FBI on the scene where legendary Civil War treasure of $54 million in gold may be buried

In June 1863, a Union shipment of 52 bars of gold now worth $54 million was said to be lost near Dents Run, Pennsylvania. Over the years, many treasure hunters have tried to locate the cache but the area is state land and it's illegal to dig without permission. Apparently though, FBI agents and state officials were just seen digging in the area. From CNN:

FBI spokeswoman Carrie Adamowski wouldn't say what the agency was doing there, only that FBI personnel were "carrying out court-authorized law enforcement activity in Elk County." She declined further comment to CNN.

But WJAC says their cameras spotted the owners of Finders Keepers USA, a Pennsylvania-based lost treasure recovery service, last Tuesday at the site some 135 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Finders Keepers has long been interested in the rumored Dents Run gold. In a post on the Finders Keepers site, founder Dennis Parada says he found a map of the treasure in the 1970s and searched the area unsuccessfully with metal detectors until 2004, when he uncovered a trove of Civil War-era artifacts that they turned over to the state.

"Each time we returned to the site we found more evidence that proved our claim. We found a bullet shell, knifes, animal traps, zinc mason jar lid, tin cans, bones (human or animal), whiskey bottle, camp fire pit, and a lot more ..." Parada wrote. He also claimed his high-powered metal detectors located "a large metal object" 8 to 10 feet underground.

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Berlin SWAT raids yield arrests in theft of manhole-sized gold coin

On Wednesday, heavily armed and armored Berlin police carried out a series of raids, arresting four suspects in the theft of a $3.9m, 220lb manhole-cover-sized gold coin from Berlin's Bode Museum in March. Read the rest

Watch how incredibly delicate Japanese gold leaf is made and applied

If you end up at some fancy event this month where gold leaf decorates the food, that gold leaf will be far thicker than traditional Japanese hand-pounded gold leaf, which can be as thin as 0.0001 millimeters. See how it's made in the fascinating video. Read the rest

Canadian man accused of smuggling $180k in gold in own arse

An employee of the Royal Canadian Mint stands accused of smuggling $180,000-worth of gold out of the institution in his rectum, reports Kelley Egan of the Ottawa Citizen, "evading multiple levels of detection with a time-honoured prison trick."

“Appalling,” was the conclusion of defence lawyer Gary Barnes, who described the Crown’s case as an underwhelming collection of circumstantial evidence.

“This is the Royal Canadian Mint, your Honour, and one would think they should have the highest security measures imaginable,” Barnes said in his closing submission.

“And here the gold is left sitting around in open buckets.”

Some crimes have a smoking gun. But this one had a coating gunge.

Investigators also found a container of vaseline in his locker and the trial was presented with the prospect that a puck could be concealed in an anal cavity and not be detected by the wand. In preparation for these proceedings, in fact, a security employee actually tested the idea, Barnes said. Lawrence did not take the stand — as is his legal right — and the Crown was not able to definitively establish how the gold pucks made their way out of the facility.

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RCMP: Former Canadian mint worker smuggled out $180K by hiding it up his butt

According to RCMP investigators, Leston Lawrence would make 210g "pucks" of gold using the mint's "dipping spoon," hide them up his butt, then pawn them for about $6,800, at the Ottawa Gold Buyers in the Westgate Shopping Centre, depositing the cheques at a Royal Bank in the same mall. Read the rest

Want to urinate in a gold toilet? You're in luck at the Guggenheim

Now you too can spend a penny in a priceless pissoir: New York's Guggenheim Museum is inviting visitors to take a slash in a gold toilet created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. Read the rest

Plumbers find gold brick while renovating bathroom

While ripping apart a bathroom to renovate it, apprentice plumber Dean Materi noticed something in the rubble underneath the old tub. “I seen a gold shimmery thing on the ground and I thought it was a copper light fixture,” Materi told the Calgary Herald. “But when I went to shovel it up, it seemed kind of heavy. I picked it up and it was a gold brick.”

It was a 1-kilogram gold bar, worth US$40,703. When Materi's boss, Alif Babul, showed the brick to the homeowner, the owner "confirmed a gold bar was unaccounted for in the abode."

Babul believes the gold brick was stashed near the bathroom’s jacuzzi tub and over time was moved by the vibration of the motor.

I hate it when my jacuzzi motor moves my gold bricks.

