History of Gold

  • 5500 B.C.–Gold is first discovered in the later part of the Stone Age
  • 4000 B.C.–Eastern Europe begins to use gold to decorate objects
  • 3600 B.C.–First Smelting of Gold by Egyptian
  • 3000 B.C.–Gold used to create jewelry
  • 2600 B.C.–Early Gold Jewelry
  • 1500 B.C.–Nubian mines make Egypt wealthy, as gold becomes the recognized standard medium of exchange.
  • 1350 B.C.–The Babylonians begin to use fire assay to test the purity of gold.
  • 1200 B.C.–Advances in jewelry.  Egyptians master the art of leafing gold.  They also learn to alloy with other metals.
  • 1091 B.C.–Little squares of gold are legalized in China as a form of money.
  • 950 B.C.–Solomon builds Gold temple
  • 650 B.C.– The Lydian Lion – a bean-shaped gold piece stamped with a lion – is considered the first true coin. It is first minted by Lydia, the ancient Greek kingdom ruled by Croesus a century later.
  • 600 B.C.– First gold dentistry
  • 564 B.C.– First international gold currency created
  • 300 B.C.–Greeks and Jews of ancient Alexandria begin to practice alchemy, the quest of turning base metals into gold.  First gold nanoparticles
  • 250 B.C.–The Greek Mathematician Archimedes demonstrated that the purity of    gold could be determined by calculating its density (weight and amount of water it displaces)
  • 218-202 B.C.—During the second Punic War with Carthage, the Romans gain access to the gold mining region of Spain and recover gold through stream gravels and hard rock mining.
  • 58 B.C.—Romans begin issuing a gold coin called the Aureus.
  • 476 A.D.—The Goths depose Emperor Romulus Augustus, marking the fall of the Roman Empire.
  • 600-699 A.D.—The Byzantine Empire resumes gold mining in central Europe and France, an area untouched since the fall of the Roman Empire.
  • 742-814 A.D.—Charlemagne overruns the Avars and plunders their vast quantities of gold, making it possible for him to take control over much of Europe.
  • 1066 A.D.—With the Norman Conquest, a metallic currency standard is finally re-established in Great Britain with the introduction of a system of pounds, shillings, and pence.  The pound is literally a pound of sterling silver
  • 1250-1299 A.D.—Marco Polo writes of his travels t the Far East, where the “gold wealth was almost unlimited”
  • 1284 A.D.—Venice introduces the gold ducat, which becomes the most popular coin in world commerce for more than five centuries. Great Britain issues its first major gold coin, the Florin.  This is followed shortly by the Noble, Angel, Crown, and Guinea.
  • 1370 A.D.– Great Bullion Famine Begins—supplies are exhausted.
  • 1377 A.D.–Great Britain shifts to a monetary system based on gold and silver
  • 1511 A.D.–Spain unleashes a gold quest
  • 1556 A.D.—Georgius Agricola publishes De re Metallica, which describes the fire assay of gold during the Middle Ages.
  • 1700 A.D.—Gold is discovered in Brazil, which becomes the largest producer of gold by 1720, with nearly two-thirds of the world’s output.
  • 1717 A.D.–Isaac Newton, as a Master of the Mint, fixes the price of gold in Great Britain at 84 shillings, 11 & ½ pence per troy ounce.  The Royal Commission, composed 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 in Great Britain lasted for over 200 years.
  • 1744 A.D.—The resurgence of gold mining in Russia begins with the discovery of a quartz outcrop in Ekaterinburg.
  • 1787 A.D.—First U.S. gold coin – the Brasher doubloon – is struck by gold- and silversmith Ephraim Brasher.
  • 1792 A.D.– The Coinage Act puts the U.S. on a bimetallic silver-gold standard, defining the dollar as equivalent to 24.75 grains of fine gold and 371.25 grains of fine silver.
  • 1799 A.D. –The first US gold rush is sparked by the discovery of a 17-pound gold nugget at Little Meadow Creek, N.C.
  • 1804-1828 A.D.—North Carolina supplies all the domestic gold coined by the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia for currency.
  • 1816 A.D.—Great Britain officially ties the pound to a specific quantity of gold at which British currency is convertible.
  • 1817 A.D.—Britain introduces the Sovereign, a small gold coin valued at one pound sterling
  • 1848 A.D.–California Gold Rush Begins
  • 1850 A.D.—Edward Hamming Hargraves, discovered gold in New South Wales.  Starting Australian gold rush.
  • 1859 A.D.—Comstock lode of gold and silver is struck in Nevada.
  • 1862 A.D.—Latin Monetary Union is established setting fineness, weight, size and denomination of silver and gold coins of France, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland (Greece in 1868) and obligating all to accept each other’s current gold and silver coins as full legal tender.
  • 1873 A.D.—Silver is eliminated as a standard of value, and the United States goes on an unofficial gold standard.
  • 1886 A.D.—South African Gold Rush Begins.
  • 1887 A.D.–Scottish chemist John Steward MacArthur wins a British patent for the gold cyanidation process. It enables the separation of gold from ore and doubles the world gold output within 20 years.
  • 1897 A.D.–The Klondike gold rush sees 100,000 “stampeders” head north after gold is discovered in the Canadian Yukon the previous year.
  • 1900 A.D.–The Gold Standard Act places the US officially on the gold standard, a fixed exchange rate in relation to other countries on the gold standard.
