoing relevance of considering potential governmental actions.

Various quotes from experts and analysts, such as Larry Williams, Richard Russell, Marc Faber, Julian Phillips, Congressman Ron Paul, and Dr. Franz Pick, highlight diverse opinions on the possibility of gold confiscation. These perspectives offer insights into historical contexts, potential government actions, and considerations for safeguarding gold holdings, ultimately contributing to a comprehensive understanding of the topic.

F.A.Q

how did the confiscation of gold affect the value of the us dollar. The confiscation of gold in 1933 had a profound impact on the value of the US dollar. Following this confiscation, the Gold Reserve Act of 1934 was enacted, leading to a devaluation of the US dollar by adjusting the price of gold. The statutory price of gold was modified from $20.67 per ounce to $35 per ounce under the Act, effectively diminishing the value of the US dollar. This devaluation had a consequential effect, enabling the Federal Reserve to increase the printing of paper money, as a reduced amount of gold was now needed to support the currency.

The alteration in gold prices brought about a substantial augmentation in gold reserves, leading to a significant accumulation of gold within both the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury. Consequently, the confiscation of gold and the subsequent devaluation of the US dollar were intricately interconnected, marking a pivotal moment in the economic history of the United States.

What was the reaction of the public to the confiscation of gold? The public’s response to the 1933 confiscation of gold was diverse. Understandably, many gold owners expressed dissatisfaction and contested the gold seizure through legal avenues. Despite these efforts, the government’s resolve prevailed, rendering gold ownership illegal in the United States until the 1970s. The confiscation stirred significant reluctance among the public, with estimates indicating that only 20% to 25% of private individuals’ gold was willingly surrendered.

A notable aspect of the public’s reaction was the fear for the safety of deposits, prompting a rush to convert claims against banks into coins and cash. This reaction reflects a broader sentiment of concern and uncertainty prevalent during that time. The confiscation of gold, coupled with the subsequent devaluation of the US dollar, constituted pivotal events that elicited varied responses from the American public.

Were there any protestss against the confiscation of gold ? The 1933 confiscation of gold triggered a range of public reactions, prominently marked by reluctance and discontent. A substantial portion of private individuals exhibited great reluctance, and estimations suggested that only 20% to 25% of their gold holdings were willingly surrendered. Moreover, a prevailing fear for the safety of deposits prompted a swift conversion of claims against banks into coins and cash[1][4]. While explicit mentions of protests or demonstrations may not be evident in the available records, the public’s widespread reluctance and the legal battles waged by some gold owners underscored a substantial level of opposition to the confiscation.

How did the confiscation of gold affect the value of gold in the us? The confiscation of gold in 1933 significantly affected the value of gold in the US. The Gold Reserve Act of 1934, which followed the confiscation, devalued the US dollar by increasing the price of gold from $20.67 to $35 per ounce. This devaluation allowed the Federal Reserve to print more paper money, as less gold was required to back the currency. As a result, the value of gold in the US increased from $20.67 to $35 per ounce, reflecting the new official rate set by the government.

Did Roosevelt Confiscate All Gold from the americans? In response to the economic challenges of the Great Depression, the U.S. government, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, implemented Executive Order 6102 on April 5, 1933. This order mandated that U.S. citizens surrender their gold by May 1, 1933, with compensation set at $20.67 per ounce. Refusing to comply carried penalties established through an amendment to the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, including fines up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to ten years.

While the order applied broadly, certain exemptions were made. Gold used for artistic or professional purposes, such as by artists, jewelers, and dentists, remained legal to possess. Furthermore, individuals were permitted to retain gold coins as long as the cumulative value did not exceed $100.

Despite these provisions, the government seized all gold bullion and coins, compelling citizens to sell them at rates well below market value. While some uses of gold, like in jewelry and industry, were exempted, the order effectively restricted private ownership of gold by citizens. Notably, the confiscation did not achieve complete success, as many individuals discreetly retained a significant portion of their gold—estimates suggest that for every one dollar relinquished, three were clandestinely kept.

The Fate of Confiscated Gold in Fort Knox and Federal Reserve The confiscated gold found its storage in various locations, including the US Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, under the custodianship of the Federal Reserve and US Treasury. The gold underwent a transformation into bars during this process. Following the confiscation, the government introduced a new official rate for gold through the Gold Reserve Act, resulting in a substantial increase in its value. Subsequently, the accumulated confiscated gold was securely housed in both the Federal Reserve and US Treasury, leading to a significant concentration of gold within these institutions.

How long did the prohibition on owning gold last for US citizens? The ban on private ownership and trading of gold exceeding the $100 limit (equivalent to 5 troy ounces) for US citizens lasted until 1974. President Gerald Ford initiated the relaxation of these prohibitions by signing a bill in 1964, permitting individuals to globally possess and sell gold. The new law officially took effect in 1974, marking the end of the nearly four-decade-long restriction. The initial prohibition, stemming from Executive Order 6102 signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, made private ownership of gold illegal, compelling individuals to sell it to the government. This stringent measure remained in force for over 40 years until its repeal in 1974. President Ford’s decision to legalize private gold ownership was considered a radical departure from the past, reflecting a desperate attempt by the government to address the economic challenges of the Great Depression by stimulating the economy through an increased money .supply.


What was the fate of the 1933 Double Eagle gold coin? Executive Order 6102, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, had a profound impact on the 1933 Double Eagle gold coin, rendering it exceedingly rare. The order mandated the halt of all gold coin productions, leading to the destruction of all coins minted in 1933. Only around 20 Double Eagle gold coins managed to evade this fate This iconic coin has made history in auctions, setting remarkable records. Its value soared to $7.59 million in 2002 and reached an unprecedented $18.9 million in 2021, establishing it as the most valuable coin ever to grace auction halls. The scarcity and historical significance of the 1933 Double Eagle make it a coveted and highly sought-after numismatic treasure.

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