The last time gold was confiscated was in 1933 under Franklin Delano Roosevelt. This occurred during the Great Depression while the U.S. was dealing with a monetary and banking crisis. The confiscation occurred under executive order 6102, which gave citizens a small window of time to turn in their gold or suffer a $10,000 fine, a 10 year prison sentence or both.
The real question is can this happen again? Many experts agree that it is very possible. The main concern is that we are facing similar circumstances that we were dealing with during the Great Depression. Gold was confiscated in order to stabilize the monetary system. The gold was confiscated at $20.67 per ounce and the government revalued it at $35 per ounce shortly there after, thus giving the government a 69% gain. After the government had all of this extra gold from private citizens it enabled them to print more dollars and put liquidity into the economy.
There has been a lot of talk about the dollars weakness lately. If the U.S. losses its status as the worlds reserve currency, we may need to return to a gold standard in order to give the dollar strength again. It is likely then that the government would confiscate gold and revalue it at a level that would be commensurate with our level of debt.
The U.S. in 1950 used to own around 68% of the worlds gold reserves. Now it owns less than 28%. This is not enough to bolster the dollar in any meaningful way. So the question remains. If the dollar collapses, will the government again confiscate gold like they did in 1933?
This is why owning rare gold coins are crucial to any gold portfolio. They were excluded from the last gold confiscation and experts feel they would be again due to their status as a collectible.