http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_as_an_investmentHowever, since the gold standard was ended on August 15, 1971, governments have been free to print as much money as they choose, without fear that their populations will come knocking on the central bank's door demanding to change their paper money back into gold.
In January 1959 US M3 money supply was $288.8 billion, and the official gold reserves of the United States was then 17,335.1 tonnes, or 557,336,000 ounces (there are 32,150.7 troy ounces in a tonne). That means that in 1959, there were $518 in circulation for every ounce of gold reserves held by the USA. Although the theoretical price should then have been $518 per ounce, the actual price, as fixed under the gold standard was only $35 an ounce.
By August 2005, the US M3 money supply had risen to $9,873.9 billion, whilst at the same time the Official Gold Holdings of the United States had fallen to just 8,133.5 tonnes, or 261.50 million Troy Ounces. This means that today, in 2005, there are $37,831 in circulation for every troy ounce of gold held by the United States.