Topic: Numismatics/American currency

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United States Numismatics Numismatics/American currency United States/Massachusetts

BerkShares is a local currency that circulates in The Berkshires region of Massachusetts. It was launched on September 29, 2006 by BerkShares Inc., with research and development assistance from the Schumacher Center for a New Economics. The BerkShares website lists around 400 businesses in Berkshire County that accept the currency. Since launch, over 10 million BerkShares have been issued from participating branch offices of local banks (as of February 2020, 9 branches of 3 different banks). The bills were designed by John Isaacs and were printed by Excelsior Printing on special paper with incorporated security features from Crane & Co.. BerkShares are pegged with an exchange rate to the US dollar, but the Schumacher Center has discussed the possibility of pegging its value to a basket of local goods in order to insulate the local economy against volatility in the US economy.

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US Gold Reserve Act

United States Numismatics Numismatics/American currency U.S. Congress

The United States Gold Reserve Act of January 30, 1934 required that all gold and gold certificates held by the Federal Reserve be surrendered and vested in the sole title of the United States Department of the Treasury. It also prohibited the Treasury and financial institutions from redeeming dollar bills for gold, established the Exchange Stabilization Fund under control of the Treasury to control the dollar’s value without the assistance (or approval) of the Federal Reserve, and authorized the president to establish the gold value of the dollar by proclamation.

Immediately following passage of the Act, the President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, changed the statutory price of gold from $20.67 per troy ounce to $35. This price change incentivized gold miners globally to expand production and foreigners to export their gold to the United States, while simultaneously devaluing the U.S. dollar by increasing inflation. The increase in gold reserves due to the price change resulted in a large accumulation of gold in the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury, much of which was stored in the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox and other locations. The increase in gold reserves increased the money supply, lowering real interest rates which in turn increased investment in durable goods.

A year earlier, in 1933, Executive Order 6102 had made it a criminal offense for U.S. citizens to own or trade gold anywhere in the world, with exceptions for some jewelry and collector's coins. These prohibitions were relaxed starting in 1964 – gold certificates were again allowed for private investors on April 24, 1964, although the obligation to pay the certificate holder on demand in gold specie would not be honored. By 1975 Americans could again freely own and trade gold.

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