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You may be referring to the value based upon gold US coinage prior to the 1933 presidential order to abolish private ownership of gold bullion and coin.

Gold was "officially valued" a little over $18 an ounce. After the order, the value was raised to $35. The 2009 statutory value for gold was $42.22 per the 2009 US Mint annual report although they added a "market value" also.

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