  • 1903 A.D.–The Engelhard Corporation creates a liquid medium to print gold on surfaces – for tender and decoration. The medium becomes the basis for microcircuit printing technology.
  • 1913 A.D.—Federal Reserve Act sets up a central banking authority and specifies that the Federal Reserve notes be backed 40 percent in gold.
  • 1914-19 A.D.–The strict gold standard is suspended by several countries, including the US and Britain, during World War I. Gold could be bought or sold in unlimited quantities.
  • 1933 A.D.–On March 6, President Roosevelt declares a four-day national bank holiday to prevent the exporting or hoarding of gold or silver. On April 5, Roosevelt issues an order making it a felony for private citizens to own gold. (Collectors of gold coins dated 1933 or earlier are eventually exempted from the rule.) In June, the US abandons the gold standard.
  • 1935 A.D.—Western Electric Alloy #1 (69% gold, 25% silver, and 6% platinum) finds universal use in all switching contacts for AT&T telecommunications equipment.
  • 1937 A.D.–The bullion depository at Fort Knox, Ky., opens.
  • 1939 A.D.—World War II closes gold market.
  • 1942 A.D.—President Franklin D. Roosevelt issues a presidential edict closing all gold mines.
  • 1944 A.D.—Breton Woods Conference-setting gold exchange at $35.00
  • 1945 A.D.—Gold –Backing of Federal Reserve Notes is reduced by 25.5%
  • 1947 A.D.—The first transistor is assembled at AT&T Bell Laboratories.  The device uses gold contacts pressed into a germanium surface.
  • 1954 A.D.—London gold market, closed in WWII re-opens.
  • 1960 A.D.—AT&T Bell Laboratories is granted the first patent for the invention of the laser.  The device uses carefully positioned gold-coated mirrors to maximize infrared reflection into the lasing crystal.
  • 1961 A.D.–Americans are forbidden to own gold abroad as well as at home. The central banks of Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, West Germany, Britain, and the US form the London Gold Pool and agree to buy and sell at $35.0875 per ounce.
  • 1965 A.D.—Col. Edward White makes the first space walk during Gemini IV mission, using gold-coated visor to protect eyes.
  • 1967 A.D.–South Africa produces the first Krugerrand. The one-ounce bullion coin becomes a favorite investment globally.
  • 1968 A.D.– A sudden surge in gold demand closes the London Gold Market for two weeks. Member nations of the gold pool decide to stop buying and selling gold in the private market and establish a two-tier pricing system: Official transactions between monetary authorities are to be conducted at a price of $35 per ounce and other transactions are to be conducted at a fluctuating free-market price.
  • 1971 A.D.– President Nixon takes the dollar off the gold standard.
  • 1973 A.D.—U.S. devalues the dollar again and announces it will raise the official dollar price of gold to $42.22 per fine troy ounce.   Currencies detach from the dollar.  The market in London, in June, has risen to more than $120.00 per ounce.
  • 1974 A.D.–Gold backing of US Federal Reserve notes ends. President Gerald Ford lifts the ban on ownership of gold by US citizens. A congressional panel physically inspects Fort Knox to verify gold holdings in response to conspiracy theories that it held no gold at all.
  • 1975 A.D.–Trading in gold for future delivery begins on New York’s Commodity Exchange and on Chicago’s International Monetary Market and Board of Trade.
  • 1976 A.D.—The Gold Institute is established to promote the common business interests of the gold industry.
  • 1979 A.D.– The Canadian Maple Leaf, a one-ounce bullion coin, is introduced.
  • 1980 A.D.–Gold reaches a historic single-day high of $870 per ounce on Jan. 21, but by year-end closes at $591.  IMF sells 1/3 of its gold holdings.  U.S. Treasury sells 15.8 million troy ounces of gold to strengthen the U.S. trade balance.
  • 1981 A.D.—Treasury Secretary announces the formation of a Gold Commission.
  • 1982 A.D.—U.S. Gold Commission report recommends no new monetary role for gold, but supports a U.S. gold bullion coin. New gold deposits are found in North America and Australia.  Canada introduces fractional Maple Leaf coins.  China introduces the Panda bullion coin.
  • 1986 A.D.—American Eagle Gold Bullion Coin is introduced buy the U.S. Mint.
  • 1987 A.D.—British Royal Mint introduces the Britannia Gold Bullion Coin.  World stock markets suffer sharp reversal on Oct.19; increase of gold trading.  The World Gold Council is established to sustain and develop demand for the end uses of gold.
  • 1989 A.D.—Austria introduces the Philharmonic bullion coin.
  • 1990 A.D.—United States becomes the world’s second largest gold producing nation.
  • 1992 A.D.—World Gold Council introduces the Gold Mark.
  • 1997 A.D.—Congress passes Taxpayers Relief Act, allowing U.S. IRA account holders to buy gold bullion coins and bars for their accounts.
  • 1999 A.D.–The euro is introduced; the Pan-European currency is backed by a new European Central Bank holding 15 percent of its reserves in gold.
  • 2002 A.D.—The Gold Institute’s Board of Directors votes to dissolve the association and consolidate its activities within the National Mining Association.
  • 2004 A.D.–Launch of first Gold SPDR index
  • 2009 A.D.–Central Banks return to buying
  • 2010 A.D.–Record Highs.
  • 2011 A.D.—Record Highs