The Biggest Gold Heist Of All Time

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Simon Black via,

In 524 BC, a group of pirates set sail for Sifnos, an ancient Greek island famed for its vast gold and silver mines.

The mines of Sifnos were unparalleled in the ancient world.

They produced so much gold and silver that the local government at Sifnos could erect countless monuments, invest in new public works, and still easily have a substantial balance remaining at the end of each year to distribute to the citizens.

When the pirates arrived, they robbed the island of 100 talents of gold, an unfathomable sum at the time.

In the ancient world, a talent was a unit of weight equivalent to 26 kilograms, or about 836 troy ounces.

So 100 talents of gold would be worth just shy of $100 million today, ranking that ancient robbery as one of the biggest heists in history.

It’s amazing that thousands of years have passed, and yet that very same gold could still be traded in modern financial markets.

There are few other assets on the planet that have had such a long history of value, durability, and marketability.

Gold very clearly holds its value over time, whether over decades or millennia.

Now, in fairness, it’s not like any of us is going to live for 2500+ years, so realistically it shouldn’t matter if our money will maintain its value until the year 4500.

But gold has plenty of other benefits. For example, it’s also a type of insurance.

If there’s ever a major problem with your home country’s currency or monetary system (which we’ve seen over the last several years from India to Iceland, Argentina to Zimbabwe) gold will maintain its value and survive the currency crisis.

Owning some physical gold will ensure that you still have something of value in your pocket.

This is an insurance policy that you hope you’ll never need. But if you ever do, you’ll be damn glad you have it.

Another type of insurance policy we’ve discussed in this letter is physical cash.

Most people keep the vast majority of their savings in a bank, and in normal times we can access this savings online, at ATMs, and in the checkout line with our debit cards.

We view physical cash and bank balances as the same thing, i.e. $1 in a savings account is the same thing as a one-dollar bill with George Washington’s face on it.

They’re not the same thing. These are actually two distinct forms of money, they just happen to have a 1:1 exchange rate right now.

Your bank balance is nothing more than an accounting entry on a bank’s ledger.

It’s a technically a claim– an amount that the bank owes you, one of its millions of unsecured creditors.

And if there are ever any major problems at the bank, you’ll quickly see how worthless this claim can be.

Think about what happened in Cyprus back in 2013. An entire nation woke up one morning and found out that the government had frozen every account at every bank in Cyprus.

It turned out that the entire Cypriot financial system was near collapse, and the government cut people off from their funds in order to protect the banks.

At that point, bank balances were fundamentally worthless. It didn’t matter how much money you had in the bank… you couldn’t do anything with it.

But anyone who was holding physical cash could still buy food, fuel, and other necessities until the crisis subsided.

The 1:1 exchange rate between cash and bank balances broke down, literally overnight.

One day everything was normal. The next day, cash was far more valuable than anyone’s bank balance.

This is why it makes sense to hold both– gold AND physical cash.

It’s perfectly fine to stay optimistic and hope for the best. And there’s plenty to be optimistic about.

But with bank insolvencies rising (especially in Europe) and a US debt level closing in on $20 trillion, does it make sense to bet everything you’ve ever worked for on hope and optimism?

We insure ourselves against all sorts of risks.

We have fire insurance in case our houses burn down. We have life insurance in case we have an early departure.

Those risks may be extremely low. But they’re important enough that we spend money to protect ourselves against them.

The systemic risks we’re talking about may also be low. (Though I would suggest the risks are much higher than anyone realizes…)

But their impacts are extraordinary.

Yet unlike conventional insurance, these policies, i.e. cash and gold, don’t really cost anything.

Gold prices may fluctuate from day to day, but over the long-term, the metal holds its value. And it’s an asset that you’ll be able to sell, worldwide, in an instant.

It’s the same with cash.

With interest rates at historic lows and a checking account yielding 0.1%, there’s virtually no opportunity cost in holding some physical cash versus keeping all of your savings at the bank.

These are no-brainer solutions with minimal (nearly zero) cost that provide time-tested insurance against some obvious risks.

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N2OJoe's picture

. It’s amazing that thousands of years have passed, and yet that very same gold could still be traded in modern financial markets.

Well, not Western financial markets.

