Tank enthusiast Nick Mead went about buying random junk on eBay. Not only did he receive what he ordered, but he got way more than he bargained for.
His discovery made international headlines and could cause a stir in the Middle East. Nick’s story should make you feel a little better the next time you decide to splurge on a deal of a lifetime.
The Start Of A Treasure Hunt
Mead came across a Russian T-54 that was up for grabs on eBay. He was looking to expand his already large collection of tanks, and this one really stood out.
It turns out that Nick runs a tank driving experience company called Tanks-Alot and felt the Russian tank just had to be part of his fleet.
The Perfect Addition To His Collection
The Soviet T-54 is apart of a series of main battle tanks that were introduced by the Soviet Union. This came just after World War II.
These tanks have been involved in plenty of conflicts throughout its existence, so there was a rich history for Nick to tap into.
An Interesting Trade
Joe Hewes was a 23-year-old who posted the tank on eBay. He was more than happy to sell the tank. However, Hewes traded it with Mead instead. Hewes would trade the tank in exchange for two other armored vehicles.
That total price came to about $42,000. It’s estimated that over 100,000 Russian T-54’s were produced.
Mead has been collecting combat vehicles for quite some time and knows that what you see is not always what you get.
Despite being deadly war machines that can kill you like no tomorrow, but during times of conflict and uncertainty, they can also be used in less-traditional ways, like transporting people, or valuables.
Where Did The Tank Come From?
You might think that the Soviet tank was built in Russia, but it was actually manufactured in China. In a very strange turn of events, the tank was even used by the Iraqi army commanded by Saddam Hussain. Shortly after the war, tanks were used during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
During the invasion, Iraq would loot the rich Persian Gulf nation and come away with quite a few treasures.
The Team Gets To Work
Mead and his team at Tanks-Alot quickly went to work. The crew worked to examine the tank’s condition and started to replace parts that were damaged.
They even restored old parts which eroded over time, just so they can get the tank back to great condition and fully operational.
Wait, What’s That?
The team ran across something unexpected. One of the tank’s fuel canisters wasn’t working, and it seemed like there was something inside of it. By the weight of the canister, the team could tell that something was stored inside.
After carefully removing the canister, the team found something that they didn’t expect to see.
A Huge Haul
Tanks-Alot carefully removed the fuel canister and prepared themselves for what they were about to discover. The crew found a stockpile of ammunition. That discovery would have to be reported and turned over to the proper authorities for disposal.
There was no telling how old the bullets were or if they were even good to use.
But There’s Even More
As the team continued to poke around after the first find, there found more hidden secrets inside. The team found another fuel tank that wasn’t functional, just like the first one. The tank was much heavier than the last one.
It wasn’t heavy because of fuel or more ammo, but something else instead.
Taking Things Slow
Based on their first find, the team was confident that the canister would hold firearms. After discovering the canister from the tank, they began to wonder if this was more ammunition or something completely different.
If the items were illegal, the team figured that they should make a video of their discovery so they couldn’t be blamed.
A Hidden Treasure
For the next canister, two people had to use crowbars just to get it up high enough to reach inside. Once they broke open the underside of the canister, they were able to reach inside.
After poking around, Mead’s colleague was able to pull out a brink of solid gold!
Count Those Bricks
The discovery immediately caught the whole team off guard, but also filled them with excitement. Mechanic Todd Chamberlin reached his hand back inside to see if there were any more gold bars. Every time he stuck his hand back in, more gold came out of it.
They ended up with five gold bullions in total.
Never in Tanks-Alot’s dreams did they think they’d walk away with a tank and a bunch of gold. But could they keep they keep their new found fortune?
Mead, who’s the owner of the business, stepped in with a firm foot. He said that they would do everything by the book, and report the find to the proper authorities.
Mead went ahead and called the police to notify them of what his team found. The officers came up to the farm, collected the gold bars, and left Mead with a receipt. It’s his only connection to the gold bars that are locked away in a UK police station.
The police, apparently, will contact the rightful owners of the gold.
You Can Buy Almost Anything Online
eBay is a pretty crazy place. People have sold things as strange as imaginary jobs and gum chewed by Britney Spears. But tanks, well, it looks like there’s a market for just about anything these days.
