The London Evening Standard & Gold Bars
We received a telephone call today from a Brian Johnson of the London Evening Standard in relation to a gold bar we had supplied indirectly to a fellow employee at the Evening Standard.
This was quite an aggressive phone call, and the brusque if not brutal rude and offensive manner of the caller took me somewhat by surprise, to the point where I cannot recall the exact words he used. I will try to recall them, or the gist of them, accurately. If we have misquoted, we would be happy to hear from Brian Johnson and correct any errors we have made.
According to Brian, he had shown the gold bar to the experts in the financial section of the Evening Standard who had declared that as the bar had no serial number, then it was no good and worthless. I am afraid that my answer was rather hasty and blunt, but nevertheless, deadly accurate, I told him they were talking out of their arse. Normally I try to be a little more restrained when passing comment. If indeed he reported their comments accurately, then it is time the Evening Standard fired its financial experts and replaced them with real experts. I do have some doubts though about whether it is Brian who is inaccurate.
There was more than a strong suggestion from Brian, more an accusation, that our bar was fake or fraudulent. When I asked him for a better description of the bar he refused to do so, implying that if we were reputable and supplied only genuine items then we would have nothing to fear, but if not then they would refer the matter to the police. Every single day, we have conversations with people, mainly prospective customers, who often ask the wrong questions, or phrase their questions badly. We almost always need to get further information from the enquirer before we can in turn supply them with accurate answers. If Mr Johnson is an experience journalist, then he should know this from his own work. Again if he does not know this, then it is time he retrained or quit journalism.
One of Johnson's complaints was that he or someone had sent us a number of e-mails and had received no replies. He did instantly contradict himself to add that "not really", and when pressed to explain the not really comment, it transpired that we had replied that he should telephone us. Johnson wanted a reply in writing! In that case, he should have written to us, not e-mailed us. His e-mails had been sent to ebay@(he could not remember), and he was demanding to know why we were using ebay's name in our e-mail address and implying that this in itself was suspicious. While we would agree that there are so many crooks trading on ebay that we regard many ebayers with suspicion, we do ourselves sell some items on ebay. the e-mail address we use for our ebay registration and correspondence is ebay@ (our main domain) (we do not publish this on our website to avoid spam). I asked him why he was using this particular e-mail address rather than the ones we publish on our website, and he could not explain how and why he had found this. To my mind this makes him a somewhat poor investigative journalist, perhaps he has fallen into the "expert syndrome". If he had found our ebay response email address by viewing our ebay offers, he would have been able to read that we advise against contacting us by email because of spam problems, something that we also referred to in our reply to his colleague, there are some people who are so certain of their own expertise that they refuse to heed any advice, Brian Johnson seems to be one of them.
We should perhaps state here that we are a respectable company, we have been trading in gold coins or bars for over 40 years, and that the gold bars we sell are genuine.
Not All Gold Bars Are Numbered
We have found an email from a dated 15th May 2004, and our reply.
It is not uncommon for people, customers included to make incorrect assumptions, such as for example that all gold bars are numbered and come with a certificate (some do, some don't), and we are used to spending time correcting and helping people. If someone wants a numbered bar, or a bar with a certificate, they should specify this when ordering, we do sell bars by specific make and type for collectors, but naturally we charge more for these than for gold bullion bars.
We took a quick look at some of the gold bars we have photographed on our website, about half of them are numbered, and half are not. Those without numbers include Heraeus, PAMP Suisse, Hang Seng Bank produced by the Royal Mint (unless the numbering is in Chinese), UBS Union Bank of Switzerland, and N. M. Rothschild and Sons. One of these last also bears the mark of Samuel Montagu of London who probably produced it for Rothschilds.
Are Rothschild Bars Fake?
If Brian Johnson's theory that all gold bars are numbered, therefore any un-numbered bars must be worthless fakes is true, then perhaps Rothschilds, one of the most illustrious names in the world of precious metals has been selling fake gold for the last few centuries. It could explain why they have recently quit the gold market, getting out before they get found out. I think Mr Johnson should be directing his enquiries at Rothschild, they must have got away with billions by now.
We tried to contact the editor of the LES, Veronica Wadley, and were told that there is no such person as Brian Johnson, but that he may be a freelance. It seems that freelance journalists are not beyond lying about their status during interviews. We are surprised that a reputable newspaper would permit such dishonest and fraudulent behaviour from their freelancers. Obviously if he is just a complete imposter, we cannot really blame the LES.
Time Will Tell
This affair is a mystery to us, but hopefully more will be revealed in good time. Watch this space.
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