Gold was a long forgotten asset in 2001, trading at about a third of its price in 1980. But gold became a hot commodity by April 2011, when its price surged from $271 to $1,923 an ounce in roughly 10 years, and the State Street Gold ETF (GLD) became the largest ETF by asset size.

Those who bought gold out of a misguided presumption of the demise of the dollar and other paper currencies were merely exercising the predictably irrational human tendency to chase performance. This tendency is expressed in buy high/sell low behavior, as gold is currently trading at about $1,254 as of June 9, 2014.

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