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The 101 Best Gold Quotes From History


Welcome to the Gold Standard of Gold Quotes

Throughout history, people have not only admired and accumulated gold but talked about it. Virtually every notable figure from history you can think of has had something to say on the subject. And these gold musings have come from every perspective and walk of life — philosopher, poet, politician, economist, humorist and more. This running commentary has become part of our collective consciousness.

And with all the talk has come some golden quotes, so to speak. There have been old as gold quotes about the true value of gold in society, metaphors, and proverbs applying this value to other aspects of life and thoughts by politicians who have sought to harness the same power gold has — when they’re not harnessing the power of debt. Along the way, you may have also heard some funny quips about how people view gold.

But each gold quote comes from a place of truth and speaks to just how big a role this precious metal has played throughout the course of human history. From the gold bars hoarded by ancient empires to the gold coins of Renaissance and colonial times, to gold bullion jewelry that is modern in any time period, gold is a part of life. And if the past 3,000 years have been any indication, it will continue to be a part of life for at least another 3,000. After all, the history of gold is the history of the world.

What follows isn’t remotely an exhaustive list of quotes about gold, but it is our selection of the best. This list serves as a reminder of just how long — and how important — gold has been to civilization. See which quotes mean the most to you. One of them may even become a caption for gold in our life or yours — or the best gold quote may be yet to come!

The Ancients Advise

1) O Zeus, why is it you have given men clear ways of testing whether gold is counterfeit but, when it comes to men, the body carries no stamp of nature for distinguishing bad from good. ― Euripides

2) When Gold argues the cause, eloquence is impotent. — Publilius Syrus

3) Gold loves to make its way through guards, and breaks through barriers of stone more easily than the lightning’s bolt. — Horace

4) If it were possible to cure evils by lamentation and to raise the dead with tears, then gold would be a less valuable thing than weeping. — Sophocles

5) Every man now worships gold, all other reverence being done away. — Sextus Propertius

6) There is no honest man — not one — that can resist the attraction of gold! — Aristophanes

7) Water is best, but gold shines like fire blazing in the night, supreme of lordly wealth. — Pindar

Speaking of Gold Proverbially

8) If speaking is silver, then listening is gold. ― Turkish Proverb

9) He fishes well who uses a golden hook. — Latin Proverb

10) Not all that glitters is gold; not all that is sticky is tar. — Lithuanian Proverb

11) Where gold speaks, every tongue is silent. — Italian Proverb

12) The castle gates will always open for gold-laden donkeys. — Russian Proverb

13) Real gold is not afraid of the melting pot. — Chinese Proverb

14) If you are sick, think about your life; if you are better, think about your gold. — Mongolian Proverb

Poets and Writers Opine

15) The anarch is on the side of gold. This is not to be construed as a lust for gold. He recognizes gold as the central and immobile power. He loves it not like Cortez, but like Montezuma; not like Pizarro, but like Atahualpa.... ― Ernst Jünger

16) I did not know that mankind were suffering for want of gold. I have seen a little of it. I know that it is very malleable, but not so malleable as wit. A grain of gold will gild a great surface, but not so much as a grain of wisdom. ― Henry David Thoreau

17) …the anarch is again no different from anyone else. But he does not like to attach himself. He does not squander his best energies. He accepts no substitute for his gold. He knows his freedom, and also what it is worth its weight in. — Ernst Jünger

18) Pure gold does not rust. Only gold alloys do so. You may have golden dreams. But if you go in the company of toxic people, you become "a gold alloy" and what that means is that you can rust at any time! ― Israelmore Ayivor

19) The beauty about gold, though, is that in all states from uncertainty to conviction, it never for once gives up its luster. ― Ufuoma Apoki

20) Gold has at all times been considered the best of testimonies of good faith... ― Rafael Sabatini

21) Gold — what can it not do, and undo? — William Shakespeare

22) Gold is a living god and rules, in scorn, all earthly things but virtue. — Percy Bysshe Shelley

23) Gold gives to the ugliest thing a certain charming air, for that without it were else a miserable affair. — Moliére

24) Gold opens all locks. No lock will hold against the power of gold. — George Herbert

25) Those who worship Gold in a world so corrupt as this we live in, have at least one thing to plead in defense of their idolatry — the power of their Idol. It is true, that like other Idols, it can neither move, see, hear, feel or understand. But, unlike other Idols, it has often communicated all these powers to those who had them not, and annihilated them in those who had. This Idol can boast of two peculiarities; it is worshipped in all climates, without a single temple, and by all classes, without a single hypocrite. — Charles Caleb Colton

26) Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold. — Leo Tolstoy

27) Beauty attracts us men; but if, like an armed magnet it is pointed, beside, with gold and silver, it attracts with tenfold power. — Jean Paul

28) O Gold! I still prefer thee unto paper, which makes bank credit like a bark of vapour. — Lord Byron

29) Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men’s protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it bounces, marked: "Account Overdrawn." — Ayn Rand

30) You have to choose (as a voter) between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability of the honesty and intelligence of the members of the Government. And, with due respect for these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the Capitalist system lasts, to vote for gold. — George Bernard Shaw

31) Gold would have value if for no other reason than that it enables a citizen to fashion his financial escape from the state. — William F. Rickenbacker

32) Like Liberty, gold never stays where it is undervalued. — John S. Morrill

33) It is extraordinary how many emotional storms one may weather in safety if one is ballasted with ever so little gold. — William McFee

34) Though wisdom cannot be gotten for gold, still less can it be gotten without it. — Samuel Butler

 Philosophers Philosophize

35) They wonder much to hear that gold which in itself is so useless a thing, should be everywhere so much esteemed, that even men for whom it was made, and by whom it has value, should yet be thought of less value than this metal. That a man of lead, who has no more sense than a log of wood, and is as bad as he is foolish, should have many wise and good men to serve him, only because he has a great heap of that metal... ― Thomas More

36) The desire of gold is not for gold. It is for the means of freedom and benefit. ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Graphic Gold Quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson

37)  The inflated imitations of gold and silver, which after the rapture are thrown into the fire, all is exhausted and dissipated by the debt. All scrips and bonds are wiped out. At the fourth pillar dedicated to Saturn, split by earthquake and flood: vexing everyone, an urn of gold is found and then restored. – Nostradamus

38)  Because silver and gold have their value from the matter itself, they have first this privilege, that the value of them cannot be altered by the power of one, nor of a few commonwealths, as being a common measure of the commodities of all places. But base money may easily be enhanced or abased. – Thomas Hobbes

Prominent Historical Figures Speak

39)  Gold is a treasure, and he who possesses it does all he wishes to in this world, and succeeds in helping souls into paradise. – Christopher Columbus

40)  We Spaniards know a sickness of the heart that only gold can cure. – Hernán Cortés

41)  In a private room he showed me the first specimens of gold, that is he was not certain if it was gold or not, but he thought it might be; immediately I made the proof and found that it was gold. – John Sutter

42) Brass shines as fair to the ignorant as gold to the goldsmiths. – Queen Elizabeth I

43)  Gold is not necessary. I have no interest in gold. We will build a solid state, without an ounce of gold behind it. Anyone who sells above the set prices, let him be marched off to a concentration camp. That's the bastion of money. – Adolf Hitler

44)  There can be no other criterion, no other standard than gold. Yes, gold which never changes, which can be shaped into ingots, bars, coins, which has no nationality and which is eternally and universally accepted as the unalterable fiduciary value par excellence. – Charles de Gaulle

Politicians Pontificate

45)  We have gold because we cannot trust governments. ― Herbert Hoover

46)  It's absolutely critical that we audit the Fed so the American people can see what's going on over there. Do it from top to bottom so that we can have transparency in this entity called the Federal Reserve. Hopefully, the American people will see that we need to go back to the gold standard, which I've introduced, and get rid of the Fed. – Paul Broun

47)  Fear, prejudice, malice, and the love of approbation bribe a thousand men where gold bribes one. – Robert G. Ingersoll

Economists, Investors, and Bankers Impart Their Wisdom

48)  Gold is money. Everything else is credit. – J. P. Morgan

Graphic Gold Quote by Banker JP Morgan

49) Never trust money more than gold. ― Toba Beta

50) Gold and silver, like other commodities, have an intrinsic value, which is not arbitrary, but is dependent on their scarcity, the quantity of labour bestowed in procuring them, and the value of the capital employed in the mines which produce them. — David Ricardo

51) In reality, there is no such thing as an inflation of prices, relatively to gold. There is such a thing as a depreciated paper currency. — Lysander Spooner

52) In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. — Alan Greenspan

53) A gold standard doesn't imply stability in the prices of the goods and services that people buy every day, it implies a stability in the price of gold itself. — Ben Bernanke

