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That promise was golden

Election years bring out politicians and campaign promises. Normally, these do not touch upon numismatics, but 28 years ago this week, candidate Ronald Reagan made an appearance 13 miles to the south of Iola in Courthouse Square in Waupaca. I was there. I listened to his speech.

Incorporated into it was a promise to make the U.S. dollar as good as gold again. That is not exactly an overt pledge to restore the gold standard that was abandoned in 1933 or the gold exchange standard that was abandoned in 1971, but it was as close to the subject as any American leader who had a strong chance of winning the presidency has ever gone since President Nixon closed the gold window.

He was as good as his word. He appointed the U.S. Gold Commission. Its report in 1982 did not bring back the gold standard, but it did make the topic a respectable one in government circles again, something that had not been the case for the prior decade.

The door was opened to striking gold coins again. The Olympic coin legislation had a $10 gold coin component and it was not laughed out of Congress or condemned. It passed and the Olympic $10 of 1984 was the first American gold coin struck since 1933. It sold reasonably well to collectors.

It was followed by the 1986 Statue of Liberty $5, which sold out in just a few weeks. It was a first hint of pent-up gold coin demand.

This was then followed by the creation of the American Eagle program in 1986 and we were off to the races. The gold standard did not come back but Americans were given an American option to invest in if they wanted gold to be a part of their investments.

Perhaps someday a candidate who has more electoral pull than Ron Paul will say something positive about gold or some other numismatic subject.

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3 Responses to That promise was golden

  1. Patrick McNulty says:

    I wish you had a forum where we could talk about such coins more freely.

  2. Scott says:

    Patrick… you can visit the forums at the Collectors Society at boards.collectors-society.com. We are a lively group and respectful of everyone’s collecting ambitions. Sometimes, we even engage in a good argument about coins! 🙂

  3. David says:

    Ron Paul has a great deal of grassroots support. He was the early leader in campaign fundraising. But he was ignored by the media. The reason he was ignored is because he was willing to speak about a sound dollar. If someday a candidate with more electoral pull that Ron Paul speaks out in favor of a sound currency, he will soon find himself marginalized, ignored, and out of the running. That is the sad truth, because the people pulling the strings are the same people who benefit (to the tune of billions a year) from an inflatable currency.

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