Collecting things is a popular hobby, and people sure can collect some strange items. The most common things to collect are stamps, bottle caps, coins, and dolls. What if someone were to collect tanks? Yes, a tank. There are actually people who collect them. One collector, Nick Mead of the UK got a tank, and a surprise of a lifetime. Mead operates a company called Tanks-A lot, which maintains a fleet of tanks for corporate and recreational use. He got the tank in question through Ebay. It’s shocking that Mead found a tank on Ebay; but it’s even more surprising what he found inside of the tank.
Mead snagged a Russian T-54, by trading a British army truck and a self- propelled howitzer. It turned out to be the luckiest and best trade of his life. Mead and everyone else in the tank collecting business were in for a huge surprise.
This T-54 is a Russian tank; it was originally made by the Soviet Union in the wake of WWII. It was a popular tank, which was used in several wars. They were used in the Vietnam War, Angola, and Middle East. There were about 100,000 made, before they became obsolete in 1979.
A man named Joe Hewes listed the tank on Ebay. He intended on selling it, originally- but ended up trading with Mead for it. The combined value for both vehicles that Mead traded was about $42,000. Hewes thought this deal was fair, but if he had known what was inside the tank- he never would have sold it.
Tanks are known for being the perfect vehicle for war, but they can do a lot more than that. They are also used to transport goods and people. Mead knew this and wanted to make sure there wasn’t anything illegal hiding in his new tank. His thorough search paid off- literally.
The Iraqi Invasion
The tank is thought to have been used during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait by the Iraqi army. The invasion saw Iraqi troops take huge amounts of artifacts and treasures from Kuwait- where they were stuffed into tanks and brought back to Iraq. This is thought to have happened with the tank bought by Nick Mead.
Fixing Up The Tank
The staff at Tanks- A lot thoroughly examined the tank when they received it. They gave the tank a face lift, replaced worn parts, and performed some general maintenance. The team also opened every compartment checking for illegal goods, and videotaped the process for legal reasons.
The Fuel Canister
While the team was restoring the tank, they found something strange. One of the fuel canisters weren’t properly working. It looked to them like someone had intentionally made it inoperative. The canister was also exceptionally heavy.
A Full Fuel Canister
The fuel canister was actually full of a bunch of ammo. The team set the ammunition aside to turn it into the authorities. The team was extremely surprised that they found ammo in the tank, and it made them think there might be other things hiding in the tank.
After thoroughly searching the tank, the team discovered another suspicious fuel canister. This canister was a lot heavier, than the first. When they got it opened, they were in for a surprise of a lifetime.
They figured that the tank was just carrying more guns, which would make sense as to why it was heavier than normal. The team continued filming, for legal reasons- that way they would be legally protected if they were to find something illegal. When they removed the canister from its housing, it was so incredibly heavy- they had no idea what it could be. It turns out they were about to be considered a very lucky group.
They Struck Gold
The canister was finally opened, and to their surprise- it was a brick of metal. When they cleaned it up a bit, they realized that it was a solid bar of gold. Can you imagine unexpectedly finding a solid bar of gold? They were unbelievably shocked.
Gold Is In The Air
Chamberlain reached back into the tank and happily pulled out another gold bar. As everyone was filled with excitement, he continued to pull out bar after bar. He pulled out a total of five bouillon bars.
They Were Rich! Wait- Were They?
Everyone was so excited, because they believed they were all now significantly richer. Mead thought, that since they were turning in all of the ammo, they should turn in the gold as well. He wanted to make sure they did everything in accordance to the law.
Short Lived Gold
Mead immediately called the police, when the police arrived; they gave Mead a receipt for the gold, and then confiscated it. The gold is currently sitting in a UK police station, while the police attempt to find the owner of the gold.
Mead has the receipt in a deposit box, safely tucked away. One day, it may be his receipt to living life as a rich man. But for now, he continues to run Tanks- A lot.
Wanting To Be A Tank Collector?
Mead is not the only tank collector in the world; however he is probably the most famous at the moment. He maintains a sizable collection, where he has for personal and profit reasons.
The company mostly deals with tanks; but they also have a bunch of other vehicles. They are mostly used to rent out for television programs and films. The tanks can also be rented for a day. You can also drive and shoot a tank on Tanks-A lot premises.
Even More Fun
The tanks are kept on Meads farm in Helmdon, England. You can drive and shoot the tank, or even drive over a car with the tank. Tanks- A lot even offers tank driving licensing, and sells tanks to those who are licensed.
You Can Own A Tank Too
This company is not the only tank rental business. He has competitors too, just like any other business. Tanks may be expensive; however it is possible to buy your own. Buying a tank is an option for those interested.
Mead has collected his tanks from all around the world. He has about 150 tanks. Each tank has an interesting story behind them, but with the T-54 bearing $2.4 million dollars’ worth of gold, it has a pretty amazing story in its own.
A Challenger 1
Nick Mead is the only private citizen in the world who is allowed to own a Challenger 1 tank. That tank is currently in active use by the British military. Nobody knows for sure how Mead came to acquire a Challenger 1.
Nick Mead is very proud of his tanks. He happily drives them around on a regular basis. He was already a known figure in the tank world before the T-54 came along, now he is worldwide famous in the tank industry.
Being Semi Known
Mead was semi known, before he found the gold. He once made headlines for dropping his kids off at school in a tank. Mead says, that his kids aren’t even impressed by tanks anymore- they are just so used to them at this point.
Driving Tanks In Public
It’s actually legal to drive a tank on public roads in the UK, and Mead does this regularly. He shocks people on the road. “People do a double take”, he says. “They can’t believe it, and when they see the tax disc which verifies it’s road legal, they’re even more gob smacked.”
Mead describes that police find it very confusing when he drives on the road. He said in an interview to The Telegraph, “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,” People also wave “as if their hands are going to drop off.”
Driving insanely large tanks down a public street is risky. According to Mead, “But in my 20 years driving tanks I’ve never had one crash. I’m always extremely careful, especially with the kids,”
Where Did The Gold Appear From?
The gold Mead found was more than likely taken during the invasion of Kuwait in 1990, by Iraqi soldiers. Only a portion of the riches have been returned since then.
Turning It In
Anyone would have considered keeping the gold; however, Mead did the smart thing and turned it in. It’s a good thing he didn’t keep the gold, since his family was present for the reveal- if the word got out, he and his family would have been targets for armed theft.
Tanks-Alot Goes Viral
Meads gold story instantly went viral. People were shocked by Mead finding the gold, and they were also surprised that you can buy a tank online. The man who sold Mead the tank, Joe Hewes- isn’t bitter or holds a grudge that Mead found the gold. However, he does expect to be taken out for a beer, if Mead ever gets ahold of the gold.
Will Mead Get The Gold?
If the police cannot track down the rightful owner of the gold, then there’s a tiny chance that Mead will get it. More than likely, he will be rewarded a finder’s fee. The fee will might be a big one, considering that the gold is worth $2.4 million.
The Criticism Of Mead’s Decision
Mead actually received a lot of criticism on social media, because he didn’t keep the gold. Other people are apparently alright with breaking the law.
The Criticism Continues
There are also people who believe that Mead should be entitled to have the gold since he bought the tank. The law; however, sees the situation differently. The gold was more than likely taken from Kuwait; therefore, if the speculation is verified, the gold should be returned.
Some People Understand
Not everyone believes Mead should have broken the law. Some people believe he made the smart decision, even though it was a difficult decision to make. Hopefully Mead is rewarded with a large finder’s fee, or with the entire gold stash. Mead and his family’s life would forever change, if that were the case.