German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold Bars. Video Evidence.

57 posts / 0 new
Last post
Morpheus's picture
Morpheus
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 27 2008
Posts: 1200
German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold Bars. Video Evidence.

Tyler Durden of ZeroHedge just reported this. 

 

German ProSieben TV Channel Finds 500 Gram Tungsten Bar At W.C.Heraeus Gold Foundry With Bank Origin

German TV station ProSieben finds what appears to be some evocative proof of gold counterfeiting, in the form of tungsten gold substitutes coming to the W.C.Heraeus foundry, which is the world's largest privately-owned precious metals refiner and fabricator, located in Hanau, Germany. The foundry has isolated at least one 500-gram tungsten bar due for melting,originating from a (so far) unnamed bank, which as the head of the foundry stated made the unpleasant discovery that "not all the glitters is gold."

Full clip after the jump.

Morpheus's picture
Morpheus
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 27 2008
Posts: 1200
Morpheus's picture
Morpheus
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 27 2008
Posts: 1200
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

Same story now picked up at GATA. 

plato1965's picture
plato1965
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 18 2009
Posts: 615
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

 

 Eureka !?

 hah.. move over Archimedes, your jedi density tricks are no match for the W...

 

" If you weigh us do we not match ?

 If you measure us, do we not conform ?

And if you melt us shall we not ...  not... 

... uhoh.. now we're really in the scheelite !!!"

 - Wolfram from the "The merchant of Comex" Act II

 

Erik T.'s picture
Erik T.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 5 2008
Posts: 1234
Here's another related post on ZeroHedge...

Following up on the earlier post in which German TV station ProSieben has disclosed proof of the existence of tungsten "gold" bars in circulation within the bank community, we share with you the following highly informative presentation by Adrian Douglas of Market Force Analysis titled "LBMA OTC Market - "Alchemists" Turn Paper Into Gold." For anyone who has even a passing interest into what, as the author characterizes, could possibly be "the next Madoff scandal, except multiplied by 100", we recommend reading this paper.

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Posts: 5727
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

Hmmmm, kind of an odd video.  I want to see more as I was taken aback by the fact that the tungsten core looked like a crumbled chocolate cookie center.  I had thought that tungsten would have appeared as a silvery-gray metal? 

If we say that the tungsten used in the gold is oxidized and that's why it appears dark, then it's density would be off and I can't understand why it would be used.

I'll want to see a confirmation of this story with more evidence before I'm ready to jump to the worst of conclusions...something is not quite right here.

Davos's picture
Davos
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 17 2008
Posts: 3620
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

Why I just love this blog. Like being plugged into the worlds biggest computer/brain.

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2009
Posts: 1182
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

"I'm gonna sell all my gold before..."

(this couldn't be more MOPE)

Johnny Oxygen's picture
Johnny Oxygen
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 9 2009
Posts: 1443
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

I think its a Fig Newton.

Man those Germans loooove their Fig Newtons.

natew's picture
natew
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 26 2008
Posts: 9
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...
cmartenson wrote:

Hmmmm, kind of an odd video.  I want to see more as I was taken aback by the fact that the tungsten core looked like a crumbled chocolate cookie center.  I had thought that tungsten would have appeared as a silvery-gray metal? 

If we say that the tungsten used in the gold is oxidized and that's why it appears dark, then it's density would be off and I can't understand why it would be used.

I'll want to see a confirmation of this story with more evidence before I'm ready to jump to the worst of conclusions...something is not quite right here.

 

I dunno if this matters but I'm looking down at my wedding ring, made of tungsten (I think possibly tungsten carbide?), and its definetly a dark metal. All the pictures online are much more bright and brilliant than the real thing, its still shiny from the polish but it is a dark gray in color.

 

 

Johnny Oxygen's picture
Johnny Oxygen
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 9 2009
Posts: 1443
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

I wonder if the gold and/or the process doesn't have some effect on the color.

Or in fact if it isn't the new Wonka Bar and the Germans are mistaken.

"I've got a golden ticket..."

Erik T.'s picture
Erik T.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 5 2008
Posts: 1234
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

The part that doesn't jibe for me is not the color so much as the hardness (texture?) depicted.

Tungsten is hard stuff. One of the hardest, most brittle metals. I use tungsten electrodes in my welder all the time, and know from experience what it's like to grind them to a point using a diamond-wheel bench grinder. It's super-brittle stuff.

