What is a Goldback?

Goldback is a voluntary, non-dollar, complementary currency. Goldbacks are gold foil notes that are crafted with.999 fine gold paint on Aurum, a plastic film designed to hold the gold paint and be durable. The Aurum covering adds an extra level of protection so that the gold foil notes can be easily held and admired. Goldbacks each carry a specific, labeled gold weight, and feature a variety of stunning designs. 


Considered the first local, voluntary currency to be made of spendable, beautiful, physical gold, Goldbacks would make a unique addition to any collection, especially for those who prize intricate designs rendered in gold.  

$5 dollar Utah Goldback$5 dollar Utah Goldback

Why are Goldbacks Created?


Once upon a time, the United States relied upon both silver and gold coinage, as well as gold notes and silver certificates, as circulating currency to satisfy the needs of commerce. These paper notes were redeemable for gold and silver coins with the United States Treasury. Through the 20th Century, circulating precious metals-based coins and notes were replaced by non-precious metals coinage and Federal Reserve Notes.

The Utah GoldbackNevada Goldback and New Hampshire Goldback are an attempt to legally allow the circulation of gold-backed currencies in states where this has been made allowable through legislation. Goldbacks are often referred to as voluntary local currency.


Regardless if any businesses near you accept them or not, from a collector’s perspective, Goldbacks can almost be seen as works of art immortalized in .999 fine gold. Each design is laden with patriotic symbolism and each note explicitly states the amount of gold it contains.  

Utah Goldback Designs      


1 Goldback note: contains 1/1000th oz. of gold and features a Native American representation of Prudence, who is depicted with elements common to the Native American tribes within the state of Utah: the Ute, Paiute, Navajo, Iroquois, and Goshute tribes. She symbolizes prudence or being wise in practical affairs, one of the Four Cardinal Virtues.


 5 Goldback note: contains 1/200th oz. of gold and features another depiction of Prudence, this time bearing the light of truth for others. She holds scriptures and a Westward pointing compass honoring early faith-motivated Utah settlers.


 10 Goldback note: contains 1/100th oz. of gold and features a blindfolded Prudence holding the sword of Justice and the Scale of Balance.


 25 Goldback note: contains 1/40th oz. of gold and features a symbolic Victory allegory represented by a suffragette, marking Utah’s role in voting rights.


 50 Goldback note: contains 1/20th oz. of gold and features a depiction of Liberty holding the torch of enlightenment and a chalice representing Christian hope, again harkening back to Utah’s early settlers.

Utah Goldback RedesignsUtah Goldback Redesigns

Nevada Goldback Designs:


1 Goldback note: contains 1/1000th oz. of gold and features a Mary Magdalene representation of Charity.


5 Goldback note: contains 1/200th oz. of gold and features Sophia, representing the Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena.


10 Goldback note: contains 1/100th oz. of gold and features a unique depiction of a not blindfolded Lady Justice who still holds the Scale of Balance, but can see everything.


 25 Goldback note: contains 1/40th oz. of gold and features the allegory Fortitude, depicted through the winged goddess of Victory, Nike.


 50 Goldback note: contains 1/20th oz. of gold and features the allegory of Liberty, depicted by the goddess Aphrodite.

Nevada Goldback DesignsNevada Goldback Designs

New Hampshire Goldback Designs:


1 Goldback Note: Contains 1/1000 oz. of gold and features the first appearance of Gratia or Grace on a Goldback. She is depicted as an Abanaki Native American Woman from the Algonquin tribe who have ties to the region.


5 Goldback Note: Contains 1/200 oz. of gold and features the second appearance of Veritas, or Truth, on a Goldback. She is depicted wearing a colonial dress, holding a candle representing the light of truth.


10 Goldback Note: Contains 1/100 oz. of gold features Prospicientia, or Foresight, making her debut on a Goldback. She is depicted sitting on a cannon on the coast of the Atlantic with Fort Constitution looming across the way.


25 Goldback Note: Contains 1/40 oz. of gold and features Fortudine, or Fortitude, making her second appearance on a Goldback. She is depicted earing the military coat of a minuteman.


50 Goldback Note: Contains 1/20 oz. of gold and features Libertas, or Liberty, again making her capstone appearance on a 50 dollar Goldback design. On the New Hampshire issue she is depicted standing in White Mountain National Forest alongside three symbols from the state’s original seal.

New Hampshire Goldback DesignsNew Hampshire Goldback Designs

How to use Goldbacks?


Goldbacks as a form of voluntary local currency were made possible by the Utah Legal Tender Act of 2011 and other, similar legislation from other states. Certain businesses voluntarily accept Goldbacks in the states of Nevada, Utah, and New Hampshire.


To see participating business in the state of Utah, visit the Goldback website here.

American Legion buildingAmerican Legion building
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