Precious Metals

'Confiscation: Gold as Contraband' gets print release

Author Kenneth Ferguson's new book examines the four-decade period during which gold owned in the United States was considered contraband.

Images courtesy of Kenneth Ferguson.

Confiscation: Gold as Contraband 1933-1975, is a newly published, 156-page reference by Texas numismatist Kenneth R. Ferguson that delves in the period in American history when gold ownership was restricted.

Ferguson earned his living for more than four decades as a professional numismatist, once serving as president of the Texas Coin Dealers Association and as a consultant to the American Numismatic Association.

Ferguson writes that the confiscation of gold in 1933 was made possible by conditions that no longer exist:
??The United States was on a gold standard, which allowed foreign interests to demand gold for dollars if they thought the currency was overvalued.
??Gold coins circulated freely as legal tender, and were the primary form of privately owned gold.
??Any public loss of confidence in the dollar or the banking system could lead to a run on gold coins in preference to paper money.
??Banks provided a natural enforcement platform for the confiscation of circulating gold coins.

“These structural conditions were the basis of the Banking Crisis of 1933 as well as President Franklin Roosevelt's gold policies, culminating in the Gold Reserve Act of January 30, 1934,” according to Ferguson.

“Gold is not nearly as important to our society today as it was in 1933,” according to Ferguson. “Neither the value of our money nor the financial well-being of our economy is dependent on the quantity of gold in Fort Knox, and the gold in private hands is completely divorced from the banking system. There is no constitutional interest in privately-held, non-monetary gold, other than property rights. Roosevelt's 10-point statement on the aims and objectives of his gold policies, delivered in 1934, has little application to a modern economy financed with fiat currency.”

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