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Historical Gold Prices: 30 BCE to Today

gold has been considered valued throughout history, but it was n’t used for money until around 550 BCE. At inaugural, people carried around gold or silver coins. If they found gold, they could get their government to make tradable coins out of it. Because of its value and its utility as currentness, the evolving value of gold can be traced back angstrom far as 30 BCE .

Learn about the price of amber from 30 BCE through today .

Key Takeaways

  • The Romans began issuing gold coins in 50 BCE.
  • Throughout most of the following two millennia, many countries and empires set their currencies’ values based on gold.
  • By the 19th century, many countries had created paper currencies based on the “gold standard.”
  • Currency values were eventually detached from gold, but the value of the precious metal continues to grow today.

Gold ‘s Value in the Roman Empire

emperor butterfly Augustus, who reigned in ancient Rome from 31 BCE to 14 CE, set the price of gold at 40-42 coins to the beat. In early words, a pound of gold could make 40-42 coins .

The future re-evaluation occurred in the period of 211 to 217 CE, during the reign of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus ( Caracalla ), who debased the value to 50 coins for a sudanese pound of amber, reducing the rate of each coin and making gold worth more. From 284 CE to 305 CE, Diocletian far debased gold to 70 coins per impound initially, but late coins were issued at 60 coins per impound .

Constantine the Great debased it to 72 coins per pound in the years 306 CE to 337 CE .

These emperors lowered the respect of the currency thus much that it created hyperinflation. To illustrate, in 301 CE, one pound of gold was deserving 50,000 denarii, which is another coin based on eloquent. By 337 CE, it was worth 30 million denarii .


As the price of gold rose, therefore did the monetary value of everything else. middle-class people could not afford their casual needs, and empires crumbled.

The Price of Gold in Early Great Britain

In 1257, Great Britain set the price for an ounce of gold at 0.89 pounds. It raised the price by about 1 pound each hundred, as follows :

  • 1351: 1.34 pounds
  • 1465: 2.01 pounds
  • 1546: 3.00 pounds
  • 1664: 4.05 pounds
  • 1717: 4.25 pounds

In the 1800s, most countries printed paper currencies that were supported by their values in amber. This was known as the ” gold standard. ” Countries kept adequate gold reserves to support this prize .

The history of the gold standard in the United States began in 1900. The Gold Standard Act established gold as the entirely metallic element for redeeming paper currency. It set the measure of gold at $ 20.67 per ounce .

Great Britain kept gold at 4.25 pounds per ounce until the 1944 Bretton-Woods Agreement. That ‘s when most develop countries agreed to fix their currencies against the U.S. dollar because the United States owned the majority of the populace ‘s gold .

Gold ‘s regulation in the United States

Before the Gold Standard Act, the United States used the british aureate standard. In 1791, it set the price of gold at $ 19.49 per ounce but besides used eloquent to redeem currentness. In 1834, it raised the price of aureate to $ 20.69 per ounce .

defensive structure of the gold standard helped cause the Great Depression. A recession began in August 1929 after the Federal Reserve had raised interest rates in 1928. After the 1929 stock market crash, many investors started redeeming paper currentness for its measure in gold .

The U.S. Treasury worried that the United States might run out of gold. It asked the Federal Reserve to raise rates again. The rise in rates increased the measure of the dollar and made it more valuable than gold. This approach worked in 1931 .

Higher interest rates made loans excessively expensive, which forced many companies out of business. They besides caused deflation, since a stronger dollar could buy more with less. Companies cut costs to keep prices moo and stay competitive. That farther worsened unemployment, which turned the recession into a depression .


By 1932, speculators again turned in money for gold. As gold prices rose, people hoarded the cherished metallic element, thus sending prices even higher. To stem the redemption of gold, President Franklin D. Roosevelt outlawed secret ownership of gold coins, bullion, and certificates in April 1933. Americans had to sell their gold to the Fed .

A class late, Congress passed the Gold Reserve Act, which allowed Roosevelt to raise the price of amber to $ 35 per ounce. That lowered the dollar respect, creating healthy inflation.

In 1937, FDR cut government spend to reduce the deficit, which reignited the Depression. By that clock, the government stock of gold had increased to closely $ 9 billion. It was held at the U.S. Bullion Reserves at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York .

In 1939, FDR increased defense spend to prepare for World War II, and the economy expanded. Around the same time, the Dust Bowl drought ended. This combination ended the bang-up Depression .


In 1944, the major powers negotiated the Bretton-Woods Agreement, making the U.S. dollar the official global currency. The United States defended the price of gold at $ 35 per ounce. In 1971, President Nixon told the Fed to stop honoring the dollar ‘s measure in gold. That meant foreign central banks no long could exchange their dollars for U.S. gold, basically taking the dollar off the gold standard. Nixon was trying to end stagflation, a combination of ostentation and recession. however, inflation was caused by the rising exponent of the dollar, as it had replaced the british greatest as a ball-shaped currentness by then .


In 1976, unhinged from the dollar, the price of gold promptly shot up to more than $ 120 per ounce. By 1980, traders had bid the price of amber astir to about $ 600 as a hedge against double-digit ostentation. The Fed ended inflation with double-digit matter to rates but caused a recess. Gold dropped to $ 410 per ounce and remained in that general trade range until 1996, when it dropped to $ 288 per ounce in answer to firm economic growth .

Traders returned to gold after each economic crisis, such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2001 recession .

aureate shoot up to $ 872.37 per ounce during the 2008 fiscal crisis. The price of an ounce of aureate hit a new high of $ 1,917.90 in August 2011. Investors were worried about a U.S. debt nonpayment .

In January 2020, the World Health Organization ( WHO ) declared the COVID-19 outbreak to be a ball-shaped pandemic. By Aug. 6, 2020, gold settled at an all-time record of $ 2,069.40 an snow leopard .

gold prices trended lower at the start of 2021 compared to the previous year ‘s high, but have moved in both directions. Earlier in the year, investors took profits. But as the year progressed the possibility of rising inflation and the Federal Reserve raising short-run sake rates increased. On Nov. 22, 2021, amber settled at $ 1,816.5 .

gold Prices by year

The below graph below tracks the monetary value of gold since 1968, with some noteworthy events in the Gold market .

frequently Asked Questions ( FAQs )

What affects gold prices?

Like all markets, amber prices are capable to forces of supply and demand. When it comes to gold, add is affected by trading trends angstrom well as by mining companies digging up more amber that they can put into the market. One of the key factors impacting demand is the current marketplace opinion on inflation. When ostentation rises, the value of the dollar goes depressed, and some investors flock to gold in hopes that it serves as a static shop of value .

Does volatility in gold prices affect interest rates?

interest rates are tied to inflation, so they have historically been closely related to gold prices, ampere well. When the dollar ‘s military capability increases and ostentation decreases, then interest rates could be expected to fall at the lapp time as gold prices. inflation is decreasing, so cash-like investments do n’t need to offer such high-interest rates, and fewer people are rushing to aureate as a stable store of value .

What does the spot price mean when buying gold?

When people refer to the “ spot monetary value ” of gold, they just mean the price at which you could buy gold at that moment. commodity traders, who much trade wind futures, are the ones most probable to differentiate the spot price from the “ futures monetary value, ” or the price guaranteed by a futures sign .
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