54) The desire for gold is the most universal and deeply rooted commercial instinct of the human race. — Gerald M. Loeb

55) The threat of gold redeemability imposes a constant check and limit on inflationary issues of government paper. If the government can remove the threat, it can expand and inflate without cease. And so it begins to emit propaganda, trying to persuade the public not to use gold coins in their daily lives. — Murray Rothbard

56) When goods are exchanged between countries, they must be paid for by commodities or gold. They cannot be paid for by the notes, certificates, and checks of the purchaser's country, since these are of value only in the country of issue. — Carroll Quigley

57) When people talk about people who are optimistic about gold, they call them 'gold bugs.' A bug is an insect. I don't call equity bugs 'cockroaches.' Do you understand? There is already a negative connotation with the expression of 'gold bug.' — Marc Faber

58) The gold standard did not collapse. Governments abolished it in order to pave the way for inflation. The whole grim apparatus of oppression and coercion — policemen, customs guards, penal courts, prisons, in some countries even executioners — had to be put into action in order to destroy the gold standard. Solemn pledges were broken, retroactive laws were promulgated, provisions of constitutions and bills of rights were openly defied. And hosts of servile writers praised what the governments had done and hailed the dawn of the fiat-money millennium. — Ludwig von Mises

59) Gold is the money of kings; silver is the money of gentlemen; barter is the money of peasants; but debt is the money of slaves. — Norm Franz

Graphic Gold Quote by Norm Franz

60) With the exception only of the period of the gold standard, practically all governments of history have used their exclusive power to issue money to defraud and plunder the people. — Friedrich August von Hayek

61) Monetary policy today is guided by little more than government fiat — by the calculations, often-mistaken economic theories and whims of central bankers or, even worse, politicians. Under such a regime, inflation of three or four percent annually has come to be viewed as a stellar monetary performance. However, under a more sound monetary system — i.e., a gold standard — such increases in the general price level would be seen as wildly inflationary. — Raymond J. Keating

62) Although gold and silver are not by nature money, money is by nature gold and silver. — Karl Marx

63) Governments lie; bankers lie; even auditors sometimes lie. Gold tells the truth. — Lord Rees Mogg

64) If an automatic commodity standard were feasible, it would provide an excellent solution to the liberal’s (i.e., classic liberal) dilemma: a stable monetary framework without danger of the irresponsible exercise of monetary powers. If, for example, an honest-to-goodness gold standard, in which 100 percent of the money in a country consisted literally of gold, were widely backed by the public at large, imbued with the mythology of a gold standard and with the belief that it is immoral and improper for government to interfere with its operation, it would provide an effective guarantee against governmental tinkering with the currency and against irresponsible monetary action. — Milton Friedman

65) Until government administrators can so identify the interests of government with those of the people and refrain from defrauding the masses through the device of currency depreciation for the sake of remaining in office, the wiser ones will prefer to keep as much of their wealth in the most stable and marketable forms possible — forms which only the precious metals provide. — Elgin Groseclose

66) If you don’t trust gold, do you trust the logic of taking a beautiful pine tree, worth about $4,000-$5,000, cutting it up, turning it into pulp and then paper, putting some ink on it and then calling it one billion dollars? — Kenneth J. Gerbino

67) The great merit of gold is precisely that it is scarce; that its quantity is limited by nature; that it is costly to discover, to mine and to process; and that it cannot be created by political fiat or caprice. — Henry Hazlitt

68) Gold will be around, gold will be money when the dollar and the euro and the yuan and the ringgit are mere memories. — Richard Russell

69) Those entrapped by the herd instinct are drowned in the deluges of history. But there are always the few who observe, reason, and take precautions, and thus escape the flood. For these few gold has been the asset of last resort. — Antony C. Sutton

70) The modern mind dislikes gold because it blurts out unpleasant truths. — Joseph Schumpeter

Even Entertainers, Actors, and Athletes Have an Opinion

71) I have always felt that if a man gives you a solid gold key to his door he is entitled to the courtesy of a visit. — Hedy Lamarr

72) A man that hoards up riches and enjoys them not is like an ass that carries gold and eats thistles. — Richard Burton

73) There is no such thing in the world as luck. There never was a man who could go out in the morning and find a purse full of gold in the street today, and another tomorrow, and so on, day after day. He may do so once in his life; but so far as mere luck is concerned, he is as liable to lose it as to find it. — P. T. Barnum

