Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Quiz: How Much Gold Does the U.S. Government Own?

Q: How much gold does the U.S. Government own?
A: about 8.25 tons, or 264 million ounces.

United States Bullion Depository (at Fort Knox)
The United States Bullion Depository holds about 4,603 tons (4,176 metric tonnes) of gold bullion (147.399 million troy ounces). It is second in the United States only to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's underground vault in Manhattan, which holds about 5,000 metric tons of gold in trust for many foreign nations, central banks and official international organizations.

Gold holdings peaked during World War II at 649.6 million troy ounces (20,205 metric tons). Current holdings are around 147.3 million ounces (4,570 t) in around 368,000 standard 400 troy ounce (12.4 kg or 27.4 lb avoirdupois) gold bars. At April 2008 rates of $913 an ounce it is worth roughly $134 billion.

The 1975-1981 audit has "covered more than 212.7 million fine troy ounces of gold" which "represents over 80 percent of the total amount of United States-owned gold of 264.1 million fine troy ounces."

This works out to about $264 billion at $1,000 an ounce; if gold were valued at $10,000 per ounce the value would rise to $2.64 trillion.

If the dollar were backed by gold valued at $10K/oz., would $2.6 trillion be enough dollars to facilitate commerce? Given the concurrent use of other gold-backed currencies (extra-national/private, regional or national), it seems likely the answer would be yes.

Another nutty project: For those who enjoy getting text messages during the day, and who might welcome an amusing distraction from the daily grind, I've launched a Twitter version of my zany novel Kama Sutra Cadillac . If you want to follow along, check the upper left sidebar for daily updates or click the link to follow the story via Twitter.

There are a few other twitter novels out there so I reckoned I'd toss my hat in the ring as well. I hope you enjoy the story.

The "endgame" series continues next week. What's for dinner at your house? has been updated with four new recipes.

New chapter in Operation SERF: Chris Sullins' "Strategic Action Thriller" is fiction, and contains graphic combat scenes.
Operation SERF, Part 7

Thank you, Don E. ($15) for your outrageously generous ongoing contributions to this site. I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Thank you, Ian M. ($20) for your much-appreciated generous donation to this site. I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

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