Vending machine with the midas touch

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Vending machine with the midas touch

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For people worried about the future of the pound or the euro, a vending machine just installed in a London shopping centre could be the answer – it dispenses mini gold ingots in return for cash or a credit card payment.

Britain is the latest country to get this “convenience”. The first such machine was unveiled in Abu Dhabi last year. There are others in Germany, Italy and the US – specifically in Las Vegas.

The idea is to capitalise on the rising price of gold. Derek Higgins of Zen Gold, the machine’s distributor, said: “Gold has been performing well for a number of years. Our perception is that gold will grow in price. We don’t naturally see it as an ultimate investment, we see it as a protection or an insurance policy against paper money.”

Indeed gold has soared six-fold in value since 2001 and has risen by 7.5 percent since just the start of this year.

Recently the price was up over $1,500 an ounce, although with unfortunate timing as the ‘Gold to Go’ machine was turned on the price of the precious metal fell to a six week low; easing concern about Greece’s debt crisis reduced its safe haven appeal.

Cynics point out you pay a lot for the convenience of gold from a vending machine with a hefty mark up on the price of the same mini-ingot bought from a jeweller.