Saturday, June 14, 2014

Oh me, oh my, some people with gold

just crapped their pants.
Two years ago, stories of fake tungsten-filled gold coins and bars began to spread; it appears, between the shortage of physical gold (after Asian central bank buying) and the increase in smuggling (courtesy of India's controls among others) that gold fraud is back on the rise. As SCMP reports, a mainland China businessman, Zhao Jingjun, discovered that HK$270 million of 998kg of gold bars he bought in Ghana had been swapped for non-precious metal bars. What is perhaps even more worrisome, given the probe into commodity-financing deals and the rehypothecation evaporation; these gold bars were shipped to a Chinese warehouse before Zhao was able to confirm the fraud.
What?  The PRC might not want someone examining the evidence?  Gee, I wonder why...

1 comment:

Keith said...

one of the beauties of actual gold, is that while it is possible to fake both the colour and the density (sg of around 18 - roughly the same as tungsten and depleted uranium)

It is very likely impossible to also match the softness of pure gold (simillar to lead) at the same time as the density, colour and inertness. All of the cheaper materials with that density are much harder than gold.

What that means is, if you have a trusted coin or a trusted bullion bar of the same form

Then, assuming that you have already checked that the density is correct, the ringing sound the coins make when dropped on a hard surface or jangled together, or the ring that the bullion bar gives when you hit it, will give you an extremely good indication of whether it is pure gold the whole way through - or not.

Of course that doesn't preclude a later fraudulent swap for lower purity bars (as the New York Fed has just done with the token ammount of gold it has so far returned to the German government
(even when the contract specified that the actual bars deposited were to be returned)), or outright fraud with gold plated tungsten.