They Bought An Old Tank To Restore – Then They Found $2.4 Million In Gold Inside It (Watch)

Iraqi Type 69 tank on the road into Kuwait City during the Gulf War.
Iraqi Type 69 tank on the road into Kuwait City during the Gulf War.

The people working at Tanks-A-Lot in the UK spend their days restoring old tanks and driving them around. They also supply tanks for movies and events and host tank-driving events. They may not be surprised by much when they restore an old tank, but this time caught them by surprise: the discovery of over $2 million in gold stuffed in an old fuel tank.

Nick Mead owns Tanks-A-Lot. He bought the $37,000 Chinese Type 69 after seeing it on eBay. The Chinese Type 69 was modeled after the Russian T-54 that was produced from 1959 to 1968. In the Gulf War, the Chinese mass-produced the tank and sold many to the Iraq military. Mead was able to barter a retired British Army truck and an Abbot self-propelled howitzer for the tank.

Todd Chamberlain is the mechanic who was working on restoring the tank when he noticed something about one of the gas tanks. He reported to Mead that he thought the tank might be filled with guns, which is something they run across frequently. Mead picked up a camera to record the opening of the tank in case it was filled with illegal firearms that they would need to turn over to the police. When they opened the tank, instead of guns, they found five gold bars weighing 68.5 pounds and worth $2.4 million.

It is thought that the gold was placed in the tank during the Gulf War in 1990-1991. Iraqi soldiers stole a lot of gold during the invasion of Kuwait in August of 1990. At the end of the Gulf War, the Iraq government returned 3,216 gold bars to Kuwait. If those bars weighed the same as the ones found in the tank, then the amount of gold stolen during the invasion is estimated at around $1.5 billion, The Drive reported.

Mead called the police and reported finding the gold before weighing it. He turned the bars over to the authorities. It is not known whether the gold will be returned to Mead or traced back to the original owners.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE