Gold owned by the United States Treasury totals over 261 million ounces and has a book value topping $11 billion, according to the most recent report issued by the department.
That’s not a lot in value, when compared to a U.S. debt that tops $18.2 trillion. Nor does it reflect any significant changes over the last few years. But it’s also not a complete real-world picture as the government’s book value for gold is sharply lower than market value.
U.S. Treasury-owned gold has remained relatively constant over the years, with the majority of it held in deep storage. Formerly called “bullion reserve” or “custodial gold bullion reserve,” deep storage gold is primarily in the form of gold bars secured by the United States Mint in sealed vaults that are annually inspected by the Department of Treasury’s Office of the Inspector General.
The United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky holds about 147.3 million ounces or 60.1% of the gold in deep storage. Other U.S. Mint facilities account for the rest. The West Point Mint secures about 54 million ounces and the Denver Mint is the custodian of about 43.8 million ounces.
Adding to the overall number, albeit in much smaller amounts, are Federal Reserve Bank holdings at 13.4 million ounces and U.S. Mint working stock at 2.7 million ounces. Working stock is what the U.S. Mint uses to strike its gold coins on a day-to-day basis. It consists of bars, blanks, unsold coins, and condemned coins.
In total, Treasury owned gold comes to 261,498,926.230 ounces, according to the most recent report dated March 31, 2015. That number is then multiplied by the statutory price of gold, established by law in 1973 at $42.2222 per ounce, for a total book value of $11,041,059,957.46.
This table breaks down the status of U.S. Treasury-owned gold:
|Fine Troy Ounces||Book Value|
|Gold Coins, Blanks, Miscellaneous||2,857,048.156||120,630,858.67|
|US Mint Held Gold – Deep Storage|
|Fort Knox, KY||147,341,858.382||6,221,097,412.78|
|West Point, NY||54,067,331.379||2,282,841,677.17|
|Subtotal – Deep Storage Gold||245,262,897.040||10,355,539,085.76|
|US Mint Held Treasury Gold – Working Stock|
|All Locations- Coins, blanks, miscellaneous||2,783,218.656||117,513,614.74|
|Subtotal – Working Stock Gold||2,783,218.656||117,513,614.74|
|Grand Total – Mint Held Gold||248,046,115.696||10,473,052,700.50|
|Federal Reserve Bank Held Gold|
|Federal Reserve Banks – NY Vault||13,376,987.715||564,805,850.63|
|Federal Reserve Banks – Display||1,993.319||84,162.40|
|Subtotal – Gold Bullion||13,378,981.034||564,890,013.03|
|Federal Reserve Banks – NY Vault||73,452.066||3,101,307.82|
|Federal Reserve Banks – Display||377.434||15,936.11|
|Subtotal – Gold Coins||73,829.500||3,117,243.93|
|Total – Federal Reserve Bank Held Gold||13,452,810.534||568,007,256.96|
|Total – Treasury Owned Gold||261,498,926.230||$11,041,059,957.46|
Of course, market conditions have changed significantly over the last 40 years with gold’s value at about 28 times higher than the 1973 set $42.2222 per ounce statutory price.
To highlight some of those changes, the chart below shows total ounces of U.S. Treasury owned gold over the last few years, the recorded book value and the approximate market value of the precious metal based on the London price of gold at the time of the report.
Treasury Owned Gold Book and Market Values
|Report Date||Ounces of U.S. Treasury Owned Gold||Book Value (based on $42.222 an ounce)||Approximate Market Value|
|January 31, 2012||261,498,899.316||$11,041,059,487||$456,054,080,407|
|January 31, 2013||261,498,926.247||$11,041,059,958||$435,330,337,470|
|January 31, 2014||261,498,926.247||$11,041,059,958||$327,135,156,731|
|January 31, 2015||261,498,926.230||$11,041,059,957||$329,554,021,781|
|March 31, 2015||261,498,926.230||$11,041,059,957||$313,014,214,697|
The market value of the gold today, May 1, is $307,509,662,300 at the latest London gold price of $1,175.95 an ounce.