Man Finds $2.4 Million Inside a Tank He Bought On eBay
One man in the United Kingdom had no idea that when he would make this purchase on eBay his life would be forever changed. He got a lot more than he paid for when he found this old tank online.
The small fortune that was inside changed him, his business, and his entire life forever. Check out this incredible story of a man who accidentally became a millionaire.
Who is Nick Mead?
Nick Mead is a tank enthusiast who gained incredible notoriety and success basically overnight. The history buff was a collector of tanks and had no idea how his hobby would lead him to a life changing adventure.
In addition to being an enthusiast himself, Nick also owns a company called Tanks-Alot, which sells tanks and other armored vehicles for driving classes, movie appearances, and more.
The Story Begins
Nick was online searching for a new tank to add to his collection and came across a beauty that he just had to get his hands on.
It was a Russian T-54 and the vehicle was actually what inspired him to create the business idea for Tanks-Alot. The business idea was only the first gift that the ex-army tank gave him.
Nick had a great appreciation for ex-army tanks and the Russian was so unique it inspired the business idea. He explained to the Daily Mail how it would work.
“I saw it advertised and I had this idea of doing a From Russia With Love experience, where people would come and drive three Russian tanks”. What was it about this particular tank that inspired the unique idea?
Nick Mead’s company was unique in that he got to combine his passion with a business that is necessary. Most of us probably have not given much thought to where the equipment we see in movies come from.
As it turns out, some of the tanks we’ve seen in war movies came right from Mead’s farm in Helmdon, England.
Other Benefits of the Business
In addition to renting out the tanks for major movies and television shows, Mead managed to make tanks accessible to all kinds of people who are interested in the vehicles.
At Tanks-Alot you can practice driving and even receive a tank driving license by completing a course. Then, if you so wish, you can even buy a tank of your own from Mead himself.
The Russian T-54 is a model of tank that was used in the years right after the Second World War by the Soviet Union. They’ve been used in more than one armed conflict, making their own mark on history.
There were about 100,000 Russian T-54 tanks in production. They stopped making the model in 1979 because technology allowed for newer models to be made. Regardless, this model was still used in conflicts all over the world: the Middle East, Vietnam, Angola, and more.
The Tanks Mark on History
The T-54 tank was used on the front lines of many of these historically significant battles. When the Soviet Union halted production to create new tanks, this model was still used by various other countries.
This made its impact even further reaching. Many of these tanks were improved upon by the other armies that used them.
The Man Who Missed Out
Nick Mead is the lucky man who came to own the tank, but a 23-year-old man named Joe Hewes is the man who listed the tank for sale. Poor Joe couldn’t have known he was selling so much more than an old tank when he listed the vehicle on eBay.
While he was more than happy to sell the tank, he ended up making a trade with Nick Mead. Mead traded him 2 of his own armed vehicles for the Russian T-54 which were worth about $42,000 together.
A Happy Trade
Both men were happy with the trade. Joe saw the value in the 2 tanks that he had received from Mead and Mead was ecstatic to get his hands on one of the T-54s as he didn’t have one himself.
Joe Hewes had no idea that the contents of the tank were worth more than 60 times what he had traded for the vehicle.
The Value of Tanks
Since mead was an avid collector, he knew the incredible value that can come with a tank. Not only do these vehicles have historical significance, but they were often used for more than just conflict.
In times of political uncertainty, these war machines were used to transport people and times to safety. For this reason, each tank has its own story and as Mead soon found out, its own secrets.
The History of Mead’s Tank
The specific tank that Mead purchased on eBay had its own interesting history. It has Soviet origins but it was actually manufactured in China. Not to mention, it had been used by the Iraqi army under the command of Saddam Hussain.
Tanks such as these had been used in the Iran-Iraq conflict throughout the devastating 8 years. After that, it was used in an invasion of Kuwait.
The Invasion of Kuwait
So, the tank has a long and sorted history that has crossed country boundaries and seen many conflicts. But, it was the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait that really made a mark on this vehicle.
Kuwait was a very wealthy Persian Gulf Nation, so when Iraq invaded, they looted tons of treasures. This tank, and others like it, transported these valuables.
Mead Gets to Work
When Mead received the tank, he and his team quickly got to work repairing the vehicle to be used for Tanks-Alot. Since the tank dated back to World War II, there was naturally a lot of wear and tear.
The team repaired damaged parts and replaced parts that had eroded away over time. Their goal was to return the tank to its former glory and get it to a fully operational condition.
Searching the Tank
Part of this process was to search the entire vehicle. They wanted to make sure that every nook and cranny was searched and inspected so that the tank could be fully operational for Tanks-Alot.
Mead and his team were incredibly diligent because they knew that one overstep would mean putting the team in danger when the tank was running. In their thorough search process they came across something very unusual.
