International Association for Cryptologic Research
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Cryptograms on Gold bars from China

The following mystery was brought to IACR by the curator of a museum in the US. I don't have the complete story, but it seems that seven gold bars were allegedly issued to a General Wang in Shanghai, China, in 1933. These gold bars appear to represent metal certificates related to a bank deposit with a U.S. Bank. The gold bars themselves have pictures, Chinese writing, some form of script writing, and cryptograms in latin letters.

Not surprisingly, there is a dispute concerning the validity of the claim for the deposit. It may help to resolve the dispute if someone can decipher the cryptograms on the bars. Nobody has yet put for the a theory as to their meaning. I am also unable to recognize the script writing. The Chinese writing has been translated, and discusses a transaction in excess of $300,000,000. It also refers to these gold bars which weigh a total of 1.8 kilograms.

To assist in your investigation, I have compiled the cryptograms and their arrangements. Below are images of the bars, available in two sizes. The ones shown here are about 20K each, and clicking on any of them will download a larger version (about 200K). The gold bars were photographed against a blue or green background that appears around some edges.

Unfortunately, neither I nor IACR can provide any further information regarding this. If you are seriously interested in trying to solve the mystery, I advise you to contact one of the following individuals:

Bin J. Tao
15475 Rochlen St.
Hacienda Heights, CA 91745
Telephone and fax: (818) 333-6125
Peter Bisno
Law Offices of Bisno and Samberg
201 South Lake Avenue
Suite 411
Pasadena, CA 91101-3016
Telephone: (818) 585-8899
Fax: (818) 585-1899

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prepared by Kevin McCurley