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This isn’t quite true

So Russian gold is being re-refined in UAE and so getting past the sanctions. London Bullion Market acts like the LME, accrediting producers for “good delivery” bars.

It cannot be imported into the UK as bars because it lacks LBMA certification,

Nonsense. You can’t sell it as a good delivery bar because it’s not a good delivery bar. But you can import it, sure. You’ll end up selling it at a discount to a refiner – who will do locally what is being done in the UAE. It’s not all that difficult either – recall, the Brinks-Mat folk did this in a shed at the bottom of the garden. It loses a few percent in value by this thing being done. But it is only that few percent too. Because the conversion of pure gold scrap (what you have to sell a non-good delivery bar as) into a good delivery bar costs a couple of percent of the gold value. Therefore that’s the discount.

Add or subtract whatever you want for it being illegal gold dodging sanctions of course. But the process? Easy enough to do. If Russia were willing to accept something outrageous – 20% say – as a disount they could sell all the gold they want around sanctions.

19 thoughts on “This isn’t quite true”

  1. I do wonder whether there are any trace minerals in Russian (or any other) gold.

    But I suppose that anyone buying the stuff would be happy to take their cut and swear blind that it came from Oz or South Africa. Or maybe the Congo’d be a better source.

  2. Like Tim says, if the writer had done a modicum of research he’d have discovered that there’s a quoted gold scrap price, similar to the bullion listing. And indeed, as Tim says, it’s a small percentage below the bullion rate. It costs virtually nothing to assay gold to any standard you want, compared to the metal value. Nor does refining.
    If I wanted to move gold surreptitiously out of Russia onto the world market I’d make it up as jewellery using the same machinery they use for making paste. Even alloy to 18ct if necessary. Then slip it across that very porous southern frontier. Cut it up & flog it as scrap. Cost hardly anything. A colleague was doing this in the 70s. Can’t remember the exact details of why. Flying out to Moscow & sitting in a shed at the airport cutting up Russian jewellery, then flying back to London with it in a briefcase, same day. Never went through passport control at the Moscow end.
    Oh & just a word of warning. Don’t flog granny’s bequest to the cowboys offer to “Buy Gold for Cash!!!” What you’ll get is way below the market scrap rate. Take it to a shop does their own repairs. They’ll buy it off you for just a tad below. They may even do what I used to do. Melt it down & use it themselves.

  3. I do wonder whether there are any trace minerals in Russian (or any other) gold.
    You might get something from the isotope ratios of trace heavy metals. But, then you could salt it with the same to mask the origin.

  4. We are grannygoldless. What’s the posish on grannysilver? To whom would one flog it? Could they be persuaded to pay in gold sovs? All lore gratefully accepted.

    P.S. In some parts of Pictland you can pan for gold with occasional success. Is there any way to pass off other gold as “I found it in the burn, officer”?

  5. @Ottokring.

    The next move is easy enough.

    “My granny left me her jewelry.”

    “But this is 500kg of 24karat hold, sir.”

    “My granny was well bling, innit.”

  6. We are grannyivoried. Thanks to the prohibition on ivory sale it had a zero probate value for IHT. We are looking forward to a tax-free capital gain should the prohibition ever be lifted.

  7. @BiP
    If you want to cash it in, same recommendation as the gold. But, with silver, the work went into the piece can be of far more value than the metal. So always better to try & find a buyer for the complete piece as a piece, rather than settle for scrap. I’ve a rather nice but slightly battered Victorian hand mirror. The metal would probably make under £10. I’ve turned down 200 on it
    I believe you need a licence in some parts of the UK to pan for gold. And any gold found technically belongs to the owner of the land. Like anything else on it. So seek permission first. If it’s public land, you likely won’t get it.

  8. Bloke in the Fourth Reich

    Question for Tim,

    I have a broken, 18 carat gold pen nib. Probably contains around 1, 1.5 grams, gold.

    Who will buy it and will they pay a worthwhile price for it?

  9. Bloke in the Fourth Reich

    Yes, it’s proper gold, all the way through. Not plated.

    I’d rather I hadn’t broken it as I can’t get a replacement.

  10. “Many prospectors are first inspired by a visit to Wanlockhead’s Museum of Lead Mining, where a licence to hand-pan for gold costs £10 a person or £20 a family. Without a permit, it remains illegal”

    Not an expensive hobby, then.

    In my googling the best remark I saw was that it’s easy to find a little gold, hard to find a lot.

  11. Gold’s $2,000 an ounce. 30 grammes to the ounce (close enough). $60? 18 carat, so 75% Au? $45? Gold scrap dealer but they’ll not pay that. There’s an overhead to making a deal of any size. £10 if you’re lucky?

  12. $45? Gold scrap dealer but they’ll not pay that. There’s an overhead to making a deal of any size. £10 if you’re lucky?
    My experience, Tim, is if he takes it to a jeweller who makes he should do considerably better than that.
    The overheads are minimal. Rub it on the test stone to check the carat, weigh it, chuck it in the scrap box. Whole process in under a minute. It’s whether they can be bothered.
    High street scrap buyers are bandits. Lousy price as scrap but the piece will likely end up being sold on as S/H for well above the metal price. They’ll have someone does repairs & polishing for them.
    For a guide, current melt price for 18ct is $44.42 bid

  13. Bloke in the Fourth Reich


    Problem is it is a pen nib, not jewelery, and I already got one of the few remaining experts in doing fountain pen stuff to straighten it out, who also shed tears over my clumsy handling of a fine and discontinued implement. There is no remaining decorative function, even as part of any other assemblage of gold stuff. Its only value is to be melted down and chucked in a bullion bar.

    It works, kinda, but I really did fuck it up pretty badly.

    Of course, I have a dozen cheap Chinese pens with steel nibs that I didn’t break, and probably couldn’t if I tried.

  14. Interesting problem BitFR. You crossed it or bent it? If it’s vaguely usable, can’t be that bad. I wouldn’t say it’s something would be impossible to make functional. But I doubt if a pen repairer would have the skill or maybe tools. Nibs were originally made from scratch by hand & if one’s used to working on claws on settings a few of hundredths of the size, pen nibs are enormous, clunkey things. It’d be a case of understanding the functions of the design, like the angle underneath the tip, radius of the point & the width of the gap brings the ink to the point of contact with the paper. Then bending & shaping to restore the function. I can see that requiring a hammer head smaller than a cigarette butt & an anvil the size of a pea. Might look a tiny bit different after. Difficulty is that the metal may have been work tempered in the manufacturing process to give it its stiffness & annealing to aid bending might soften the metal too much for it to be usable. Same with soldering a new piece in.
    As I always say, nothing’s impossible. Providing you’re willing to pay for it. (And you can find someone to do it. Sorry, I’m on permanent vacation)

  15. Bloke in the Fourth Reich

    He’s done a marvelous job, but it isn’t, the same. I can replace it with a steel nib that feels better.

    And yeah, looks beaten up after both the injury and surgery.

    I dropped it, a long distance, and it landed butter side down. With full weight of pen behind it.

  16. Just a thought but if it’s the “feel”, try “writing it in” on a sheet of 10,000 grit wet & dry paper. The angle of the tip may have changed & doesn’t suit your hand. Long time since I’ve used a fountain pen but I recall they always wrote better after being used for a while. Obviously press very lightly but in a natural writing position

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