TIL from 1933 to 1974, it was generally illegal for individuals and corporations to possess gold in the United States

True story

Backstory: I worked in Japan in 1971-73 as an engineer. It was legal and easy to buy and sell gold and was not an uncommon way that people saved money. I couldn't open a bank account so I bought gold bars as a method of saving instead of having piles of cash around. I always carried a little 10gm piece in my wallet like a lucky charm.

The Story: In 1973 I had to come back to the states for a meeting and I set up the trip so I could stop in Hawaii for a few days of R&R. After I cleared customs and immigration and walking out to get a taxi I was stopped by some big guys in dark suits and badges that asked me to come with them to answer some questions. The reason they said was that they thought I fit a drug courier profile because I was young (26), wearing a nice custom suit, and looked wealthier than I should be(?), only carrying a briefcase and a small overnight bag (I figured I would buy the beach clothes I needed and sent my suitcases onward) and seemed anxious to get out of the airport. All true, but not because I was a drug courier. Near the end of the 10 minute interview where I had to remove a shoe to be examined for contraband and they examined my electronic calculator and I showed them how it worked (just coming on the market in Japan, not common in America yet). Then one of the officers asked to see my wallet and pulled out the 10gm gold bar I kept in it and asked me what it was. I immediately panic-remembered that it was illegal to possess gold bullion at that time, but before I could answer another agent said he thought it was a gold coin and I quickly agreed, he handed it back to me because gold coins were not illegal. So they let me go, with an "Enjoy your stay in Hawaii". Whew, that was close!

Anyway I was carrying a couple of joints buried inside the calculator.

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