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.
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.”