Missfelder was not given access to Germany's gold bars, though it's unclear why, according to German magazine Der Spiegel. He declined to comment.
The New York Fed hasn't typically rolled out the red carpet to the central banks and international organizations wanting to audit their gold accounts, according to Ernest Patrikis. He's a former New York Fed official who had stints as the institution's general counsel and chief operating officer.
"They could come in and take a look," said Patrikis, now an attorney in private practice in New York. But if they wanted to count the gold, "you've got to take it away, count it and bring it back."
America's central bank began taking foreign gold deposits when it opened in 1924. Gold piled into the New York Fed's vault during World War II, as countries stored it there for safety. Foreign reserves quadrupled to $4 billion worth of gold by the war's end, according to the Fed.