A History Of Gold Prices In The Last 2,000 Years

Gold has had a long history and unique social status as a precious metal. From the Romans, ancient Egyptians to modern US Treasury, there have been few influential metals such as gold. However, gold wasn’t used for money until 643 BC but its value can be traced back to 30 BC.

In this article, we examine the inherent value of gold over the last 2,000 years and what the future holds for the metal. And perhaps to give you better picture we shall start from 30 B.C.

Roman Empire

The Roman Empire was one the earliest civilizations to use gold:

  • 30 BC — 14 AD: Emperor Augustus set the price of gold at 45 coins per pound of gold.

  • 211–217 A.D — Marcus Aurelius Antonius debased the value of gold to 50 coins for a pound of gold.

  • 284 A.D. to 305 A.D- Diocletian debased gold to 60 coins per pound.

  • 306 A.D. to 337 A.D — Constantine the Great debased it to 70 coins to finance the military. This debasement also came with an increase in taxes.

Roman emperors debasing the value of gold resulted in hyperinflation. The cost of living for the middle class rose with the price of gold. This was one of the reasons for the collapse of the Roman Empire.

Great Britain

In 1257, Great Britain set the price of gold at 0.89 pounds/ounce, raising the price by 1 pound after each century:

  • 1351–1.34 pounds

  • 1465–2.01 pounds

  • 1546–3.02 pounds

  • 1664–4.05 pounds

  • 1717–4.25 pounds

Many nations imprinted paper currency against the gold standard in the 1800s. Countries held enough stocks of gold for this standard that was based on the British pound. Great Britain retained the price of gold at 4.25 pounds / ounce until the signing of the Bretton Woods Treaty in 1944, when most countries made the US dollar their new gold standard. This is because the US owned 75% of the world’s gold reserves.

United States

Before the US Dollar created its own gold standard in 1900 they used the British Gold Standard. This Gold standard created the Great Depression, resulting in recession in August 1929. The US Gold Standard replaced the British standard in 1944 as the official worldwide standard.

The chart below tracks the price of gold since the 1929 recession as compared to inflation, Dow Jones Industrial Average and other factors.

What Does The Future Hold For Gold?

Gold continues to attract investors who want to take advantage of its fluctuating prices. In 2000, a 24 karat ounce of gold would cost $300 at maximum, but today it would cost $1,500 or more.

Gold’s historical value means cash currency inflation cannot affect its worth, making it a secure long-term investment. Global economic trends indicate that when people doubt the value and security of paper money, they resort to the purchase of gold. Therefore, it’s likely that gold prices will continue to rise.

At the moment, Stably, a fast growing FinTech company has interest in having Market Making Partners to provide liquidity for gold tokens. Gold token are stablecoins whose value is backed by real gold bars stored in auditable and secure vault storage.

By integrating gold tokens into their platform, Stably will make gold transactions across the world cheaper, faster, and more transparent.


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