"This Could Be Huge": Gold Bar Certified By Royal Canadian Mint Exposed As Fake
The last time there was a widespread physical gold counterfeiting scare was in the summer of 2012 when as we reported the discovery of a single 10 oz Tungsten-filled gold bar in Manhattan's jewelry district led to a panic among the dealer community, which then resulted in local jewelry outlets discovering at least ten more fake 10-ounce "gold bars" filled with Tungsten. Fast forward to today when a similar instance of gold counterfeiting has been discovered, this time in Canada, and where the fake bar in question had been "certified" by the highest possible authority.
According to CBC, the Royal Canadian Mint is investigating how a sealed, "pure gold" wafer with proper mint stampings has emerged as a fake. According to the Canadian press, the one-ounce gold piece, which was supposed to be 99.99% pure, was purchased by an Ottawa jeweller on Oct. 18 at a Royal Bank of Canada branch. The problem emerged when tests of the bar showed it may contain no gold at all. And, when neither the mint nor RBC would take the bar back, jeweler Samuel Tang contacted CBC news.
"Who is going to make sure those [gold wafers] are real?" asked Tang. "I am worried there are more of those [gold wafers] out there, and no one knows."
Following the news, RBC felt an obligation to pick up the bar and returned it to the mint for testing, refunding Tang the $1,680 purchase price.
The Royal Canadian Mint said in a statement to CBC it is in process of testing the bar, "although the appearance of the wafer and its packaging already suggests that it is not a genuine Royal Canadian Mint product."
Questions about the fake bar's origins aside, a more immediate concerns is that, just like in 2012, if there is one fake bar, there are likely many more. William Rentz, a professor at the University of Ottawa's Telfer School of Management and an expert on investments and equity, says the discovery is "troubling."
"A currency counterfeiter doesn't make just one fake $50 bill," he said. "They make a whole lot of them. So I would suspect this might just be the tip of the iceberg."
While the RCMP said they are aware of the incident, no formal complaint has yet been made.