The world's biggest coin deal

When German troops invaded Norway on 9 April 1940, 26 lorries were loaded with 1503 crates and 39 barrels containing 50 tons of gold ingots and gold coins. This was Norway's gold reserve and was to be transported out of the country. The flight was well prepared. Two years previously, Nicolai Rygg, president of the Central Bank of Norway, had provided for the gold reserve to be weighed, packed and sealed in anticipation of a possible attack on Norway. 

The first stage of the journey went to the Central Bank of Norway's vault at Lillehammer, 180 km north of Oslo. Meanwhile, the Germans were approaching from the south and had landed paratroopers north of Lillehammer. The gold was then transported towards the northwest by rail, reaching Åndalsnes on the coast after being attacked by German planes. Here, one third of the gold was loaded onto the cruiser "Galathea". The government had decided that the gold should be distributed on several ships. The remaining two thirds were transported by car to Molde, where the king and the crown prince had sought refuge while waiting for the British cruiser "Glasgow". 

German aeroplanes were attacking as the gold, along with the king and the crown prince, was being brought onboard the "Glasgow". As this was a lengthy operation, the “Glasgow” was forced to set out to sea leaving behind four full truckloads of gold on the quay. From Molde the gold was taken further north by the local boat "Driva". When the boat was made the target of intense German bombing, the gold was transferred to five small fishing vessels. At Titran the transport was taken over by the two fishing vessels "Alfhild" and "Stølvåg". On 9 May the gold arrived in Tromsø where it was immediately taken on board the British cruiser, "Enterprise". 

The Enterprise reached Plymouth on 29 May after being subject to four German bombing attacks. The entire Norwegian gold reserve had been saved. 

Jan Olav Aamlid and Gunnar Thesen of the Norwegian firm, Oslo Mynthandel, with parts of the Norwegian gold reserve. 

In 1988, Oslo Mynthandel purchased the remains of the Central Bank of Norway's gold reserve from various banks in Canada and the United States for NOK 100 million. The transaction was mediated by the respected London firm of Spink and Son Ltd. The sale is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest coin sale ever.