The problems of gold as a currency also dominate Ian Fleming 1959 work Goldfinger.
James Bond, Agent 007, is sent to investigate and inevitably "terminate with extreme prejudice" Auric Goldfinger, the mysterious Swiss financier who is smuggling gold.
Goldfinger's real plot is to boost the value of his gold through an audacious attack on the Fort Knox gold depositary.
In the film version, the attack features lethal nerve gas to be sprayed from a squadron of crop duster aircraft. The pilots are a bevy of buxom lesbian beauties led by a female villain, the unlikely Pussy Galore, played by Honor Blackman.
Goldfinger's plan entailed contaminating the gold by exploding a nuclear device - a dirty bomb in the age of terror. Goldfinger's own stock of uncontaminated gold would increase in value astronomically in the process.
Bond discerns the plot through dazzling mental arithmetic - Fort Knox's $15 billion dollars of gold equated to over 400 million ounces which would weigh around 12000 imperial tonnes making it difficult to carry off.
In Goldfinger, Colonel Smithers explained the monetary role of gold succinctly: "Gold and currencies backed by gold are the foundation of international credit... We can only tell what the true strength of the pound is... by knowing the amount of [gold] we have behind our currency."
The monetary status of gold even attracted Oscar Wilde who in the Importance of Being Earnest has Miss Prism, the tutor, instruct her pupil as follows: "Cecily, you will read your Political Economy in my absence. The Chapter on the Fall of the Rupee you may omit. It is somewhat too sensational. Even these metallic problems have their melodramatic side."