Prison Prescribed for Keeping Gold


"We can learn from what happened the last time—in a pre-Internet age."

Recently, many articles in newspapers and on the Internet have focused on claims the U.S. government is on the verge of banning private gold ownership again—much as it did in the Roosevelt administration in 1933-1934.

Recently, the mechanics of the "seizure" were called into question. Some said there was no element of compulsion then, and that the seizure—or recall—was really a voluntary act. That was coupled with a claim that the ability to hold numismatic coins was limited to a single example of "rare and unusual" coin; that is, if you had several 1927-D Saints, one could be retained, the rest went to the melting cauldrons.

No one can predict what will happen the next time our government seizes rare coins or PMs, but we can learn from what happened the last time—in a pre-Internet age.

How did people find things out in that era before we had the capacity to check on almost everything? The newspapers can provide an answer—which becomes important because the years this happened (1933 and 1934) came before the Code of Federal Regulations (in 1936) and before the Federal Register daily began (1938).

That's important—if the Treasury secretary or president take action today, it may not be in plain sight. But you can look at it easily and decide whether it is as it says or, perhaps, there's an ulterior motive and something less than facts are reported.

If you go to the Federal Register today, it is a daily "newspaper" with listings of regulations about what every department of government is doing. Mostly, the 1933–1934 story is told from the standpoint of Roosevelt and his demand on the Treasury Secretary, who called for "voluntary turn-in" or a 10-year prison term and up to 2x the gold's value.

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