by Björn Schöpe
October 11, 2012 – Recently there were reports on gold bars filled with tungsten detected more or less by chance. Tungsten has a weight similar to that of gold but, especially in this time, it costs only around a sixth of what gold is currently worth.
Does it really astonish to hear that obviously people fraud merchants by selling them fake gold bars drilled and filled with tungsten at the price of solid gold? Already in 2010 reportedly incidents of this kind happened. Business Insider published an article on more cases that occurred this year especially in New York.
In one case the crime was noted only because the weight differed 2 grams from what a solid gold bar was expected to weight. The frauders had not calculated well – but who knows in how many cases they had worked more carefully? Speculations arouse about how much of the gold bars circulating might be filled with less valuable metals since, particularly with thicker – and hence more valuable – bars even standard x-ray tests as applied by dealers failed to detect the tungsten. Only a physical test by cutting the bar in two pieces revealed its content.
In the USA FBI and Secret Service are investigating. An advice is, of course, to buy only from merchants one knows – but the dealers who found themselves with the manipulated bars in hands had done the same.
You can read a Business Insider article on that topic here.