Gold standard is the most popular form of monometallic standard. Under gold standard, the monetary unit is expressed in terms of gold. The standard coins possess a fixed weight and fineness of gold.
The gold standard remained widely accepted in most of the countries of the world during the last quarter of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th century. The U.K. was the first country to adopt the gold standard in 1816.
She was also the first to abandon this standard in 1931. Germany adopted the gold standard in 1873, France in 1878 and the U.S.A. in 1900.
Gradually, gold standard disappeared from different countries and finally it was completely abandoned by the world by 1936.
Gold standard has been defined differently by different monetary economists. According to D.H. Robertson, “Gold standard is a state of affairs in which a country keeps the value of its monetary unit and the value of a defined weight of gold at equality with one another.”
According to Coulborn, “The gold standard is an arrangement where by the chief piece of money of a country is exchangeable with a fixed quantity of gold of a specific quality.”
In the words of Kemmerer, “a gold standard is a monetary system in which the unit of value, in which price and wages are customarily expressed, and in which the debts are usually contracted, consists of the value of a fixed quantity of gold in an essentially free gold market.”