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Nine Fascinating Facts About Gold

Since Prehistoric times, gold has gradually increased its service and value to humans. Across the centuries, gold’s history has become a treasure trove of fascinating facts and startling information. Here are but a few of gold’s historical nuggets.

The Beginnings

The first metal ever worked by prehistoric humans was likely gold. Decorative objects unearthed in Bulgaria have been traced to 4000 B.C., meaning part of the gold age coincides with the Stone Age.

The Most Expensive

The world’s most expensive gold coin is the 1933 Double Eagle. In 2002, Sotheby’s sold it in New York City for $7.59 million.

Gold as a Doorstep

Image of golden coins and golden bars that are sold by Atlanta Gold and CoinThe first documented discovery of gold in the U.S. occurred in 1799 when Conrad Reed found a 17-pound lump of rock on his father’s farm in North Carolina. They used it as a doorstep before taking it to a nearby jeweler, who bought it for $3.50—less than a thousandth of its true value in gold bullion. Reed got the message. He went out and built the first commercial gold mine in the U.S., the Reed Gold Mine.

The Influence of Gold on Currency

The dollar is no longer backed by gold, but gold can still have a huge influence on currency. In 1934, President Franklin Roosevelt increased the price of gold from $20.67 to $35. Before long, the value of the U.S dollar had dropped by 40 percent. President Nixon removed the U.S. dollar from all traces of a gold standard in 1971 when he unilaterally closed the gold window. Following the closure of the gold window, foreign central banks were no longer able to exchange their dollars for gold.

Never to Be Mined

More than 10 billion tons of gold exist beneath the world’s oceans—more than 25 tons for every cubic mile. However, that fact pales in comparison to the gold in outer space. In 1999, the NEAR spacecraft revealed that the asteroid, Eros, contains more gold than all the gold mined on Earth. At some point in the future, alternative gold exploration may become viable, but we would need to see substantially higher prices before considering this possibility.

Soft Yet Strong

Gold is one of the most malleable and ductile metals in the world. Pure gold can be molded by hand, and one ounce can be stretched into a wire 50 miles long and one-tenth the diameter of a strand of a human hair. A single ounce of gold can be transformed into a translucent sheet of five-millionths of an inch in thickness.

The Resiliency of Gold

Gold is virtually indestructible, and because of its value, almost all of it is recycled. As a result, more than 85 percent of all the gold ever mined is still in use today.

Major Gold Players

South Africa produces two-thirds of the world’s gold, while India is the world’s largest consumer of gold. The major producers of gold in the United States are Nevada and South Dakota. The United States also has the largest reserve of gold in the world. Most of the reserves are held at Fort Knox; however, this isn’t the only location. Gold reserves are also held at the Denver and West Point Mints as well as the New York Central Bank.

The Biggest Nugget

The world’s largest existing gold nugget is the “Hand of Faith.” Discovered in Australia in 1980, it is on display in Las Vegas at—where else—the Golden Nugget Casino.

At Atlanta Gold and Coin Buyers, we are here to help you make informed decisions in buying or selling gold, silver, platinum, or rare coins and bullion. Call us at 404-236-9744 for a free no-obligation appraisal.

Tony Davis
Tony Davis
Tony Davis is the owner of Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers, a full service Atlanta based coin and bullion dealer specializing in buying, selling and appraising coins and coin collections of all types and sizes. Tony frequently writes on various economic and numismatic related topics affecting the coin and bullion markets and has been published on some of the industry’s leading websites, including Coin Week, the American Numismatic Association, Coin Collector, Coinflation, and Coin Auctions Help, just to name a few. Visit Atlanta Gold & Coin’s website at to obtain additional information on the products, services and educational resources offered by his company. Tony can be reached at or at 404-236-9744
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