What Do We Have Here
Nick reached inside the broken canister. He was a brave man used to taking risks. How else could he increase his luck? He had to take a chance. His hand grazed past something cold, which made him pull his hand out in exclamation.
He glanced over the tank, wondering if there was any hidden treasure. He wasn't a prideful man and merely enjoyed the excitement of discovery.
Nick Mead was born and raised in England, Northampton. Ever since childhood, he has been fascinated with the army and warfare. He enjoyed collecting things all armour vehicle-related.
He had an impressive collection of war books and memorabilia, as well as toys and figurines. This made him very popular with his friends. He enjoyed talking about tanks.
Nick's childhood hobby quickly turned into an expensive habit as an adult. He continued to search for rare war artifacts. Now he had his own money and could purchase anything he desired. He was getting out of control.
Nick realized he had a problem and told his family that this was the last time he would buy anything. He thought of other ways to make money. He then had a great idea to share his great warfare collection with the world.
A Risky Business
Mr. Mead was well-known in his community. A few of his friends really admired his army collection. They encouraged him that other community members would enjoy learning about these machines as a first-hand experience.
A month went by in business planning, and Tanks A Lot was born. Nick's idea was a great success. Everyone, including children, enjoyed the fun rides on the huge machines. He was making some money back by charging small fees for the rides and viewing.
Rare Tank Found
One day, Nick casually browsed through eBay, and something unusual caught his eye. He spotted an advert for an old Soviet T-54 tank. This was a one-of-a-kind tank, and Nick wished to have it.
He immediately contacted the seller. The man was waiting for a better offer and was not going to give in so easily. Nick had some convincing to do if he wanted this item. He quickly called the seller, who named his price. Nick was even more interested in the challenge and schemed how he was going to acquire this precious Tank.
We Have A Deal
Unfortunately for Nick when the Seller learned who he really was, he wanted something extra in exchange. You see, the seller was also a Collector of Rare Tank Memorabilia.
The seller wanted two of Nick's most Prized Tanks. Nick struggled to make a decision. After almost a month of deliberation, he agreed to the Seller's Terms. He may have lost two of his favorite pieces, but he was going to find something else to replace it.
Nick was a know-it-all when it came to Tanks. He knew that they had multi-purposes during times of War. They were also used to carry money and Gold away from the Battleground.
During the Iraq-Iran War, this Model of the T-54 was the most commonly used. It was a strong and durable machine built to withstand attack. Nick would be surprised to see what other purpose his new tank had when he later checked the canister.
A Closer Look
Upon one of the vehicle's safety inspections, something unusual was discovered. Nick's Tank Team was checking the vehicle per normal when one of them accidentally broke a canister.
Nick rushed over to help his employee. He saw that the canister was older than the others and had been broken at the top. He tried to break the top open completely to see what was inside.
Share The News
Thousands of bullets started falling to the floor with a melodious clatter. Nick was astounded and stepped back as they fell at his feet. He was worried they could go off.
Nick carefully packed the bullets away. He knew how sensitive old pieces could be. He was still in a state of shock as his team was chattering on about the great find. When he came to his senses, he went straight to Police to report his rare find.
His best friend and fellow Mechanic, Todd Chamberlain, was one of the first to congratulate his discovery. He hugged his friend and said their problems were over now. Todd helped to video record everything accordingly.
Nick was glad he had Todd's advice. Together they recorded the whole vehicle and checked for any more hidden. Luckily they were together because what happened next shocked them both.
There Must Be More
Nick knew there must be more hidden within the tank. As such, he and his staff went to town to search every nook and cranny of the vehicle.
He couldn’t afford for the old arsenal to be left within the tank. If a civilian became maimed by something he had missed inside the vehicle, he would be held accountable. And so, the great search began. But Nick was not prepared for what was found next.
Not Ready For This
Finding the next bit of hidden treasure wasn’t as hard as Nick thought. The team came across another faulty fuel canister. But this was different from the one before. It took two staff members to pry the canister off of its holding bracket with crowbars.
This canister seemed to weigh a ton. Quickly, Nick bore a hole in the bottom of the fuel tank to see if he could reach inside. He thought he’d find guns to accompany the hidden bullets he had found earlier. But this tank held a far richer keep.
A Hidden Fortune
As Nick slid his hand across the smooth surface, he got an instant thrill. Quickly, he latched onto the bar and pulled it out of the canister. This discovery sent him reeling. In his hand, Nick held a gleaming gold bullion.
He absolutely could not believe his luck! Nick marveled at the bar and showed it to the team. Their eyes grew wide as they jolted into action, feeling encouraged and inspired.
Each of them grabbed a crowbar and tackled the heavy canister together. Their strength doubled with the adrenaline of the incredible moment.
On the count of three, they hoist the canister out to see what else was hidden within. And this is when things began to really heat up. With every second, they were closer to a discovery that would change their lives forever.
More Than Meets The Eye
One of Nick’s engineers began to reach into the fuel tank. And it seemed every time his hand came out, it was holding another bullion.
In total, the tank contained five gold bars! This was estimated to cost a whopping $2.4 million. Nick was baffled by the monumental find. But now, he was plagued by his conscience. What would he do with this treasure?
First, Nick had to make sure that what he found was real. Although it sure felt and looked real, he had to be sure. So, he grabbed a weighing scale and nervously set them down.
It was as expected, each gold bar weighed about twelve pounds. These were definitely not fake. Nick really had found 2.4 million pounds worth of gold! But could he keep them?
Everything in Nick’s being wanted to hold on to the bars. But he knew this was not a morally sound decision, nor a safe one. If he kept ownership of the bars, he would put his business and family at great risk.
He would be a target for crime should anyone learn of his fortune. As such, Nick decided to call the local police force. But still, he needed to know what would become of the bars.
Nick brought the gold bars to the police station the next day and told them everything about his discovery. He brought his camera to record this conversation too.
With a find this huge, he wanted to make sure he had proof of everything. He watched as the police gasped and stared in shock at Nick's story. But what they said next made Nick suspicious.
They asked Nick for the details of its previous owner and said that the first thing they should do is try to determine who actually owns the gold bars.
Nick agreed but also thought that the previous owner could claim he owned the gold bars if he wanted to. But it was obvious he never knew they were there. The canister wasn't opened for a very long time after all. He braced himself for a legal battle.
A Mysterious Owner
Nick was given a receipt by the police who then took the bars into police custody. The authorities would try and find the rightful owners of the goods. But what would happen should the previous owner or no one claim them at all?
Nick wasn't sure. But still, for safekeeping, he kept the receipt of the bars in a bank vault. Authorities came back with a baffling theory on who the previous owners may be.
Luckily his legal battle never came. The police explained the previous owner was shocked at the find but didn't dare claim the gold as his own. Instead, they had another wild theory.
The police shared the news that Nick sure was not ready for. They speculated that the owner of the gold may have been Saddam Hussein himself!
What Will Happen?
The police told Nick that his type of tank was favored by the war veteran during the Iraq-Iran war. Plus, Saddam Hussein's troops were known to pillage the rich Persian Gulf.
That would explain the gold and how it got there. But for how long were they there, and how could they have been left there by the troops? This is where the story got wilder.
The Iran-Iraq war was a protected armed conflict that began in 1980 when Iraq invaded its neighbor, Iran. The war lasted eight years and ended with a cease-fire in 1988 and a formal peace agreement in 1990.
Saddam Hussein, Iraq's president at the time, wanted to seize control of the rich oil-producing Iranian border region of Khuzestan. But once they started attacking the oil-tanker shipping that supplied the rest of the world, the US and Europe got involved to ensure a steady flow to the rest of the world. But what about the gold?
The gold is thought to be Kuwaiti in origin—Iraqi forces engaged in wide-scale 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. But obviously, 5 bars escaped the authorities and through incredible odds, ended up in the hands of Nick.
The Legend Continues
Nick was not only involved in a discovery of a lifetime but now felt even more connected to his life's mission of collecting and repurposing old war tanks, as well as the Iraq-Iran war.
Even though he has the most incredible story to tell, he was still left with one crucial question. Who did the gold actually belong to?
That’s still a mystery, and it seems like it might remain so, at least for the time being. But in the meantime, Nick has an awesome story to tell.
However, this is not the first time someone inadvertently encounters something of inestimable worthwhile looking for a bargain on eBay. That’s what happened to Mike Colquhoun, a man from Edinburgh whose eBay purchase came with what he least expected.
