How much gold is Fort Knox?

Posted on

shares: 13

In times of electronic transfers and cashless transactions, it is easy to forget that the value of “normal” (not even cryptographic) money is based in part on a very real substance: gold. From 1900 to 1971, the entire currency of the United States was operated according to the gold standard. In theory, every dollar of paper printed by the US Mint was backed by a corresponding amount of state gold.

Under the gold standard, anyone could go to a bank currency exchange and exchange paper dollars for the market value of gold. For almost 80 years, a very large part of American gold has been held in reserve in the US Bullion Depository, better known as Fort Knox. And even though we turned off the gold standard in 1971, the notion that billions of dollars worth of gold bars are only gathering dust in Fort Knox is a tempting fantasy for any criminal mastermind.

So how much gold is Fort Knox kept exactly?

Keystone / Getty Images

History of Fort Knox

Fort Knox is located in Fort Knox, Kentucky, at the intersection of Gold Vault Road and Bullion Boulevard. It was built in 1936 to house the vast gold reserves that were created as a result of an order from President Roosevelt in 1933.

Executive Order 6102 required all American citizens to relinquish ownership of private gold reserves, including coins, certificates, and gold bars. The order essentially made it illegal to own these items privately.

Back then, the US government had $ 4 billion Worth gold. By the time everyone complied with the new arrangement, that amount had swelled up $ 12 billion. With no room for all of the gold, the federal government decided to take over part of the land reserved for the military and build a massive vault. Construction cost just under $ 600,000 (about $ 10 million in today’s dollars) and was completed in December 1936. The gold arrived in January 1937.

The main vault, which is used to store gold, as well as items deemed important to national security or US history, is only accessible through a 20-ton, 21-inch-thick door that is flare and drill-proof. Only a few employees know the access codes and no visitors are allowed to enter the building. There are several smaller safes in the safe, each of which requires its own access code. A special police unit, known as the United States Mint Police, protects the entire site at all times. There are also extensive alarm systems, cameras, microphones, barbed wire, mines, electric fences, several attack helicopters and artillery. If an employee is locked up, there is an escape tunnel, but little information about the tunnel is available to the public.

Hulton Archives / Getty Images

How much gold ???

The amount of gold held at Fort Knox has fluctuated over the years. It was greatest during World War II when several European governments moved their gold reserves to Kentucky for safekeeping. At that time, Fort Knox gold peaked at 20,205 tonnes (650 million ounces Troy). Also during WWII, the original copies of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were brought to Fort Knox, as were the Hungarian Crown Jewels and a copy of the Magna Carta.

The safe currently holds 4,578 tons from 368,000 standard, 400 oz. troy gold bars. That corresponds to three percent of all gold that has ever been found and refined in human history. At today’s price of around $ 1,800 an ounce, Fort Knox holds….

$ 253 billion worth of gold!

The vault also contains a number of rare gold coins. The gold bars are of different purity. Some are around 90% gold as they are made from melted down coins. Others are as good as new and are 99% gold.

Interestingly, Fort Knox actually is not the largest gold deposit in the United States. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York operates an underground vault with 7,000 tons of gold bars. Therefore, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York holds …

About $ 500 billion worth of gold!

Some of this gold is owned by other nations and held in trust. Anyone who has seen the movie “Die Hard with a Vengeance” will remember that the bad guys tried to steal the gold from the Federal Reserve in NYC using huge trucks and construction tunnels under the city.

Between Fort Knox and the gold of the Federal Reserve Bank in Manhattan, there is more gold on American soil than in any other country in the world. But for any supercriminals reading this, the lesson here could be to forget about Fort Knox and focus on the Manhattan Fed. Double payout!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *