Dennis Tucker submitted this item on Bloom's Law. Thanks! -Editor
An amusing aside that might be of interest to E-Sylum readers:
This weekend I was reading Paul Dickson’s The Official Rules (Delacorte Press, 1978;
subtitled The Definitive, Annotated Collection of Laws, Principles, and Instructions for Dealing
With the Real World) when I came across this entry: "Bloom’s Law of the Profitable Inertia
of Gold: Certain things shouldn’t be moved."
Dickson ascribes the concept to Murray Teigh Bloom, writing in his book on counterfeiting,
Money of Their Own (Scribners, 1957).
"As [Bloom] explained in a recent letter, ‘Once the Philadelphia Mint experimented and
found $5.00 was lost by abrasion every time a million dollars worth of gold coin was handled. Just
lifting the bags—each filled with $5,000 worth of gold coin—to the truck resulted in a $5.00 loss;
transferring them back to the mint caused another $5.00 loss. Letting the stuff rest quietly at
Fort Knox instead of moving it around nervously to Sub-Treasuries makes us richer.’"
I’d never heard of Bloom’s Law, or of this Philadelphia Mint experiment. Sounds more like a
parable or a numismatic urban legend!
Money of Their Own Is one of my favorite books, although I don't
remember Bloom's law. Dennis copies Dave Bowers and Joel Orosz, who continued the conversation.
Dave Bowers writes:
I will call the manager of my gold vault in Manhattan and tell him to not even wiggle a gold
Joel Orosz writes:
Thanks to Grandfather Orosz's heavy investment in the Ace Buggy Whip Co. back in 1910, I am
spared the need to move bags of gold from bank to bank!
What delightful story this is, and if it is not true it ought to be! Unfortunately, I don't
own a single book by Murray Teigh Bloom, so I can neither confirm nor deny the accuracy of this
Let's just hope that, in this political season, no bloviator running for Congress gets hold
of this information. If so, they can claim that their decision to do absolutely nothing for the
past 6 years has actually been a successful deficit-reduction strategy!
I pulled out my copy of Bloom's book, and while it remains a favorite, I'm
knocking off several points for its lack of an index, bibliography and/or copious footnotes. Since
the book is about counterfeiting, I was unable to identify a chapter where this quote might be
found. I even tried Google Books, but couldn't locate the quote. It makes perfect sense though,
from what I know about gold. -Editor
Dennis Tucker adds:
I think Dickson was quoting personal correspondence from Bloom ("a recent letter," he
says), as opposed to quoting from Bloom's book. He does, however, cite Bloom's Law as
coming from the counterfeiting book. If I understand correctly, then, Bloom's story comes from
a letter, but his Law is in his book. [... somewhere. -Editor]
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