Posted by Bruce Kahl on August 01, 2001
In Reply to: Gold posted by Pete on August 01, 2001
: Just was wondering where the origin of good as gold came from.
The Penguin Business Dictionary, Michael Greener 1994, states that your phrase is from the banking business.
One of the many functions of a bank was providing the ability of settling debts without having to carry large amounts of money from place to place.
At one time these needs were met by goldsmiths, with whom people would leave their gold and other valuables for safekeeping. Gradually, these trustees began to realize that the quantity of gold, etc., left with them would not all be recalled at once and that they could safely lend part of it to others for short periods at a profit. Conversely, the depositors came to realize that the receipt given by a reputable goldsmith was increasingly becoming as good as the gold itself and that a debt to another person could be satisfied merely by handing over the receipt. Loans began to be issued in the form of receipts, and hence we have, in embryo, the emergence of the modern banking system and the source of your phrase.