DEFINITION of 'Bimetallic Standard'
A monetary system in which a government recognizes coins composed of gold or silver as legal tender. The bimetallic standard (or bimetallism) backs a unit of currency to a fixed ratio of gold and/or silver.
BREAKING DOWN 'Bimetallic Standard'
The bimetallic standard was first used in the United States in 1792 as a means of controlling the value of money. For example, during the 18th century in the United States, one ounce of gold was equal to 15 ounces of silver. Therefore, there would be 15 times more Silver (by weight) in $10 worth of silver coins than $10 worth of gold coins. Adequate gold and silver was kept in reserves to back the paper currency. This bimetallic standard was used until the civil war, when the Resumption Act of 1875 stated that paper money could be converted to gold.