CPL's picture

Sure it could.  Just do what the central banks did and change the language of the law to say paper gold was worth the same amount as the real thing, except over sell the paper in a 5000:1 ratio.  Just never ever try to collect the physical.  The fact is the largest gold heist in history is already happening.

560,000 tonnes of it seem to be missing.

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) CPL Dec 6, 2016 5:03 PM

524 b.c.

No iPhones and instant, incessant, communication.

Life must have been good.

Did they have Fake News then?

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) bamawatson Dec 6, 2016 5:18 PM

Regarding gold holding its value: I'd like to see a full cost analysis of owning physical. Not that I doubt that it holds its value but there are many costs associated with physical gold. Some are:

1) Purchase premium
2) Storage Cost (storing it with a entity who then gives you paper as proof that they are holding it is paper gold)
3) Tax on any gain in value (currently collectable tax, much higher than capital gains, I believe)
4) Sales hit (do you really get "market value" from a gold buyer/dealer who then wants to sell it at a mark-up?)
5) Other...

Rum Runner's picture

While I agree with your thoughts, my end game will be to pass my stack from my safe to my children's safes when my timeline ends.

No taxes, no paperwork, no trails, and it will be worth far more than I invested.  I imagine that 1 oz coins can be sold piecemeal without raising red flags and I'm not going to tell anyone where they got them!

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) Rum Runner Dec 6, 2016 6:07 PM

Good plan.

nmewn's picture

See the thing is, gold & silver is money. You were taxed at earnings under this "progressive" tax system so all that is really happening is you are trading some portion of whats left of your paper currency (after taxes) for real money.

There is no tax on currency (or money), they tax peoples earnings (their labor more specifically) for if there were a tax on currency/money, they would want everyone to declare whats stuffed under their mattresses so it could be taxed...yet again...they don't.

As far as "capital appreciation" its not really, its kind of a mind trick they want you to believe in, its the illusion that gold is going up in paper terms but what it really is, is the paper losing its purchasing power, they call that inflation.

This can best be illustrated by observing a 64 quarter and its metal value, not its face value, because its two very different things. One metric (governments metric, the trick) is 25 cents, the other is what it is $3.03, the actual value.

The "value" to us is the same as it was in 1964, roughly, a gallon of gas and a coke ;-) 

nink's picture

Keep your bulky gold, I got meself a digital wallet full of gold derivatives at less than half the price you paid for your metal.

Unknown User's picture

Gold Bugs never give up.

sinbad2's picture

They sure don't, a 12 thousand year conspiracy, and they will still be around in another 12 thousand years.

nmewn's picture

I'm not sure if I would call myself a "gold bug" per se.

I just know what the nature of money is and what it cannot be to be called money. As I say above, money itself cannot be taxed, as it sets up a moral & ethical dilemma/contradiction to the "authority" who would treat it that way, ie the person accepting it for labor, services & products would begin trading in something else to avoid the offsetting negative effect of accepting it as a payment. 

The subject of "money" also has other, more far reaching considerations than simple commercial transactions.

It is much more personal as it gets into the sovereignty of the individual, their personal liberty, the right to be left alone (or not), the ability to self determine their own course, instead of it being plotted & mapped out for them by complete strangers who may (or may not) have those individuals best interests at heart. 

However those topics are usually discussed in the absence of any thoughts on money, even though they are and forever will be inextricably linked ;-)

detached.amusement's picture

I'm not sure if I would call myself a "gold bug" per se.


I just know what the nature of money is




this, lol....once one knows the difference between money and currency, and what fiat bankster currency entails, one almost de facto becomes a gold bug, if one likes real things

froze25's picture

Exercise your right of privacy ,  you will be fine, same 15% capital gains tax applies on the increase in value if one was actually realized . 

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) froze25 Dec 6, 2016 6:45 PM

A quick search with The Google shows this: (28% tax rate)

[The following information pertains to U.S. taxpayers only and is not intended as nor should be considered personal tax advice. Always consult a financial planner and/or tax professional before investing.]

- The IRS considers gold a “collectible” and will tax your capital gains at a 28% rate. This designation includes all forms of gold (other than jewelry), such as...

All denominations of gold bullion coins and numismatic/rare coins, gold bars, and gold wafers
ETFs like GLD, SLV, etc. (closed-end funds have different rules; see below)
Any electronic form of gold like GoldMoney and Bullion Vault
Any “paper” or certificate forms of gold, such as Perth Mint Certificates and EverBank accounts
All forms of pool gold, rounds, and commemorative coins

And the same designation and rules apply to silver, platinum, and palladium.

