US Executive Order 6102 - Gold Bullion

Author: Corey McDowell - Economics Editor

Published: 1 May 2020

Last Updated: 7 Aug 2020

Sypnosis

On 5th April 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt banned US citizens from continuing to own gold, requiring them to exchange it at the current price at the Federal Reserve, one of its branch banks, or other qualifying banks. There were limited exceptions to this ban on gold possession.

Credit: United States National Archives and Records Administration, NAID 195978

Executive Order 6102

UNDER EXECUTIVE ORDER OF THE PRESIDENT

issued April 5th, 1933
all persons are required to deliver
ON OR BEFORE MAY 1, 1933
all GOLD COIN, GOLD BULLION, and GOLD CERTIFICATES now owned by them to a Federal Reserve Bank, branch or agency, or to any member bank of the Federal Reserve System.

Executive Order

FORDIDDING THE HOARDING OF GOLD COIN, GOLD BULLION, AND GOLD CERTIFICATES.

By virtue of the authority vested in me by Section 5 (b) of the Act of October 6, 1917, as amended by Section 2 of the Act of March 9, 1933, entitled "An Act to provide relief in the existing national emergency in banking, and for other purposes," in which amendatory Act Congress declared that a serious emergency exists, I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, do declare that said national emergency still continues to exist and pursuant to said section do hereby prohibit the hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates within the continental United States by individuals, partnerships, associations and corporations and hereby prescribe the following regulations for carrying out the purposes of this order:

Section 1. For the purposes of this regulation, the term "hoarding" means the withdrawal and withholding of gold coin, gold bullion or gold certificates from the recognized and customary channels of trade. The term "person" means any individual, partnership, association or corporation. 

Section 2. All persons are hereby required to deliver on or before May 1, 1933, to a Federal Reserve Bank or a branch or agency thereof or to any member bank of the Federal Reserve System all gold coin, gold bullion and gold certificates now owned by them or coming into their ownership on or before April 28, 1933, except the following:

(a) Such amount of gold as may be required for legitimate and customary use in industry, profession or art within a reasonable time, including gold prior to refining and stocks of gold in reasonable amounts for the usual trade requirements of owners mining and refining such gold.
(b) Gold coin and gold certificates in an amount not exceeding in the aggregate $100 belonging to any one person; and gold coins having a recognized special value to collectors, of rare and unusual coins.
(c) Gold coin and bullion earmarked or held in trust for a recognized foreign Government or foreign central bank or the Bank for International Settlements.
(d) Gold coin and bullion licensed for other proper transactions (not involving hoarding) including gold coin and bullion imported for reexport or held pending action on applications for export licenses.

Section 3. Until otherwise ordered any person becoming the owner of any gold coin, gold bullion, or gold certificates after April 28, 1933, shall, within three days after receipt thereof, deliver the same in the manner prescribed in Section 2; unless such gold coin, gold bullion or gold certificates are held for any of the purposes specified in paragraphs (a), (b), or (c) of Section 2; or unless such gold coin or gold bullion is held for purposes specified in paragraph (d) of Section 2 and the person holding it is, with respect to such gold coin or bullion, a licensee or applicant for license pending action thereon. 

Section 4. Upon receipt of gold coin, gold bullion or gold certificates delivered to it in accordance with Sections 2 or 3, the Federal Reserve Bank or member bank will pay therefor an equivalent amount of any other form of coin or currency coined or issued under the laws of the United States. 

Section 5. Member banks shall deliver all gold coin, gold bullion and gold certificates owned or received by them (other than as exempted under the provisions of Section 2) to the Federal Reserve Banks of their respective districts and receive credit or payment therefor. 

Section 6. The Secretary of the Treasury, out of the sum made available to the President by Section 501 of the Act of March 9, 1933, will in all proper cases pay the reasonable costs of transportation of gold coin, gold bullion or gold certificates delivered to a member bank or Federal Reserve Bank in accordance with Section 2, 3, or 5 hereof, including the cost of insurance, protection, and such other incidental costs as may be necessary, upon production of satisfactory evidence of such costs. Voucher forms for this purpose may be procured from Federal Reserve Banks. 