The photos look like a fig newton, as noted earlier, and the gold part is deformed in a way that suggest to my eye a "gooey liquid center" a la something like a warm chocolate cake.

If there was a tungsten core, I would expect it to snap in half but it would most certainly retain its shape. Tungsten doesn't bend or "mush" - it snaps and breaks or it stays in its original form.

I suppose it might be that the tungsten core was removed and the apparent black filling is actually a hollowed out area in the gold bar, but that doesn't seem to be what the video is suggesting.

In any case I agree with CM that something seems fishy here. I discussed this with Marc Faber over a couple of beers this evening (who's bragging? me?) and his gut reaction was one of concern but also he was very quick to bring up the question of "who has an incentive to put fear in the system".

Erik

 

Mike Pilat's picture
Mike Pilat
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 8 2008
Posts: 929
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

Wedding rings are usually tungsten carbide if I'm not mistaken. It's significantly less dense than tungsten, but not extremely so.

According to this page (http://www.hightempmetals.com/techdata/hitempTungstendata.php)

Tungsten will form an oxide layer in air at 950 deg. F. Temperatures exceeding 2200 deg. F have a much more significant impact on forming deeper and more structural oxides into the tungsten. At 950 deg. F, this is a light coating and not very deep, which would not have a significant impact on the overall density, even though the oxide is far less dense than pure W. Gold melts above 1900 deg. F. If molten gold was indeed pouring onto tungsten shot, I think that would easily cause the large surface areas of the shot to heat to 950 deg. F. Any other thoughts???

Mike

rickets's picture
rickets
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 8 2009
Posts: 238
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

What?  Gold can be "printed"????

oh man, its just like Fiat!??!!?!?

couldnt resist.  And by the way.... the Wonka Bar reference was hysterical!

Mike Pilat's picture
Mike Pilat
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 8 2008
Posts: 929
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

Wait, you had "Two Beers with Marc"??!!! Wow! Last I heard he was on CNBC making German beer recommendations for those on a "recession budget."

Erik T.'s picture
Erik T.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 5 2008
Posts: 1234
Now I'm pretty sure it's a legit video

Ok, hang on folks.

I took a closeup of the broken bar from the video, but for some reason I couldn't get the .png to upload correctly. So you'll have to watch it again to see what I'm talking about.

Pause the video just before the end, and you'll see the round ends of cylindrical objects that appear to be embedded in the gold bar. These look to me EXACTLY like the tungsten electrodes I use with my TIG welder.

So I think this is a legitimate photo of a broken open gold bar that had several welder's tungsten electrodes embedded in it. Makes perfect sense - how else would a crook get ahold of pure raw tungsten? But any welding supply shop sells pure tungsten electrodes, and it looks to me like that's exactly what is embedded in the gold bar in the video. If you look closer at CM's photo post, you'll see a jagged pattern than I believe was created by several adjacent cylindrical welding electrodes in the gold.

Erik

 

 

 

 

 

Johnny Oxygen's picture
Johnny Oxygen
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 9 2009
Posts: 1443
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

Erik.

Will you please tell Marc to cut that ponytail off?

 

Mike Pilat's picture
Mike Pilat
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 8 2008
Posts: 929
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

The ponytail is Marc's trademark. He can keep it as long as he remains a voice of truth and reason!

Erik: I am not as familiar with W electrodes, but what I saw at the end of the movie certainly looks like that's what they could be. Now, I'm going to dive a bit deeper and try to pick this issue apart some more, maybe I'll just confuse the whole thing, but here goes:

Regarding W, the goal would be to maintain density as high as possible...any oxides or air spaces reduce density. If very very tiny shot pellets are used, they will very nearly fill the space they are in with only tiny air gaps. The same goes for rods. The smaller the diameter the greater percentage of the overall space they will fill and the greater the overall density will be (less air). Using rods the size of those electrodes would certainly result in a significant amount of air space. Perhaps not dramatic, but measurable in the density, I would think. There isn't much room for error as (according to wiki) gold has a density of 19.30 g/cm^3 and W is slightly less at 19.25 g/cm^3. My issue is that even at the melting point, gold most likely has a high enough viscosity that it will not fill any of the inner air gaps between the tungsten rods. Perhaps at the outer layer only. I guess the question for me becomes: how much air space would be left in the bar, and how precisely is density measured? Obviously it's not terribly precise b/c W and Au differ by 0.3%.

