Historical Gold Prices

If you are seeking an allocation to an alternative currency, gold bullion is perhaps the best option still available.

Gold bullion has proven itself time over multiple millennia as a store of value and respected medium of exchange.

On this page, we will cover gold price history and historical gold prices from +5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt to today in this 21st Century Gold Rush.

To drill deeper into daily and yearly gold prices, you can also visit our live spot gold price page where there you can also find year to year gold price data, covering this full fiat US dollar era post-1968 onwards. 

As a short primer, the following video covers the recorded history of gold and its fundamental supply-demand factors today.

Gold Price History (United States - USA)

Most of our website visitors are from the USA and for that reason, we will begin with a chart covering the US dollar price of gold since the founding of the United States of America (USA).

In our nation’s historically brief +240 year history, the price of gold has swung from as low as $20.67 oz to a high close to $2000 oz in the late summer of 2011.

Below we will examine the significant historical dates and charts for US dollar gold prices.

We will begin with a roughly 700-year gold price chart which uses UK gold price data converted into US dollar gold prices going back in time, even before gold-hungry Christopher Columbus and other new world explorers arrived in the Americas.

700 Years of Gold Prices (USA)

US dollar gold price history spliced UK gold prices SD Bullion SDBullion.com

Up next is a historical gold price chart which covers the entire history of US dollar gold prices from the year 1776 to 2019.

For the majority of non-war US history, the price of gold was steady at $20.67 per oz USD.

The first significant ramp in the US dollar gold price followed right after the end of the US Civil War. Primarily driven by the issuance of fully fiat Greenback currency bills, the then record US dollar gold price hit as high as $160 oz USD in the year 1869. 

All-Time Gold Prices (USA)

Gold Price History USA long term SD Bullion

Following the 1933 gold nationalization also known as the US gold confiscation, the US dollar was devalued against gold by almost 70% to an eventually fixed price of $35 oz USD. The portion of US citizens who followed Executive Order 6102, saw their purchasing power lose substantially to gold in 1934.

It was not until the year 1975 with gold that US citizens were again allowed to own more than 3 oz of private gold bullion a piece (the law was for four decades that no more than $100 US dollars in private gold ownership were allowed by US citizens, 1934 through 1974).

Even average contestants on the popular game show called Jeopardy, do not know some of these simple facts. See for yourself on this $800 question.

Below you will find the US dollar gold price from 1925 through 1934.

Gold Prices in the Great Depression 1930s

Gold nationalization Gold confiscation US dollar devaluation vs gold SD Bullion SDBullion.com

France calls the London Gold Pool's Bluff and stands for physical Gold Bullion delivery. 

After the late 1960’s collapse of the gold price rigging London Gold Pool, the August 1971 Nixon Shock ushered in our current floating fiat currency exchange standard where gold prices seemingly only gain value vs. fiat currencies over the long term.

Below is a chart of gold prices in US dollars during the year 1971.

US dollar Gold Price 1971

Nixon shock end of Bretton Woods August 15, 1971 SD Bullion SDBullion.com

The following chart illustrates how the US dollar performed from the then London Gold Pool’s final years up to the year 1974 in gold when the COMEX gold futures contract took over and began dominating in gold price discovery.

Again, US citizens were not allowed to own more than 3 oz of gold bullion each from 1934 to 1974. Given US Treasury cables now disclosed, it is clear the US government was intent on dissuading private gold ownership in mass likely seeing it a threat to the fiat US dollar's power.

US dollar Gold Prices 1965 - 1974

Gold price History 1965 - 1974 historical gold prices SD Bullion SDBullion.com.png

The next chart illustrates US dollar gold prices in its 1970s and 1980 gold bull market, which is currently being dwarfed by this 21st Century Gold Rush ongoing.

The 1970s 1980 Gold Bull Market

Gold Bull Market 1970 1980 historical gold prices Gold price history SD Bullion SDBullion.com

Below is this ongoing 21st Century Gold bull market's potential and its future to come.

This current gold bullion bull market has gotten arguably stretched by dominate derivative price discovery and documented by the fact that the CME Group continues to allow non-US central banks and other powerful entities to trade within our critical commodity and financial price discovery markets.

Such price discovery perversions are likely stretching the timeframe for gold bullion's current biggest bull market of all time.

21st Century Gold Bull Market Ongoing

Gold Price History and Future Potential SD Bullion

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Finally, we will use the most accurate historical inflation data available produced by ShadowStats to better understand gold’s US dollar value for our nation’s history.

The chart below uses the ShadowStats Alternative CPI-U Measure, which is an attempt at adjusting government benefiting CPI-U inflation underreporting which has widened since 1980.

The changes in methods used to report inflation have drastically changed over recent decades and were likely designed to move the concept of the CPI (core price inflation) away from being a measure of the cost of living needed to maintain a constant standard of living.  

This following chart uses more accurate US dollar price inflation reporting methods in place up to the year 1980.

According to the chart, US dollar gold prices and values were cheapest in the year 2000 and most expensive in late January 1980.

Gold Price Value Based on Real Inflation

Gold Price History Historical Gold Prices using Shadow Government Statistics SD Bullion

Gold Price History (United Kingdom - UK)

The following chart covers some 7-centuries of historic UK gold price data.

