The ex-Iraqi Army tank was hiding a surprise in its diesel fuel tanks.
The tank came into possession of Nick Mead, a tank , collector and owner of Tanks Alot, a company that offers tanks and other armored vehicles for driving classes, private events, and television and film appearances. Mead found the tank, an ex-Iraqi Army Type 69, on sale on eBay and traded it for an Abbot self-propelled howitzer and a British Army truck.
The Type 69 was a Chinese copy of the Soviet T-55 medium tank and sold in large numbers to the Iraqi Army during the 1980s. The Type 69 was armed with a 100-millimeter main gun and a 12.7-millimeter machine gun. The design, first introduced in 1949, is thoroughly obsolete but still serves in Third World armies around the world.
The gold is thought to be Kuwaiti in origin—Iraqi forces engaged in widescale looting of the country after the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Six months after the end of the war, Iraqi authorities returned 3,216 gold bars under UN supervision.
Although the story has been widely reported, the value of the gold bars doesn’t quite add up. Five gold bars weighing twelve pounds each should be worth only $1.2 million at current gold prices. Whatever the case, it’s still a pretty good deal.