by Jeffrey Snider
Real Clear Markets
It is sort of ironic that the last real vestiges of hard money in the United States were silver certificates. Gold had been confiscated and effectively demonetized in the 1930’s, but silver survived at the edges. Maybe it was some cosmic revenge of William Jennings Bryan and the Gilded Age inflationists, but for various reasons the last convertible currency in the United States were $1 notes that could be exchanged for silver bullion up to June 24, 1968. That was the statutory limit imposed by Congress in the Act of June 4, 1963, signed by President Kennedy.
There had been another minor silver agitation in the later 1950’s and early 1960’s, though this time in the reverse direction from that of the 1880’s and 1890’s. In his 1963 Economic Report to Congress, Kennedy wrote, “I again urge a revision in our silver policy to reflect the status of silver as a metal for which there is an expanding industrial demand.”