The Origins of the Saying, "As Good As Gold"
The phrase “As good as gold” has been in use in the English language for many years. If we consider the origin of the simile, it was used for the first time in the year 1845 in The Lost Heir written by Thomas Hood. While this form of simile is used to compare a thing or a person with the property or attribute of something, this is not entirely applicable to the phrase when it is about good and gold.
The phrase “As good as gold” has more of an economic meaning to it when used. In the saying, the word good depicts non-counterfeit and genuine. This is true for gold and has been for many years. This is because of the fact that gold is considered to be a solid and genuine investment as well as a financial commodity, which can be exchanged for cash in order to get other commodities. This is due to the genuine and pure nature of gold as a financial commodity.
The application of the phrase “As good as gold” is in terms of banking and economics. Gold is a precious metal, and it has intrinsic value along with silver. These have been the two metals that can be used in place of real money for carrying out transactions.
The term “As good as gold” also means that something is as genuine as gold. It was because of the real value of gold that in the past any service or product could be bought by exchanging gold. Paper money, which was introduced later on, could also be used for purchasing products and services but it still limited the purchase between countries. Hence, it was gold that was a standard and was acceptable everywhere.
When paper money was first introduced and the times were still new for banknotes, their use was still limited. While these banknotes were used as promissory notes, it was gold that was still the standard and had the intrinsic value.
When we consider the phrase “As good as gold” in the meaning of gold standard, it represents the use of gold to be the standard for measuring the value of the money in the country. In the past, when barter trade was a common practice, gold was used for getting commodities, instead of the use of paper money, which started to be used later.
The gold standard remained in use by many of the European countries as well as the US during the early years of the 1900s. However, the use of gold for getting products and services was eliminated by the US in the year 1971 and by Britain in 1931. It was after this that paper money became “As good as gold” for trade purposes.
In spite of the fact that the use of gold for trade was reduced, and in case of some countries, eliminated; retaining gold as a store of wealth still remains to be a common practice. This is something that also explains the meaning of the saying “As good as Gold”.