Ever wondered why gold is always well preserved even after centuries, gold as currency found popular appeal not only due to it’s rarity, but also because it does not react to air or water and oxidise, under normal and abnormal conditions such as being left for hundreds of years in sunken ships under immense water pressure, gold will always be totally recoverable with only minor surface tarnishing to show for it’s centuries long preservation. Being 19 times heavier than water, when a person lifts a kilogram of gold the size of a mobile device for the first time, one will probably feel almost as though they are on a planet with stronger gravity. Standard gold bars stored in a central bank weigh about 27 pounds, the size is smaller than a standard brick and according to the World Council of Gold the total gold mined throughout human history only amounts to around 386 million pounds. If all the gold in the world was to be melted down and cast into one big cube, it would be only 21 meters end to end on all sides.

Besides the physical characteristics, gold has also become a commonly accepted yardstick of wealth, the more gold you have the wealthier you are, the more money you have on the other hand depends on the currency that you have, one thousand rupees has way much lesser purchasing power that 1000 dollars and one thousand dollars has lesser purchasing power than 1000 sterling pounds and 1000 sterling pounds is not a preferred trade currency. Gold on the other hand is ‘universal money’ so much so that former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan quoted that gold has been “inbred into human beings”, we are hard-wired to the shiny yellow precious metal and once we have it physically it becomes hard to let go and since gold can be physically seen and handled, it also has a very high potential to physically disappear even from the deepest darkest most secure vaults and the disappearance of gold from places such as these is not something unheard of. The recent controversy surrounding Germany’s gold and its requests to the US Federal Reserve to repatriate Germany’s gold back to Germany has put the Federal Reserve under suspicion of mismanaging the gold reserves that were stored within their vaults by other nations.

Facts and Figures

The US Feds hold about 1,536 tons of German gold in their coffers out of which 300 tons was supposed to be repatriated back to Germany by 2020 (Vernon, 2015), however as of 2014 only 37 tons of gold has been repatriated back to Germany with 32 tons coming from the Bank of France and only 5 tons from New York, the balance has been marred in so much red tape that it has led to not only conspiracy theories but also a myriad of contradicting revelations by almost every single party involved, including the Bundesbank. According to the Bundesbank, each year the Feds provide the Bundesbank a confirmation of Germany’s gold under its stewardship, which is basically a piece of paper stating that the gold is there. After enormous pressure from Germany’s audit court the Bundesbank requested a physical audit of their own gold which was denied by the feds citing ‘one simply does not just show up at the New York Fed doorstep and start counting the gold bars in its vaults’. This situation aroused enough suspicion for the German central bank to make arrangements to repatriate its gold back to Germany, as it was not practical for the US to hold the reserves after the end of the cold war (which was one of the main reasons the gold was stored in America as the Iron Curtain was not very far away and the fear of a Russian invasion was always there).

Logistical Excuses

The debacle was shoved further down circus lane when Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann said that the repatriation had been “a huge logistical challenge.” ‘transporting’ was also made an issue by the feds – how can this be so when a ton of gold would fit into a good sized sports bag, thus 50 tons would require less space than a pickup truck, then came issues about security and when this excuse fell through, they then pulled out a better excuse to buy time – contracts and agreements – the same contracts and agreement that was supposed to transport 50 tons of gold only transported 5 tons of gold in the first place (Mross, 2014). The funniest thing about the 5 tons of gold that were indeed transported back to Germany from the US Feds was the fact that the 5 tons were re-casted by the Feds before they were sent back to Germany which make it seem that Germany’s gold is indeed gone!