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All That Glitters is Not (Ethiopian) Gold
March 14, 2008

Gold Bars = Gilt Steel in Ethiopian Vaults

Last year Ethiopia's National Bank shipped out 300 kilograms of gold bars to South Africa. At least that's what they intended to supply, but what South Africa's inspectors discovered was that the bars were gold gilded steel.

In the ensuing months, Ethiopia's parliment has ordered a full inspection of all gold bars in the National Banks holdings and have discovered more fraudulent bars and made at least 19 arrests from within and outside the bank. Those charged ranged from executives at the National Bank, down to accomplices from the supply side. Even chemists from the banks employ were involved.

The investigation has uncovered gilded bars which were supposed to have been purchased as long as five years ago, so this scam has either been going on a long time or older bars are being switched out for gilded steel bars in the banks holdings. Between July and November of last year, the National Bank of Ethiopia bought 612 kilograms of gold, which could provide plenty of fuel for shenanigans.

So just remember, as you consider delving into precious metals investment; all that glitters in not gold. With high prices comes strong temptations. Be careful in your purchases.

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About the Author
Tom Michael has been Krause Publications primary market analyst on more than 80 world and United States coin catalogs produced over the last 20 years. He came to KP in 1987 with a bachelor of arts degree in history, a master of arts degree in economics and a history of coin collecting stretching back to the 1960s. He began collecting world coins as a child by asking friends and relatives to bring coins back from overseas trips, visiting flea markets and having his mother watch for foreign coins in her register at the local grocery store. Today he works with a dedicated base of over 200 contributors to provide accurate market values for the five-volume Standard Catalog of World Coins series, as well as many specialty catalogs, including Coins & Currency of the Middle East and the fifth edition of Unusual World Coins.

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