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Myths of the Gold Market Eternal
August 30, 2011

The Kennedy Administration liked to use the phrase that a rising tide lifts all boats. This was in the context that anything done to improve an economy will ultimately benefit everyone.

Rising metal prices also seem to validate everything said about gold even if they are myths.

Buy gold because there isn’t any left at Ft. Knox goes one myth.

The gold is still in Ft. Knox, but since gold prices have gone up concurrent with the dissemination of the myth, maybe there is some truth in it, some insist.

The U.S. government, it is asserted, is embarrassed by the rising price of gold and acts to suppress the price.

There is some historical truth to this but what is the statute of limitations?

The last U.S. government sale was in the 1970s in the run-up to the 1980 record price.

World currencies now float without an official gold anchor of any kind. Monetary intervention takes the form of buying or selling currencies for other currencies.

Gold has had no official standing in the world’s monetary system since 1971 when President Nixon shut the U.S. gold window that underpinned the old Bretton Woods monetary order.

Central banks are suppressing the price of gold is another myth.

Everybody likes to point to the late 1990s Bank of England decison to dump most of its gold holdings.

But more recent evidence that China was actively understating its gold holdings as it was buying, or that at the margin nowadays central banks are net purchasers of gold for the first time since 1988 seems to do nothing to undercut the myth that central banks led by the U.S. States are trying to suppress the price of gold.

As long as the price of gold stays high, the myths will ride high with it.

When the gold price stabilizes or falls at some point in the future, they will go into hibernation.

Notice I say hibernation. As I have written before, the Ft. Knox myth surfaced in the 1950s, the 1970s and again in recent years. As long as Ft. Knox exists, there apparently always will be a rumor that it is empty.

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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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