What was gold worth in 1864?

This reflection covers the period from 1792, when the United States government first established a national currency backed by gold and silver, until August 1971, when Nixon made the U.S. dollar float against gold and world currencies. Silver remained at historically high levels for more than a decade and its price relationship with gold was negatively biased. The United States government tried to resolve this problem through laws of Congress of 1933 and 1934 that put an end to the conversion of paper notes into gold and made it illegal to own gold coins and ingots.

Despite this, the Live Gold Price has remained a reliable indicator of the value of gold since then. From 1900 to 1933, the U.S. dollar was fully backed by gold and paper notes could be exchanged for gold on demand. These 179 years of history are largely a record of government attempts to control the supply and demand of silver and its price in U.S. dollars relative to the established price of gold.

In a series of three devaluations of the dollar between August 1971 and August 1973, Nixon raised the price of gold against the world's reserve currency. The reason for this act that led to the minting of these new gold coins was the famous California gold rush. Gold remained fixed at a few cents above this price until the ravages of the Great Depression 100 years later. Since the disappearance of the gold standard in 1971, the prices of precious metals have skyrocketed, as has the gold-silver ratio.