Here's a head scratcher: as everyone knows from elementary chemistry courses, gold is the most inert metal in the world - it does not rust, nor corrode. Yet this is precisely what Russian commercial precious metal trading company, International Reserve Payment System, discovered on thousands of (allegedly) 999 gold coins "St George" (pictured insert) issued by the Central Russian Bank. The serendipitous discovery occurred after various clients of the company had requested that their gold be stored not in a safe, but in a far more secure place: "buried under an oak tree." As the website of IRPS president German Sterligoff notes: once buried, "the coins began to oxidize under the influence of moisture." And hence the headscratcher: nowhere in history (that we know of) does 999, and even 925 gold, oxidize, rust, stain, spot or form patinas, under any conditions. Furthermore, as IRPS discovered, Sberbank of Russia released an internal memorandum ordering the purchase of the defective coins with
the spotted appearance. Sterligoff concludes: "It should be noted that
the weight and density of the rusty coins coincide with the
characteristics of gold that would be expected after after conventional testing methods would reveal. We think that the experts
will be interesting to determine the nature of this phenomenon." So just how "real" is 999 gold after all, either in Russia or anywhere else?
As a consequence of this discovery, IRPS decided to "rid itself of all stocks, bought up earlier from the Central Bank on behalf of investors. Investment coins "St. George The Conqueror", as well as other gold coins of the Bank of Russia, are now excluded from the company's operations until all circumstances in the case are determined." Additional, as disclosed in the interview below for Here and Now show on TVRainRu, the Russian Central Bank would buy back the coins at a price of 9,300 rubles, despite prevailing prices for the bullion at well over 10,000.
As Zero Hedge has pointed out previously, the Central Bank of Russia has been one of the biggest purchasers of gold in 2010, having bought gold every single month. It would be embarrassing if it were discovered that not only is the bank diluting the gold content once received with oxidizable materials, but subsequently passing it off for 999 proof precious metal.
And if this is happening in Russia, one wonder what trickery other Central Banks, with a far lower amount of gold in their vaults, resort to...