A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 12, 2011
“You can’t eat gold (or silver)”

"You can’t eat gold/silver” is a saying that dates in print to at least 1870. In 1897, a Klondike gold prospector advised a friend that “you can’t eat gold dust.”

Many people hoard gold for safety during a financial panic, but survival foods companies have used the slogan “You can’t eat gold” since 1975. Hoarding gold isn’t senseless, however; one can’t eat paper money, either, and gold will probably maintain its value longer than any fiat paper currency.


Google Books
Routledge’s Every Boy’s Annual:
An entertaining miscellany of original literature

London: George Routledge and Sons
1870
Pg. 338:
“In the long run, Mr. Prawle,” he said, with a smile, “we farmers will get hold of the gold which you dig for; you can’t eat gold, so you will be obliged to exchange it for my brother’s corn, and cheese, and butter.”

Google Books
The Banker’s Dream: a fiction
By Thomas H. Proctor
Vineland, NJ: Progressive Book Pub. Co.
1895
Pg. 214:
People are hungry to-day, and they can’t eat gold. They owe nothing, so have no need for gold. They have shelter and raiment. All they greatly need is Western beef and flour; and gold bug’s gold, or bank credits, is the thing they least need.

19 August 1897, Boston (MA) Daily Globe, pg. 2, col. 2:
“YOU CAN’T EAT GOLD DUST!”
Letter of J. J. Beattle, Who Lives in
Juneau, Alaska—He Advises to Wait
Until Next Spring.

PROVIDENCE, R. I. Aug. 15—“You can’t eat gold dust,” says J. J. Beattle, formerly of Providence, but now of the great Klondike eldorado. James M. McNair, a resident of the North end, who intends to go to Klondike, wrote to prospector Beattle, a friend of his, at Juneau, Alaska, some time ago for information, and today he received the following letter of a July date:...

Google Books
Lem, a New England Village Boy:
His adventures and his mishaps

By Noah Brooks
New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons
1901
Pg. 238:
“You can’t eat gold, you know; and if you can’t sell it, or use it, why, it’s no more good than if it was just granite or paving-stones.”

21 June 1919, Macon (GA) Telegraph, pg. 6, col. 4:
YOU CAN’T EAT GOLD.
From the Houston Post.
The German mark is worth only 81.3 cents in gold. Out dollar is worth 100 cents in gold, but only about 30 cents in bacon, eggs, chickens and calico.

Google News Archive
19 March 1921, Toledo (OH) News-Bee, “To Make Factories Hum,” pg. 4, col. 1:
Gold received in foreign trade is merely a note calling for reciprocal shipments of imports in the future. You can’t eat gold.

11 June 1935, New York (NY) Times, “Books of the Times” by John Chamberlain, pg. 19:
You Can’t Eat Gold.
“The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” is, on the surface, utterly different from “The Death Ship.” It is a thriller, a story of danger and adventure and a hunt for gold, but it exists on an adult plane.

Google News Archive
16 September 1948, Montreal (Quebec) Gazette, “Bank of Canada Head Optimistic Drop in Prices Is Coming Soon,” pg. 1, col. 3:
Austin C. Taylor of Vancouver, British Columbia director, is a “gold” man.

“They say you can’t eat gold, but if you have gold you can always eat.”

5 April 1975, New York (NY) Times, “Makers of Survival Foods Cater to a Growing National Anxiety” by Wayne King, pg. 22:
ATLANTA—Ronald G. Whipple, founder and president of Dixie Beehive Foods, one of the leading marketers of so-called “survival food,” does not like to think of himself as a prophet of doom.
(...)
The company’s ads warn that “you can’t eat gold,” and illustrate this dictum by pointing out that the legendary King Midas was"extremely rich, but extremely hungry.”

3 December 1978, Marietta (GA) Journal, pg. 19F ad:
You can’t eat gold or silver.
(Rainy Day Foods—ed.)

Google News Archive
1 November 1979, Windsor (Ontario) Star, “Health economics inseparably linked throughout history” by W. Gifford-Jones, pg. 17, col. 3:
Can’t eat gold
But what has the soaring price of gold to do with health in 1979? You can’t eat gold. And what a senseless endeavour to mine millions of tons of earth for a few ounces of gold. Then quickly bury it again in huge vaults.

4 January 1980, New York (NY) Times, “What the Price of Gold Means,” pg. A22:
“You can’t eat gold, you can’t wear it, you can’t wear it, you can’t live in it,” citibank economist Leif Olsen pointed out this week. What, then, does the latest prices urge, which has pushed gold up by more than $100 an ounce in the last week, really mean to the world economy?

14 June 1980, New Orleans (LA) Times-Picayune. “Food Hoarders Foresee Rioting, Looting, Panic” by Connie Bloom (Knight-Ridder News Service), sec. 1, pg. 4, col. 2:
AKRON, Ohio—As the value of the dollar shrinks, more and more people are sinking their money—and teeth—into long-life “survival foods.”

“You can’t eat gold or silver,” said an Ohio lawyer who has invested $6,000 in survival food for his family.

8 September 1980, Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer, pg. 10D, col. 3 classified ad:
YOU CAN’T EAT GOLD/SILVER
Top of the line food storage, equipment and books. Open 7 days. Survival Products & Natural Foods.

OCLC WorldCat record
You can’t eat gold : Jacksonville historical past in story and song
Author: Waldo Thompson; Skip Bessonette; Tom Balogh
Publisher: Medford, Or. : Skip Bessonette Recording Studio, ©1982.
Edition/Format:  Audiobook on Cassette : Cassette recording : English
Summary: Features the history of Jacksonville, Oregon. Story and songs are based on historical writings and legends from the past. Included are the songs: You can’t eat gold, Railroad lament, and Three brothers, three.

LewRockwell.com
March 31, 2004
You Can’t Eat Gold!
by Gary North
Slogans come and go. Popular political slogans reflect the prevailing political lies of a generation, which get replaced by the political lies of the next generation.

TheStreet
Gold Export Ban Could Happen
By Wyatt Investment Research 02/28/11 - 02:07 PM EST
By Kevin McElroy
NEW YORK (TheStreet) - You can’t eat gold. Gold produces no income. Gold is just a worthless barbaric relic. It’s an expensive paper weight. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Monday, September 12, 2011 • Permalink