British tactical vehicle collector Nick Mead bought a T54/69, the Chinese-made tank patterned after a Russian T-55, for £30,000 (roughly $37,000) on eBay. But when he began restoring it, he discovered that he’d purchased more than just an armored fighting machine.
When he opened one of the T54/69’s diesel fuel tanks, Mead and his mechanic Todd Chamberlain discovered five 12-pound gold bars reportedly valued at about £2 million, according to The International Business Times. In U.S. dollars, that’s roughly $2.5 million. However, the Times also suggests that based on the current market value of gold, their worth is closer to $1.24 million.
Mead stumbled upon the cache after discovering machine gun ammo while stripping the machine and growing concerned that additional rounds might remain inside the fuel tank, reported The Sun.
The two men believe the bars were hidden by Iraqi looters in Kuwait during the Gulf War. The T54/69 was a Chinese copy of the Soviet T-55 medium tank and sold in large quantity to the Iraqi Army during the 1980s.
“They must have cut a hole in the fuel tank and rammed it full of gold bars,” Mead said.
He runs a company called Tanks-A-Lot, which rents out military and other tactical vehicles for use in TV, movies, and private events, according to Popular Mechanics. But we’re sure the T54/69 will add quite a bit of value to his collection.