Today I Learned Writer

A 600 year old plaster Buddha statue was destroyed and found to be solid gold

During the building of a new addition to the Wat Traimit temple in 1955 one of the old plaster statues needed to be moved. This turned out to be a really difficult task, the huge, 3 meter tall, statue was very heavy to move, so heavy that it took multiple tries to get it to move. There are several stories involving what happened, but the end result is clear, during the final try the ropes broke while being lifted from the pedestal, and the statue dropped with a crash to the ground. When that happened some of the plaster chipped away and it was discovered that there was a gold surface beneath the surface. This prompted a careful investigation and after removal of the remaining plaster it was found that the statue was composed of 9 perfectly fitting parts, and a key was discovered plastered into the pedestal which allows to disassemble the statue and make it easier to be transported.

The statue is approximately 40% pure gold, it weighs around 5.5 tonnes and the gold in the statue has an estimated value of approximately 250 million dollars. It's historic value is priceless though.