Guest Column by Anthem Hayek Blanchard for CoinWeek.com….
January 1st, 2015 will mark the 40th anniversary of the demise of gold ownership restriction for U.S. citizens. It was on that date in 1975 that an act of Congress signed by President Gerald Ford struck down Executive Order 6012.
Enacted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression, the Order 6012 forbade “hoarding” of gold coins, bullion and certificates that were believed to be stalling the recovery. The new bill allowed Americans to “purchase, hold, sell, or otherwise deal with gold in the United States or abroad.”
The anniversary has special significance for me, since my father, James U. Blanchard III, an investor often described as a “gold bug,” laid the groundwork for this change by helping convince President Richard Nixon to end the gold standard in favor of the foreign exchange. It is said that his successor, Ford, didn’t even know gold bullion possession was illegal until he saw one of my father’s televised press conferences.
The milestone was commemorated on October 25th at the 40th annual New Orleans Investment Conference, which included former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, commentator Charles Krauthammer and others as speakers.
March 3rd of next year will represent another significant milestone – 50 years since the day when, with the stroke of President Johnson’s pen the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve removed the last vestiges of sound money from U.S. currency by removing silver from quarters and dimes.
My father was very disheartened by this decision to remove citizens’ ability to check government spending by exchanging paper money for hard, sound money.
He was also greatly saddened as he felt the silver coins represented a tie to America’s storied past of championing the protection of individual rights, and the government was closing a chapter of ensuring its citizen’s protection from the follies of printed currency by providing access to the sound money of physical gold and silver.
In his book, Confessions of a Gold Bug (1990), my father states, “To me, seeing the ‘silver window’ closed at the [U.S.] Treasury was like seeing the government deliberately slamming the door on its own history” (p. 36).
However, it was this act of law that spurred my father, as a relatively poor college student, into the coin industry he would eventually rule through correctly speculating that the pre-1965 quarters he was hoarding would, and eventually did, go up in value. He also bought silver dollars in bulk for $1.50 each and traded them singularly for $2 per coin during the 1960s.
In the first year my father convened the New Orleans Investor conference, he expected 250 people, but three times as many showed up. Some of the great speakers over the years have included Lady Margaret Thatcher, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, Barry Goldwater, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf and F. A. Hayek, the Nobel Prize-winning philosopher famous for his price-signal theories, from whom I received my middle name.
As a pioneer in tangible assets, my father built James U. Blanchard & Co. from a $50 investment to a $115 million per year business by the time it was sold in 1988. He later founded Jefferson Coin and Bullion, Inc., and the Blanchard Group of Funds. He strongly believed that liberty and a money policy free of government interference were inseparable and that gold ownership was a human right.
He was known in his day as something of a maverick. On January 20, 1973, he famously hired a biplane to tow a banner reading “Legalize Gold” over Nixon’s inauguration, and he dared the Treasury Department to arrest him for possession of a 2-ounce bar of gold.
The founder of the Industry Council for Tangible Assets, he believed that fair competition ultimately helps improve wages, goods and services. He also went to Africa to help improve lives of people in Mozambique, spending more than $1 million to preserve land along the Indian Ocean coastline in his bid to create an eco-tourism resort.
The Next Generation
In founding Anthem Vault, I acted in the same tradition by enabling retail investors to easily access the finest, purest and most liquid gold and silver bullion available through the use of technology. Accounts begin as low as $25, a more populist sales approach than even my father accomplished with his companies.
My father’s vision was that he wanted to see younger people get more involved with money, and dreamed of seeing gold recirculate as currency. Both those ideals are realized through online access to gold. When he passed away in March of 1999, the Internet was already a reality, but he could not have foreseen the evolution of owning gold via block chain crypto-currency technology, which allows for assets such as gold to be transferred peer to peer and provide an independent, unadulterated record of how much value was exchanged as digital payment at the time of each transaction.
On July 4th, Anthem Vault launched a prototype gold-backed crypto-currency, the Independence Coin, which is available for mining via a free account at Anthem Vault.
When it comes to gold, evolution is constant. Instability around the world and continued effects of tapering in the economy will drive more people to invest in gold as a diversification play since it is more accessible than ever and serves as a hedge when there is pressure on financial institutions. Gold-backed digital currencies are bringing us closer to the day when gold once again will be widely used for transactions, with no credit risk.
Anthem Vault will lead the way with a suite of secure gold-backed applications that combine gold’s attribute as an eternal store of value an enhanced utility of being a medium of exchange via technology. I know that on this 40th anniversary of legal gold, my father would be proud.
Anthem Hayek Blanchard is the founder and CEO of Anthem Vault.