Perhaps I've opened a whole new can of worms.

 

plato1965's picture
plato1965
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 18 2009
Posts: 615
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

 Erik, I think you're right

  it's almost certainly the work of a small time crook..  drilling bars is an old scam... one factor in favour of small coins. - A modified good delivery bar would be a totally different matter.

 A fun story in light of the recent rumours, but not significant.

 

 

Johnny Oxygen's picture
Johnny Oxygen
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 9 2009
Posts: 1443
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

Mike

It could be that the molten gold was poured around the 'tungsten core' filling in the air spaces.

"Well an African swallow maybe but not a European swallow thats my point"

jh355's picture
jh355
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 20 2009
Posts: 15
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

I hadn’t spotted the “rods” before, but they were in plain site on the second viewing, especially if you full screen the vid.  My only problem with the welding rod theory is tungsten carbide welding rods are very strong, I can’t see any way you could easily break one rod much less several as seen in the video, unless you used a multi ton press.  Now, the bar does look as if it had undergone some sort of “pinch” test as the bar is smashed or crushed in the center.  One has to wonder if these are the Clinton / Rubin (maybe baby Bush) bars.

gregroberts's picture
gregroberts
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 6 2008
Posts: 1024
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

Erik, I think you might be right about the TIG welding electrodes, maybe another way to check would be for radioactivity if thoriated tungsten was used. I am a machinist by trade and the way they cut the gold bar is unusual, notice it is cut at an angle to form a point, they would not have been able to cut through the tungsten with anything other than some type of diamond cutoff wheel. It almost looks like they tried to cut it in some type of shear causing the brittle tungsten to break instead of being cut.

Thoriated tungsten welding electrodes

"2% Thoriated Tungsten contains a nominal 2 wt-% or thorium oxide (ThO2) that is evenly dispersed throughout the entire length of the Tungsten. The most common type of Tungsten used today. Provides excellent resistance from weld pool contamination while at the same time offers the welder easier arc starting capabilities and a more stable arc. Generally used for DC electrode negative or straight polarity applications such as carbon & stainless steels, nickel alloys and titanium."

http://www.tungsten.com.cn/thoriated_tungsten_electrodes.htm

Morpheus's picture
Morpheus
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 27 2008
Posts: 1200
Re: Now I'm pretty sure it's a legit video
ErikTownsend wrote:

Ok, hang on folks.

I took a closeup of the broken bar from the video, but for some reason I couldn't get the .png to upload correctly. So you'll have to watch it again to see what I'm talking about.

Pause the video just before the end, and you'll see the round ends of cylindrical objects that appear to be embedded in the gold bar. These look to me EXACTLY like the tungsten electrodes I use with my TIG welder.

So I think this is a legitimate photo of a broken open gold bar that had several welder's tungsten electrodes embedded in it. Makes perfect sense - how else would a crook get ahold of pure raw tungsten? But any welding supply shop sells pure tungsten electrodes, and it looks to me like that's exactly what is embedded in the gold bar in the video. If you look closer at CM's photo post, you'll see a jagged pattern than I believe was created by several adjacent cylindrical welding electrodes in the gold.

Erik

 

 

 

 

 

Erik. On the ZH site, there is a comment from someone who appears to be a materials engineer stating basically the same thing. He opined that the most technically feasible way to create a tungsten base for the bar would be to heat anneal several tungsten rods into a single mass, or something to that effect. 

Your comments immediately struck me as his post basically said the exact same thing. Then went into some technical details as to why rods would be used. 

 

You really had brewskis with Marc Faber? My fiancee calls him Sgt. Schultz because of his accent. Hee hee. Let him know that she loves his interviews and that it's just a weird term of endearment. :-)

darbikrash's picture
darbikrash
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2009
Posts: 573
Re: Now I'm pretty sure it's a legit video

I’ve also machined tungsten, and it’s not much fun. One of the tougher materials I’ve worked with, with Invar 36 taking top honors.

I would consider the presence, or any evidence of welding rods in the video indicative of a hoax.

