SPEAKERS CORNER…by The Panda
Gold really doesn’t have much practical use, unlike silver and platinum. It is the scarcity value and its historical associations that drive its price and value. Gold is used as THE guarantee of a currency’s or an individual’s worth, even today. Governments, international agencies, private organisations and individuals buy and sell it, day in and day out. It is fashioned into jewellery and valued by many cultures as a measure if wealth.
So there I was chewing on a bamboo shoot when the SKYPE bell rang on my laptop. It was second cousin, once removed, Oui-Oui, ‘phoning from the Hong Kong Zoo. She told me a tale going the rounds down there of some fake gold bars.
It appears, nothing is ever cast in gold in China, that the Chinese Government had received some gold from the US Treasury after cashing in some trillions of dollars. They had assayed some of the gold bars and found them to be fakes. The ingots looked, felt and weighed exactly as they should but, when drilled the core was found to be tungsten and not gold. Tungsten is almost identical in density to gold and a core of tungsten layered on the outside with 10 or 20% real gold would be impossible to detect without cutting the ingot open.
Density of gold = 19.32g/cc
Density of tungsten = 19.35g/cc
Even if you did so, you would need to “assay” in this manner a statistical number of the 5,700 shipped. Would you, unless you had copper bottomed suspicions?
This is not the first time that fake ingots have been bought by Governments, as South Africa reportedly bought gold from the Ethiopian Government which turned out to be lead based and easily identifiable as such, by way of its density. They sent the gold back.
China is the home of World Wide Fakery and the obvious source of the scam would have to be China, which is also the source of most of the World’s tungsten. This is where it all gets bit hazy. The Chinese say the ingots came from Fort Knox.
Enter the conspiracists, and you take your choice from the bounteous plate of alternatives.
Not only are the Chinese the best in the World at faking everything, they are the number one both in tungsten production and consumption. However, the take from China is that the fake ingots were from the US official stocks and that much more of the stuff is sitting in various vaults.
The Bank of England reportedly contains quantities of fake gold
The theory is that some 15 years ago over 1 million tungsten blanks were manufactured in the USA and over 600,000 of these were plated with gold and incorporated into the vaults at Fort Knox. This would place it in the time of Clinton and Gore. The rest were coated and sold globally.
In 2004 The Times reported a “nothing to get worried about so move on please” piece about the “degradation” of some ingots in the Bank of England vaults. Pure gold shouldn’t degrade in passive storage, but impure gold bars could.
It was just some cracking and purely superficial, not affecting the purity of the ingots, they said. As such the bars could not be traded as they are not in mint condition but could be re-smelted and turned into new gold bars. So, why didn’t they do that?
These gold bars were imported apparently from the USA during the 1930s and 1940s which suggests that they arrived during WW2. I thought most of the UK gold reserves were spirited away during WW2 and hidden in The Bank of Canada vaults in Montreal? I also thought that far from shipping gold in during this period we were shipping it out to pay for American arms and food.
Anyway, moving on we see that tungsten gold bars have been surfacing other places from as far back as 1983. In that year in Austria 5 men were arrested for trying to pass off 10 such fakes as real gold. These fakes even had detailed numbering that corresponded to gold bars stolen just a few days earlier that year from Heathrow Airport.
So where are we now?
We know that fake tungsten based gold bars exist.
It looks as though some of the gold from the Heathrow gold bullion robbery in 1983 almost certainly was tungsten fakes.
If there is a lot of fake gold out there, who did it and why?
Why is easy; to create money or back up declared wealth. Who, could be anybody from the Chinese to organised (very) crime organisations or politicians, which is essentially the same as organised criminals these days. If it is governments covering up for economic problems they would be stuck with fakes forever unless they could unload it onto some other schmuk before the fakes were rumbled.
Now, what was almost the first act of James Gordon Brown’s tenure at No 11 Downing Street?
He announced that he was going to sell off half of the UK’s gold reserves! The market dived and still Brown persisted to sell off the gold at a price way below what he could have achieved by drip feeding it into the market. At the time it was viewed to be a colossal act of stupidity but, maybe it was not that at all and was a cover to dump the fake gold into the market in one go, so that the schmuks in the feeding frenzy couldn’t believe their luck. The gold would then have been quickly sold on and dissipated worldwide. Much of it could have been turned into Indian jewellery, which is already mixed with other metals. I don’t think that Brown has the wit to concoct that scheme but the Treasury and the Bank of England does.
Jonah Brown, as ever was the fall guy?
Interestingly, the IMF is doing just the same thing right now with some of their reserves.
Matt Keiser in his financial blog GoldenJackass reports that in July 24th 2010, the London Metal Exchange, London Gold closed their open access to data, and actually said things like;
“For members only, and if you want to become a member it’s £25,000 pounds to gain access and you need three references.”
So, we do not know what is going on inside the LMEx, who is buying what at what price and what are the reserve stocks.
Me, I’ve bought gold mining share, platinum bars real silver ingots. I keep them hidden on my private stock of bamboo.
Don’t ever tell that I didn’t warn you.
Bugger (the Panda)