Gold Standard main content.

Gold Standard

Part of the Gold exhibition.

A Store of Value

For thousands of years, gold has played an important part in human society as a medium of exchange; that is, as money.

Societies developed systems of money, or currencies, to make trade easier and to replace barter systems. Early Babylonian currencies based on grain used gold to represent the grain's "stored value." Gold currencies powered the expansion of empires in both the ancient and modern worlds. Gold came to be the most accepted currency throughout the world, not only because of its unique properties but also because it is found in most of the inhabited parts of the planet. Gold's value is recognized everywhere in the world.

Although coins were often silver, gold was preferred as an ultimate store of value, as a portable form of payment and for international trade.