EXCLUSIVE: Conclusive proof of salted gold

The big story of last week was the circulation on the web of photos purporting to be of 'salted' (i.e. tungsten-filled) gold, which was picked up by at least two-dozen websites with an interest in the PMs.

Screwtape questioned at the time the provenance of this story, and we also had concerns about the photos. We still have our doubts for this particular case. However, in an astonishing new development the Screwtape Files has come into possession of a new set of photographs of a different gold bar which has been pretty much incontrovertibly salted. The pictures are, as far as we can ascertain, entirely genuine and they came to us from a highly respected and well-placed source.

[IMPORTANT: To our knowledge, we are the first website to publish these pictures. Any reproduction of these pictures on other sites must be with the permission of the Screwtape Files, and must link back to this article.]

We cannot disclose our source, but the 1 kg bar was intercepted by police in Algeria, following the flight of gold from Libya after the NATO intervention last year. It was sent to Paris for expert analysis, and it is the results of this analysis that we are about to show you now. What you will see is at once shocking in its brazenness, and humbling in its ambition to defraud on a massive scale. We are told that there may be many hundreds of similar bars from the same shipment that were similarly salted.

The first three photographs show both halves of the bar after a clean incision was made with an industrial saw. One can clearly see that four 4 mm tungsten rods have been inserted along the length of the whole bar:


The next two pictures show the whole bar before and after the cut was made. As can be seen, there is no missing material. The bar is clearly genuine, and has been stamped with what I am reliably informed is the approval of the Bullion Refining Industry Examination:

Our source goes on to tell us that, given this finding, the French police are working through Interpol and in collaboration with their Algerian counterparts to determine the precise origin of the bars. Obviously the most pressing aspect of the case is a need to determine whether or not these bars were salted before or after they came into the possession of the Libyan Central Bank.

If the former, then it can only add weight to the theory that central banks the world over may have suffered from (or been party to) a global conspiracy to defraud goldbugs everywhere. The Screwtape Files will keep you informed of any subsequent developments as they occur.


Spicy Guacamole said...

I wonder how many BRIE bars are in Sprott's vaults. But hey, at least you can eat them right? (though the tungsten filled BRIE bar looks a bit stale).

Joe Jost said...


I get it. April fools!

Anonymous said...

Alright, alright, we don't really have a source in the Algerian police...

It's now past midday in New York, and nearly midday in Los Angeles, so we can safely admit to this April Fool joke ;-)

(The mythology goes that one who tries to play a joke after midday on 1 April is in fact the fool themselves...)

(Oh, and this is not a US site, by the way - more than half our readers, and most of our contributors come from outside "the land of the free"... But it's as good a time zone as any to pick for April Fools' gags... ;-) )

I hope all our readers enjoyed it. Kid Dynamite did a brilliant one here which is well worth checking out.

I should say that credit doesn't go to the Screwtape Files for the photos - they came from one of our readers, who prefers to stay anonymous. You know who you are, and thank you so much for the laugh. You're a star.

Finally, let this be a lesson to ZeroHedge et al. who feel able to just pull a convincing story and copy and paste it without comment or critical appraisal.

It's easy to make up a good story (and if we'd wanted to, we could've made some seriously serious photographs too), but a lot harder to check it out properly and ethically. That's hard work. Think on.

Bullion Baron said...

So what is the real story behind the pictures used? :)

My first thoughts when looking at the bars was that they look more like Silver than Gold! Judging by the level of detail I assume this wasn't photoshop and the reader has actually manufactured this in a workshop with real metal (not not the precious variety)?

mr pinnion said...

Obviously fake though.The picture quality is far too good.
No bluring whatsoever.Dead givaway.

Bullion Refining Industry Examination

What a cheesey acronym.


Dan D. said...

Fabulous!!!!! Rotfl

Anonymous said...

@Bullion Baron: Indeed - the pictures are not photo-shopped. But the metal is a bit of aluminium scrap rather than gold...

The tungsten rods are real tungsten rods, however..! ;-)

S Roche said...

Finally, let this be a lesson to ZeroHedge et al....

A bit harsh, I agree one of the Tylers is a complete click-baiting dork (and boy, do I miss Marla) but generally they do a good job of flagging issues.

I have a question not related to this but I would like to address it to the prosimian hive-mind...what is the relationship between the Globex gold spot price and the Loco London OTC price, and how does that work. I trade the price action at the London Fixings...if you watch the volatility around 10:30 & 15:00 you will understand why enquiring minds want to know.

Love your work

Bron Suchecki said...

Globex and OTC are the same - bullion bank trading desk would arbitrage those to ensure they are the same.

There is no surprise that around the London Fix times that price becomes more volatile as there is constant arbitrage going on between the price being formed during the fix process and the OTC and Globex and other markets at that same time.

Ultimately the fix and OTC prices will converge and be the same. The question is whether the fix converges to OTC market or vice versa. It would all depend on which market has more weight of money on the day.

JWMJR said...

As I said in an earlier post comment these are most likely tungsten welding electrodes as they are readily available. It would be interesting to see what would happen if someone were to put a giger counter to this bar. Most but not all tungsten electrodes contain up to 2% thorium that helps them maintain a sharp point under high current flows when used in direcr current electrode negative operations. Some electrodes are however p-retty close to pure and are used for welding aluminum, magnesiuym and the like as these are welded with alternating current and the end of the electrode forms a small sphere under the constant switching of polarity. If the rods could be extracted a thoriated electrode would show a red paint stripe at one end and a pure electrode would show a green paint stripe.