For the second time this year counterfeit gold bars have been discovered by precious metals traders.
The gold bars have reportedly been hollowed out and filled with tungsten, which is the same density as gold, making it incredibly difficult to differentiate between the two.
In March of this year, Silverdoctors.com reported that a 1kg (2.2lb) fake gold bar turned up in the UK, leading to speculation that there could be huge quantities of tungsten-filled gold bars in the market.
Last week, a reputable New York precious metals dealer decided to drill into a 10oz PAMP gold bar, with a supposed market value of US$ 72,000, discovering exactly what he feared - a tungsten filling. Now the New York Post is reporting that as many as 10 such bars have been sold to dealers in Manhattan.
Tungsten, which has a density of 19.24g per cubic centimetre, is only slight lighter than pure gold, which has a density of 19.30 grams per cubic centimetre, making it incredibly difficult to differentiate the two by weight.
The fake bars also appear to be incredibly sophisticated, with the appearance (and paperwork) of authentic gold bars.
While gold prices continue to advance, the recent attention brought to this scam likely means that more counterfeit bars will be turning up soon.
For more, see Fox Television's report here.
Image: A photo of the tungsten-filled gold bar that was discovered last week in Manhattan. © Copyright 2000 - 2012 Fox Television Stations, Inc.