The United States Bullion Depository, often known as Fort Knox, is a fortified vault building located adjacent to Fort Knox, Kentucky, used to store a large portion of United States official gold reserves and occasionally other precious items belonging or entrusted to the federal government.
The United States Bullion Depository holds 4,578 metric tons (5,046.3 short tons) of gold bullion (147.2 million oz. troy). This is roughly 3 percent of all the gold ever refined throughout human history. Even so, the depository is second in the United States to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's underground vault in Manhattan, which holds 7,000 metric tons (7,716 tons) of gold bullion (225.1 million oz. troy), some of it in trust for foreign nations, central banks and official international organizations.
In the 1959 Ian Fleming novel Goldfinger, the titular villain, Auric Goldfinger plots to break into the U.S. Bullion Depository in a criminal plot called "Operation Grand Slam". With the help of several gangsters (including the Spangled Mob and the Mafia) Goldfinger plans to kill the inhabitants of Fort Knox by poisoning their water supply and then steal the gold. Bond manages to conceal a capsule containing a message to Felix Leiter into the toilet of Goldfinger's private plane, where he hopes it will be found and sent to Pinkertons, where his friend and ex-counterpart Felix Leiter now works. Operation Grand Slam commences, and it turns out that Leiter has indeed found and acted on Bond's message. A battle commences, but Goldfinger escapes.
In the 1964 movie adaptation of Goldfinger, the audience is initially led to believe Goldfinger is going to steal the gold, but the real plot is to render the gold contained in the Depository radioactive and useless with a nuclear device, crippling the economy and driving up the price of the gold Goldfinger already owns.