KLook wrote: I think the value of the gold my family squirreled away is far far higher then an equal amount of FRN's that someone put in a box at the same time.
That is because gold is money and FRN's are currency.
The four absolutes of money (per Aristotle) include:
Durable- the medium of exchange must not weather, fall apart, or become unusable. It must be able to stand the test of time.
Portable- relative to its size, it must be easily transportable and hold a large amount of universal value.
Divisible- should be relatively easy to separate and put back together without ruining its basic characteristics.
Intrinsically Valuable- should be valuable in and of itself, and its value should be totally independent of any other object. Essentially, the item must be rare.
FRN's fail at multiple of these defining characteristics of money. The only characteristic in Aristotle's list that they possess is portability. You may think they are divisible, but if you cut gold or silver in half or into a million pieces they are still gold and silver, and yes, they can be put back together. FRN's can't pass this test.