Military tank collector finds gold bars in fuel tank
- Published: Apr 17, 2017, 5 AM
More than 60 pounds in gold bars believed looted by Iraqi soldiers during the invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 were recently discovered inside a tank that a British-based collector of military hardware purchased on eBay for £33,000 (approximately $41,339 in U.S. funds).
Based on a current gold spot value at $1,284 per ounce, the value of the gold bars, each weighing more than 12 pounds, exceeds $1.2 million. The bars were turned over to local authorities while a determination is made whether the buyer of the tank, Nick Mead from Tanks-A-Lot in Helmdon, Northhamptonshire, England, can keep the unexpected treasure found inside.
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The eBay seller, Joe Hewes, 23, never discovered the gold during his restoration of the tank, an ex-Iraqi Army Type 69 that was a Chinese copy of the Soviet T-55 medium tank. The tanks were sold in large numbers to the Iraqi Army during the 1980s.
The Type 69 was armed with a 100-millimeter main gun and a 12.7-millimeter machine gun.
Mead chose to videotape his mechanic Todd Chamberlain’s examination of the tank, looking for ammunition that might be contained inside, but never expecting to find gold bars instead.
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Mead’s video, which is linked to this article, records Chamberlain’s removal of the five bars, one by one, with later footage documenting the weighing and recording of each bar.
Six months after the end of the war, Iraqi authorities returned 3,216 gold bars under United Nations supervision.
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