E Gold And The Rip Van Winkle Caper

The "Rip Van Winkle Caper" was Episode No. 60 in the original Twilight Zone television series. It first aired in April 1961.

The show centered on the actions of four thieves who put themselves into suspended animation for 100 years, with the intention of waking to the prospect of enjoying, without concern, the spoils of their recent criminal actions.

The "spoils" happened to be one million dollars in gold bullion (bars) which they had recently misappropriated, i.e., stolen.

The entire plan was orchestrated by one of the men, who hired the others to perform specific tasks which depended on the execution of their respective and infamous talents. Now, they were in a cave located somewhere in the desert in the southwestern United States.

The cave was a hiding place for the truck they had used to accomplish the heist of the gold bars. Also in the cave were four coffin-like beds with glass tops which would provide a comfortable place to rest for the next one hundred years.

The presumed motivation for the elaborate precautions was the expectation that by the time they awoke, their crime would have been long forgotten; any and all persons alive at the time of the crime would be dead. Hence, they could spend and enjoy their ill-gotten gains without fear of being discovered, imprisoned, etc.

Having recently been reminded of the show by a close friend during one of our casual discussions about gold, and after watching it again on DVD, I knew I needed to write an article about it.

Among the things worthy of our attention is to determine today's equivalent of one million dollars in gold bullion sixty years ago.

In 1961, the price of gold was $35 per ounce. Today it is approximately $1750 per ounce. That is a fifty-fold increase; meaning that one million dollars in gold bullion in 1961 is today worth FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS.

If the thieves were to have awakened today, forty years ahead of schedule, how would they fare? Marvelously so, when looking at just the numbers.

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Kelsey Williams is the author of two books: Inflation, What it is, What It Isn't, And Who's Responsible For It and  more

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