- “Reporting” requirements can be confusing. It is true that precious metals dealers aren’t required to report certain small sales to the IRS – but that doesn’t relieve you of the obligation. If you sold one gold or silver coin to your local dealer, he is not obligated under current regulation to report the sale. But selling at a profit requires you to report it and pay 28% tax on your gain.

Keep in mind that the Patriot Act obligates a dealer to report any “suspicious customer activity.” Therefore, don’t expect a wink from your dealer if you proclaim you won’t be reporting your sale or ask him to “book” only half the coins you sell him. There are people sitting in prison who’ve tried this.

- Gold stocks are not designated as a collectible and are therefore subject to the standard capital gains tax rates like all other stocks.

- Gold jewelry sales are not reportable. This makes the Heirloom Collection an attractive consideration and an excellent diversification maneuver (for both financial and romantic reasons!).

stacking12321's picture

i believe that's not entirely correct, not all gold coins are treated the same, if i recall it depends on purity, so some like kangaroos and maples are in one class but eagles and krugerrands are in a different tax class

at any rate, i don't know why anyone would "declare" any supposed gains to the IRS or any other organized crime syndicate, it is really none of their business.

Rabbi Chaim Cohen's picture

Actually, I believe only certain antique gold coins are treated differently for tax purposes. These coins therefore carry a MASSIVE premium on them over the per oz spot price as compared to eagles, pandas, maples and krugerrands.

phatfawzi's picture

how do you know they will be worth more than you invested. Chances are your are already underwater. As long as you have Fiat money and CB policy that goes against owning gold, gold is a bad investment. im sure ill get plenty of down votes for this comment. face it people gold is a dumb investment. It worth nothing more than a slight premium to what it cost to dig it out of the ground. 

CNONC's picture

It is not an investment.  You will receive a chorus of replies telling you that gold is held as a hedge against economic calamity.  It is insurance.  It is a bridge between this fiat currency regime and whatever comes next. There is some truth to your statement that it is worth a slight premium to what it costs to dig it out of the ground.  That is why it works as a store of value.  It has a stable opportunity cost relative to other productive endeavors.   

sinbad2's picture

The ultimate insurance, gold and productive land are the only 2 assets that withstand time.

TimmyM's picture

Good, except I like rolls of 1/10 oz coins cause I'm so optimistic.

azusgm's picture

6) Bigger mattress (eliminates #2)

sinbad2's picture

1) currently the purchase premium on a cast  gold oz is 20 bucks, up to 80 bucks for a legal tender coin.

2) the best and cheapest security is not to tell anyone you have it.

3) tax on capital gain would only apply when you sold.

4) gold buyers around here are quoting 50 bucks below spot per ounce.

5) it's amazing how such a small thing can be so heavy.

zeronetwork's picture

List of the Biggest heist of the world will not complete until we audit Fort Knox

Four chan's picture

exactly where i thought this was going, remember in 1933 when the jews stole all we the peoples gold?

CPL's picture

There's probably a well aged IOU in there as well.  You'd have to blow the dust off of it to see Nixon's signature.  Therefore they'll never audit the fed because of that fifty year rule about the release of information to the public.  The original theory is the people involved in certain things fifty years prior would be dead.

But since everyone is nice enough to live a little longer, everyone is going to learn the dirty secret they are all trying very hard to hide.  It's what crushed Nixon's mind like a aluminum beer can plus stuck Ford in bottle, and no president or intelligence security officer in any agency since Nixon has ever been told this secret for the sake of a plausible future deniability.  If you hang in until 2023 you will all learn that secret from the released records of why the gold reserve was dumped.

If you want to read on the pre-story to the story of gold getting dumped and some of the weirdest trading going.  Pay attention to the type of information being discussed about French Polynesia in the years proceeding his resignation.  The story starts with Ike, sort of, but the story when it gains teeth is told for twenty years up until Nixon's resignation.  A lot of those papers are available to read online in the government release archives.  It has a couple of interesting pieces of information happening in tandem on the subject of why Nixon made the decisions he did regarding gold.

froze25's picture

Interesting ,  go any links that tell the story well?

