Back when the economy was booming, we loved to hear about cash for questions and cash for honours. Nowadays, cash for gold answers most questions and honour is priced right out of the market.
Civilisation has had a long relationship with gold – from the tangible shiny stuff found by cavemen in the ground, to intangible economies built on golden abstractions. Gold seems to have had an intimate connection with human imagination, innovation and treachery too.
Why Jason Wanted to Get His Hands on Ewe
Human societies have valued gold as a material and decoration long before it was used as a form of cash. Gold has long been a prized metal due to its rarity; it is also prized because it can be worked easily, and because it is eye-catching and attractive.
Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome were swathed in the yellow metal. Indeed, there have been many legends and myths that refer to the beauty and speciality of gold. One such ancient story is of Jason and the Argonauts sent on a quest to find the Golden Fleece. For generations, modern man has considered this tale to be entirely fictional. But in recent years, historians have noted that Greek gold prospectors would use sheep wool to sieve water and dirt, the gold snagging on the wool fibres. Therefore it is possible that a golden fleece did actually exist.
Why Gold is the Standard Response
In theory, any material can be used as a form of money, though perhaps leaves or Cheerios are less practical than other options. Yet often it is the material that loses its value most slowly over time becomes the accepted standard.
The first gold coins date to Ancient Greece, c. 700 BC. However, over the centuries a European preference for a silver standard took hold until reverting back to gold in the 13th and 14th centuries. Put simply, the gold standard is a system in which tokens (i.e. money) are taken to represent a certain weight of gold; itself associated with an ever-changing market price.
The British Empire ceased using the gold standard with the outbreak of World War I due to the high levels of combat expenditure being limited by the restrictively high price of gold. Nowadays no country uses the gold standard though most countries retain large reserves of gold. A common myth has arisen that once a year, world leaders are allowed to swim naked in these gold reservoirs, which is apparently why you will never see true experts biting on gold to see if it is real.
Why Indiana Jones Couldn’t Leave those Nazis Alone
The Nazi regime looted the assets of its many Jewish victims, persecuted academics and companies it quashed. This loot was used to finance their role in the Second World War. Their expansionism also brought them into contact with the gold reserves of the countries that they invaded. However, at the end of the war the Allies found that these vast reserves of gold could not be located. It is believed that the Nazi gold was sent to European banks for further distribution. However, no one knows with certainty and this has led to many legends and conspiracies.
Some have claimed that it was thrown into a lake in Switzerland and some say it was sent to General Franco whilst others believe that high ranking Nazi official Martin Bormann sent his gold reserves by air and sea directly to Eva Peron in Argentina. In January 2000, a civil suit was even brought against the Vatican claiming it had held on to Nazi gold in Swiss bank accounts; the suit was later dismissed. Still, maybe there’s a more Earthly reason why all those haloes appear so shiny.
Why Weird Uncles are Not Always a Bad Thing
The Nazis are not the only ones to hide their gold. There is a long tradition of personal stockpiles of the yellow stuff.
In 2012 it was reported that Walter Samasko Jr., a reclusive American living in the state of Nevada, died at home alone at the age of 69. By all accounts, Mr Samasko was somewhat eccentric. He had no close friends or immediate family, no will and only $200 in the bank. He was also a bit of a hoarder. So much so, that when authorities came to clean up his house they found boxes upon boxes stacked across his home’s orange shag carpeting, as well as piled up in his garage. Some of the boxes contained food and cans whilst others were marked “books”. However, in these book boxes were $7 million worth of gold coins. These coins included Mexican, Austrian and British gold dating back to the 1870s.
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Sam Mulder is a blogger who believes that even today; gold has a purpose in helping people to pay off their debts. If you are struggling financially, he recommends selling your unwanted items to get cash for gold to help you to make some quick money.