Metal Refining & Recovery, Episode 25: Gold Playing Cards?

Metal Refining & Recovery, Episode 25: Gold Playing Cards?

Alright everyone, welcome back to Cody’sLab So I have been wanting to do more of the precious metals refining I’ve been kind of neglecting that series lately and so I think we’ll start back off with
these gold-plated playing cards which were sent to me by a fan let’s see how
much gold we can get off of them So… Let’s open this up and see how they look Okay… So they are rather pretty Oh! There are actually… Face cards are in color that’s interesting I almost don’t want to destroy them If it wasn’t for the fact that it has this ugly print of a hundred dollar bill on the back I probably wouldn’t destroy these But I will anyway, as that’s what they were sent to me for. Here’s a little a certificate of authenticity apparently they’re covered
in 99.9% pure 24 karat gold. Anyway, in order to dissolve the gold off these cards I’ve decided that I’m going to use iodine I haven’t used this in a while and, so let’s make up an iodine leach. This will be rather similar to the bromine
leach that I used in the last video I did in this series but of course iodine is one lower on the periodic table. let’s add some water, just up to… rather
probably around half the beaker worth. You notice I didn’t really measure out
the iodine I just kind of threw a few grams in there If I need more I can always add more iodine Okay, so let’s make the solution acidic so it’ll actually dissolve gold. This may not actually be necessary but I find it makes things go a lot smoother. Now you’ll find that the iodine does not dissolve, at least not very much. But I have a little trick to get the iodine to dissolve That is to add a little bit of sodium hydroxide in there. This will react with the iodine forming sodium iodide And, for reasons which are
too complicated to explain right now… Adding a little bit of sodium iodide
into the solution actually helps the iodine dissolve. There we go, might need to get a stir rod to stir that up. looks like it’ll take a little while for the iodine to dissolve because it’s in solid prills It shouldn’t really matter too much. Okay, so let’s take one of these cards and stick it in here, and see if it’ll actually work to dissolve the gold off of it. All right, I’m gonna leave it like that for a little while I’m actually gonna go run down to the
store, I’ve got a time-lapse camera going So, see you guys in a bit. Okay, back from the store Er, the plating on the[se] card appears not to be touched, even a little
bit. Maybe a little… Ah, that’s just iodine. That is mildly concerning… Yeah, it’s not even less shiny. So there’s a couple of things that could cause that. You know, maybe my solution wasn’t concentrated enough because the iodine hadn’t all dissolved But if the gold is thin as I think it is that should have been enough to do it. given how long I had it in
there. Okay, so I’ve mixed up some aqua regia, which is nitric acid mixed with hydrochloric acid. Let’s put that there… That should have instantly reacted. Well, just about instantly. Yeah, it’s not reacting at all. Like it’s
beating up a little bit. Okay, so the second possibility is maybe the gold is underneath of something You know, maybe that’s just to protect it, so let’s get rid of this acid. Okay, let’s try some lacquer thinner, if there’s like a plastic coating or something this should just take it right off now let’s try the acid again… Hmm, same thing… Yeah it’s not reacting at all, interesting… Y’know let’s go grab the x-ray, let’s see if this is even gold. Alright, let’s just x-ray this stack here. See what they line up with. All right, so it’s just givin’ me light elements there, let’s have a look at the graph. [Laughs] Well I can tell you right now there’s no gold in that. There should be a spike right over here at 9.7 (KeV) Yeah, but that’s just noise there’s no gold there. So, I went and got a piece of gold leaf That I know to be genuine. Let’s set this right there I’ll probably just leave it in the paper that’s fine. Let’s try this again. Yeah, see now it’s showing the heavy element there. Let’s go into the… Yep, see those two spikes? Those are our gold. So, the x-ray doesn’t lie. These cards are not genuine. That is interesting… They even come with a certificate of authenticity. [Chuckles] They’re completely fake though. So I did a quick google search for gold playing cards and you can probably see, these are the first thing that shows up. And just look at this, so there’s $20, $12, even though they look identical. 18 (dollars) at Walmart $80? Now I suspect that maybe the cheaper
ones are knockoff and the more expensive ones are real, maybe these are, like a fake, like a copy, of the more expensive ones? ‘Cause $80 seems more reasonable for something that’s plated in gold But uh, $4 is… $5 is definitely… Probably not… They’re actually quite common by the looks of it, how many times do these sell? They’ve got 369 reviews so at least that many people have bought them. Let’s actually look at some of these reviews… This is just sad… Well anyway, now what I really want to know is actually what is this gold coloring this on these cards? ‘Cause… Though I’ve determined it’s a fake, it’s a really good fake; it does look like gold. I think I had a little bit of a gold leaf on there and it looked the same. My guess is that it’s probably anodized aluminum with some gold colored ink soaked into it. I can test that with the x-ray, aluminum is on the lighter end of the things that I can detect with that In fact it doesn’t do it very well, but I should be able to confirm whether it has aluminum or not. I’m gonna have to change modes on this, it’ll take a little longer for the test to happen. Okay, so this is telling me that it’s got some phosphorus, sulfur, aluminum, and silicon. Now keep in mind the lighter elements will not show up on this. If I zoom in here, let’s see… What is that high peak? Okay that’s, that’s chlorine. Aluminum would be down closer to zero. So, this peak right there is the aluminum. So, it does have aluminum in it, this tells me that it… Well, it doesn’t rule out the anodized aluminum theory. Actually you know what, while we’re at it let’s try one more test to see if we can confirm the anodized aluminum. So, a little bit of sodium hydroxide… A little bit of water, to mix up a concentrated solution. I’m just gonna tear off a corner of this, let’s see what this does to it. Well, the sodium hydroxide didn’t appear to dissolve the coating, but it did make it come off. See that? It’s clear plastic. Underneath… Y’know… I don’t know what it is… I’m actually quite impressed with how well it’s faked it is. But it is a fake. Now I got some more of the gold leaf out let’s actually pour a little bit of this iodine solution off and let’s show it actually dissolving some gold. That’s probably way more than I need. You see the iodine solution is a lot darker, now that it’s had a little more time to dissolve in. Just kinda… Just throw some of these pieces of gold leaf down in there. This stuff it very sticky. so the time-lapse camera actually messed up, it didn’t record. And so let’s try this again. I just stick that right down in there And watch it dissolve… Okay, so now that the gold is dissolved You just transfer the liquid over to this test tube so we can see it a little bit better. Just like so. Now I’m going to convert the iodine from its elemental state to the iodide state. Which is both clear, and unable to dissolve gold. So we should see gold precipitate as gold hydroxide. So I’m just gonna make up a little solution here. So I’m gonna add the sodium hydroxide solution now And with any luck, see a little bit of a reaction happening. Mix it up… Just a little bit more… Alright, that’s probably just about it… There it is, there’s the gold precipitate. Now I leave it to the reader to figure out how to filter that off. Collect the gold, and also recovering the iodine is pretty easy, you just reoxidize it. Because essentially we have Sodium iodide in solution here. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed, and I’ll see you next time.


