November 8, 2010 / 10:10 AM / in 8 years

Timeline: Gold's history as a currency standard

1934: The Gold Reserve Act of 1934 gives the government the permanent title to all monetary gold and halts the minting of gold coins.

It also allows gold certificates to be held only by the Federal Reserve Banks, putting the U.S. on a limited gold bullion standard, under which redemption in gold is restricted to dollars held by foreign central banks and licensed private users.

President Roosevelt devalues the dollar by increasing the price of gold to $35 per ounce.

1933: To alleviate the banking panic, President Franklin D. Roosevelt prohibits private holdings of all gold coins, bullion and certificates.

1931: Great Britain abandons the gold bullion standard.

1929: Great Depression, Wall Street Crash.

1925: Great Britain returns to a gold bullion standard, with currency redeemable for 400-ounce gold bullion bars but no circulation of gold coins.

1914-1919: A strict gold standard is suspended by several countries, including United States and Great Britain during World War I.

1913: Federal Reserve Act specifies that Federal Reserve Notes be backed 40 percent in gold.

1900: The Gold Standard Act places the United States officially on the gold standard, committing the United States to maintain a fixed exchange rate in relation to other countries on the gold standard. This lasted till 1919, when World War I forced both the United States and Britain to suspend it.

1873: As a result of ongoing revisions to minting and coinage laws, silver is eliminated as a standard of value and the United States goes on an unofficial gold standard.

1848: California Gold Rush triggered when John Marshall found flakes of gold while building a sawmill.

1837: The weight of gold in the U.S. dollar is lessened to 23.22 grains so that one fine troy ounce of gold is valued at

$20.67.

1817: Great Britain introduces the sovereign, a small gold coin valued at one pound sterling

1816: Great Britain officially ties the pound to a specific quantity of gold at which British currency is convertible.

1804-1828: North Carolina supplied all the domestic gold coined by the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia for currency.

1803: Gold is discovered at Little Meadow Creek, North Carolina, sparking the first U.S. gold rush.

1799: A 17-pound gold nugget is found in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, the first documented gold discovery in United States.

1792: The Coinage Act places the United States on a bimetallic silver-gold standard and defines the U.S. dollar as equivalent to 24.75 grains of fine gold and 371.25 grains of fine silver.

1787: First U.S. gold coin is struck by Ephraim Brasher, a goldsmith

1700: Gold was discovered in Brazil, which became the largest producer of gold by 1720, with nearly two-thirds of the world’s output.

Isaac Newton, as Master of the Mint, fixes the price of gold in England at 84 shillings, 11.5 pence per troy ounce. The Royal Commission, comprising of Newton, John Locke and Lord Somers recommends a recall of all old currency, issuance of new specie with gold/silver ratio of 16-to-1.

The gold price thus established for over 200 years

1377: England shifts to a monetary system based on gold and silver

1284: England issues its first major gold coin, the florin. This was followed shortly by the noble and later by the angel, crown and guinea.

1284: Venice introduces the gold ducat, which soon becomes the most popular coin in the world and remains so for more than five centuries.

1066 A.D: With the Norman Conquest, a metallic currency standard is finally re-established in England with the introduction of a system of pounds, shillings and pence. The pound is literally a pound of sterling silver.

50 BCE: Romans began issuing a gold coin called the aureus.

560: The first coins made purely from gold are minted in Lydia, a kingdom of Asia Minor.

1091: Little squares of gold are legalized in China as a form of money

1500: Gold became recognized as a standard medium of exchange for international trade as the immense gold-bearing regions of Nubia made Egypt a wealthy nation. Ancient Egypt left behind a rich legacy of gold.

Sources: National Mining Association and World Gold Council

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Compiled by Lavrina Lee

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