A gold certificate in general is a certificate of ownership that gold owners hold instead of storing the actual gold.
It has both a historic meaning as a U.S. paper currency (1863–1933) and a current meaning as a way to invest in gold.
Banks may issue gold certificates for gold that is allocated (non-fungible) or unallocated (fungible or pooled). Unallocated gold certificates are a form of fractional-reserve banking and do not guarantee an equal exchange for metal in the event of a run on the issuing bank’s gold on deposit. Allocated gold certificates should be correlated with specific numbered bars, although it is difficult to determine whether a bank is improperly allocating a single bar to more than one party.
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$20 Gold Certificate