The U.S. dollar hit its highest level of the year against the West German mark yesterday and posted sharp gains against other major currencies. Gold prices held in Europe and rose in New York.

The price of gold was unchanged in Zurich and London at $256.875 an ounce. In a hectic week in which gold soared to historic highs, the metal gained $5.25 an ounce in Zurich and $5.75 in London since last Friday. Some late buying by professional traders pushed gold to $259 an ounce at the close in New York.

In Tokyo, the dollar surged to 217.20 yen from Thursday's 215.10, following reports Iran is cutting back its oil supply to Japan by 15 percent.

In Frankfurt, the dollar was fixed at 1.9240 marks, its highest level since December 1978. However, the buying surge ran out of steam after light intervention by the Bundes-bank, and the dollar closed at 1.92 marks, up sharply from Thursday's close of 1.912 marks.

The dollar chalked up sharp gains in Paris, where it closed at 4.438 French francs against 4.416 Thursday and in Milan at 856.20 lira from 851.05. In Brussels, the dollar rose to 32.08 Belgian francs from 31.82 and in Amsterdam to 2.093 guilders from 2.082.