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

Tyler Durden's picture


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.

h/t Thomas


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Tue, 03/02/2010 - 01:08 | Link to Comment carbonmutant
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Tue, 03/02/2010 - 01:26 | Link to Comment mikla
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Tue, 03/02/2010 - 03:04 | Link to Comment faustian bargain
faustian bargain's picture

Clearly fakes, as everyone knows they stopped minting coins in 25 BC. I play it safe and only buy dates 100 BC and higher.

Mon, 03/01/2010 - 23:15 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Mon, 03/01/2010 - 23:28 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 03:05 | Link to Comment faustian bargain
faustian bargain's picture

Good luck with your hypothesis.

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 06:34 | Link to Comment jeff montanye
jeff montanye's picture

see comment above re: money as medium of exchange vs. store of wealth.

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 10:11 | Link to Comment SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

Checkmate dollarbugs!  Tell me:

  1. What happens to the buying power of fiat dollars when QE 2.0 occurs?
  2. If we can "print" capital, why don't we just print enough to make everyone rich so we can all stop working?
  3. What happens to the buying power of fiat dollars when QE 2.0 DOESN'T occur, and a persistent deflation sets in, crushing tax revenues and ballooning deficits?
Wed, 03/03/2010 - 14:17 | Link to Comment SWRichmond
SWRichmond's picture

None of the tools that post that crap ever answer my simple questions.  Ever.

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 14:33 | Link to Comment DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

Congratulations Anon, that's exactly what the powers that be want you to take away from this story.

Mon, 03/01/2010 - 23:31 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 01:29 | Link to Comment perchprism
perchprism's picture


Dummy!!  There're only 454 grams in a pound (2.2 lbs per Kg).

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 00:00 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 14:36 | Link to Comment DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

why does your list consist of two whores, one whore, then their product? 

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 00:02 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 00:05 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 00:12 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 07:04 | Link to Comment Crime of the Century
Crime of the Century's picture

When the tungsten salted LGD bar story was published, Kirby took a lot of flak. At minimum, this shows the naysayers how easy it is to sneak fakes by those who aren't as vigilant as the Old Fox.

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 00:26 | Link to Comment Stuart
Stuart's picture


Tue, 03/02/2010 - 01:06 | Link to Comment DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Yes, we need to know the whole custody chain, markings on the bar, etc.  Fully documented and put on the 'Net.

Another thing.  Anyone faking US Eagles gets the attention of the Secret Service.  Perhaps only North Korea and China would not fear them.

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 01:00 | Link to Comment bigdad06
bigdad06's picture

I agree!! We need to know what bank this shit came from!! RIGHT NOW DAMMIT!!:((

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 02:01 | Link to Comment CD
CD's picture

The video does not mention the detail of when the bar was found. The bar was purchased by a bank, and it was the BANK which was served the unwelcome surprise of "not all that glitters is gold". There are no details on the timing and the extent of the counterfeiting (though Herr Hoerner does say "Baren" which to me indicates multiple bars). It seems to me a Swiss bank was duped into accepting the bar(s) on a retail, rather than wholesale level.

The video seems to come from the weekly (Sunday) show Galileo, but the show's homepage does not serve videos outside Germany. Any readers out there who can try to find the full segment?

Short, 100-second clips are available. This one contains some of the same stock footage of the Heraeus bars being etched as the video above. Google claims this is from 26 days ago:

The gentleman in the video, Wilfried Hoerner, earlier seems to have managed a Swiss gold foundry which was subsequently acquired by (among others) Heraeus:

Heraeus website:

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 12:22 | Link to Comment Gunther
Gunther's picture

The Galileo broadcasts are avaliable until a week after being shown on TV. If that clip is 26 days old, it is not available any more. The clip deals mainly with selling gold and uses pictures from Heraeus' manufacuring process.

In an Interview from December 1st 2009 the Heraeus-boss Wrzesniok-Rossbach states that he does not rememer any fake bar. (last but one paragraph, in German)

The tune of the report is to refute the "rumour" of fake 400 oz bars.

The story with the fake 500 g bar is somewhat strange:

The gold bar was cut with scissors. Usually Scissors are made from steel; they cut the soft gold easily but will break when trying to cut tungsten. Might be that bar was hollow. Tungsten powder would have gaps between the grains and not have the required density.

The story is strange to say the least.

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 13:04 | Link to Comment CD
CD's picture

I think the "scissors" being referred to are industrial shears along these lines:

But you are probably right about the steel blade having a hard time with pure tungsten. Maybe after they broke the blade and saw it wasn't gold, the brick was cut by other means (plasma? laser? wire spark? never worked with tungsten).

