This chapter prescribes procedures to be used for issuing and redeeming gold certificates.
Gold certificates are book-entry transactions that represent the monetization of government-owned gold at its par value of $42.2222 per fine troy ounce. The instructions in this chapter apply to the Federal Reserve Banks (FRBs), the United States Mint, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRB-NY) issues and redeems gold certificates on behalf of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury). The value of the gold certificates is credited to Treasury’s General Account (TGA) and is used for the general operating expenses of the federal government.
The Secretary of the Treasury is authorized by 12 U.S.C. 391 to use FRBs to act as depositaries and fiscal agents of the U.S. Government and by 31 U.S.C. 5117 to issue and redeem gold certificates. Section 16 of the Federal Reserve Act, as amended (12 U.S.C. 467), requires the Secretary of the Treasury to prescribe, by regulation, the form of receipt and to approve the order form used for deposits and withdrawals of gold certificates held by Treasury.
Treasury reports on gold holdings in various publications. The Bureau of the Fiscal Service (Fiscal Service) prepares the Status Report of U.S. Treasury-Owned Gold (the Gold Report) that provides a report of the type and location of government-owned gold. This report is available on the Fiscal Service website: Status Report of U. S. Government Gold Reserve. Summary gold data, by account, is also provided in the Monthly Treasury Statement of Receipts and Outlays of the U.S. Government; the Combined Statement of Receipts, Outlays, and Balances of the U.S. Government; and the Financial Report of the U.S. Government.
Gold certificates represent a Treasury liability to the FRB since the FRB has loaned cash to the federal government with gold as the collateral. Liabilities incurred by issuing gold certificates are limited to the gold being held in the TGA at the standard (par) value established by law. Since 1934, gold certificates have been issued in nondefinitive or book-entry form on Treasury’s books. When gold certificates are issued, FRB-NY increases the U.S. dollar deposits in the TGA.
Asset and Liability Statement (A&L)—A monthly report submitted by the U.S. Mint that identifies the fine troy ounces and par value of gold and silver on hand that is in deep storage or held as working inventory to mint congressionally authorized coins.
Book Entry—An accounting procedure used to increase or decrease an account’s balance without the physical transfer of assets. Entries to this account are supported by validated data rather than by currency.
Demonetization—An accounting process used to reverse the cash value assigned to the U.S. gold holdings.
Monetization—An accounting process used to give cash value to U.S. gold holdings. Gold is valued at the par value of $42.2222 per fine troy ounce, as established by law. FRB-NY credits the Treasury’s operating cash account for the amount of gold designated to be monetized by Treasury.
The FRBs and the U.S. Mint have custody of the gold inventory of the U.S. Government. The FRB holds gold in storage and on display for the U.S. Government. They report on their transcripts to the Fiscal Service any net changes in holdings. The U.S. Mint holds gold in storage and in inventory and reports net gold transactions on the Assets and Liabilities Statement (A&L Statement).
The U.S. Mint, the Fiscal Service, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System updated reporting procedures when the new demonetization policy became effective in 2001. To effect the demonetization policy, Fiscal Service requested that the FRBs redeem gold certificates for 100,000 fine troy ounces of gold. Subsequently, each month the U.S. Mint advises the Fiscal Service of increases or decreases in gold inventory, and the Fiscal Service advises the FRB to effect a like change in gold certificates. The U.S. Mint reports net gold transactions, and Fiscal Service’s Funds Management Branch (FMB) reports net gold certificate transactions in the Central Accounting Reporting System (CARS). The difference between gold and gold certificates should remain at $4,222,222.22, the book value of 100,000 fine troy ounces of gold.
By noon on the last business day of the month, the U.S. Mint advises Fiscal Service’s Cash Accounting Branch (CAB) of its gold inventory balance on an A&L Statement.
CAB determines the net increase or decrease in gold from the previous month’s A&L Statement and notifies FMB by email to request the issuance or redemption of gold certificates for the same amount.
FMB notifies the FRB-NY via fax by 4 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the last business day of the month to issue gold certificates if the gold inventory is increased or to redeem gold certificates if the gold inventory has decreased. Also, if there is no activity during the month, FMB sends a notification letter to FRB-NY indicating that the balance has not changed.
When Fiscal Service requests the issuance of gold certificates, FRB-NY prepares an SF 215: Deposit Ticket, to reflect the deposit of funds to the TGA. When Fiscal Service requests the redemption of gold certificates, FRB-NY issues an SF 5515: Debit Voucher, to reflect the withdrawal of funds from the TGA. FMB uses the SF 215s and SF 5515s as supporting documentation for preparation of its Statement of Transaction, Classification Transactions and Accountability (CTA) reporting to account 81680003, Gold Certificate Fund, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System - U.S. Mint.
FMB subsequently sends a letter to the FRB Board to confirm that the Fiscal Service’s gold certificate balance agrees with the FRB’s, and the FRB Board returns a verification of FMB’s balance.
The U.S. Mint reports net gold transactions to account 81670003, U.S. Treasury-Owned Gold - U.S. Mint, and FMB reports net gold certificate changes to account 81680003 on their respective monthly Statement of Transactions.
CAB maintains a comparison of the balances in account 81670003 and account 81680003 to assure that gold certificates are issued or redeemed per legislative and Treasury policy guidelines. The difference between these balances should be $4,222,222.22, reflecting 100,000 fine troy ounces of unmonetized gold.
Direct questions related to the gold certificates account balances to:
Bureau of the Fiscal Service
Agency Reporting and Analysis Division
Reporting Analysis Branch 2
PO Box 1328
Parkersburg, WV 26106-1328
Direct questions related to gold certificates to:
Bureau of the Fiscal Service
Central Accounting and Reporting Division
Cash Accounting Branch
PO Box 1328
Parkersburg, WV 26106-1328