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In these uncertain economic times, investors aren't sure where to put their money. The world stock market has been unstable at best for the last couple of years, with investors struggling from one day to the next to determine where to place their assets for the best return.
But there's one investment that seems to be defying the odds: gold.
Just like the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898, it seems like everyone and their brother is trying to cash in on the resurgence in the popularity of gold. And with trend of gold prices rising and setting record highs, it's easy to see what the fuss is all about.
However, it's important to note that gold hasn't just recently gained popularity. It has been a hot commodity for over 5,000 years. In fact, it was the source of quite a bit of controversy in the 1930s, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law Executive Order 6102, which forbade the "Hoarding of Gold Coin, Gold Bullion, and Gold Certificates with the continental United States". In essence, the executive order made it a criminal act for an individual, partnership, association or corporation to possess monetary gold.
With times being hard, Americans stockpiled gold in all its forms to help provide some financial stability. However, FDR's executive order required all Americans to turn over to the U.S. Federal Reserve all but a small portion of their private gold stores. Failure to follow the order resulted in up to 10 years in prison, or a fine of roughly $10,000.
Americans who did not want to turn over their excessive amounts of gold often chose to instead transfer it to other countries for safe keeping.
However, most Americans fell out of love with gold in the 1960s. It has only been within the last five years that gold has experienced a resurgence in popularity - and in value - thanks to a recession and the slow economic recovery that followed.
Commercials promising the most "bang for your buck" with the purchase of or investment in gold flooded television and radio stations. With a growing recession and the U.S. Dollar continuing to decline in value, Americans wanted something that would be valuable, even as the value of their paper currency continued to nose dive. With interest rates bottoming out and the federal government losing faith in the value of its own currency, the gold rush of the new millennium raced ahead full steam.
Just as people are investing in gold, a number of businesses designed specifically for buying gold also have gained popularity in the last couple of years. With promises of providing cash on the spot for unwanted gold, many people have been tempted to sell off their unwanted gold jewelry to earn some greenbacks. So the "gold buying frenzy" has gone both ways.
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