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What is the Historical Price of Gold?

L. S. Wynn
By L. S. Wynn
Updated May 16, 2024
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Gold has served as one of the most important monetary standards throughout history. It is measured in troy ounces, and the price of gold is typically stated in terms of the cost of one troy ounce. One ounce is equivalent to 31.1 grams or 0.07 pounds.

The United States usually determines the historical price of gold. One ounce of gold was fixed at an estimated $20.67 US Dollars (USD) for many decades until 1934, at which point the price was raised to about $35 USD per ounce. In 1968, a two-tiered pricing structure was established, and by 1975 the price of gold was allowed to fluctuate.

In January of 1980, the price of gold rose to $850 USD, averaging about $615 USD per ounce, and by the year 2000 the price dropped around $272 USD. Since the early 2000s, however, the price has risen again, setting new records in 2011, as the price hit more than $1,800 USD.

The following chart shows the closing price of an ounce of gold on the New York Exchange every five years since the year 1800.

year value of one ounce of gold
2010 $1,410 price of gold in 2010
2005 $513 price of gold in 2005
2000 $272 price of gold in 2000
1995 $386 price of gold in 1995
1990 $424 price of gold in 1990
1985 $354 price of gold in 1985
1980 $615 price of gold in 1980
1975 $151 price of gold in 1975
1970 $38 price of gold in 1970
1965 $36 price of gold in 1965
1960 $37 price of gold in 1960
1955 $35 price of gold in 1955
1950 $40 price of gold in 1950
1945 $37 price of gold in 1945
1940 $35 price of gold in 1940
1935 $35 price of gold in 1935
1930 $21 price of gold in 1930
1925 $21 price of gold in 1925
1920 $21 price of gold in 1920
1915 $21 price of gold in 1915
1910 $21 price of gold in 1910
1905 $21 price of gold in 1905
1900 $21 price of gold in 1900
1895 $21 price of gold in 1895
1890 $21 price of gold in 1890
1885 $21 price of gold in 1885
1880 $21 price of gold in 1880
1875 $23 price of gold in 1875
1870 $23 price of gold in 1870
1865 $30 price of gold in 1865
1860 $21 price of gold in 1860
1855 $21 price of gold in 1855
1850 $21 price of gold in 1850
1845 $21 price of gold in 1845
1840 $21 price of gold in 1840
1835 $19 price of gold in 1835
1830 $19 price of gold in 1830
1825 $19 price of gold in 1825
1820 $22 price of gold in 1820
1815 $22 price of gold in 1815
1810 $19 price of gold in 1810
1805 $19 price of gold in 1805
1800 $19 price of gold in 1800
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Discussion Comments

By anon265456 — On May 01, 2012

I have a one ounce 1920's medal It says Fort Worth Baseball Club Texas League Champions Winners post season series southern league little rock. That's on the front. On the back it says ED-HOFFMANN 2ND-BASE 14K. I want it appraised and I want to sell it.

By sandilitt — On Jun 08, 2011

I have a gold wedding ring (wide band) from my grandmother. It is marked as pure gold inside the band. Where can I take it to see if it is 10,14,or 18kt. gold. It is over 100 years plus old. Is there a special store for a ring this old? I would also like to find out how much it is worth.

By anon145304 — On Jan 22, 2011

Gold does not change value. It is real money. Real money does not change value. You can spend it today or put it under your pillow for 50 years and it will stay the same value. To determine the true value of gold in US dollars, just take the total US world money supply and divide by the number of gold ounces available to purchase.

By anon101283 — On Aug 02, 2010

That poor guy who asked if we shouldn't adjust the chart for inflation has some reading to do.

Most people--including many economists--think that inflation is rising prices. This is not at all what inflation means.

Inflation is the deliberate "inflating" of the currency--literally putting more paper dollars into circulation. The Federal Reserve prints up (literally counterfeits) billions of dollars and loans them to big banks at ridiculously low interest rates; the banks loan them to customers (individuals or other banks). More dollars in circulation means prices go up.

The true value of gold (in goods, not in paper dollars) has been constant for literally thousands of years. The value of gold doesn't go up; the value of paper dollars goes down.

By anon87085 — On May 28, 2010

Do people not adjust for inflation anymore?

By anon21875 — On Nov 23, 2008

Bookmarked this article. I can imagine I will be linking to it for some time to come.

Part of what I was looking into was the prospect of a Gold Standard for US currency similar to what Ron Paul and other Austrian economists support.

One chief argument I've heard against the measure is that the value of gold has fluctuated too much in the past for it to be a reliable standard today.

But as the table shown clearly shows this was not, and is not the case. The price for an ounce of gold remained completely stable and in line with the Gold Standard the entire time.

We see a slight price jump in 1840 after states were allowed to issue paper money, but other than that, it remained stable even when the gold rush occurred from 1848 to 1855, and when we temporarily left the gold standard during WWI.

But alas, the stability of the price of gold changed after 1933 when we left the gold standard. After Nixon totally severed all ties the dollar had to gold in 1971, we see the price skyrocket.

Seems like our money needs to come back to its roots, and free banking deserves another chance.

By cjeansa — On Feb 12, 2008

How do I find out the price of American Eagles and Krugerands in 2004?? Someone in my family has sold some gold coins and needs the original value to claim the gains on income taxes.

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