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Gold Rumors, What Fun
June 09, 2011

Do you believe that the U.S. government has sold off the large quantity of gold stored at Fort Knox, Ky.?

I don’t. It’s there. Trust me.

You don’t trust me?

Why I have just stated an opinion based on no evidence at all except that the federal government says its there.

Being a little skeptical is a good thing.

You shouldn’t take my word for things. But why on earth would you believe that the gold is not there based solely on the opinions of others?

There is no evidence that it is missing, either.

There are a lot of opinions being expressed.

I’m hurt. Why are these other opinions taken as fact?

Certainly rumors of missing gold is a time honored tradition. When Dwight D. Eisenhower took his place in the White House Oval Office in 1953 there were Republicans who believed the gold might be missing. It turned out the gold was there.

In the 1970s Dr. Peter David Beter alleged that the gold was missing yet again, and it was there. The U.S. Mint director led a press tour of the place to prove it.

The rumors of missing gold arise yet again.

Each time the rumors occur there is a heightened sense of uncertainty about the future among the people and rather vicious politics.

Ike’s time saw the Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy witch hunts. In the 1970s it was Watergate. Now we have … well, do I need to mention the state of current politics?

Even the Founding Fathers were not immune to wild and crazy rumors.

When President Thomas Jefferson was sworn into office in 1801, he was absolutely convinced that the scoundrel Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first Treasury secretary, had been stealing and was oh so clever that he successfully covered it up.

Jefferson instructed his new Treasury secretary, Albert Gallatin, to get to the bottom of it.

Gallatin reported later that there was nothing to get to the bottom of, the old accounts were models of what financial accounts should be.

Does political tension lead to the wildest possible rumors?

Perhaps it does.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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