As Mead and his diligent team searched the vehicle for broken parts they found something that was out of place and very suspicious. One of the tank’s fuel canisters was not working.
What made this really suspicious was that it appeared like the piece had been purposefully disabled. As they took a closer look they realized why.
The team could tell that something really strange was wrong with the canister. In fact, there was something hidden inside that had caused it to malfunction. They could tell that the weight of the canister was wrong.
They wondered what could be hidden within it and why it had been stowed away in secrecy. Obviously, whoever hid this item did not want it to be found.
The team carefully removed the item gingerly. They knew that with such an old vehicle, it was possible that the item had the potential to put them all in danger.
The team discovered that the misplaced item in the canister was a stockpile of ammunition. They couldn’t tell how old the bullets were or if they were even fit for use. They reported the finding to the authorities to be on the safe side.
Another Suspicious Discovery
After the first finding, the team knew the tank had the capacity to hide a secret so they continued to explore the vehicle. What other hidden treasures might be hidden in there?
Sure enough, Mead and his team uncovered another fuel tank that was not functional. It was even heavier than the last one so they knew there must be another mystery hidden inside. Could it be even more ammunition?
The Safe Route
As the team began to disconnect the canister, as they had with the previous one, they grew suspicious that whatever was inside was entirely different from the ammunition they found in the first one.
They decided to begin recording the process just in case whatever was inside was illegal. That way, they could protect themselves from any legal trouble. And we’re awfully happy they did because they recorded the discovery of buried treasure.
The canister was far heavier than the last one so it took two men with crowbars to wedge it out. One of Mead’s team members reached inside and struggled to pull out an item that was very heavy.
He pulled out what looked to be a brick, but when he wiped it against his shirt that brick turned out to be very shiny. It was, in fact, a gold bullion. They had struck gold (literally)!
The team couldn’t believe what they had discovered! The discovery was the kind of loot that pirates dream of. Mead and his tema felt incredibly lucky to have come across the bounty.
And there was more than one. Mead and his team started to pull out gold bars one by one until they were looking at 5 gold bullions. One team member expressed that the experience was even better than a dog having puppies!
Were They For Keeps?
After the excitement from the discovery had died down, the question on everyone’s mind was, “Could they keep the treasure?” They had no idea who the gold had belonged to or how old the discovery was.
Mead had purchased the thing on eBay. Did that give him ownership of everything inside the tank as well as the tank itself? Mead demanded that they do everything by the book and they would report everything they found to the authorities,who would make the decision.
Getting Authorities Involved
Mead turned over the gold bars to the police. The officers left him with nothing but a receipt and returned to the station. The gold bars were locked away in the station for safe keeping.
They began working to find the rightful owner of the treasure. Everyone wondered, “Where did the gold come from and who did they belong to?” Not to mention, how did they end up hidden in a Russian T-54 tank?
Theories About the Gold
It is theorized that the gold was stolen from Kuwait during the invasion in 1990. Throughout this invasion, Iraqi soldiers took billions of dollars worth of valuables and these gold bars were likely part of this siege.
Some of which was returned, but obviously not all of it was uncovered. Others theorize that it might have been stolen from Saddam Hussain’s personal gold stash.
After all was said and done, the gold was estimated to be worth about $2.4 million! While it might have been tempting for Mead and his team to hold on to that enormous chunk of change, they did the right thing in turning it over to the authorities.
Without knowing the origins of the gold, the team couldn’t be certain of where it came form or if it would be safe to hold onto it.
Mead’s Collection Grows
Today, Mead has over 150 tanks in his impressive collection. He did not stop with the Russian tank, although the gold was certainly the most exciting find he has discovered in one of his purchases.
His collection comes from all over the world and each has its own story and history, which fascinate Mead and his team. As he well knows, they can hold secrest for decades, like a vault.
Mead’s interesting hobby has gained him notoriety across the internet. He’s well known in his own community for his collection and he shares the excitement and thrill of driving powerful vehicles with anyone who wishes to visit the farm.
In fact, Mead had been in the news before his discovery. Apparently, he had made a name for himself as the man who drives his two sons to school in a 17-tonne tank! That’s one way to make an entrance.
Mead is well known in town for taking his tanks on the road. Apparently, the giant vehicles are actually street legal! He explained, “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”.
He takes pleasure in the shocked faces and enjoys spending time with his sons in the tanks he admires so much.
Who Will Get the Gold?
Obviously, Mead holds onto hope that the gold will be eventually turned back over to him, but it is uncertain if it will be returned to him or not. More likely, he will receive some kind of finder’s fee.
The viral story did bring attention to his collection and his company, which helped the business boom! So regardless of if he gets to keep the gold or not, the discovery was a life changing moment he will not soon forget.