CPL's picture

There are grad students that write stuff in pieces but haven't made the connections yet.  Mostly just following references in a book called Reflections of a Siamese Twin writen by an author John Saul.

The public records of interest though are released on a timer.  Understand that there are trillions of documents and the best course of action to figure who, where, when is follow the money.  What was bought.  Who was bought.  What billing orders actually build.  Some highlights to what is getting released by which date into the public sphere.

The highlights below are from a history nut by the name of Mark Struss that goes digging through all this stuff, the John Ralston Saul book is a good primer on how to read news, do the detective work on information and follow a paper trial.  If one thing is the book Reflections of a Siamese Twin shows a very different picture of what was happening in the 50-70's by the sheer volume of citations and reference material embedded on nearly every page.  Very dark and weird is the only way to express it.  Anycase, some up coming release dates that are on historical radars.

2011: The State Department’s Office of the Historian expects to begin releasing volumes on Nixon and Ford administration foreign policy initiatives, including potentially new details on the energy crisis, NATO and the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.

2019: The papers of the poet T. S. Eliot, who died in 1965, include 1,200 personal letters that have remained off-limits: his correspondence with Emily Hale, a girlfriend whom biographer Lyndall Gordon described as Eliot’s “muse.” In 1959, Hale bequeathed the letters to Princeton University.

2026: As chief justice of the United States from 1969 to 1986, Warren Burger presided over cases concerning abortion, capital punishment and the Watergate scandal. In 1996, the year after Burger died, his son, Wade, donated the justice’s personal papers—some two million documents—to the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, with the understanding they would be sealed for 30 years.

2027: The FBI spied on Martin Luther King Jr. in an unsuccessful effort to prove he had ties to Communist organizations. In 1963, Attorney General Robert Kennedy granted an FBI request to surreptitiously record King and his associates by tapping their phones and placing hidden microphones in their homes, hotel rooms and offices. A 1977 court order sealed transcripts of the surveillance tapes for 50 years.

2037: A decade ago, Oxford University’s Bodleian Library released ten boxes of documents pertaining to the 1936 abdication of Edward VIII so that he could marry American divorcée Wallis Simpson. But one collection of “sensitive documents” (Box 24) was to be withheld for 37 years. British news media speculate the documents include embarrassing revelations about the Queen Mother’s alleged support for negotiating peace with Nazi Germany prior to the outbreak of World War II.

2040: Psychiatrists initiated the Harvard Study of Adult Development in 1937 to track the lives of 268 men who’d recently entered college. The ongoing study uses questionnaires, interviews, psychological tests and medical exams to better understand what contributes to mental and physical well-being. The identity of most of the men is unknown, but reportedly they include a best-selling novelist and four candidates for the Senate. (Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee admitted to being a participant in his 1995 autobiography, A Good Life.) John F. Kennedy’s file—containing questionnaires and reports from 1940 until his death in 1963—was withdrawn from the study’s office, not to be unsealed for 30 years.

2041: Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess flew from Germany to Scotland on May 10, 1941, claiming that he wanted to discuss peace terms with Britain and that their common enemy was the Soviet Union. Hess was imprisoned and interrogated. After the war, he was convicted at the Nuremberg trials and sentenced to life at Spandau Prison. A British intelligence file said to contain an interrogation transcript and Hess’ correspondence with King George VI is scheduled to be unsealed 100 years after his arrest. Historians say the papers might show whether British intelligence tricked Hess into undertaking his fateful mission.

2045: In May 1945, the British Royal Air Force (RAF) attacked two German ships in the Baltic Sea carrying 7,000 survivors of the Neuengamme concentration camp. Only 350 survived. RAF intelligence had mistakenly believed the vessels held Nazi officials escaping to Norway or Sweden. Because the RAF ordered the records to remain classified for 100 years, scholars have been unable to offer a complete account of one of the worst “friendly-fire” incidents in history.

2045: During World War II, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) lent Britain highly skilled radar technicians—“the Secret 5,000”—who flew on patrols over the Atlantic Ocean to detect German submarines and aircraft. The RCAF deemed its work so classified it sealed all pertinent records about the operation for a century. Even today, the Secret 5,000 are not mentioned in official RCAF histories.

