Outside visitors are rare. Following President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inspection trip in 1943, no outsiders have been allowed to visit the facility. Following an audit that was completed in 1953, the vaults were sealed and nobody was allowed to visit.
In 1974, noted conspiracy theorist Dr. Peter Beter wrote a book titled The Conspiracy Against the Dollar that alleged “powerful Americans have secretly permitted $20 billion worth of gold to be removed from Ft. Knox.” The claim caught on and the public clamored to prove that the nation’s gold was still in Fort Knox.
After clamoring from the public, congressed impressed on the Secretary of the Treasury William Simon and Director of the US Mint Mary Brooks to open the doors of the vault to public inspection. It was finally agreed that a select group of congress members and press would visit Fort Knox on September 23, 1974.
On September 20, 1974, the US Mint release the following press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 1974INSPECTION OF GOLD AT FORT KNOX
The inspection by Members of Congress on September 23, 1974, of U.S. gold stocks stored at the Fort Knox (Ky.) Bullion Depository marks a unique departure from the long standing and rigidly enforced policy of absolutely no visitors, Mrs. Mary Brooks, Director of the Mint, announced today.
“On April 28, 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt inspected the Bullion Depository,” Mrs. Brooks said. “His visit was the one and only time a gold vault was opened for inspection for anyone other than authorized personnel.
“The Congressional inspection adheres to the new open door policy of the government announced by President Ford. Treasury Secretary William E. Simon issued the invitation to Congressmen to inspect the gold at Fort Knox. By also inviting the press to witness the Congressional inspection, the Mint is clearing away cobwebs and re-assuring the public that their gold is intact and safe. For the first time photographing is being permitted inside the Depository.”
After the Congressional inspection, the Bullion Depository will once again be closed to visitors.
On September 24, 1974, a special settlement (audit) is scheduled to begin and at its conclusion a report on the audit will be issued.
The audit will be performed by a committee of auditors from the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) and the Department of the Treasury. The auditors from the Treasury will be drawn from the Office of the Secretary, the Bureau of Government Financial Operations, the U.S. Customs Service, and the Bureau of the Mint. In addition, the committee will include technicians from the Bureau of the Mint who are trained in assaying and weighing gold bullion.
The monetary gold stock of the United States totals 276.0 million fine troy ounces valued at $11.7 billion at the official rate of $42.2222 per fine troy ounce, and is stored in various federal depositories (table attached), the largest of which is at Fort Knox, Kentucky. 147.4 million fine troy ounces, valued at $6.2 billion, is stored in 13 vault compartments at Fort Knox Bullion Depository.MONETARY GOLD STOCK OF THE UNITED STATES
(in millions of ounces)
Account of the U.S. Treasury Fort Knox 147.4 Denver Mint 54.9 New York Assay Office 54.1 San Francisco Assay Office 10.6 FRB New York – Special Custody Acct. 4.2 Bank of England 1.3 Bank of Canada 1.4 Other .1 274.0 Exchange Stabilization Fund 2.0 Total 276.0
For more on the Fort Knox visit, you should read the article by David Ganz, who attended as a freelance writer after skipping a day at law school.
Recently, the History Channel aired a show, Fort Knox – Secrets Revealed that was produced in 2007. “Hidden deep inside the vault is an estimated $73 billion dollars in gold. Almost all information about it is classified. Through interviews with eyewitnesses, rare photos and rarely seen films, we will construct a picture of what the building might look like. Hear testimony of those journalists and congressmen who were among the select few invited inside in 1974.”
If you cannot wait for the History Channel to air the show, you can purchase a DVD copy for yourself from Amazon.com. The link to the right will bring you right to the page to purchase the DVD.