Caution!! Tungsten filled Gold bars

While this is NOT my original content, I have added to an original blog post handed down through the inter-webs from an unknown origin.  I DID take some time to verify links and source stories.
This news item will have significant repercussions through the precious metals markets in the days and months to come. Australian Bullion Dealer ABC Bullion has advised that one of its suppliers has provided them photographic evidence of a tungsten filled 1 kilo gold bar discovered this week. The bar passed a hand-held xrf scan which showed 99.98% pure AU. The tungsten was only discovered when the bar was physically cut in half. After numerous reports of 400oz tungsten filled bars being discovered in Hong Kong, this is the first documented and verified report with photographic evidence that has been made public.
In addition there is some early buzz that eBay acquired silver and gold coins, bullion and such may have some level of weight shaving or impurities. For the casual investor or collector this is significant. 
This from ABC Bullion:
“Many pundits in the gold commentary space have commented on tungsten filled gold bars for many years, most notably Jim Willie, whilst the following does not prove his theories that US Treasury gold is compromised, it certainly makes the case more compelling.
ABC Bullion received the following email from one of our trusted suppliers this week.
Note: It was not ABC Bullion that purchased this bar, the email and photos were sent to us as a general warning. I xxxx’ed out the city’s name to avoid any second guessing as to the name of the dealer. 
19/03/2012: Attached are photographs of a legitimate Metalor 1000gm Au bar that has been drilled out and filled with Tungsten (W). This bar was purchased by staff of a scrap dealer in xxxxx, UK yesterday. The bar appeared to be perfect other than the fact that it was 2gms underweight. It was checked by hand-held xrf and showed 99.98% Au. Being Tungsten, it would not be ferro-magnetic.
The bar was supplied with the original certificate. The owner of the business that purchased the bar only became suspicious when he realized the weight discrepancy and had the bar cropped. He estimates between 30-40% of the weight of the bar to be Tungsten. This is very worrying and reinforces the lengths that people are willing to go to profit from the current high metal prices.
Please be careful.”
 
So what can a collector or investor do? For starters buy from legitimate and reputable sources.  If buying gold, due to the high cost get certified bars and rounds that are serialized and certified by groups such as Credit Suisse or PAMP.  Keep in kind if the deal is too good to be true, it IS.  Almost never will you find precious metals trading at below spot prices.  Even idiots selling off an old coin collection usually sell at spot since Google is so handy there.
Unless you know the reputation, source and history avoid or minimize your exposure from sites like eBay and Craigslist.  You want some means to go back if your metals prove fraudulent. Obviously those purchasing gold bars have a much higher investment and risk.  Tungsten filled bars is significant.  From Wikipedia Tungsten, also known as wolfram, is a chemical element with the chemical symbol W and atomic number 74. The word tungsten comes from the Swedish language tung sten directly translatable to heavy stone,[3] though the name is volfram in Swedish to distinguish it from Scheelite, in Swedish alternatively named tungsten.
A hard, rare metal under standard conditions when uncombined, tungsten is found naturally on Earth only in chemical compounds. It was identified as a new element in 1781, and first isolated as a metal in 1783. Its important ores include wolframite and scheelite. The free element is remarkable for its robustness, especially the fact that it has the highest melting point of all the non-alloyed metals and the second highest of all the elements after carbon. Also remarkable is its high density of 19.3 times that of water, comparable to that ofuranium and gold, and much higher (about 1.7 times) than that of lead. Tungsten with minor amounts of impurities is often brittle and hard, making it difficult to work. However, very pure tungsten, though still hard, is more ductile, and can be cut with a hard-steelhacksaw.
So be careful, be smart and happy collecting.

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