74) The Seven Cities of Gold always fascinated me. Southwestern U.S. history especially fascinates me. The whole spur of the Spanish exploration of the Southwestern U.S. was the search for these mythical Seven Cities of Gold. — Neil Peart

75) They don't give you gold medals for beating somebody. They give you gold medals for beating everybody. — Michael Johnson

Modern Thought Turns to Gold

76) [Gold] gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it …Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head. ― Warren Buffett

77) Bitcoin is not an actual physical coin, and if computers are shut down, you can't buy or sell them. That's why nothing will ever replace gold and silver coins themselves, and all investors should have them at home or in a safe deposit box. — Mark Skousen

78) My advice to you, my violent friend, is to seek out gold and sit on it. ― John Gardner

79) Because gold is honest money, it is disliked by dishonest men. — Ron Paul

80) Commodities such as gold and silver have a world market that transcends national borders, politics, religions and race. A person may not like someone else's religion, but he'll accept his gold. — Robert Kiyosaki

81) The Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules. – Attributed to a 1967 Wizard of Id comic strip

82) The finest compliment you can pay a man is that his word was as good as gold. — Evel Knievel

83) Gold is valuable everywhere in the world and is not dependent on political systems, any specific government policy or set of policies. — Roy Sebag

84) My mother might find a thin gold chain at the back of a drawer, wadded into an impossibly tight knot, and give it to me to untangle. It would have a shiny, sweaty smell, and excite me: Gold chains linked you to the great fairy tales and myths, to Arabia and India; to the great weight of the world, but lighter than a feather. — Anne Lamott

85) Gold has an almost atavistic lure. People feel it has a panacea effect. — Howard Blum

86) Gold has intrinsic value. The problem with the dollar is it has no intrinsic value. And if the Federal Reserve is going to spend trillions of them to buy up all these bad mortgages and all other kinds of bad debt, the dollar is going to lose all of its value. Gold will store its value, and you'll always be able to buy more food with your gold. — Peter Schiff

87) If the world does well, gold will be fine. If the world doesn't do well, gold will also do fine...but a lot of other things could collapse. — Thomas Kaplan

88) If you want an alternative currency, check out gold. It has stood the test of thousands of years as a store of value and medium of exchange. — Paul Singer

89) The world's central banks and the International Monetary Fund still have vaults full of bullion, even though currencies are no longer backed by gold. Governments hold on to it as a kind of magic symbol, a way of reassuring people that their money is real. — James Surowiecki

90) If you trade in paper, the notion of many who trade gold…if the financial world comes to an end, they're going to have the gold. If you're playing in ETFs, you're going to have a piece of paper. — Rick Santelli

91) Gold is still the ultimate store of wealth. It's the world's only true money. And there isn't much of it to go around. All of it ever mined would fit into a small building — a 56-foot cube. The annual world production would fit into a 14-foot cube, roughly the size of an ordinary living room. If each Chinese citizen were to buy just one ounce, it would take up the annual supply for the next 200 years. — Mark Nestmann

92) If ever there was an area in which to do the exact opposite of that which government and the media urge you to do, that area is the purchasing of gold. — Robert Ringer

93) Regardless of the dollar price involved, one ounce of gold would purchase a good-quality man’s suit at the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt and today. — Peter A. Burshre

94) I like gold because it is a stabilizer; it is an insurance policy. — Kevin O'Leary

Don’t Lose Your Sense of Humor

95) I'm very proud of my gold pocket watch. My grandfather, on his deathbed, sold me this watch. — Woody Allen

96) Gold was a gift to Jesus. If it's good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me! — Mr. T

97) A U.S. dollar is an I.O.U. from the Federal Reserve Bank. It's not backed by gold or silver. It's a promissory note that doesn't actually promise anything. — P.J. O'Rourke

98) If there was an Oppression Olympics, I would win the gold medal. I'm Palestinian, Muslim, I'm female, I'm disabled and I live in New Jersey. — Maysoon Zayid

99) The trouble with gold is that it turns its back on world improvers, empire builders and do-gooders. — Bill Bonner

100) Gold: this ‘barbarous relic’ is about the only thing you can leave on the seat of your car in Baltimore without worrying about the windows being smashed. — The Daily Reckoning

And Finally….

 This list could never be complete without the most famous gold quote of them all:

101) We will answer their demand for a gold standard by saying to them: ‘You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold’! ― William Jennings Bryan, Cross of Gold Speech, 1896

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