Another Tungsten Bar Found in UK.

Island_Dweller

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My guess is that you've probably already read from the SilverDoctors or from ZH about this case, if not, here are the articles:

http://silverdoctors.blogspot.co.nz/2012/03/tungsten-filled-1-kilo-gold-bar.html

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/tungsten-filled-1-kilo-gold-bar-found-uk

My question is: Did they take a real Kilo bar, drill holes in it, fill the holes with molten tungsten, and then cap the holes with gold?

This other ZH story from back in early 2010, has a completely different tungsten bar. In this one it looks like a tungsten bar was somehow placed in the center of a molten gold core.

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/ge...gsten-bar-wcheraeus-gold-foundary-bank-origin

Anyone have any ideas on how these were done?

On another note I see that the video from the older tungsten bar has been removed on copyright grounds.
 

DCFusor

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Gold was poured around the bars, then treated as usual. Tungsten is so hard to melt at all it's essentially not castable like that, and certainly not in gold.

You can see where the nippers didn't even nick the tungsten bar ends - when it failed, someone pushed it back and forth and snapped them - look at the gold - only nipped at the edges - and the rough snap surfaces. I bet there are nicks in their nippers now.
 

Island_Dweller

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So they'd have to fake the certificate too? Or Metalor did this. Or they bought a bunch of bars with certificates and then duplicated the bars and then melted the real ones. Those are the only three choices I can come up with.

Do you think it's possible to drill holes in the gold bar and then press Tungsten rods into the holes?

I find this most interesting.
 

DCFusor

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Possible but probably not how it was done. The underweight though, argues that maybe they did do it that way - you'd never get a perfect fit, there'd be a little missing volume in airgap. But then - how to seal up the ends and have that not be obvious? I'd guess they just poured the gold over the bars in a mold - and not that great a casting job, looking at it.

A better way would have been to make a mix of gold and tungsten powder, hot isostatic-ally press it, about 95 W to 5 Au, then plate over the result about a mil or two thick. If they nippered it, the plate would smear over the whiter inner "alloy" and they might not even detect it then. You'd still get good XRF results too.
But you'd not have to have as much real gold as they had there.
 

DoChenRollingBearing

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I got the below links for testing technologies from the ZH article:

http://www.goldcoinbalance.com

http://assayintelligence.com/

¨tmosley¨ there at ZH suggested that tungsten powder could be formed (all smushed together?) into a coin shape and then gold poured into and around the powder and stamped. I do not know if this could be true, but it SOUNDS plausible as a way to make counterfeit Gold Eagles.

Also, someone commented just below me saying that counterfeit Gold Eagles can be bought in/from China right now.

Early in this story... But, this may become BIG!
 

pmbug

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The pictures are interesting. From the views of the cut, it appears that the diameter of the tungsten rods are nearly equal to the height of the gold bar - there isn't a lot of space between the rods and the top or bottom of the bar. How did they manage to drill original, stamped bars so close to the surfaces and avoid breaking through where the surfaces were stamped?

It would have been nice if they had shown pics of the (sealed) ends of the bar.
 

Island_Dweller

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Thanks escobar, I always like to check out more than one side of a story.

As for KidDynamite, I think he is clearly wrong on a couple of counts.

First of all, gold is very maleable and this bar was snipped not cut which could account for what he calls the missing 7%.

Secondly, He says that their website was just put up which a poster debunked by showing older posts.

I think there was something else about his story I thought was goofy, but I can't bother to go back and read it again.

Anyway, I really don't care if it is or isn't true from an investing point of view. I'm mostly interested in the mechanics of the forgery.

Also, as far as I know there have only been two photographed forgeries, not much when you consider the volume of gold.

Finally, if this story was planted as mister Dynamite suggests. I think the most likely culprits would be TPTB. Why? To scare you out of gold, of course, so if Mr Dynamite is correct, it sounds bullish for gold to me.

Cheers
 
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Renewed Investor

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This story doesn't surprise me. I'd bet that Lord Rothschild took the real Gold from teh UK reserves long ago.
 

pmbug

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I have my own questions about the images/story, but I have to comment that the peeps on that site exude a strong sense of moral superiority over "stupid conspiracy loving gold bugs" and a shocking display of hypocrisy in mirroring that which they mock to the other extreme. They posted rampant speculation (much of which was demonstrably false) in an effort to show up folks. I don't care much for their style.
 

ancona

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I am quite sceptical about this whole thing. Why go through all the trouble with a small bar and not go all in with a 400 ounce COMEX bar? If you're going in......go all in.

Another thing, it looks like this was cut open with a bolt cutter, which begs the question, "Where did they get bolt cutters that could cross cut pure tungsten? This is some incredibly hard shit, and ordinary tools cannot cut through it. I'll defer to DCFusor on the physics of it all, but it's too hinky for me. In addition, if this bar was "snipped" the tungsten bars would be pinched and flattenned where teh bolt cutters forced their jaw through it. Ever use a pair of Kleins to cut a big wire? The ends come out all flattenned. That didn't happen here.
 

DCFusor

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No they *tried to nip* the bar, but couldn't nip through the tungsten, which is super hard shit. Looks like TIG rods in the pic. When the guy couldn't cut the bar, he obviously bent it - which snapped the tungsten, and left the middle of that cut all rough - not clipped - even the gold between the rods.

No you can't flatten or even deform tungsten at all with that level of force, you can only shatter it - it's more brittle than glass by quite a lot - you can convince yourself easy - try to cut or bend a 1/8" TIG rod and see what happens. You have to have tungsten well past white hot to deform it plastically, which is why I'm very sure that they didn't pour it into holes. Takes several *thousand* degrees more heat to melt that than gold. Which is why they used it for white hot lightbulb filaments. It's not even close to melting at those temperatures.

Edit - that ultrasound is something I could make fairly cheap if anyone is interested - I did look at XRF, but you need a dangerously hot source of X rays to see the "F" which is a tiny percentage of the input power. But I doubt it would see anything much unless it was up in the MHz, re the bad bar under discussion. Speed of sound is really fast in metals - faster in tungsten. That would NOT see the tungsten powder cheat I mentioned very well at all - the only way you'd notice is the speed of sound would be faster through the fake (his bottom line would be closer to the top than with a pure gold bar, since sound is faster in tungsten).
 
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Jetstream

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Don't buy gold in anything over 1 oz. Preferably Maple Leafs or Eagles. Problem solved.
 

pmbug

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Edit - that ultrasound is something I could make fairly cheap if anyone is interested - ...

If you can make them cheap and idiot-proof (to use/read/interpret), you might have a budding new business. I can't seem to find anywhere on the 'net what the cost is for the Phasor XS. It's been my experience when a product is exclusively listed as "call for price", it's not cheap.
 

pmbug

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In the experience of The Perth Mint, such fakes are a rare occurrence. In the 20 years our Refinery Manager has been working at the Mint, he has never seen a fake bar come through our operations. ...
...
In the case of The Perth Mint, we melt every non Perth Mint bar and coin we buy back. We also melt a fair number of our own coins and bars if they are too old or damaged to enable resale. The point is that with such turnover of physical, the lack of fakes appearing in our and Heraeus’ operations indicates to us that fakes are few and far between. ...

http://www.perthmintbullion.com/blog/blog/12-03-26/Fake_Bars_-_The_Facts.aspx
 

DCFusor

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You're right on that "call for price" stuff.

This couldn't be "really cheap" (I think) but could probably be made "affordable". You need a 'scope for display, there's a chunk of change, but an ever-smaller one these days - a pretty good one is about 400 bucks now. Then a box with power supply - ultrasonic power amp, a couple transducers (maybe cheap if BaTi ones will work, and they might) and a preamp for back to the scope. Rest is user skill.

Did you see the guy put the gel on there - crucial for high frequency sound, else it would just act like a radar seeing the top surface only - the entire technique is looking for sonic discontinuity, so air has to be excluded between the thing and the sample as it's really sonically different from metal and that creates reflections. A really rough piece would be hard to scan or take fairly skilled interpretation.

It might be able to be small enough to do larger coins as well as bars - there's no reason the transducers need to be large, other than to cover a large area at once - in the example above, the width of the bar.

Call it about a grand of cost, very very roughly. Maybe the kind of thing a group buys and shares around?

An option I didn't see in the thing above - speed of sound is different in every metal and alloy. If you know how thick your thing is, you could then measure the speed of sound through it with this and get a feel for what it was made of. This would see the tungsten in any form instantly, because it's so much harder than real PMs. It would make the sample look much thinner to sound than it is to calipers - bingo.

This can't tell you everything, but it's another data point you can get. For example, there might be two metals with very close speeds of sound - but also, the previous history of the sample matters. Many metals work-harden when forged, for example.
Silver would be one of those. And depending on the conditions of cooling after casting you get somewhat different hardnesses, but probably not over a big range unless you're working with steel - we hope not!

I don't think I can make anything idiot proof, though. I've been amazed at how clever idiots can be in making stuff not work in the past.
 

pmbug

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Folks at Gold Stackers are using some less complicated looking equipment:



This is the meter they used:

http://www.omniinstruments.co.uk/products/product/moredetails/omni-tm-8812.id677.html

Seems easy to use, but I'm not sure if it's sold in the USA. Just searching around for "ultrasonic thickness gauge" yields similar looking products from other manufacturers. I don't have the proper background to understand the differences (pros/cons) between all the options out there.
 

DCFusor

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This looks like it might be a good thing. It disturbed me a little that the reading didn't go offscale when the probe was removed...and a few other minor details, like how did it decide to do that width with the sloping sides? For that matter, how did they measure that with calipers - short, middle, long?

But even though you lose the stuff like pictures of internal reflections in the name of holding the cost of the thing down - looks like it might be a good deal at the price.
 

ancona

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I still say that specific gravity or a five hole drill out with flame spectroscopy is the final word on testing.
 
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