700 Years of Gold Prices (UK)

United Kingdom British Britain Gold price history historical gold prices 700 year UK gold prices SD Bullion SDBullion.com

Official British Gold Price Data

You can download each year’s official British gold price from 1257 to 1945 by clicking here.

The nearly seven hundred year data set begins with a British gold per ounce price of 0.89 £ oz and ends with multiple centuries of a fixed 4.25 £ oz price for gold in British pounds.

Following World War II the price of gold in British pound terms has almost gone up exponentially eclipsing 1000£ oz for multiyear stretches in this decade (the 2010s),

Historical Gold Prices vs. Silver

One of the best ways to understand gold’s trading value historically is to measure it against its precious monetary cousin, silver.

Investors often use the historic Gold Silver Ratio to understand perhaps which metal may be more undervalued vs. overvalued short, medium, and even in the long term.

Here is a short definition of the gold-silver ratio:

Gold Silver Ratio - (n) a moving ratio measurement of the amount of silver one can buy with a fixed amount of gold. Typically in the western world, the gold to silver ratio is measured by merely dividing the gold spot price by the silver spot price. Weighed in like-kind amounts: grams, kilos, tonnes, troy ounces, etc.

For recorded history, the gold-silver ratio has been as low as 2.5 to a somewhat recent all-time of about 100 in the early 1940s and 1990s. The gold-silver ratio hit about 33 in the spring of 2011 and dropped to as low as about 16 as gold and silver peaked at prices in early 1980.

As of producing this content, the gold-silver ratio has risen near 80. The following long term charts show the respective history of gold vs. silver price ratios in the USA and UK respectively.

USA Historical Gold Price vs. Silver Price Ratio

Gold Price History Gold Silver Ratio 300 year chart SD Bullion

Longer-Term Gold Price History vs. Silver

The following content and historical data are from the book called ‘Silver Bonanza,’ authored by James Blanchard III released in 1995. 

Mr. Blanchard was a successful businessman and the driving force behind the ‘re-legalization’ of private gold ownership in the USA in 1975.

Only recently have we learned through Wikileaks intercepted US cables that simultaneous efforts were ongoing to discourage US citizenry from buying and saving gold bullion long term (but that is a COMEX and gold price discovery topic for another post).

Below is nearly 5,000 years of gold-silver ratio data:

The more ancient ratios are estimates for long periods of time. Those from 1600 to 1900 (AD) are yearly on periodic averages from Michael G. Mulhall, The Dictionary of Statistics, 4th ed. (London: George Routledge and Sons, 1899) and E.J. Farmer, The Conspiracy Against Silver, or a Plea for Bimetallism (New York: Greenwood Press, 1969; originally published 1886), p. 13.

The other statistics are from Steve Puetz’s Investment Letter, or from our own records. Statistics after 1900 are not yearly averages, but lows or highs that generally did not obtain for long periods. In 1980 the ratio stayed below 20 to 1 for the first two and a half months only, and touched under 16 to 1 for only a few days in January.

 

Time Frame, Era

Sell 1 oz Gold Bullion

To buy X oz of Silver

Menes, Egypt 3200 BC

1

2.5

Egypt, 2700 BC

1

9

Hammurabi, Mesopotamia, 2700 BC

1

6

Egypt 1000 BC

1

10.0

Croesus, Lydia 550 BC

1

13.33

Persia under Darius, son of Hystaspes (father of Xerxes)

1

13.0

Plato, ca. 445 BC

1

12.0

Xenophon (in Persia)

1

11.66

Menander, ca. 341 BC

1

10.0

Greece, ca. 300 BC

1

10.0

Rome, 207 BC

1

14.5

Rome, 189 BC

1

10.0

Rome, 40 BC, Julius Caesar

1

7.5

Rome, Claudius

1

12.5

Constantine the Great

1

10.5

Theodosian Code

1

14.4

Medieval England

1

11.1

Medieval Italy

1

12.6

 

 

Time Frame, Era

Sell 1 oz Gold Bullion

To buy X oz of Silver

Spain, 1497 AD, Edict of Medina

1

10.07

Germany, 1500 AD

1

10.05

1600 - 1620 AD

1

12.1

1700 - 1720 AD

1

15.1

1800 - 1820 AD

1

15.3

1821 - 1840 AD

1

15.6

1841 - 1860 AD

1

15.6

1861 - 1870 AD

1

15.6

1871 - 1880 AD

1

16.7

1881 - 1882 AD

1

17.6

1883 - 1884 AD

1

18.4

1885 - 1886 AD

1

19.9

1887 - 1888 AD

1

21.2

1890 AD

1

18.3

1932 AD

1

75.0

1940 - 1941 AD

1

100.0

1980 AD

1

16.0

1991 AD (February)

1

100.0

1994 AD (July)

1

73.25

For further information on gold price history and gold bullion buying best practices, pick up our free SD Bullion Guide.

You can always find fresh up to date gold price information on our live Gold Price Page.

Be sure to bookmark them both if gold price history and live gold price information are essential to you.

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