In 1933, gold coins were withdrawn from circulation in the United States after President Roosevelt signed the executive order essentially making the ownership of monetary gold illegal. The country was gripped in stalled economic growth caused by the Great Depression.
Despite the use of the word hoarding by the presidential order, the main reason was to free the Federal Reserve from the inability to print more money. The Federal Reserve had nearly hit the limit of the amount of paper money it could print that would be backed by gold.
So, removing the ability to own monetary gold, the Federal Reserve was free to print more money and try to help pull the country out of the Depression. The order required all individuals to turn in most of the gold they had in exchange for money.
This order resulted in the ceased production of all gold coin currency in the US and all 1933 coins to be melted down. This is why the 1933 double eagle is such an extremely rare coin.
The fact that this Executive Order was never repealed means that to this date, gold can be confiscated under the Order, despite the fact that after 1933 it never was. What makes the pre-1933 gold today so appealing for investors and collectors alike is the caveat in the Order stating:
“Gold coins having recognized special value to collectors of rare and unusual coins” are exempt.
Because of this clause in the still active executive order, many experts believe graded numismatic pre-1933 US gold coins are exempt from seizure and safe for any gold investment portfolio.