Safety Deposit Boxes -- How Safe? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Ok, ok, so we withdraw $ from ACCOUNTS, but what about the safety deposit boxes, are they "safe" at least during 1999? Some folks just hate the idea of midnight gardening and under-the-mattress banking. Could gold or $$$ be kept in a safety deposit box without threat to withdrawing it later? Any banking insiders in the know?

-- Sara Nealy (, December 03, 1998


The point, Sara, is that if a run on the banks triggers a government-mandated shutdown, your valuables in the safe deposit box will be just as unobtainable as your "cash."

-- Vic Parker (, December 03, 1998.

I have heard conflicting opinions. Someone said that the last tiime this happened (Great Depression) that depositors still were given access to the boxes, even though banks were 'closed' to other withdrawals or normal business. Even if that is true, Y2K is different than what happened then in many respects, so next time may be different. I have also heard that it may be wise to put some cash in the box so that if we can get to them, but normal bank operations are 'suspended' , then we would have whatever we put away. These are just things I've heard. Anyone hear stuff like this or any other related ideas?

-- Rob Michaels (, December 03, 1998.

Sarah - I am using a safe deposit bank and expect to until the end of 1999. I will decide at the end of the year whether or not to take it out at that time. Some things to consider: the probability of fire or theft or other damage that may occur to the money 'in hiding' vs the probability of not being able to get your money etc. at least during 1999; the probability of you or others spending the money just because its in cash and readily available; even after y2k the 'box' may be safer when you consider the above; and the fact that if things are so bad that you can't even get into your 'box' what makes you think the paper money will be worth anything anyway? Gold might be a different story, it is pretty indestructible and easier to hide than paper money.

I plan to stay with the box for the forseeable future.

-- Rod Beary (, December 03, 1998.

The property in a safe deposit box is yours, period. The bank is merely being paid for safe storage costs. If disruptions were so great that you were denied access to your property for an extended period - well you would have much more to worry about than anything you COULD put in a safe deposit box. Like trying to avoid cannibals - they don't have much interest in gold - just meat.

-- Paul Davis (, December 03, 1998.


Bank holidays mean the bank is PHYSICALLY CLOSED.LOCKED UP TIGHT, nobody in or out, etc. Can't get to the box if teh building is closed. THink about the image of the banks not being open for business and peole able to go in and out. LUDICROUS! In my NTBHO!


-- Chuck a night driver (, December 03, 1998.

do you really thinke the gov will respect your property (personal) rights in a "national emergency" when they don't even now?

-- a (, December 03, 1998.

Sara, I would expect that a "bank holiday" would render your safety deposit box inaccessable for the duration of the crisis. It seems likely to me that bank closures would only follow the failure of emergency measures (such as cash withdrawal restrictions), and some items in your box could theoretically be retroactively ruled illegal -- like a "hoard" of cash (or gold). If so, then you might also be retrieving your valuables under supervision (war on drugs, cyberterrorism, fill in the blank). Mine is already empty - and I work there.

-- private (, December 03, 1998.

Let's not forget the embedded security systems that keep our safe deposit boxes so safe! Wouldn't it be ironic if we Y2K aware types all smugly withdrew our 'cash' to avoid bank failures, only to have the vault security system crash with our goodies safe inside??

Gives me the shivers, just thinking about it. I think I'll keep my stash stashed closer to home, just in case!

-- Arewyn (, December 04, 1998.

A couple of years ago, I was told that it is illegal to keep cash in your safe deposit box. Worries about hiding drug profits, or some such.

-- Ned (, December 04, 1998.

Anyone concerned about the legality of teh contents of their box needs to read their contract. It's all spelled out there and I believe mine says nothing about cash.


-- Chuck a night driver (, December 04, 1998.

" advised that your vault box must remain sealed, and may only be opened in the presence of an agent of the Internal Revenue Service...."


On March 6, 1933, using provisions found in Section 5 ( b ) of the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 [The Trading With The Enemy Act was passed In 1917. This legislation is still in place.] Roosevelt began his assault on a citizen's right to own gold. Its article 5 ( b ) states that:

"The President may investigate, regulate or prohibit, under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe, by means of licenses or otherwise, any transactions in foreign exchange for the export, hoarding, melting, or earmarking of gold or silver coins or bullion or currency."

Americans awoke to find that their bank accounts and assets had been frozen by government decree. In this, his first "official" act in office, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had declared a banking "holiday" and issued the order to confiscate gold: Gold owners were bullied and compelled to turn in their gold for freshly printed paper dollars. Within months, the gold backed U.S. dollar, the strongest currency in the world since 1792, was no more. The following is a reprint of Roosevelt's Executive Order ( dated April 5, 1933 ) :

Executive Order: "By virtue of the authority vested in me by Section 5 ( B ) of the Act of Oct. 6, 1917, as amended by section 2 of the Act of March 9,1933, in which Congress declared that a serious emergency exists, I as President, do declare that the national emergency still exists; that the continued private hoarding of gold and silver by subjects of the United States poses a grave threat to the peace, equal justice, and well-being of the United States; and that appropriate measures must be taken immediately to protect the interests of our people."

"Therefore, pursuant to the above authority, I hereby proclaim that such gold and silver holdings are prohibited, and that all such coin, bullion or other possessions of gold and silver be tendered within fourteen days to agents of the Government of the United States for compensation at the official price, in the legal tender of the Government. All safe deposit boxes in banks or financial institutions have been sealed, pending action in the due course of the law. All sales or purchases or movements of such gold and silver within the borders of the United States and its territories, and all foreign exchange transactions or movements of such metals across the border are hereby prohibited."

"Your possession of these proscribed metals and/or your maintenance of a safe-deposit box to store them is known to the government from bank and insurance records. Therefore, be advised that your vault box must remain sealed, and may only be opened in the presence of an agent of the Internal Revenue Service."

By lawful Order given this day, "The President of the United States."

On March 9, 1933, Congress rubber-stamped retroactive legislation titled "The Emergency Banking Act" which, in fact, had little to do with banking and much to do with the private ownership of gold. Ownership of gold was now considered illegal. Criminal penalties for "hoarding" were imposed calling for a maximum $10,000 fine and 10 years in prison, or both.

-- Alan Lewis (, December 08, 1998.

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