I was reading about Congressman Ron Paul on wikipedia today to learn more about him when I noticed he published a book (available as a PDF) called Gold, Peace, Prosperity. I spent some time reading it today, since its my last day at my current job. It’s a quick read and analyzes why a Gold Standard makes sense. What I found truly interesting is the history lesson in his Free Market Money chapter:
> In California, during the 1840s and 1850s, many privately minted gold coins circulated. The practice was outlawed in 1864,” but as late as 1914,” points out Antony Sutton, “the U.S. Treasury was still trying to halt circulation of private gold pieces in San Francisco.” Why were such coins still circulating? Because the private mints maintained higher standards than the government mint. Often, points out Dr. Sutton, they were one percent heavier than Federal issues, “to protect the user from metal loss by abrasion while the coin was in circulation.” Private mints held to a higher standard because they were protected only by their reputation. They could not force consumers to take sub-standard money by the force of law, as government can.