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Gold the wrong way

When there are large sums of money involved, who isn’t interested?

I saw a report yesterday that fake gold bars have arrived in Manhattan.

What makes them so deceptive is they are not completely fake. A genuine gold bar is hollowed out and the recess is filled with tungsten.

This is a 21st century version of coin clipping and certainly if the perpetrators can get away with it, probably much more lucrative.

What’s a coin collector to do?

Traditional advice in the hobby during my career has always been to avoid buying bars and buying the commonly traded and recognized gold bullion coins because it used to be said that bars needed to be assayed every time they changed hands.

Who knew just how wise traditional wisdom is?

Anybody who has taken this traditional advice avoids this particular problem.

And kudos to Pat Heller who first mentioned the tungsten threat in our e-newsletter years ago.

Another item relates to a man who died in Nevada, leaving $7 million in gold behind.

A reader telephoned to make sure I was aware of it.

Such a sum in bullion gold coins is certainly eye-catching, but the man who owned them had so isolated himself that when he died, it took a month and complaints of an odor by neighbors before anyone realized he had died.

That struck me as terribly sad.

While I hope for prosperity for my readers, I especially hope it doesn’t come to them this way.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."