Repealed 40 years ago today, Executive Order 6102 of April 1933 could have melted this 1873 “Open 3” gold dollar coin and many other old and beautiful gold coins except for one small clause.
With his order, Roosevelt wanted the estimated $1 billion of privately held gold to be in the government’s coffers.
In part, the order stated,
“By virtue of the authority vested in me by Section 5(b) of the Act of October 6, 1917, as amended by Section 2 of the Act of March 9, 1933, entitled ‘An Act to provide relief in the existing national emergency in banking, and for other purposes’, in which amendatory Act Congress declared that a serious emergency exists, I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, do declare that said national emergency still continues to exist and pursuant to said section do hereby prohibit the hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates within the continental United States by individuals, partnerships, associations and corporations and hereby prescribe the following regulations for carrying out the purposes of this order:
“Section 1. For the purposes of this regulation, the term ‘hoarding’ means the withdrawal and withholding of gold coin, gold bullion or gold certificates from the recognized and customary channels of trade. The term ‘person’ means any individual, partnership, association or corporation.
“Section 2. All persons are hereby required to deliver on or before May 1, 1933, to a Federal reserve bank or a branch or agency thereof or to any member bank of the Federal Reserve System all gold coin, gold bullion and gold certificates now owned by them or coming into their ownership on or before April 28, 1933, except the following:
“(a) Such amount of gold as may be required for legitimate and customary use in industry, profession or art within a reasonable time, including gold prior to refining and stocks of gold in reasonable amounts for the usual trade requirements of owners mining and refining such gold.
“(b) Gold coin and gold certificates in an amount not exceeding in the aggregate $100.00 belonging to any one person; and gold coins having a recognized special value to collectors of rare and unusual coins.
“(c) Gold coin and bullion earmarked or held in trust for a recognized foreign Government or foreign central bank or the Bank for International Settlements.
“(d) Gold coin and bullion licensed for other proper transactions (not involving hoarding) including gold coin and bullion imported for re-export or held pending action on applications for export licenses. ”
For persons owning gold after April 28, 1933, the order defined the penalties as up to a $10,000 fine, up to 10 years in prison or both.
Just over 41 years later on August 14, 1974, President Gerald R. Ford signed a bill repealing the restrictions on a person “purchasing, holding, selling, or otherwise dealing with gold.”
The reversal law, Public Law 93-373, became effective on December 31, 1974.