The Pure Gold Company

In the heart of the Christmas story lies the symbolic and valuable gifts presented to baby Jesus by the Wise Men: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Beyond their spiritual significance, these gifts held tangible value in the ancient world. Today you can still gift all three under the Christmas tree, but only one has retained it valuable status. Armed with £10,000, how much gold, frankincense or myrrh could you buy today and how would you fit it under the tree?

Gold: The Precious Metal of Kings

Gold has long been a symbol of wealth and royalty. With gold at near record highs of over £1600, £10,000 would only buy a little more than 6 ounces of the precious metal. Six 1-ounce coins like the Britannia or Sovereign would fit into a small jewellery box, nestling easily among the other presents under the Christmas tree.

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Frankincense: A Fragrant Offering

Frankincense, a resin obtained from Boswellia trees, was highly valued in the ancient world for its aromatic properties and use in religious rituals. Today it is still used in some religious ceremonies, as a fragrance in soaps, perfumes and lotions, or as an essential oil in aromatherapy. The price depends somewhat on the size of the resin pieces and the type and colour of frankincense. Smaller pieces  of the amber resin start from around £20 for a kilogram of frankincense, while larger high quality pieces of the green resin can cost up to £100 or more a kilogram. If you’re buying the best for Christmas then £10,000 would buy around 100 kilograms of Frankincense. You’d need a box the size of a shopping trolley, and maybe the trolley as well to move the 100kg around.

Myrrh: An Anointing Oil with Healing Properties

Myrrh, another resin derived from Commiphora trees, was renowned for its use in perfumes and medicines. Alongside its similarly religious ceremonial uses, myrrh is still used in skincare and cosmetics, aromatherapy, and also dental products. Some toothpaste and mouthwash products may include myrrh for its potential benefits in promoting gum health and preventing infections. As with Frankincense, myrrh prices depend on quality but on average 1 kilogram of myrrh costs around £40, so you could buy 250 kilograms of the fragrant resin for your Christmas king. That means a couple of extra trolley-sized boxes and the trolleys to transport them.

These gifts of yore hold special spiritual significance in the religious context, but they are also a demonstration of the lasting value of physical gold. The largest presents aren’t always the ones you want to open first.

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