Concerns about Counterfeit Gold Grow Louder
The comments above & below is an edited and abridged synopsis of an article by Everett Millman
There has been more than one incident this year involving bullion that has been proven counterfeit after being sold in North America.
A jeweler in Ottawa purchased a gold bar from the Royal Bank of Canada in October only to find that the bar was counterfeit. The purchase price of US$1,320 was eventually refunded.
The piece was supposed to be a .9999 fine gold bar bearing the Royal Canadian Mint brand stamp. The bar was apparently sealed in its original plastic packaging from the Mint, but when the jeweler opened the package and began to work with the metal, he realized something was wrong.
Over the past year, there have been other cases of counterfeit gold bars being sold in Canada. The trend has also been seen in the US, but more often with fake American Gold Eagles. These counterfeits are usually made of tungsten, which has a similar density as gold, hidden beneath a thin layer of gold plating.
In October, Congress addressed the US Secret Service’s apparent apathy about investigating cases of fake Gold Eagles. The legislature is considering what measures might be taken to combat what appears to be a growing problem.
There has even been a campaign by the American numismatic news media to conduct an audit of the US Mint’s anti-counterfeiting practices. Trust is an important part of the over-the-counter bullion market, so if the Mint fails to address the issue, it will affect the market.