Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The 1933 Double Eagle, Most Valuable Coin in The World

Connections between the often intimidating world of government information and legislation to issues and items of everyday interest can surface in unexpected places, as is the case in this excellent piece published recently by Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.

Starting with insight into the relationship between stodgy-seeming entities like the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the U.S. Secret Service's pursuit to destroy one of the last gold coins manufactured by the U.S Mint, the piece expands to discuss the Gold Reserve Act of 1934, a Congressional effort preceded by President Franklin Roosevelt's Executive Order 6102, which together outlawed the hoarding of gold in an effort to raise the value of the Dollar. The Gold Reserve Act outlawed the private possession of gold, and demanded inviduals sell theirs to Department of the Treasury. The gold was then stored in the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox (an act that inspired many a reference to Fort Knox in later Warner Brother's cartoons, including the one embedded below).

As it turns out, the story of the Double Eagle coin involves both Presidents Roosevelt, as Theodore originally commisioned the coin in the early 1900's as part of his desire for an American coin whose style would rival those of ancient Greece.

America's desire to switch to a Gold Standard to preserve the value of the dollar is an issue that still enters the public sphere, such as in this clip with 2012 Presidential candidate, Congressman Ron Paul from the Colbert Report -- and one that stretches back to the expansion of the nation westward, something the recent book The President Is A Sick Man mentions in its look at President Gover Cleveland.

The trail of government information through any one item or issue is a journey that leads to occasioanlly remarkable places, both historically and in contemporary life. Check out the excellent piece on the Double Eagle from Bloomberg Businessweek, and contact the Government Information Library with any questions or curiosities you may wish to pursue.

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