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 02:15 | Link to Comment Bear
Bear's picture

How do you spell ... HHHH OOOO A X ?

With 250 posts on this ... ZH has become Gata II

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 06:51 | Link to Comment Crime of the Century
Crime of the Century's picture

Ahh - a swipe at GATA. The folks at GATA ask a simple question that I am sure Steve Liesman could answer (after looking down and to the left). Maybe you know too. Why do central banks swap gold? Currencies are obvious - if not always done for the stated reason - but gold is like for like. If the USA has 5mt and Counterparty Country has 5mt, what does swapping accomplish?

Answer: it allows pathological liars to say "we have not sold our gold", when in fact they have sold an equivalent amount and "owe" the missing gold.

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 02:22 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 02:29 | Link to Comment Bthewee
Bthewee's picture

Forgot to sign in - 

WHO stamped this??... and what is the chain of custody???

This smell's Bad - Real Bad...



Tue, 03/02/2010 - 02:27 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 11:11 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 02:35 | Link to Comment congoapd
congoapd's picture

A couple of things come to mind.

1) One benefit of this mess with crap gold is that fiat currency will look much sexier then having to peg against a particular precious metal. In the world of political power, this is great for all countries that don't have a lot of gold. This is also a great way to destroy the balance sheet of nations who have been buying crap gold (China cough cough). This may be one of the most interesting power plays.

2) I wonder will Zerohedge consider removing the banners selling gold on the page unless there's confirmation of the fact they sell nothing but pure clean gold.



Tue, 03/02/2010 - 02:38 | Link to Comment Bear
Bear's picture

All I see is Capital One ad with the great rate of 1.45% for safely depositing your fiats in their coffers

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 03:01 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 03:07 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 04:54 | Link to Comment Adam Neira
Adam Neira's picture

"All that glitters is not gold !"

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 05:26 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 06:13 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 09:16 | Link to Comment JimboJammer
JimboJammer's picture

This  is  Big  News ,  Tyler  is  right ,  no  B. S.    the  Video  is  right ,  no   B. S.    there  may  well  be  many  fake  400  oz.  bars  at  the  IMF ..

This  makes  the  1  oz.  Gold  Maple  Leaf  worth  much  more..

Get  out  of  ETF  funds   ASAP  ...  Mr.  Sinclair  is  right..>>

" The  US  Dollar  is  Dog  Food "

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 09:26 | Link to Comment oddsman
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 10:29 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 10:29 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 10:31 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 10:50 | Link to Comment jerseyredd
jerseyredd's picture

Wow - the mother of all storms - paper money dead - gold is suspicious - silver, the chinese have been stock piling it - what else?

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 11:04 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 11:15 | Link to Comment Pladizow
Pladizow's picture

What's the angle.

Don't buy physical gold, buy paper gold?

The bulion banks plant a tungsten bar to convince the layman that paper gold is better.

This supports their ability to continue to sell paper gold far in excess of the physical gold that should back it.

Fractional reserve banking 101.

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 11:15 | Link to Comment Youri Carma
Youri Carma's picture

Other tungsten story Vid:

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 11:46 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 11:53 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 12:15 | Link to Comment Iceobar
Iceobar's picture

"Let's get Physical, Physical"

In other news...;>), Sprott has just started trading an interesting new concept with a physical gold trust (PHYS) which might placate those that are suspicious of GLDs accountability.

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 14:15 | Link to Comment Stuart
Stuart's picture

The gap between physical and paper gold just grew wider.   One of these days the cowardly miners like Goldcorp will no longer abide by the COMEX (CRIMEX) prices but will charge massive premiums.   

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 14:33 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 15:05 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 16:06 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 16:22 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 16:24 | Link to Comment Anonymous Hand
Anonymous Hand's picture

we can not deny some of our clients buy our gold–plated tungsten bars for the illegal purposes, even maybe some national bank gold vaults have our products



Tue, 03/02/2010 - 16:58 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Wed, 03/03/2010 - 02:46 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Wed, 03/03/2010 - 07:55 | Link to Comment Bron Suchecki
Bron Suchecki's picture

Nick from ShareLynx Gold ( passed on to me today the following from the producers of the video (all personal info was removed by him before forwarding):

vielen Dank für Ihre Anfrage.

Das Video ist tatsächlich bei Argor in der Schweiz aufgenommen worden, allerdings in einem ganz anderen Zusammenhang.


Unten eine englischsprachige Erklärung hierzu, die Ihnen einige weitere Hintergrundinformationen gibt. Der Barren wurde übrigens schon vor über 10 Jahren bei Argor zum Einschmelzen abgegeben; sofort entdeckt und aus dem Verkehr gezogen. Gefälschte Barren kommen extrem selten vor, unsere Kollegen in den Schmelzen können sich an keinen Fall in den letzten Jahren erinnern, in denen ein solcher bei Heraeus zur Aufarbeitung eingeliefert wurde.



