This Tank Made Some Guy A Millionaire (Briefly)

Some people just seem like they constantly have horseshoes stuck up their butts. Other times, some random person just gets super lucky. Nick Mead of Great Britain seems to fall into the latter category (depending on your definition of lucky, that is).

Mr. Mead collects military vehicles and restores them to their former glory in his spare time. Recently, he found an old Iraqi tank – used in the 1991 Persian Gulf War – for sale and just couldn’t resist the approximately $40, 000 price tag. He didn’t know it at the time but the return on the investment was exponential; 2 million dollars was being hidden inside.

Chaos Leading To Confusion

The end of the Gulf War was a fairly chaotic time in Iraq; it was a common belief among folks that America was on their way to overthrow Saddam Hussein and take things over. Not willing to go out without a fight, groups of people began to rise up and rebel against the (still not in place) system. In almost no time at all, all of Saddam’s palaces were looted and a ridiculous amount of valuables were gone. In addition to gold bullion, jewelry and other valuables also went missing.

Thing is, the Americans never actually showed up; the rebellion was crushed nearly as quickly as it began and upwards of 180, 000 people were put to death for their wrongdoings. In order to avoid being tried and executed by Hussein loyalists, folks rushed to hide their loot in any place they could. Sometimes that was a hole in the ground, sometimes a tree, and sometimes – I guess if you had access to it – it went into an old tank.

Because of the way everything ended up unfolding – hundreds of thousands of Iraqis ended up being displaced once the war was over, leading many to leave their share of the ‘bounty’ behind – millions of dollars in gold bars and other valuables were never recovered. Other countries – including Britain – did move in eventually and confiscate some stuff before the loyalists could search it, this tank included.

A Hobby That Pays Off

So the tank eventually gets purchased by Mr. Mead and then presumably sits for a while. One fine morning he wakes up and decides that the weather is good and the time is right; it’s time to work on his new $40,000 tank. He calls up one of his friends and invites him over to partake in the destruction and rebuilding of said tank, and friend is like “hell yeah! I’ll be right over”.

Piece by piece, they start taking the giant hunk of metal apart and eventually get to the gas tank. They think that the tank feels especially heavy, so they take a look inside. Both men are shocked to discover that the tank is actually hiding five gold bars with varying weights, the heaviest of which clocks in at around 12 pounds. They quickly did the math and realized that combined, the hidden bars of gold were worth approximately two million dollars.

The two men continued to take the tank apart. Before long, they’d found some ammunition as well. Worried that there might also be guns inside somewhere (gun laws in Great Britain and quite different from those in the United States) and not wanting to have to deal with the drama of having their fingerprints all over them if there were, they decided to call the authorities.

Or did it?

When the police showed up, they took all of the gold and other contraband and left the two men a receipt to remind them of brief time that they were millionaires. As of right now, it’s unclear whether or not they’ll end up getting any of it back, but my gut tells me that they’re just going to have to look at the little piece of paper they got any time they want to remember the feeling.

The way it currently works is that if you find something valuable, you need to make a reasonable effort to locate the original owner(s) of the item before it can be considered yours. Since the original owner in this case is the Iraqi government, it’s most likely that they won’t have a problem tracking them down. Sucks for Mead and his friend, absolutely, but that’s just the way the world works.

Speaking of Mead, he and his friend say that they’re just happy to still have an old tank to restore. What would you do if you found a bunch of gold bars in something you purchased? Let us know below.

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Written by Shanda de Vries


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