There is an old urban legend about some US coins winding up with “In Gold We Trust” replacing “In God We Trust” stamped on them. Not terribly believable, given that the coin dies are checked multiple times prior to being used, but sure, it is possible. Maybe one of the die makers slipped one to a friend working the coining press as a joke. Even the ever reliable Snopes.com has neither confirmed or denied it.
It is raises an interesting question though. Why gold?
It’s value is highly variable, it is heavy and bulky to carry. Sure, it is one of the few metals that under normal conditions will never change or degrade and is found in it’s elemental state in nature. Leave a coin at the bottom of the ocean for a thousand years and once you clean off the barnacles it’ll still look freshly minted. Those properties must have seemed magical to early man, and some of the magic still lingers on to this day.
Some branches of the prepper community have an almost fanatical devotion to gold. Read around a little bit and the almost constant refrain you get hit with is “buy gold.” While there are decent and well documented economic reasons to hold some gold, it should be way down the list of essential preparations.
You can’t eat it, drink it or wash with it, it is too soft to make anything useful out of and it can be confiscated or rendered worthless with ease (remember, that has happened before). I suppose you could use a gold bar as a club, but any hardwood tree branch will work just as well for that.
In the 1933 apocalyptic novel “When Worlds Collide” the author Philip Wylie included a humorous scene where a wealthy man turned up and tried to buy his way onto the rocket with two suitcases of cash, giving everyone working on the ship a very good and much needed laugh. Their response would have been the same if it was two suitcases of gold.
When there is no economy left, wealth is measured in what you can make or use or do. For extreme survival situations, the contents of your change jar are more valuable than gold. Those, at least, make good arrowheads.