If a person was really trying to perpetrate a fraud using tungsten salting of gold bars, would they really just get a $20 pack of welding rods and start shearing them up? Admittedly, I don’t think you just call McMaster Carr and order up some tungsten billet- all of the industrial tungsten I have ever seen has been created by the means of powdered metallurgy (sintering)

(Edit: I just checked- you can order it from McMaster Carr!-only in round bar stock though)

The process of making industrial tungsten is called sintering. A tungsten powder with a binder (usually 1% or 2% chromium or nickel) is loaded in a mold and placed under very high pressure (up to 3000 bar) at a sintering temperature around 1400-1500 C. The combination of heat, pressure, and time convert the powders to a solid material. A core big enough to act as an armature for the gold plating and still size for a 500 g gold bar might take 20-30 minutes to form. When cooled, the ingot could then be plated with gold and might be very difficult to tell from the real thing.

I would expect the consistency of a sintered material to “flake” that is, clumps or irregular chunks of relatively planar pieces with horizontal striations would come off if you tried to bend it past yield, machine it using the bottom of an end mill (we would orient the material so the side of the cutter would remove the material for this reason) or shear it. It’s coloration is a dark metallic grey, and it does flake under high forces.

It would seem to me that a counterfeiter intent on doing this would create a properly sized mold, and sinter the blanks as described. They have the equipment to emboss, stamp and mark the bars, but have to use partially melted welding rods for the tungsten core?

Hoax.

Morpheus's picture
Morpheus
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 27 2008
Posts: 1200
Re: Now I'm pretty sure it's a legit video
darbikrash wrote:

I’ve also machined tungsten, and it’s not much fun. One of the tougher materials I’ve worked with, with Invar 36 taking top honors.

I would consider the presence, or any evidence of welding rods in the video indicative of a hoax.

If a person was really trying to perpetrate a fraud using tungsten salting of gold bars, would they really just get a $20 pack of welding rods and start shearing them up? Admittedly, I don’t think you just call McMaster Carr and order up some tungsten billet- all of the industrial tungsten I have ever seen has been created by the means of powdered metallurgy (sintering)

(Edit: I just checked- you can order it from McMaster Carr!-only in round bar stock though)

The process of making industrial tungsten is called sintering. A tungsten powder with a binder (usually 1% or 2% chromium or nickel) is loaded in a mold and placed under very high pressure (up to 3000 bar) at a sintering temperature around 1400-1500 C. The combination of heat, pressure, and time convert the powders to a solid material. A core big enough to act as an armature for the gold plating and still size for a 500 g gold bar might take 20-30 minutes to form. When cooled, the ingot could then be plated with gold and might be very difficult to tell from the real thing.

I would expect the consistency of a sintered material to “flake” that is, clumps or irregular chunks of relatively planar pieces with horizontal striations would come off if you tried to bend it past yield, machine it using the bottom of an end mill (we would orient the material so the side of the cutter would remove the material for this reason) or shear it. It’s coloration is a dark metallic grey, and it does flake under high forces.

It would seem to me that a counterfeiter intent on doing this would create a properly sized mold, and sinter the blanks as described. They have the equipment to emboss, stamp and mark the bars, but have to use partially melted welding rods for the tungsten core?

Hoax.

'So the foundry engaged in a hoax? To what benefit? 

darbikrash's picture
darbikrash
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2009
Posts: 573
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

Why does anyone create a hoax?

If I make a video of a guy placing a $100 bill on  a Xerox machine, and show the camera a digital image of the counterfit bill, should a person worry about the US money supply? No, because this is not a plausible means of counterfiting the medium. But there are plausible means of doing so, it's just not done on a desktop copier.

And one might reasonably conclude that partially melted welding rods are an equally disengenuous means of counterfitting gold bars. After all, these (bars) are presumably going to instituitons that have some degree of sophistication, and they might at least consider the possiblity of getting a ringer. Not trying to be argumentative, I just don't buy it.

Morpheus's picture
Morpheus
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 27 2008
Posts: 1200
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...
darbikrash wrote:

Why does anyone create a hoax?

If I make a video of a guy placing a $100 bill on  a Xerox machine, and show the camera a digital image of the counterfit bill, should a person worry about the US money supply? No, because this is not a plausible means of counterfiting the medium. But there are plausible means of doing so, it's just not done on a desktop copier.

And one might reasonably conclude that partially melted welding rods are an equally disengenuous means of counterfitting gold bars. After all, these (bars) are presumably going to instituitons that have some degree of sophistication, and they might at least consider the possiblity of getting a ringer. Not trying to be argumentative, I just don't buy it.

