The Legacy of King Croesus

The idea that a currency cannot be trusted unless it is backed by gold seems as durable as the metal itself. In the early 19th century, British Economist David Ricardo declared that without the gold standard the then mighty pound sterling would be at the whim of "all the fluctuations to which the ignorance or the interests of the issuers might subject it."

Though pure gold coins were first minted by King Croesus of Lydia (modern day western Turkey) in the 6th century B.C., a gold-backed currency is usually traced back to 1717, when...

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