Section 7. In cases where the delivery of gold coin, gold bullion or gold certificates by the owners thereof within the time set forth above will involve extraordinary hardship or difficulty, the Secretary of the Treasury may, in his discretion, extend the time within which such delivery must be made. Applications for such extensions must be made in writing under oath, addressed to the Secretary of the Treasury and filed with a Federal Reserve Bank. Each application must state the date to which the extension is desired, the amount and location of the gold coin, gold bullion and gold certificates in respect of which such application is made and the facts showing extension to be necessary to avoid extraordinary hardship or difficulty. 

Section 8. The Secretary of the Treasury is hereby authorized and empowered to issue such further regulations as he may deem necessary to carry out the purposes of this order and to issue licenses thereunder, through such officers or agencies as he may designate, including licenses permitting the Federal Reserve Banks and member banks of the Federal Reserve System, in return for an equivalent amount of other coin, currency or credit, to deliver, earmark or hold in trust gold coin and bullion to or for persons showing the need for the same for any of the purposes specified in paragraphs (a), (c) and (d) of Section 2 of these regulations. 

Section 9. Whoever willfully violates any provision of this Executive Order or of these regulations or of any rule, regulation or license issued thereunder may be fined not more than $10,000, or, if a natural person, may be imprisoned for not more than ten years, or both; and any officer, director, or agent of any corporation who knowingly participates in any such violation may be punished by a like fine, imprisonment, or both.

This order and these regulations may be modified or revoked at any time.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT

THE WHITE HOUSE
                   April 5, 1933.

For Further Information Consult Your Local Bank

GOLD CERTIFICATES may be indentified by the words "GOLD CERTIFICATE" appearing thereon. The serial number and the Treasury seal on the face of a  GOLD CERTIFICATE are printed in YELLOW. Be careful not to confuse GOLD CERTIFICATES with other issues which are redeemable in gold but which are not "GOLD CERTIFICATES" and are not required to be surrendered

Special attention is directed to the exceptions allowed under Section 2 of the Executive Order

CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION OF EXECUTIVE ORDER

$10,000 fine or 10 years imprisonment, or both, as provided in Section 9 of the order

W.H. Woodin

Secretary of the Treasury

Executive Order 6111

Signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on the 20th April 1933, the Executive Order 6111 heavily regulated the export and transaction of gold in foreign exchange, prohibiting the “earmarking for foreign account” the export of gold certificates and bullion unless the Secretary of the Treasury authorised such movement of the precious metal, or the President himself deemed the transaction necessary to “promote public interest”. Violating this order could land the offender with a fine of up to $10,000 alongside a stint in prison lasting up to 10 years.

Executive Order 6260

The executive order 6260 detailed that within 15 days of coming into effect all in possession of gold bullion, coins and certificated must make clear the quantity of gold they are returning, the name and address of the owner. The order further stated that “no returns are required to be filed with respect to: Gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates in an amount not exceeding in the aggregate $100 belonging to any one person; Gold coin having a recognized special value to collectors of rare and unusual coin; Gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates acquired or held under a license heretofore granted by or under authority of the Secretary of the Treasury; and Gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates owned by Federal Reserve Banks. Section 4 of the executive order 6260 expresses that the Federal Reserve Bank had the exclusive permission to acquire gold bullion, coins and certificates once the order came into action, with exceptions being granted for those with a licence, granting those without said licence thirty days to sacrifice possession of their gold.

Executive Order 6261

Addressing the export and the sale of gold found in natural deposits, The White House issued the executive order 6261 of the 29th August 1933. The order authorised the Secretary of the Treasury to receive a fee or consignment for the sale of gold discovered in natural sources in any US-controlled territory. However, the sale could only be made to these licensed to acquire fold for use in specific industries or foreign purchasers, with the sale price being equal to that of the free gold markets at the time.

More About Executive Orders on Gold 

The basis for these executive orders was the Trading with the Enemy Act 1917:

Executive Order 6111
Executive Order 6260
Executive Order 6261
Executive Order 6556 
Executive Order 6560

These restrictions were revoked under Executive Order 11825, signed by President Gerald Ford on December 31st, 1974.

Silver Confiscation

President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6814 on the 9th August 1934, which ordered the seizure of all silver in the United States for coinage. The order is very similar to Executive Order 6102 signed the previous year.

Further Reading

Our interpretation of US Executive Order 6102, signed by Franklin Roosevelt, can be found here.

The British equivalent is the Exchange Control Act.

Have a look at the story of 1933 Gold Double Eagles, possibly the most saught-after rare coin.

For more investment information, please see our Gold Guide and Silver Guide.

You may be interested in reading through our Coin Collecting Guide.

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