What you posted is a non sequitor. It did not address to whose benefit the concoction of a hoax would be. The media network? If so, how? The foundary? Again, what's the gain for them vs the downside if exposed concocting a hoax? 

Sorry. Doesn't address what I asked and I'd love for you and other posters to perhaps opine on this specific issue.  

Any idea what either party would benefit from engaging in a hoax like this? To me, at first glance, there's no upside anywhere close to the downside. It would ruin either business, or both. 

 

Erik T.'s picture
Erik T.
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 5 2008
Posts: 1234
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

I respectfully disagree with the posters who have suggested that Tungsten electrodes would not make a suitable filler material for salting a bar, that they would be impractical to cut, or that their use implies a hoax.

2% Thoriated Tungsten is used for DC welding. My guess is that they would have used pure tungsten (green color code on the box instead of red), which is used to weld Aluminum and other AC TIG applications.

Machinability of Tungsten simply isn't relevant. These tungsten electrodes are easily cut to length with a pair of dikes (meaning electrician's wire cutters, not lesbians). It is true that the only way to machine them would be with a diamond toolbit, but that's only relevant if you need a clean edge. They snap in half easily as they are quite brittle.

Nobody is talking about partially melted welding rods, or partially melted anything else for that matter. We're talking about tungsten electrodes, not consumable welding rods. The whole reason Tungsten is used is that it does not melt, even at welding temperatures.

darbikrash, why in the world would anyone go to the trouble of sintering a tungsten filler when simply laying several welding electrodes (which can be purchased easily for cash with no audit trail) into the mold solves the need quicker/easier/simpler? I see no reason whatsoever to conclude a hoax based on what seems to me like a fairly intelligent choice of materials.

Regarding the odd shape of the broken-open bar, that makes perfect sense to me too. From the photo it looks like the bar was put in a hydraulic press brake, which makes perfect sense. If I was trying to test a real gold bar for tungsten-fraud, the last thing I would do is put it on my band saw. The soft gold would gum up the teeth on a metal-cutting blade, so you'd have to use a skip-tooth blade (normally used for aluminum). The extra kerf witdth would waste a lot of precious gold. But if I were trying to disprove an alleged tungsten core, I'd say "Ok, look, let's put this bar on the brake and bend it to 90 degrees. If it's pure gold it will bend easily. If it's really [much harder] tungsten inside, it will snap in half". That looks like exactly what they did based on the video.

Erik

 

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 2244
Motive, motive, motive...?

Great thread!  Drama, education, and entertainment all mixed in one!:)

Personally, I think that the video seems a little fishy.  I agree that it pays to ask what motives one could have for faking such a video?  Here are a couple:

- To put fear in the physical gold market (as Faber suggested to Erik -btw, you kill me Erik!:);

- To gain faker notoriety (in the same vein as a hacker trying to gain prestige);

- To implement the "Men in Black" technique (i.e., associate something NOT credible with something real, to make the "something that is actually real" also seem not credible, by association...)...if this gets proven to be a fake video, then by association, the theory of fake gold bars with tungsten in the center gets somewhat discredited;

- Other?

Yeah, I love this place too, Davos!:)

-pinecarr

PS, JohnnyO, you crack me up!

Morpheus's picture
Morpheus
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 27 2008
Posts: 1200
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

Pinecarr. 

I understand why SOMEONE would want to have this story broken. And I tend to agree with your opinion on motive. 

But if it's another party (other than the foundry or the TV network) then that IS a huge story in and of itself. 

But to be a hoax the foundry or network had to have fabricated the story. I fail to see the advantage. Anyone else pulling off the tungsten bar would make the story legit and NOT a hoax. 

That's my point. 

BTW. The technique where a fake video is put forth, and then discredited, along with all of it's adherents, is called a honeypot in the intel community. 

Lure in the bees, then smash the pot, and the hive all at once. 

But again. Who faked the video? The network? The foundry? And why? It would be catastrophic for them to have it revealed as a hoax. 

Morpheus's picture
Morpheus
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 27 2008
Posts: 1200
Re: German Television Shows Expose on Tungsten Salted Gold ...

Erik. The materials guy on ZH referred to it as "hot rolling", where a hard, brittle substance like W could be annealed and formed. 

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments