Is It True - Swiss 20 Francs 1935 LB Contain Mercury

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by Argenteus Fossil, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. Argenteus Fossil

    Argenteus Fossil Active Member

    While reading old threads I encountered a thread from 2008 in which a comment a few pages in referenced there were collectors that collect 1935 LB 20 Francs, Swiss. The claim was that the coins contain minute traces of mercury which could possibly be linked to seized dental gold.

    My question is not related to ethics or whether these ought to be collected or any other political discussion. I simply want to know if there is any truth to this claim? I could find no information.
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  3. Tinpot

    Tinpot Well-Known Member

    1935? Did they restrike that year? It doesn't seem likely from a historical perspective as I don't think much or any dental gold would of been seized till 1938 1939+ (assuming you are referring to german gold seized during the holocaust/world war 2)
    afantiques likes this.
  4. Argenteus Fossil

    Argenteus Fossil Active Member

    Good question! The 1935 LB 20 Francs were restruck in 1945, 1946, and 1947. My source for this information is from the PCGS set registry (link below).
  5. afantiques

    afantiques Well-Known Member

    The temperature of melted gold should be more than high enough to drive off any trace of mercury in vapour form. Mercury boils at 356C, gold melts at nearly three times that, just over 1000C. At three times its boiling point the vapour pressure of mercury would be very high indeed.

    When fire gilding bronze, quite a modest temperature is enough to drive off the mercury from the gold/mercury amalgam (I have used a simple gas blowtorch) leaving the gold on the bronze.

    This sounds like a myth, busted.

    Afterthought, any micro traces of mercury in gold could be a residue of the mining process, where mercury is used in gold extraction from ore.

    This is far more plausible than the suggestion of gold teeth. The latter sounds like anti Swiss propaganda and propaganda of all kinds can rely safely on the ignorance of the masses.
  6. desertgem

    desertgem MODERATOR Senior Errer Collecktor Moderator

  7. Argenteus Fossil

    Argenteus Fossil Active Member

    Thank you very much for the reply. I did not consider the chemistry to prove / disprove the claim. I was also unaware of the mining processes to obtain the precious metal.
  8. Argenteus Fossil

    Argenteus Fossil Active Member

  9. Teddydogno1

    Teddydogno1 Well-Known Member

    I agree...that story is hardly free of bias and should not be taken as fact by itself.

    As for the Swiss gold and mercury... it does seem more likely that any residue would br from the refining process. Mercury has LONG been used for gold extraction (California Gold Rush even).

  10. gxseries

    gxseries Coin Collector

    There are supposedly stories of Swiss bank procuring Nazi gold during WWII. Whether they weer sourced from dental fillings or not and struck coins with such - I don't know.

    With regards to dental fillings - I do not believe that they contain 100% mercury. They should be alloys of gold, palladium, silver etc. Whether the study continues to investigate traces of other elements which resemble dental fillings - this maybe another way to look at it.

    My question to you is, would it change the way of collecting coins if you believe certain coins were struck with "tainted metal"? I do not know of any mineral that is not tainted with blood.
  11. Argenteus Fossil

    Argenteus Fossil Active Member

    I'm not sure it would necessarily change anything for me. I do not own any of the said coins and have no plans of purchasing one. However, I know a lot of times people give very... interesting stories about coins in order to drive up interest in the coins; I'm sure you know the rest. Doing my due diligence on individuals, I ask the question of how accurate these stories are. Along the way I learn history (related to coins or not).

    Now you mention some stories of the Swiss procuring Nazi gold. Does this mean that the mercury content story is an exaggeration or stretch, but based off of the fact that the gold coins are minted from Nazi gold? How would I research that in itself or do you have additional information?
  12. princeofwaldo

    princeofwaldo Grateful To Be eX-I/T!

    How would you have liked to have been short the Swiss Franc this morning? Another couple days of currency appreciation like today and your 1935 Swiss 20 Franc will be worth more as currency than as gold.
  13. afantiques

    afantiques Well-Known Member

    Gold gets endlessly recycled, even gold sunk in shipwreck centuries ago, as people go to some trouble to fish it up. Buy a new wedding ring and there is a good chance it contains at least one atom of 'Nazi Gold'. The only way to be sure would be to pan the gold yourself and make the ring.

    Pretty much all the gold ever mined is knocking around somewhere. And there is plenty more about Each cubic mile of seawater contains some suspended gold, that about 17 million tons in all the oceans. Currently all the gold that's been mined and is knocking around amounts to 170,000 tons.

    Every gold eagle probably contains an atom of gold from every gold mine in the world, and probably atoms from gold owned by Julius Caesar and King Solomon.
  14. Argenteus Fossil

    Argenteus Fossil Active Member

    While I see your point and agree to some extent, I'm hoping here for a more close relationship. Nothing further than an arm's length or two.
  15. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    Gold is not politically correct.

    From The Treasure of the Sierra Madre by B. Traven, published in 1935.

    Anyway, gold is a very devilish sort of a thing, believe me, boys.

    The gold worn around the finger of an elegant lady or as a crown on the head of a king was more often than not passed through hands of creatures who would make that king or elegant lady shudder.

    There is little doubt that gold is oftener bathed in human blood than in hot suds. A noble king who wished to show his high-mindedness could do no better than have his crown made of iron.

    Gold is for thieves and swindlers. For this reason they own most of it. The rest is owned by those who do not care where the gold comes from or in what sort of hands it has been.​

  16. princeofwaldo

    princeofwaldo Grateful To Be eX-I/T!

    I always liked Mark Twain's definition of a gold mine. "A hole in the ground with a liar standing next to it". (Twain having been swindled on more than one occasion).
  17. smarch

    smarch Active Member

    Can't get enough of the yellow stuff...
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