I would like to point out an interview with Marc Faber, one of my favorite market analysts. He is pretty entertaining, really.
Marc Faber is a hard money, old school investor who thinks that the U.S. government is going to reflate in order to avoid depression and that means gold is more valuable. But, for those of you who don’t know economic history, the fact is that this has been tried before, in the Great Depression in the 1930s and the result was that the government had to confiscate Americans’ gold. It was Executive Order 6102 signed on 5 April 1933 right after Franklin Roosevelt came to office and it forbade all Americans from owning physical gold assets.
It required all persons to deliver on or before May 1, 1933 all gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates owned by them to the Federal Reserve. Under the Trading With the Enemy Act of October 6, 1917, as amended on March 9, 1933, violation of Executive Order 6102 was punishable by fine up to $10,000 ($166,640 if adjusted for inflation as of 2008) or up to ten years in prison, or both. Because of this forced immediate sale of gold to the Federal Reserve at the government set price of $20.67 per ounce, this Executive Order is often referred to as the Gold Confiscation of 1933. Shortly after this forced sale, the price of gold from the treasury for international transactions was raised to $35 an ounce; the U.S. government thereby devalued the U.S. dollar by 41%.
Order 6102 specifically exempted "customary use in industry, profession or art"–a provision that covered artists, jewelers, dentists, and electricians among others. The order further permitted any person to own up to $100 in gold coins (a face value equivalent to five troy ounces of Gold). Nevertheless, anecdotal accounts later related that many persons who possessed large amounts of gold simply ignored the order and hid their gold until the Order ceased to be in effect.
Faber seems to think the government could confiscate your gold again very soon. Take a look at what he has to say below.
Oh, and Executive Order 6102 was not repealed until 1974, 41 years later.
Executive Order 6102 – Wikipedia
Update Jul 2010: It seems the US government is now moving to document all gold sales in the United States. Read "US Government now tracking gross proceeds on gold sales over $600." Big Brother is watching.