You've read all about the power of physical gold as a safe haven, a means of wealth protection, and even a recession-proof asset. As serious as buying gold can be, however, it can also be interesting and fun! Keep these nuggets of gold knowledge in your back pocket to “wow” your friends and family, excel at trivia night, and feel great about being a gold owner.
10 Fun Gold Facts About Gold Coins, History, Mining & More
1. Gold is one of the rarest elements.
Gold remains one of the rarest elements in the world, making up about 0.003 parts per million of the earth's crust. For perspective, consider that one part per million, when converted into time, is equivalent to one minute in two years, says Forbes. Gold is even rarer than that.
Gold is so rare because it's a relatively big atom, reports Bill Dobell of Science Focus. “That makes it hard to produce, even in the incredible heat and pressure of the ‘chemical forges' of supernovae, the deaths of giant stars responsible for creating most chemical elements.”
2. The first gold coins date back to 700-650 B.C.
The Kingdom of Lydia (in modern-day western Turkey) is credited with producing the first gold coins in 700–650 B.C. The coins weren't pure gold at first. Rather, they were made of electrum, a natural alloy of silver and gold found in the region's rivers. About 100 years later, King Croesus of Lydia produced the first pure gold coin, reports Numismaster.com.
3. Around 187,200 tons of gold has already been mined.
Current estimates from the World Gold Council (WGC) suggest that around 187,200 tons of gold have already been mined, two-thirds of which were mined in the last 70 years or so. Pack this gold together and you’ve got a cube that measures about 21 meters on each side. A cube this size would fit comfortably in the middle of a baseball infield.
As far as the amount of gold that remains in the earth, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there are about 57,000 tons left to be mined. That may sound like a lot but compare it to the amount of gold that’s already been mined. What you’re left with is a cube that’s about 6 meters on each side. A cube that size would stand about as tall as an adult giraffe. Still feel like there's plenty of gold left in the world?
4. The U.S. holds a majority of its gold reserves in Kentucky.
Fort Knox is a United States Army post in southern Kentucky and also the site of the United States Bullion Depository. Fort Knox holds about 4,600 metric tons of gold worth close to $200 billion. This represents 2.5 percent of all the gold ever refined.
While Fort Knox holds a large portion of our nation’s official gold reserves, it does not store the gold used to produce gold coins. The gold used in producing gold coins at the U.S. Mint is held at the West Point Mint in New York.
5. Lady Liberty was once put on a diet, of sorts.
Yes, you read that right. The obverse (heads) design of the Gold American Eagle Coin is based on a classic Greek design by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
“The design, selected by President Theodore Roosevelt, features Lady Liberty striding toward the viewer. Many collectors consider the design to be the finest in the history of American coinage,” says Philip N. Diehl, President of U.S. Money Reserve and former Director of the U.S. Mint.
Now for the kicker. “Almost 80 years later the Saint-Gaudens’ design was chosen for the obverse of the American Eagle Gold Coin,” continues Diehl. “But fashions had changed. When the design was sent to Treasury Secretary James A. Baker for final approval, he sent it back to the Mint with instructions for Lady Liberty to shed some pounds. Mint engravers altered Saint-Gaudens’ design by slimming Liberty’s arms and legs, a change that ignited controversy among numismatic artists and many collectors. But politics prevailed over art.”
6. The Gold American Buffalo Coin was the nation's first-ever 24-karat gold coin.
Gold American Buffalo Coins were first released to the public in June 2006 under Public Law 109-145, also called the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005. Title II of this act announced the striking and issuing of $50 Gold American Buffalo bullion and proof coins.
This important piece of coin legislation marked the first time in history that the U.S. Mint produced a .9999 pure 24-karat gold coin. In part, the coins were created to keep pace with 24-karat bullion options from other countries, like the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf and the Chinese Gold Panda.
The Gold American Buffalo has since become an incredibly popular gold coin, even selling out at certain times. The U.S. Mint stopped production during the financial crisis of 2008, ran out of 1oz. bullion inventory in 2010, and sold out of their 1 oz. proof inventory in 2015.
7. Gold may have medical healing benefits.
Uses for physical gold go beyond coins, bars, and jewelry. The use of gold in medical treatments dates back to 1890, when German bacteriologist Robert Koch discovered that gold compounds could halt the growth of Bacillus which caused tuberculosis. Today, gold compounds are being tested and used to treat several types of cancer, curb rheumatoid arthritis pain, and help detect HIV/AIDS, reports MIMS Today.
Because gold is biocompatible (meaning it's not harmful to human tissue) it's also used to remedy a condition known as lagophthalmos, which is when you can't close your eyes completely. This condition is treated by implanting small amounts of gold in the upper eyelid, says Geology.com. The implanted gold “weights” the eyelid and gravity helps the eyelid close fully.
As you can see, the power of physical gold goes far beyond wealth insurance. What could gold do for you? Learn more about this alluring and interesting precious metal today. Request your free Gold Information Kit from U.S. Money Reserve and take the next step toward gold ownership.
8. Central banks are seriously big on buying gold.
Starting in 2010, central banks around the world turned from being net sellers of gold to net buyers of gold, reports Forbes.
“Around 20 percent of all gold ever mined is held by central banks and governments, with the biggest official holdings at the U.S. Treasury,” says MarketWatch. Why do central banks buy gold? A couple of reasons: to manage risk, promote economic stability, and hedge against a sagging dollar and inflation.
“If central banks really had confidence in themselves, i.e. paper money, they would get rid of all the gold in their vaults, sell it all off at high prices and put the proceeds into dollars, euros, yen or what have you. Instead, they’re clinging onto [gold] as something to hold on to if things really go down the drain,” says David Marsh, a researcher with the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum.
9. Physical gold could strengthen your portfolio better than some other assets.
Gold can play an important role in strengthening your portfolio and protecting your wealth, potentially better than some other assets. How much better? Consider these examples:
- Gold “generated better returns in 2016 than 10-year Treasuries and the U.S. dollar, which performed half as well,” says Frank Holmes, CEO of U.S. Global Investors.
- “Historical data shows that gold has given positive returns in 12 out of the last 15 years,” reports The Economic Times.
- According to the World Gold Council (WGC), gold returns have not only been positive over various periods of time, but they’ve surpassed short-term bonds. Since April 2016, the average return on gold surpassed that of 3-month government bond returns by almost 8 percent, says the WGC.
10. U.S. Money Reserve is one of the country's largest distributors of U.S. government-issued gold and silver.
U.S. Money Reserve is one of the country's largest and most trusted distributors of U.S. government-issued gold coins. We've successfully served over 400,000 clients to date and earned a reputation for being America's Gold Authority®. Shop online or call 1-844-307-1589 to buy gold when and how you want it.