Saturday 2013-08-17

The New World of Gold by Timothy Green

Written back in the early 80's, Green surveys the buyers, sellers, and markets for gold. As one of gold's virtues is portability, the business of gold seems intertwined with theft, smuggling, and flight from persecution, stories of which are scattered throughout this book. Which are enjoyable until one realizes that a future story might feature oneself.

No one in Indonesia has forgotten that the police once seized all safety deposit boxes in Djakarta banks and smashed them open in a search for illicit arms.
-- Singapore: Gateway to Indonesia
Stalin showed an intimate acquaintance with the writings of Bret Harte. He said that the new districts of the United States were opened up from the beginning by gold and nothing else. 'This process' said Stalin, 'must be applied to our outlying regions of Russia. At the beginning, we will mine gold, then gradually change over to the mining and working of other minerals, such as coal and iron.'
-- A P Serebrovsky in On The Gold Front, -- Russia: Howling like a Wolf
in 1937 when he (Stalin) accepted the bulk of Spain's gold reserves as security for payment for arms and aircraft during the Spanish Civil War. At least 500 tons of gold, then worth $560 million, were secretly shipped from Madrid to Moscow. At a banquet in the Kremlin to celebrate the arrival, Stalin is reported to have said, "The Spaniards will never see their gold again." They never have.
-- Russia: Howling like a Wolf
Ask any gold trader in Djakarta, Penang, or Bombay, whose bars he accepts most readily and he will surely reply, "Johnson Matthey."
-- London: The Crossroads
Bars (in African gold mines) sell everything from whisky and vodka to kaffir beer made from fermented maize. The kaffir beer, containing 3.5 percent alcohol, looks like cold cocoa. It is slightly rough on the tongue and tastes sour.
-- South Africa: The Champions