CPL's picture

Of course they did, being a rover or travelling trader was a common enough career and they sold the most precious of all resources.  Information and entertainment.  Same is true today.  Believing today is any different than then...only difference is most of you aren't fucking your cousins from the same village and living twice as long.  And that's part of the problem.  You still breed like rabbits but you don't die like flies.

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) CPL Dec 6, 2016 5:12 PM

Excellent points...

The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) mrbyrite Dec 6, 2016 5:25 PM

And to think, some guy walked off with that much gold from the back of an armored vehicle just the other day.  A modern day pirate I presume.


Jeffersonian Liberal's picture

Did they have Fake News then?

Nearly, if not already.

One of the types that Socrates railed against were the Sophists, whom he accused of exploiting and manipulating rhetoric and logic and dialectics to "make the lesser argument appear the greater."

In short, they were liars and propagandists, the progenitor of the lawyers for whom Shakespeare suggested a wise course-of-action.

The propaganda and deceitful arguments that the Sophists put forth may well be considered the advent of "Fake News." And those Sophists can also be considered the progenitors not only of the latter-day lawyers but the State-Run Media that is such a scourge on our contemporary politics.

Both groups use the same deceitful tactics.

HRH Feant's picture

Yes they had fake news. Propagated by the Sophists.

willwork4food's picture

They should have invested some of that gold in sharp swords and a police force that knew how to use them.

Freddie's picture


The biggest gold and bank heist occurred on 9/11.  About $1.7 billion in gold.  My guess is Libya and Ukraine gold heists by ZWO were pretty big.

Croesus's picture

I wish I could create paper gold ounces at the 500:1 ratio, and sell them into the market...without fines, jail time, etc.

Al Huxley's picture

I think the largest gold heist in history is pending/imminent - when Modi makes gold possession illegal (maybe over some nominal threshold like 500 grams/ 16 oz?) in India, and provides a limited window for exchange.  Watch the gold flood into London as the price crashes, and then after the Indian rubes are cleaned out, the price suddenly soars as the west 'suddenly rediscovers' the value of gold.


But then again, that's pretty conspiratorial thinking, wouldn't want to be accused of making up 'fake news'. 

mrbyrite's picture

So Modi is a British agent?

Al Huxley's picture

Just another bought-and-paid-for political hack.

CPL's picture

Modi, bob, chuck, frank, betty sue...doesn't matter who it is this week does it? 

They've been robbing everyone for 110 years and these gutless jellyfish have been shaking their hand for the privilege of getting robbed.  Just took a little jew confetti, couple of hookers, bit of blow, they live like kings for a season.  Lol, these people are the best and brightest earth's got running things?  I'm afraid there is no cure for that level of stupid and ain't no one's problem to fix neither.  You can call shenanigans all you'd like, but from my chair all I see is an omission that someone was holding out.  And these groups...whatever...they shouldn't hold out when getting shaken down for other people's property.

The_Dude's picture

The largest gold heist of all time was the FDR thugs robbing the American people of their gold to give to the Fed cartel.  The final amount is unknown but it is estimated to be 15,000 to 20,000 tons of gold.

Emergency Ward's picture

I'll be glad to trade a paper receipt for that gold!

CPL's picture

You'll have to make sure you are first in line since that's the only person getting delivery on it.  Everyone else is getting an excuse.

ToSoft4Truth's picture

Trump won't freeze us out. 

NoWayJose's picture

If the dollar collapses, it would be a smart idea to have enough gold to be able to pay your taxes. Your taxes wil be going up while the value of your savings and stocks goes down.

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) NoWayJose Dec 6, 2016 5:06 PM

Yes, one of my concerns for later in life is whether I can keep paying my rent (property taxes) to my progressive, compassionate, local government who will be happy to use guns to throw me out on the street, then sell my house out from under me, if they don't get their government union funding payment from me.

Countrybunkererd's picture

Wait until Dallas goes nationwide and they all want more for their retirement fund at age of 55 and toss us out of our homes at 70 if we refuse.

Damn socialists.

LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD's picture
LowerSlowerDelaware_LSD (not verified) Countrybunkererd Dec 6, 2016 6:06 PM

Exactly. The local politicians are beholden to the local government unions. The collision between the people who pay the HUGE salaries/benefits/retirements of the government unions and the unions/politicians will be big.

Will police unions kill people for not moving out of their houses so that politicians can sell said houses in order to fund police salaries/pensions?