Not long ago, a post on our GoldRefiners.com blog told the story of the Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan golden statue of the Buddha that is located in the Wat Traimit Temple in Bangkok. For centuries, no one knew it was made of gold because it was covered with plaster. Then in 1955 some workers dropped the statue, the plaster cracked, and it turned out that the Buddha was really made of gold. No one knows exactly how much gold the Buddha contains. It weighs 5.5 tons, so even if it is not made of solid gold, it is undoubtedly worth and awful lot of money. Why had the statue been covered with plaster? Probably to disguise its immense value from thieves.
The story reminds us of the story of The Maltese Falcon, a mystery novel that Dashiell Hammett wrote in 1929, and which was later made into a famous movie. In that story, a precious statue of a falcon is encased in enamel to keep its value hidden.
Those two exotic stories remind us that over the years, people have taken pains to disguise gold items from thieves, invading armies, greedy relatives and other hostile forces. At other times, gold has become hidden from sight by fires, drifting sand and other natural forces. What should you be on the lookout for? Here’s a quick list…
- Paint – Yes, people over the years have painted gold to hide its value. So if you find a medal, coin, or bar that is heavy but which has been painted, you could have stumbled on something of value.
- Dirt, burn marks and miscellaneous gunk – Granted, gold doesn’t tarnish. But its bright sheen can be obscured by clay, mud, caked sand, and powdered chemicals. If you can use a small metal object like a key or a needle to scrap a small area, you could find bright, shiny, pure gold or gold alloys.
- Plaster – If you were hiding a bunch of gold coins from greedy relatives, why wouldn’t you hide them in a molded piece of plaster – like a decorative vase or a small statue? It is hard to determine whether plaster items contain gold, and it is something of a long shot. You have to basically smash them and comb through the rubble. But if you can snap up a plaster item at an estate sale for only a few dollars and have a gambler’s frame of mind, it could be worth a try.
- Enamel and cloisonné – These decorative, shiny paints have often been applied to karat gold jewelry and other gold items not to disguise them, but to enhance their beauty. If you find a bright enameled piece and can acquire it on the cheap, it could be worth buying first and asking questions later.
Common Hiding Places for Gold in Houses
What are the most popular hiding places in houses for gold and other valuables? We’ve written about them before on this blog, but here’s a quick review…
Behind bricks in fireplaces, basements, and other places...buried outdoors...behind false walls in closets and elsewhere...beneath floorboards and stairs...in hollowed-out banister posts...under false bottoms in drawers...in hollowed-out books...suspended in wells...and more.
Where Will You Find Gold?
We hope that today’s post fires up your enthusiasm for looking for gold in places you haven’t looked before. And if you find some, you know what to do. Give us a call at 800-426-2344 and we’ll be glad to explain how to send your discoveries for testing. We offer free or discounted shipping on some items that are sent to us for testing, so be sure to ask.
Where to Find Hidden Gold and Other Valuables in and Around Old Houses
All that Glitters Could Be Gold...In America’s Fading Movie Palaces
Is There Hidden Treasure in Your Home?
Why Hiding Your Gold in Your Home is a Very Bad Idea