Europe: Speculative Stampede

Quietly and secretly, technicians at Fort Knox, Ky., loaded an estimated $450 million worth of gold ingots onto a heavily armed convoy. The convoy proceeded to a nearby U.S. Air Force base, where the gold was loaded aboard a transport plane and flown to Britain.

There, it was sent to the Bank of Eng land, to be transported by Swissair and British European Airways flights to the coffers of Swiss banks. The influx of gold became so bulging, in fact, that one Swiss bank had to reinforce the walls of its vault to contain it. It was all part of...