  1. Lol, I bought my pack from 7/11 for something like 5 dollars knowing full well they had no gold. They look great on the card table though!

  2. how much gold can you get out of gold leaf if you have 5000 leaves of gold?
    can you tell me and how hard is it to melt them.

  3. Hey there Cody I wanted to ask where do you get your gold or better yet do you know any good websites that's sell actual gold

  4. It could be alternating thin layers of Al2O3 and SiO2. If you choose transparent layers carefully and alternate them with the right thicknesses you can create coatings with all sorts of optical properties. Metallic looking, colour filters, AR filters etc.

  5. Once you showed the certificate of authenticity I could tell immediately that these cards were fake. When talking about gold carat is spelled with a k (Karat).

    Apparently, it's 24 carat gold

  6. I like that you've added a clock. Could you use the clock for elapsed time of project, starting at 12 o'clock as zero?

  7. Hey Cody! plating I'm sure you know, gold plating can cover a huge amount of surface, and the word is 1 ounce can in theory be pounded out to about 200 sq feet, pounding being the term for what is actually plating for those whom don't understand the process of plating……….. the chinese man they are bad!!!

  8. I got these playing cards for Christmas today. I didn't have the heart to tell my mom they are completely fake. I wish there was an easy way to spread this information so these jerkwads can go out of business.

  9. I mean its worth it for 6 dollars.. The false advertising is shitty but you do get what you pay for

    There is a pack that doesnt have the ugly money on the back. But it has gold print so its pretty hard to read the cards.

  10. Wait, you added an acid, then lye and you expected iodine to react with the lye instead of the acid reacting with the lie? I'm not a chemist but I know enough to say HUH?

  11. Can you burn them and try to refine the ash? Maybe it's just in a corner of every card. Or maybe just the certificate is gold. Either way, you should burn it.

  12. Oh my goodness Cody!
    I genuinely watched this whole way through 1st time round fully waiting for you to flip and like say 'Got ya' or something along those lines trying to have a joke with us . But you actually did not expect for these to be not gold. I can tell that just by looking through this screen. .. and your the Gold Man.

  13. I was surprised to see those cards because we have those same cards, and they were not expensive, so I had hoped that we got a great deal but as the video went on my hopes were crushed.

  14. Cody, why didn't you smash up the iodine with a hammer or something before you added it? Wouldn't that help with it dissolving?

  15. I was curious how much your handheld XRF spectrometer was worth so I did some research. It's worth $20,000-$25,000. Wow, Wtf are you doing with that Cody (besides the obvious)?

  16. This could be some polymer with the amuminum embedded into it, which would explain that it is unaffected by paint thinner.

  17. See ppl talk shit about china and other countryis being selling fakes … wen in reallity america is #1 in fake bullshit scams

  18. Hey, long time watcher. I've got a challenge for you! I know you can get ammonia out of used cat litter, but, how many and, and how? Also is there anything else I could get from it?

  19. I have these same cards, I got em at a gas station for 10 bucks, I still see them at gas stations sometimes when I go on road trips, I couldn't help but laugh when I opened them and saw the certificate of authenticity

  20. What a fraud! At least they are only $6 on Amazon, I'd be pissed if they were trying to sell these for something absurd like $100 or more

  21. Where can they make playing card games gold ? I want some spanish card game in gold but theres nothing on Ebay or google

  22. So next time you are on the Nostromo and you are about to go toe to toe with a Zenomorph that has acid for blood….which is a great defense mechanism…..just cover yourself in these gold playing cards which are impervious to acid!😂

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