On our travels, and in the places we live, we’ve seen golden statues adorn many public buildings and monuments; we’ve heard of the gigantic golden Buddhas in Asia and the bustling golden souks of the Middle East. Bling is everywhere, in many forms, but seldom do we take much note the ostentatious metal. Maybe it’s because we’re so used to seeing it and having it that we’ve grown oblivious to it as a commodity. This spangly yellow metal is hot stuff right now, and if you’ve got some spare cash to invest, you should be looking into buying a share or two of gold.
But, if you’re like most of us, and the only thing you can invest in at the moment is a gold plated napkin ring, then why not spend some of your free minutes, but no less precious, feasting your eyes on these bizarre golden nuggets.
1. Turkmenbashi the Golden
If you haven’t already heard of him, you’ll love the audacity of the egotistical, gold-loving ex-President of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov. The man was a hoot. Serving from 1990 until his death in 2006, Niyazov so loved himself that he had gold statues erected in various spots around the capital city, Ashgabat, changed his name to Türkmenbaşy (Turkmenbashi), meaning Leader of Turkmens, and altered the national anthem to include various references to himself. Other strange decrees saw the days of the week and months changed to famous Turkmen poets and heroes names, doctors swearing on oath to the President in place of the Hippocratic Oath and pensioners having their pensions stopped with orders to pay back the previous two years to the state. Needless to say Niyazov’s successor had his work cut out for him when he took up office.
2. Naked Gold Men
In August this year, unauthorized, life-sized golden sculptures of anatomically correct men were abandoned in Seattle’s Gas Works Park. Made from papier-mache and covered in gold in certain parts, the men appear to be hiding in sleeping bags or emerging from cocoons. Nearby, a plaque read: “Anew is gifted to the citizens of Seattle in the spirit of awakening. Each of us has shells to break through, parameters to look past, and wills to exercise. Arise and stand. And then start Moving. If still here, I will remove these once the rains return.” In good spirit, the Seattle Parks Department let the free art installation be for a few days as the public had given them so much positive feedback.
3. Golden Throne
Image: viaLuxury Insider
Talk about spending a penny… you’ll need a few extra bob if you want to use this golden throne. Put on show by Hong Kong jewellery company Hang Fung Hold Technology, the 24 karat, handcrafted loo is part of a display of golden artefacts, which weigh in at a total of one tonne altogether. With the climbing price of gold it’s thought the company will now melt down the contents of the Hall of Gold – worth about $32 million – to finance their expansion plans. Although, because the golden lavatory has been such a hit with the tourists, there’s talk it just might escape a sticky end.
4. Golden Moss
Although recently Kate Moss has been snapped in some less then appealing positions, this view of her has got to be the most bizarre. Created by British artist Marc Quinn, the contorted, life-size, solid gold figure is entitled Siren, and is about trying to live up to impossible dreams or immortality. The golden Kate is reportedly the largest solid gold statue made since the days of Ancient Egypt and is worth a whopping $2.7 million.
5. Gold Pills
Now here’s something for those people who are truly too rich to notice, and too stupid to realise when they’ve been had. Filled with tiny 24 karat dollar-shaped gold pieces, these gold-dipped pills are worth $425 each and were created with the intention that the owner ingests them “to increase their self-worth”. Not only are they a waste of money, they also have the added benefit of making waste sparkle – your own waste! Nice.
6. Leica in Gold
As early as the 1930s, gold clad Leica cameras were being manufactured for those with enough money to buy whatever they wanted. Over the years a number of fake gold Leicas were produced, mainly by the Soviets. The fake gold colour was created by using either polished brass or a gold wash solution. Animal skin was also used to allure the more discerning gold buyer into thinking it was a unique, limited edition Leica. The images here show a rare edition of the Leica R4 with Summilkux 50 and one that’s on display for Leica enthusiasts, in Michael’s Camera Museum, Melbourne, Australia.
7. Golden Etui
We think that people spoil themselves in this day and age, but take a leap back to the mid 1700s and have a look at what the ladies needed for their grooming way back when. This very rare etui dates around 1750 and is a perfect example of the French Rococo style of the time, with elaborate designs including charioteers and exotic birds. Replete with antique scissors, tweezers, nail file and pencil holder, it can be yours for a snip at $10,300.
8. Golfing Gold
You know golfers get way too much money when they can have vaults of gold clubs to add to their assests. Although, this vault doesn’t belong to any one golfer. In the 1970s, golf club maker Karsten Solheim wanted to devise a novel way to thank golfers for using his clubs during a tournament, So, he had two gold-plated replicas of the winning putter made and engraved with the golfers name – one he would give to the victor, the other he would keep at the company’s HQ in Phoenix, Arizona. The gold putt collection has since become a popular visitor’s attraction.
9. Stolen Golden Artefact
In May 2008, the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology were offering a $50,000 reward for the safe return of one of their precious gold artefacts. One of 15 objects stolen from the Museum was a decorative box made in 1967 by artist Bill Reid, famous for his works based on the Haida creation myth. The highly detailed and finely sculpted box is made entirely of gold and is one of the many pieces in the collection that was of significant cultural value. All but two of the stolen works were eventually recovered and security has since been stepped up at the Museum.
10. Golden Sculpture
Entitled Valiant Struggle, this arresting gold painted statue is part of an installation in Millennium Park, Chicago by Chinese artist, Chen Wenling. His large-scale sculptures are often strange looking, frequently consisting of happy, self-indulgent human and animal figures, often depicted as embracing. One of Chen’s signature images, the pig, is inspired by the folk art of his birthplace Fujian and although seen as a symbol of wealth locally he uses the pig in his art to represent contemporary Chinese society, while the human figures seem to be absorbed by the delights of material possession.
11. Gold Mountain
OK, so it’s not made of gold in the true sense of the word, but it does hold a heck of a lot of it. This amazing image is of Round Mountain Gold Mine in Big Smoke Valley Nevada. Operating since 1906, the open pit mine is about 2,500 metres long and 1,500 metres wide, and as of 2006 has produced over 10 million ounces of gold. That’s a lot of toilets.