The video shown on is an extract from the weekly German television broadcast Galileo that discusses scientific topics. This particular broadcast covered the topic of gold including testing the purity of gold bars.

The presentation of the scene of (gold) production at the Argor Heraeus refinery – that was put on in another context – when seen together with the text could therefore give an incorrect impression.

The false bar shown in the broadcast was a bar not produced by Heraeus; it was sent to the company for refining and detected already at the time of delivery. Compliance Management at Argor-Heraeus is very important and plays an important role at the company. Among others, it has very stringent rules for handling and dealing with precious metals.

Therefore, and combined also with strong and effective quality controls, Argor-Heraeus is able to assure the authenticity of gold bars produced by the company itself at all times.

Heraeus Metallhandelsgesellschaft mbH
Heraeusstr. 12-14, 63450 Hanau, Germany

So the video is about ten year old fake bars. Another example of commentators jumping the gun and hyping a story without any fact/background checking. To be fair, it really is only someone like Nick who has a worldwide well-connected subscriber base who can do that sort of checking.

I also find it interesting that the video Zero Hedge linked is the only upload of YouTube user wolframgold who only joined on 28 Feb 2010. This leads me to a conspiracy I am surprised none of the more rabid commentators have come up with yet, namely that the source of the tungsten rumours since October 2009 is either a refinery/mint trying to scare people away from the secondary market and ebay and into only buying new bars and coins OR producers of testing equipment!

Nick also passed on to me a link to, which has some nice pictures of fake Englehard silver bars that their equipment would have detected. This does undercut RunToGold's conclusion from the tungsten scare that "if one is concerned about the quality of their gold then the other precious metals like silver and platinum are good alternatives". Ouch.

I would also disagree with RunToGold's statement that "detecting a high-quality fake tungsten gold bar would be extremely difficult. It would likely require significant and material alterations to the bar being tested and this would negatively affect the marketability if its hallmark veracity were vindicated."

Ultrasonic testers will do the job without having to damage a bar. I quote some techo stuff from KK&S Instruments (

The 1090 Flaw Detector allows you to look into the Bar for voids/defects as well as UT velocity which is determined the products elastic modulus i.e Tungsten Velocity is 5183-5460m/sec and Gold is 3,240m/sec. For example if you calibrate for Au then the testing Tungsten bar of the same thickness, the UT thickness would read approximately half the actual because of the speeding-up of the sound through the Tungsten.

Problem is that it does require some technical knowledge to use the machine, so out of reach of retail investors and small coin dealers. It is probably prohibitively expensive as well.

I also think that it is fairly likely that the unintended consequence of commentators pushing the tungsten story is to drive mom & pop newbie gold investors into the ETFs. Making the decision to buying gold is a big change for the average investor and you can be sure they are seeking reassurance. Sow doubts in their mind about the "dangers" of physical gold and you will push them into ETFs, because mom & pop see them as regulated and thus safe. The very opposite of what many (if not all) commentators would want. I doubt they think about these consequences when they are looking for their next headline.

Wed, 03/03/2010 - 15:15 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Wed, 03/03/2010 - 20:37 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Fri, 03/05/2010 - 16:18 | Link to Comment Anonymous
Fri, 04/16/2010 - 10:20 | Link to Comment Tom123456
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Sat, 07/31/2010 - 17:30 | Link to Comment NoNotAgain
NoNotAgain's picture

There seems to be some serious FUD flying around here.  I'm sure that none of it originates from people peddling 'trustworthy coins and bars' at outrageous premiums to spot..... Anyhow, tungsten and gold are very different metals physically to wit: 

1) The speed of sound in tungsten is about twice that in gold (5,460 meters/second vs 3,200), so the pitch that they will ring at if tapped or dropped is totally different.  Also, as pointed out earlier, a cheap ultrasonic thickness meter (that is based on the speed of sound in a material) can tell gold from tungsten in a heartbeat.

2) The electrical resistivity of tungsten is about TWICE that of gold (0.056 micro-ohms vs 0.022), so measuring the electrical resistance from one end of the bar to the other would immediately expose a fake bar.

3) There is NO WAY you could ever alloy gold and tungsten to cast phony coins and bars. Tungsten melts at 3,422C but gold *boils* at 2,807C, so just as the tungsten was starting to melt, the gold would have long since boiled out of the alloy.  Good luck getting them to mix...

If anyone wanted to verify the authenticity of their hoard of gold bars, it'd be very simple and inexpensive to do so by using any of the methods described above.


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