What is 20 cm long, 10cm wide, 6cm thick, weighs 15kg, and worth about $600k? A gold bar in the Japan Mints Tokyo office, recently returned after a holiday in a local pawn shop.

A fifty-year old mint officer, Yutaka Umeno, decided the bar of gold on display in the Japan Mint Museum would be a fine way to cover loses made foreign exchange trading. He instructed a subordinate worker to remove it so he could use for educational reasons, plausible because the mint sometimes loaned out items for such purposes.

Umeno got away with it for five months before the subordinate noticed the bar hadn’t been returned and reported it to another superior. Umeno currently has more than a few bars but they’re currently forming a wall in the room he’s staying at and made of a less than precious metal….


Last Friday, a group of Italian and French archaeologists that were excavating a previously untouched ancient shop on the outskirts of Pompeii made some new discoveries. Four skeletons of young people were unearthed, along with three gold coins. All were buried in ash from the famous eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

Also found was a flower-shaped gold-leaf-foil pendant. The excavations started in May and the discovery of an oven indicates that this may be a bronze workshop. More should become known as the excavations proceed further.

The coins were dated between AD 74 and 77/78, which would make them from the reign of the Emperor Vespasian, who headed the Roman Empire from 69 to 79 AD. That rule passed to the Emperor Titus, just in time to witness the destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum.


It seems like Brexit has made more and more people flock to the percieved safe haven of gold if the following comments from Chris Howard, The Royal Mint’s Director of Bullion are the case.

“The Royal Mint has seen a significant spike in purchases of its gold products across the business, particularly with visits to its bullion trading platform, recording an increase in visitors of 550% compared to the same period yesterday. New account openings on the platform have increased by almost 200% over the same period, as investors turn to Royal Mint gold.

The Royal Mint’s Signature Gold bullion service is proving to be particularly popular. The product – which allows investors to benefit from economies of scale by purchasing fractions of large gold bars from as little as £20 – is more than 100% up in sales terms, even compared to the already heightened results reported earlier this week.

Whilst we are uncertain at this stage what impact the results of both the European Referendum vote and the US elections will have on the gold market in the long term, we have ensured that with The Royal Mint’s bullion trading platform and our significant gold holding, we are prepared for possible market turbulence.”

It seems that this British institution was considerably more prepared for Brexit than the political one was.




Our latest Coin Series Profile is now available and features the new “SOS Venice, End or Beginning” series of gold and silver coins. Depicting some of the magnificent pieces of art and architecture in this threatened city, the coins, especially the gold, have tight mintages.

There have been three releases to date, with no doubt more to come. Each design arrives in a troy ounce of silver, and 10g of gold, both with some high relief detailing and some selective colour. Check out the guide by clicking the picture.

We hope you enjoy these guides. They’re designed to gather together the information that’s out there on ranges of modern numismatics, along with the best images we can get our hands on. If there are any specific requests, we’ll have a good look at them.