The endless void that is known as the internet can be dark, but it is definitely an intriguing place to be.
Who Is Nick Mead?
By the time Mead set out to buy this tank, he already had a wide collection of tanks in his arsenal. But, here’s the real mystery here folks. Was he attempting to overthrow the government, or was he just a military enthusiast?
Or was it something else completely?
What’s His Fascination With Tanks?
Meads business is out-of-the-ordinary. He runs a business that deals with tanks and other armored vehicles. If you happen to be a history buff, there is a chance you may have seen some of Mead’s tanks.
His company rents out tanks and other vehicles to be used in movies and TV shows.
Tanks-Alot Sounds Like An Amusement Park For Adults
The company is run on Mead’s farm in the village of Helmdon, England. You can actually drive around tanks and experience crushing a car with a tank too. You can even take a tank driving license course at the locations.
After passing your test, you’re allowed to buy a tank from his farm.
It’s Not That Hard To Own A Tank
It might seem impossible to buy a tank, but it’s not that difficult after all. In the United States and in the United Kingdom, there are a number of businesses similar to Mead’s.
In most circumstances, the main gun of the tank must be decommissioned, but the process of buying a tank isn’t overly difficult.
He’s Got Quite The Collection
Mead has collected over 150 tanks and it continues to grow. In fact, there are small countries that don’t even have 50 tanks! All the tanks Mead purchases come from across the globe. He knows that the tanks can be used for more than just war or movies.
Sometimes, people use them for hiding or smuggling, as we’ve seen so far.
He Holds A Unique Title
Mead stumbled upon a rather controversial tank in his collection. The Challenger 1 is a British tank and Mead holds the title of being the only private citizen in the world to own one.
What made it controversial was that it’s still in use by the British military in times of war.
Mead’s Kind Of A Celebrity
After all, it would be hard to hide a tank in a village. It’s no surprise that Mead can frequently be seen driving around his massive tanks.
That inspires customers to come running to his business to experience the thrill and adrenaline rush of driving one of these bad boys.
He’s Even In The News
It’s no secret that Mead is well-known in his community for not only his business, but also for his general enthusiasm for all things tank related. But, Mead is no ordinary Joe.
One day, he made the news for driving his kids to school in a 17-tonne tank.
You Can Actually Drive Them On The Streets
You will be surprised to learn that it’s legal to drive tanks on the streets. As you can imagine, this sounds more enjoyable than your average car. Mead says that he gets attention when drives them around.
“People often do a double take. They can’t believe it, and when they see the tax disc which verifies it’s road legal, they’re even more gobsmacked.”
Out For A Joy Ride
Mead has had the pleasure of testing the police with his legal rides on the roads. In an interview with The Telegraph, Mead said:
“The police often grin or look the other way and most of them don’t know what to do, it’s not every day you see a tank rolling into town.”
He Always Makes Sure To Drive With Caution
Mead has admitted that he’s had some close calls while driving the tank in town. The worst that’s ever happened was taking the fuel cap off a bus which was too close. He’s always sure to be extra cautious of his surroundings.
One wrong move could crush a care or even people.
Where Did The Gold Come From?
It’s believed that the gold bars were stolen by the Iraqi soldiers during the invasion of the Persian Gulf nation in 1990. After the war, 3,216 gold bars were returned to Kuwait. The return was overseen by United Nations forces.
After the US invasion of Iraq, troops found almost a billion dollars worth of gold.
Why Is Gold So Dangerous?
The gold Mead found in the Soviet tank is estimated to be worth $2.4 million. Mead’s entire company soon learned that the discovery got out to the public rather quickly.
If he kept the gold to himself, there was a good chance that robbers would have tracked down his house looted all of them.
His Story Went Viral
Mead’s interesting story suddenly blew up on social media. Everyone around the world was amazed by the discovery, especially since it came from eBay. Reporters even hunted down the 23-year-old who sold the tank to Meads.
As it turns out, he wasn’t mad about missing out on finding the gold himself.
Will Mead Get Anything From This?
To this day, British police are still tracking down the rightful owners of the gold. But, if they don’t find the rightful owners, then who gets the gold? Mead has stated many times that he keeps the receipt from the police in a bank vault to be safe.
If still keeps his fingers crossed, then maybe he will get to keep the five gold bullions after all.