Those who have seen the James Bond film Goldfinger are familiar with Fort Knox, the notorious United States bullion depository that has become a hotbed of conspiracy theories.
Fort Knox is said to hold millions of ounces of gold within its bombproof granite walls. But that's far from certain.
Rumor has it that all, or most, of the gold in Fort Knox is gone…
Let us unveil the secrets of one of the most protected gold vaults in the world.
What is Fort Knox?
Fort Knox is a top-secret U.S. army base in Kentucky.
A highly classified bunker surrounded by steel fences and multiple alarms, Fort Knox has a bomb-proof roof and is guarded by Apache attack helicopters.
The building itself is pretty hardcore, to say the least: it’s made of concrete-lined granite and reinforced with steel to withstand possible attacks.
A gold vault was built inside Fort Knox in 1935 to protect America's gold during growing world turmoil. A small army post back then, Fort Knox was chosen because of its military support and its location behind the mountains, which makes it less vulnerable to air attacks.
The gold was shipped into Fort Knox in 1937 on a special nine-car train under the protection of the 7th U.S. Cavalry Brigade.
How much gold is in Fort Knox?
Literally, tons and tons of gold.
The government says Fort Knox currently holds 147.3 million ounces of gold, with a "book value" of $6.22 billion.
But this book value is based on a fixed price of gold that was set back in… 1973, at $42 an ounce! If we take the current market value of gold, Fort Knox's gold reserves are worth, roughly speaking, a whopping $274 billion!
Of course, if they are still there. But it’s hard to know for sure.
Some conspiracy theorists even claim that Fort Knox's gold bars were actually tungsten bricks painted to look like gold, while the real gold was secretly sold off by the government.
Others said the gold was stolen to “manipulate commodities markets” to plunge gold prices and boost the U.S. dollar.
As a conspiracy-theorist group known as Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee stated: “The gold market is being manipulated by the Fed. It’s involved in gold swap agreements with foreign banks. Gold is a major determinant of interest rates.”
But the government politely disagrees… saying the U.S. Treasury conducts annual audits of the vaults to ensure that all the gold in Fort Knox is safe.
Well, we guess we’ll just have to take its word for it.
Is it possible to visit Fort Knox?
Unfortunately, not really, unless you are a U.S. Treasury auditor.🙂
In fact, only a handful of people have ever gotten inside.
Franklin Roosevelt became the only U.S. president to set foot into Fort Knox’s gold vault. He traveled there in 1943 to personally inspect the gold reserves.
Roosevelt’s visit was the one and only time Fort Knox’s vault was opened for inspection for anyone other than authorized personnel.
Another rare official trip to the gold depository was made by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in 2017. Along with several elected officials, he came to check on the government’s largest gold stockpile.
But this is where the story gets weird.
Reportedly, Mnuchin and his delegation only had a quick peek at one of the 13 compartments within the Fort Knox vault, which prompted some to call the visit a bizarre "PR stunt" without a clear purpose.
Anyway, this didn’t stop Mnuchin from tweeting after the trip: “Glad gold is safe“.
What else is stored in Fort Knox?
Apparently, Fort Knox is not just for storing gold. Occasionally, it has held other precious items, including the Magna Carta, the Medieval English charter of rights.
In 1939, one of its four copies was brought to the U.S. for the New York World's Fair. When World War II started a few months later, the Magna Carta was sent to the Fort Knox vault for safekeeping. The document was there until 1947 when it went back to England.
Other priceless non-gold guests at Fort Knox were originals of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the U.S. Constitution.
Fearing an attack on Washington, the documents were moved to the gold vault two weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor. As the war wound down, the parchment was returned to Washington in 1944.
And then… there were tons of morphine sulfate.
During the Cold War, the U.S. military wanted to ensure it had enough painkillers in case foreign opium sources were cut off.
In 1993, the U.S. refined the remaining stuff into morphine, which is still stored in Fort Knox alongside the gold… If the gold is really there, of course.
What can you learn from the Fort Knox gold story?
For investors seeking more long-term security with their investments, the secrecy of Fort Knox's gold reserves can be a bit concerning.🙂
So, if you want to build your gold savings, make sure you do these two things:
- Buy allocated gold, which belongs to you alone, not a bank or government.
- Store it in a secure vault that gives you insurance, accessibility, and direct ownership.
Read our SPOTLIGHT for more information on different gold storage options.