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Rothshchild largest private bank does gold tour

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Gold tour at an end
Vivienne Oakley
06apr04

GOLD pigs, jewellery and a smuggler's vest are all part of the world's largest collection of investment gold bars which now has a permanent home in Australia.

Relocated from Singapore, the total collection features more than 700 items from 30 countries.

More than 120 gold bars from around the world -- worth more than $1 million -- went on display at the Perth Mint for the first time yesterday.

For the past decade the collection -- owned by one of the world's largest privately owned banks, NM Rothschild and Sons (Australia) -- has toured the world.

Collection curator Nigel Desebrock said no tours were planned for the future, but the intention was to take smaller, more portable shows around the world.

Intricate 22-carat Indian wedding jewellery -- which was modelled by WA ballerina Benazir Hussain -- has been included in the collection as a reflection of the end use of the precious metal.

Globally, it is estimated that every year 2700 tonnes of gold is used in the manufacture of more than a billion items of jewellery worth about $45 billion.

Mr Desebrock said the wedding jewellery on show was made in Calcutta -- home to India's most renowned craftsmen.

He said it was difficult to place a value on the jewellery because gold prices and mark-ups varied internationally, but on a Western market it was worth more than $20,000.

Gold nuggets, coins and industrial items are also on display along with gold "bars" which are not formed in the standard oblong shape.

The collection also features gold leaf bars from Vietnam which were smuggled out of the country in the late 1970s.

They are made so thin and malleable they can be rolled into packets of cigarettes or sewn into the lining of clothing.


Herald and Weekly Times





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