Hundreds of thousands of gold coins perished in the year 1933, melted down to make gold bars that would be stored in the Federal Reserve, safe from the clutches of the American people. It was the year our country began the process of leaving the gold standard for pure faith in the bank. Anyone owning monetary gold at the time was ordered to return it to the government, lest they be fined heavily or thrown into prison for 10 years—or both.