Gold has long represented a safe haven for nervous investors, and the latest financial meltdown has again borne witness to skyrocketing gold prices. Now a German company hopes to capitalize on public distrust of banks by putting real, solid gold bars into those sweaty hands via vending machines, the first of which was just installed in Frankfurt Airport. Right next to the iPod machine.
Travelers can purchase coins and gold bars in sizes such as 1 gram, 10 grams or even 250 grams from the machine, which debuted two weeks ago. The founder of TG-Gold-Super-Markt hopes to eventually expand to other sites in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, as well as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, according to The Telegraph.
The gold even comes with its own gift box and at a price 20 percent cheaper than what customers could get at a German bank, says the website advertising the new "Gold-To-Go" machine. But the company cautions that gold from such machines should be treated as a novel present, rather than a serious investment – and besides, serious investors can still get a better deal on open market gold prices.
Having a bunch of physical gold sitting around could present security concerns, which is why TG-Gold-Super-Markt turned to WBA Heusel GmbH -- another German company which provides armor plated vehicles for clients ranging from the German Special Police to the U.S. military and the United Nations.
"The Gold To Go vending machine will fulfill the same safety standard as an ATM," said Uwe Heusel, owner of WBA Heusel GmbH. His company used armoring made of special steel, Kevlar and various ceramic materials to harden the vending machine against vandalism or even explosive blasts.
So just remember, it's probably a bad idea to kick this vending machine.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.