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The E-Sylum: Volume 17, Number 52, December 21, 2014, Article 7

NEW BOOK: OPERATION MIDAS

E-Sylum readers are familiar with Operation Bernhard, the WWII Nazi scheme to counterfeit British and other banknotes. But less familiar is a Nazi scheme to counterfeit gold coins. The Birmingham Mail published an article today about a new book that describes the Nazi scheme and traces some of the coins. It's available on Amazon in e-book and paperback formats. Who will be the first to write a review for The E-Sylum? -Editor

Operation Midas book It's the glinting mountain of Fool’s Gold, commissioned by the Fuhrer, that flooded into war-torn Britain in a bid to break the bank.

Fake, high value coins were churned out in their millions, used to melt our stretched economy, pay foreign agents and finance the Nazi war machine abroad.

And one well-known Walsall collector believes the bogus bullion is still out there. Many of the sovereigns stashed away by Midland family’s as an investment may be the residue of the Reich’s counterfeit industry.

For the veteran dealer, who has hidden his identity, fearing the bombshell findings will spark a backlash from fellow dealers, a chance meeting in India began the global hunt for Nazi gold.

There, a German woman with ancestral links to Hitler’s hierarchy, asked the 77-year-old to value a rare James II guinea – a coin worth over £2,500 in good condition. It was a fake: a near perfect fake, but a dud, nonetheless. And its provenance led our man straight to Friedrich Schwend, the Nazi industrialist tasked with destabilising Allied powers through a stream of Mickey Mouse money.

He was the Facist “fence” for near undetectable coins and notes, crafted by master forgers forced to slave round the clock in Blocks 18 and 19 of Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp.

The Black Country coin expert, working with private investigator Peter Gill, has now released a book – “Operation Midas”, the name given to the complex coin con – on his two-year probe into Hitler’s money laundering operation.

Nazi counterfeit gold coins

But while the fruits of Operation Bernhard were burned long ago, the faux riches spewed out in sadistic sweat shops by Operation Midas remain. And the rogue coins still foil many an expert.

“The James II guinea worn by that woman in an Indian hotel back in 2011 was the best counterfeit coin I’ve seen,” said Max.

“For a gold coin, there are three tests of authenticity. The weight test, which eradicates all but the thickest gold plate. The acid test, where nitric acid burns through anything that isn’t the real McCoy. The scratch test which reveals non-precious metal under the gold.

“Not surprisingly, the latter two tests are seldom used because they deface the coins. Nazi gold, however, passes all three. It’s still out there and dealers know it, many getting round accusations of selling forgeries by slapping an ‘as seen’ notice on gold coins for sale.

“In layman’s terms, that’s a ‘buyer beware’ warning.”

The Fuhrer’s funny money was destined for a global audience – and it was needed: Reichsmarks were only accepted in Nazi occupied territories and Hitler’s spies needed to grease palms abroad.

To read the complete article, see:
Walsall coin collector and private investigator probe Nazi gold dumped in Britain during World War 2 (www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/walsall-coin-collector-private-investigator-8325636)



Wayne Homren, Editor

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The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.

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