• Germany's news in English

Frankfurt airport offers 'gold to go' vending machine

AFP · 22 Jun 2009, 08:18

Published: 22 Jun 2009 08:18 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Passengers who clear security at Frankfurt airport and fear inflation more than flying could soon find an answer with a machine that doles out a bright, shining answer: gold.

"The reaction by Asian people was fantastic," gold dealer Thomas Geissler said after his company, TG-Gold-Super-Markt, tested a prototype dubbed "Gold to Go" in the airport's main hall last week. "A guy was delighted to get a piece of gold to bring back to his wife."

Geissler hopes to have a working model up and running within three months in a shopping area beyond the X-ray machines where check-in stress evaporates and passengers can kick back. And he is aiming big: Geissler wants to install 500 machines in airports throughout Europe, as well as in train stations, jewellers and up-scale stores in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.

Germany, one of the countries worst hit by the global recession, is seen as a wise place to launch Geissler's machine because the economic crisis has driven up gold sales in Europe's biggest economy.

According to the World Gold Council, German investors - and consumers over the border in Switzerland - are hoarding gold at "levels not previously recorded."

In 2008, there was "a tremendous swing from trivial levels within Europe to very substantial levels" in gold sales, said Neil Meader, research director at GFMS, a London-based precious metals consultancy. "In the closing months of the year, Germany was the star performer."

While the rest of the world worries about deflation, German economists, bankers and politicians are warning huge government deficits could quickly re-ignite inflation once a sustained economic recovery gets under way.

This worries Germans sick, because hyperinflation and two world wars wiped out many families' savings in the 20th century, Geissler explained. "Germans are frightened by inflation ... Twice was enough."

Meader, meanwhile, said another factor driving consumers to gold was a "distrust of banks" after a credit crisis drove the global financial system to the brink of collapse last year.

Real time gold rush

Geissler's vending machine will sell packets containing from one gram for around €30 ($42) at present to five and ten grammes for about €245, along with Australian "Kangaroo" and Canadian "Maple Leaf" coins.

A gramme of the stuff will set customers back by 20 percent less than over the counter at a German bank, but his margin represented just "a nice and reasonable profit" compared with market rates.

Software developed by his firm updated prices every two minutes, he stressed, which meant "we will have nearly a real time price compared with the London gold market."

And in case police are worried about unscrupulous customers using machines to launder ill-gotten gains, the company is installing video cameras and some machines will be credit card only, he said. "We will pay maximum attention," he vowed.

Story continues below…

The first machine is slated for installation in a Hugo Boss clothing store near the company's headquarters south of Stuttgart, once talks have been wrapped up.

He confidently predicts a brisk trade at the machines, which will each contain a maximum value of €50,000 ($70,000) - less than in most cash machines.

At sites like Frankfurt's bustling international airport, "I think you will have to fill up the machine every day," he forecasts.

A GFMS survey has forecast demand will "drive the bull market into a ninth consecutive year" and could propel gold prices to the $1,100 mark.

In Germany's financial capital, Geissler's machine attracted stares, and "some bankers couldn't believe what they saw," the gold dealer said.

"It will take a little time until everyone is used to the sight of a gold vending machine," he acknowledged.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

11:25 September 21, 2010 by andy_jm
Does anyone know exactly where in the airport this is? Cos I've never found it
Today's headlines
German hospital uses therapy to 'treat' paedophiles
A poster from the campaigne "Don't offend", which offers therapy to paedophiles. The sign reads "Do you love kids more than you'd prefer? There's help." Photo: DB Scholz & Friends / DPA.

A unique German initiative is offering therapy to paedophiles to control their urges, with the aim of getting them help before they offend.

Minister: 'no tolerance' for clowns after chainsaw attack
Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has called for a zero-tolerance approach to 'killer clowns' after a series of attacks culminating in two teenagers being chased by a clown wielding a chainsaw.

Baby who was auctioned on eBay taken away from father
Photo: DPA.

A German court ruled on Thursday that a man who put his one-month-old baby up for sale on the online auction platform eBay should only be allowed contact with the child under supervision.

Portugal's ruling party calls German minister 'pyromaniac'
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA.

The head of Portugal's ruling Socialists called German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble a "pyromaniac" on Thursday after he criticized Lisbon for reversing course on austerity.

These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd