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New York museum shows glory of gold, if not central banking

Section: Daily Dispatches

7:25p CT Friday, November 17, 2006

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

Here's a story about the opening of a fascinating exhibit about gold at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, but it contains a terrible error. It reports that all the gold ever mined totals "330 million tons." The World Gold Council estimates that the total gold mined as of 2001 was only "145,000 tonnes," and yearly gold production since then has been less than 3,000 tonnes.

Of course all the paper money printed since central banks escaped the discipline of a monetary system tied to gold may weigh far more than 330 million tons, and all the money created by central banks and investment houses out of mere electrons in the last few years weighs nothing at all. That may not make for much of an exhibit about the glory of central banking.

But the inference that can be drawn from the story about the new gold exhibit is sound: This is the age of infinite money, and we now joyfully await the age of infinite goods and services.

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

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New York Museum Shows Glory of Gold

By Deepti Jajela
Associated Press
Friday, November 17, 2006

NEW YORK -- It has been used to crown kings and fill cavities, for high-end jewelry and high-flying space travel.

Gold has long represented wealth, power and prestige, and a new exhibit showcases just how remarkable this rare and precious material is. "Gold" opens Saturday at the American Museum of Natural History and runs through Aug. 19.

Gold is a unique mineral in a number of ways, said Jim Webster, one of the curators for the show -- it's malleable, so it can be stretched into the slimmest of wires or flattened into the thinnest of sheets. It's reflective, which is why it has been used on astronauts' helmets to reduce glare.

It can be worked and handled in its native form, right out of the ground, and doesn't need to be heated or smelted like other minerals such as copper. And it doesn't really tarnish or corrode, so even coins on sunken ships that spend hundreds of years on the ocean floor can be found in perfect condition.

"It's just amazing, the impact it's had," Webster said. "Most cultures that have run across it have incorporated it as a symbol of power, strength and authority."

And, of course, it's got that lovely glow and luster to it, the only mineral that naturally occurs in that yellow color.

That spectacular shine is on full display in the museum's exhibit, which contains about a ton of gold. Divided into sections, the show begins with the geology and mineralogy of gold, showcasing the various forms in which it can be found, such as a 2.2 pound nugget taken from the museum's collection.

The next section looks at its physical properties, like its heavy density. (Those movie scenes, where someone takes off carrying a bag full of gold bars? Um, not likely. The bag would weigh hundreds of pounds.) Visitors will be able to walk through a special room, 12 feet by 12 feet by 8 feet, that's completely lined with 22.5 karat gold leaf to see a physical demonstration of how thin gold can get. Gilding the entire space only required three ounces of the material.

Another section focuses on gold's cultural and artistic importance, its usage in jewelry everywhere from South Asia to the collection at Cartier, which contributed a breathtaking diamond and gold necklace. Further on, its economic importance takes center stage, with old coins and a mind-boggling loan from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which lent 27 gold ingots. The Federal Reserve's vault is 80 feet below ground and holds $147 billion worth of gold bullion, the world's largest collection of gold used for monetary purposes.

All this impact, for a mineral that isn't even that common. The exhibit points out that in all recorded history, just over 330 million tons of gold have been ever been mined. Contrast that to the millions of tons of other minerals that are mined every year.

"All of human history, all the impact it has had, all of that," Webster said, "we make more iron in 1 1/2 hours."

The museum has programmed lectures and events to accompany the show. It will travel, but a schedule had not yet been released.

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The exhibit's Internet site can be found here:

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at the
2007 Vancouver Resource Investment Conference
Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre
Sunday and Monday, January 21 and 22, 2007

Admission is free for those who register in advance. The conference has arranged discount rates at the Pan Pacific Hotel adjacent to the convention center.

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