A K Agnihotri: All that glitters is gold (part iii)


U.S. Mint terminates policy of buying gold from and selling gold to those licensed by the U.S. Treasury to hold gold.

Gold- backing of Federal Reserve Notes is eliminated. Intel introduces a microchip with 1,024 transistors interconnected with invisibly small gold circuits.

1970 A.D. : The charge-coupled device is invented at Bell Telephone Laboratories.  First used to record the faint light from stars, the device, which uses gold to collect the electrons generated by light, eventually is used in hundreds of civilian and military devices, including home video cameras.

1971 A.D. : On August 15, U.S. terminates all gold sales or purchases, thereby ending conversion of foreign officially held dollars into gold; in December, under the Smithsonian Agreement signed in Washington, U.S. devalues the dollar by raisin g the official dollar price of gold to $38 per fine troy ounce.

The colloidal gold marker system is introduced by Amersham Corporation of Illinois.  Tiny spheres of gold are used in health research laboratories worldwide to mark or tag specific proteins to reveal their function in the human body for the treatment of disease.

1973 A.D. : On February 13, U.S. devalues the dollar again and announces it will raise the official dollar price of gold to $42.22 per fine troy ounce.  Dollar-selling continues, and finally all currencies are allowed to “float” freely, without regard to the price of gold.  By June, the market price in London has risen to more than $120 per ounce.

Japan lifts prohibition on imports of gold.

1974 A.D. : Americans permitted to own gold, other than just jewellery, as of December 31.

                 1975 A.D.         The U.S. Treasury holds a series of auctions at which is accepts bids for gold in the form of 400-ounce bars. In January, 754,000 troy ounces are sold and another 499,500 more in June.

1975 A.D.         Trading in gold for future delivery begins on New York’s Commodity Exchange and on Chicago’s International Monetary Market and Board of Trade.

The Krugerrand is launched on the U.S. Market.

1976 A.D.         The Gold Institute is established to promote the common business interests of the gold industry by providing statistical data and other relevant information to its members, the media, and the public, while also acting as an industry spokesperson.

1976 A.D.         IMF sells one-third of its gold holdings, 25 million troy ounces to IMF members at SDR 35/ounce in proportion to members’ shares of quotas on August 31, 1975, and 25 million troy ounces at a series of public auctions for the benefit of developing member countries.

1978 A.D.         Amended IMF articles are adopted, abolishing the official IMF price of gold, gold convertibility and maintenance of gold value obligations; gold is eliminated as a significant instrument in IMF transactions with members; and the IMF is empowered to dispose of its large gold holdings.  By Act of Congress, the U.S. abolishes the official price of gold.  Member governments are free to buy and sell gold in private markets.

1978 A.D.         A weak U.S. dollar propels interest in gold, aided by such events as the U.S. recognition of Communist China, events in Iran and Sino-Vietnamese border disturbances.

U.S. Congress passes the American Arts Gold Medallion Act, representing the first official issue of a gold piece for sale to individuals in almost half a century.

Japan lifts ban on gold exports, touching off a “gold rush” among investors who can sell as well as buy.

1979 A.D.         The Canadian 1-ounce Maple Leaf is introduced.

1980 A.D.         U.S. Treasury sells 15.8 million troy ounces of gold to strengthen the U.S. trade balance.

1980 A.D.         Gold reaches intra-day historic high of $870 on January 21 in New York and by year-end closes at $591.

1981 A.D.         Treasury Secretary Donald Regan announces the formation of a Gold Commission “to assess and make recommendations with regard to the policy of the U.S. government concerning the role of gold in domestic and international monetary systems.” The first space shuttle is launched, using gold-coated impellers in its liquid hydrogen fuel pump.

1982 A.D.         Congress passes Olympic Commemorative Coin Act, which includes issuing the first legal tender U.S. gold coin since 1933.

1982 A.D.         U.S. Gold Commission report recommends no new monetary role for gold, but supports a U.S. gold bullion coin.

New gold deposits are discovered in North America and Australia.

Canada introduces the fractional Maple Leaf coins in sizes of 1/4 ounce and 1/10 ounce. China introduces the Panda bullion coin.

1986 A.D.         The first new gold jewellery alloy of this century, 990- Gold (1% titanium) is introduced to meet the need for an improved durability of 99% pure gold traditionally manufactured in Hong Kong.  The very malleable alloy is easily worked into intricate design, but can be converted into a hard, durable alloy by simply heating it in an oven.

The American Eagle Gold Bullion Coin is introduced by the U.S. Mint.  Treasury resumes purchases of newly mined gold.

Goldcorp Australia issues the Nugget gold bullion coin.

Gold-coated compact discs are introduced.  The gold- coated discs provide perfection of reflective surfaces, eliminate pinholes common to aluminium surfaces, and exclude any possibility of oxidative deterioration of the surfaces.

1987 A.D.         British Royal Mint introduces the Britannia Gold Bullion Coin.

World stock markets suffer sharp reversal on October 19; volatile investment markets increase gold trading activity.

The World Gold Council is established to sustain and develop demand for the end uses of gold.

1988 A.D.         The international media report huge gold purchases by a “mystery” buyer, later revealed to be the Japanese government in preparation for the minting of a major commemorative coin.  This coin, honouring the sixtieth anniversary of Emperor Hirohito’s reign, is issued in November.

1989 A.D.         Austria introduces the Philharmoniker bullion coin.

1990 A.D.         United States becomes the world’s second largest gold producing nation.

1992 A.D.         World Gold Council introduces the Gold Mark as an international identification mark for gold jewellery.

1993 A.D.         Germany lifts its value added tax restrictions on financial gold, causing a resurgence of private demand of gold.

India and Turkey liberalize their gold markets.

1994 A.D.         Russia formally establishes a domestic gold market.

1996 A.D.         The Mars Global Surveyor is launched with an on- board gold-coated parabolic telescope-mirror that will generate a detailed map of the entire Martian surface over a two-year period.

1997 A.D.         The US Congress passes Taxpayers Relief Act, allowing US Individual Retirement Account holders to buy gold bullion coins and bars for their accounts as long as they are of a fineness equal to, or exceeding, 99.5% percent gold.

1999 A.D.         The Euro, a pan-European currency, is introduced, backed by a new European Central Bank holding 15% of its reserves in gold.

2000 A.D.         Astronomers at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii use the giant gold-coated mirrors of the most detailed images of Neptune and Uranus ever captured.

2002 A.D.         The Gold Institute’s Board of Directors votes to dissolve the association and consolidate its activities within the National Mining Association, effective January 1, 2003. The decision was made against the backdrop of  consolidation in the gold sector and changes in the general business climate.

 2004 - Launch of SPDR Gold Shares

The market is transformed by an innovative, secure and easy way to access the gold market. Seven years later SPDR exceeds $55bn in assets under management.

2009 - Central banks return to buying

In the second quarter of the year, central banks collectively become net purchasers of gold for the first time in two decades. This reflects a combination of slowing sales from European banks and growing purchases by emerging market countries.

2010 - Gold price sustains record highs

World currencies are undermined by inflation fears and successive financial crises. The London pm fix achieves 35 separate successive highs in the year to date.

The economic upsurge in the last few years has led to a spike in most commodities and the resultant jump in the price of gold was only to be expected.