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The E-Sylum (12/22/2013)

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In his Wednesday, December 18th blog entry, Harvey Stack continued his discussion of the Milton Holmes collection. The topic is the collecting of U.S. gold coins following Roosevelt's Gold Act of 1933. -Editor

Milton Holmes collection

The Gold Acts of 1933 and 1934 were threatening to many who held gold coins whether as collectibles or as investments. These laws said that the gold coins in circulation had to be surrendered to the Treasury. The holding of gold coins for their gold value was prohibited, and could result in fines of up to $10,000. However, there was an exception.

The Secretary of the Treasury, a close friend and advisor of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was a collector of coins and loved gold coins. He had an exemption put into the law that said gold coins that were part of a collection could be retained without breaking the law. Many who owned gold coins expanded their holdings and called them "Collections" in order to hold onto their coins. The law permitted collecting of different dates and mints of all denominations. That is the reason many old time collections had incomplete series -- it provided an excuse to hold on to gold coins.

It was in this atmosphere that Milton A Holmes built his collection of gold coins. His United States gold coin collection had a large variety of dates and mints of all series. He and other “collectors” of the day provided a great service to collectors of today. While huge quantities of gold coins were surrendered to the government during this period, those who were able to save their gold coins in collections kept United States gold coins from being prohibitively rare and expensive.

The Milton A. Holmes Collection of Gold Coins of the United States comprised over 1,000 specimens sold in Stack’s 1960 auction. These were then passed on through the generations to present day gold coin collectors. Next week I will give an overview of the gold coins that were part of that collection sale.

To read the complete article, see: Old Time Collections Part 4 (

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