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Whimsical treasure hunt turns into a grim search-and-rescue

When Forrest Fenn, a retired antiquities dealer, hid $2m worth of gold, jewels and artifacts in the Rockies and teased the location of the treasure with cryptic clues in his self-published memoir The Thrill of the Chase, he'd hoped to inspire readers "to get the kids off the couch and away from the game machine." Read the rest

Vending machine for gold bars

Gold to Go is a gold-plated vending machine that dispenses gold bars in various sizes and gold bullion coins. The first one was installed several years ago in the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi. The prices adjust based on market value via a Web connection. In the US, you can find a Gold to Go ATM in Manhattan, Atlantic City, and in Las Vegas's Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino, natch.

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GoldRush: gold sculptures of things we treat as precious, by artist Črtomir Just

A series that imagines what various things we treasure would look like if they were literally made out of gold.

With water down, gold prospecting is up in California

Years of below average flows have exposed caches of sediment, and gold, that have been inaccessible for years. Read the rest

The occult gambling game giving out amulets of real gold

What in the unknown world is Jason Rohrer up to now?

Insider view of the cash-for-gold ripoff

Cash-for-gold is a con so dodgy that it's visible from space, but Clancy Martin's inside account of working in his brother's rip-off high-class Texas pawnbroker is an especially compelling view of the internals of the ripoff. Read the rest

What FRPGs can teach us about gold

"Look at games like World of Warcraft, Diablo, Dungeons and Dragons, or the original Final Fantasy. In those games, gold is the money, and you often get gold not by doing an honest day's work, but by running around and beating people up and taking their gold. In other words, the entire world of modern fantasy role-playing is a subtle joke on gold's unsuitability as a medium of exchange." -Noah Smith (via Making Light) Read the rest

Gold Christmas Tree

Reuters:

The tree-like ornament is made of 88 pounds of pure gold, standing about 7.9 ft high ... It is decorated with pure gold plate silhouette cutouts of 50 popular Disney characters and draped with ribbons made of gold leaf. The price tag? A mere $4.2 million.

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Olympic gold medals contain only 1% gold; would cost $25,000 if pure

The amount of gold in an Olympic gold medal has fallen to 1.34 percent, thanks to gold prices that recently peaked at $1,895 an ounce. At current prices, a pure 400g medal would cost about $25,000 to make, with a total bill of about $50m for the games.

"The last time the Olympic Games handed out solid gold medals was a hundred years ago at the 1912 Summer Games in Stockholm, Sweden," writes gold brokers Dillon Gage. "Gold medals were in fact only gold for eight years. The 1904 Olympics in St. Louis introduced the gold medal as the prize for first place."

The 2012 gold is 92.5 percent silver, 1.34 percent gold, and 6.16 copper, with IOC rules specifying that it must contain 550 grams of high-quality silver and 6 grams of gold. The resulting medallion is worth about $500. For the silver medal, the gold is replaced with more copper, for a $260 bill of materials.

The bronze medal is 97 percent copper, 2.5 percent zinc and 0.5 percent tin. Valued at about $3, you might be able to trade one for a bag of chips in Olympic park if you skip the fish. Read the rest

Tory Lord tells peers about a weird Internet scam at great length

On February 16th, Lord David James of Blackheath (a Conservative life peer) spoke for 11 minutes in the UK House of Lords about a supposed $15 trillion federal reserve conspiracy that involved more gold than has ever been mined. It turned out he had fallen for a widespread scam.

“Mr. Riyadi has sent me a remarkable document dated February 2006,” Lord James continued, “in which the American Government have called him to a meeting with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.” That meeting, he said, “was witnessed by Mr Alan Greenspan, who signed for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York of which he was chairman, as well as chairman of the real Federal Reserve in Washington. It is signed by Mr Timothy Geithner as a witness on behalf of the International Monetary Fund. The IMF sent two witnesses, the other being Mr Yusuke Horiguchi.”

“These gentlemen have signed as witnesses,” he continued, “to the effect that this deal is a proper deal. There are a lot of other signatures on the document. I do not have a photocopy; I have an original version of the contract.

“Under the contract, the American Treasury has apparently got the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to offer to buy out the bonds issued to Mr Riyadi to replace the cash which has been taken from him over the previous 10 years. It is giving him $500 million as a cash payment to buy out worthless bonds. That is all in the agreement and it is very remarkable.”

Riyadi, as the tale continues, supposedly had 750,000 tons of gold backing the $15 trillion the United States took from him to prop up the U.S.

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