Mike Colquhoun, aged 37, had been living in Edinburgh for his entire life. After attending Edinburgh College of Art, he remained in his city, building a successful career in marketing and communications.
To anyone who knew him, Ross might have seemed like he had his life perfectly together. But that was far from the truth.
Not many people were aware of it, but Mike’s background had little to do with how his life was now. His path to adulthood and success had been everything but a path strewn with roses.
Growing up, things weren’t easy at home. His family situation was very different from that of his peers, and he was always aware of that.
Mike grew up without a father. He never really knew what happened between his mother and father until he was well into his late teens.
After finding out, he couldn’t help but harbor resentment toward his father for years. However, in time he would learn that it wasn’t all as black and white as it may have seemed.
His Mom Was The Mistress
What his mom Alice had told him was this: when she and Mike’s dad met, he was a married man, and she became his mistress. He was a wealthy attorney and she was a working-class girl.
Time and time again, Mike’s dad would promise his mom that he was about to divorce his wife, who couldn’t conceive, to marry her. The situation went on for years until Alice conceived Mike.
Mike never knew clearly whether his parents actually intended for him to be conceived. Alice always said she was always the one insisting to Mike’s father about having kids, but she would have never dared scheming to get pregnant without talking to her man first.
Sometimes, her story seemed to hint that the pregnancy was an accident; at others, she said that they had been talking about having kids for a while. So for years, Mike was left in the dark about this.
But shortly after Alice became pregnant with Mike, the man disappeared from her life without a trace. Even though she tried to reach him for almost two years, she finally gave up.
She even said that even if the man tried to come back into their lives, she would never entertain the possibility. She harbored too much anger, too much resentment for what he had done to her and Mike.
A Tough Childhood
Naturally, she passed on the same resentment to Mike. It wasn’t easy to grow up without a father: although he couldn’t say he ever wanted for anything, his mom’s measly officer cleaner salary could only cover the strictly necessary.
But that wasn’t all. The worst part was the feeling of loneliness derived from not having a male figure to look up to in his childhood and adolescence.
However, this didn’t stop Mike from putting in the effort and drive to achieve a good, fulfilling life. Now, he had a successful career, a loving wife, and hoped to become a father soon and give his son everything he didn’t have growing up.
However, he always felt that void inside of him. No matter how hard he tried to repress it, he always felt like something was lacking. Until one day.
Ever since he was a kid, Mike was a soccer aficionado. He knew all of Britain’s clubs’ history and all sorts of trivia and facts about historic players.
He also enjoyed collecting soccer memorabilia and browsing on eBay for new pieces for his collection. One evening, he found something that instantly piqued his interest. He still didn’t know that there was more to it than it seemed.
One day, Mike found some programmes and team sheets of a Hearts of Midlothian Liverpool 2012 game. Instantly, he purchased it.
“I've always had an affinity with Liverpool because one of the few facts I knew about my Dad's Mum was that she was from Liverpool,” he explains. He could have never suspected where his purchase would take him.
It was his own father who was selling the item. This is how Mike recounts it in a post he made on his social media:
“Just before the pandemic started, without knowing, I bought something on eBay from my Dad, who I’ve never met. He refunded it. Two years later, it started me on a journey to get to know my family that I didn’t grow up with. And tonight I met my sister Erin for the first time.”
“We laughed, we cried, and we shared stories. It felt like we’d known each other our entire lives. I was extremely nervous, but it was an absolutely beautiful and life-affirming experience.”
“We talked about our lives and experiences, which seem remarkably similar. Erin studied at Glasgow School of Art, whereas I attended Edinburgh College of Art.” But why did they never know about each other?
The True Story
As Mike’s dad told him, Erin came to his and Alice’s lives one year before Mike was born. However, the man was still haunted by doubts and remorse about what he was doing to his wife.
Eventually, he decided to end things with Alice. She agreed on one condition: to adopt Erin as her daughter so she could have a nice, prosperous life, letting her keep Mike.
Eventually, things faded out between Alice and Mike’s dad. The two of them had been too afraid of telling their children the truth, but Mike’s dad couldn’t deal with regret. So when he found his son’s profile on eBay he decided to reach out and make up for his mistakes.
“The trepidation is still there, but I'm really looking forward to meeting the family members I've yet to meet,” Mike says.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.