It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Tim Green. With an exciting and expansive career behind him, Tim leaves an immeasurable impact on the gold industry and will be missed by all who knew him.
Born on May 29, 1936, Tim Green’s impressive career can be traced back to his time at the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, where he spent a year as an English Speaking Union scholar from Britain. It was here, through Hotchkiss’ open society and harmonious relationship between faculty and students, that Tim learned about getting on with people, a trait that would serve him well in the future.
It was also at Hotchkiss that, after observing the Life magazine team of Allan Grant and Jim Goode at work, Tim set his sights on becoming a magazine writer. Within two years of leaving Hotchkiss, he had become the Time-Life magazine stringer at Cambridge University, setting in motion an exciting career ahead.
Tim became Life’s chief correspondent in London, working with great photographers on a vast array of topics, including the building of the Berlin Wall, the tracking down of President JFK’s Irish relatives, accompanying an expedition to take an elephant across the Alps in the footsteps of Hannibal, and writing a profile on James Bond’s creator Ian Fleming. Tim was briefly hired as Editor of celebrated publication The Illustrated London News, at a remarkably young age, but quickly found that he wanted to be out on assignments rather than sending other people to do them.
Throughout his writing career, Tim covered a wide range of topics and travelled constantly: he went to East Africa to write a profile on Jane Goodall; he tracked the illicit jade trade from Burma to Thailand; he visited the world’s oldest bank in Siena, Italy and the diamond
fields of the Nambian coast in Southern Africa; he saw the scarlet ibis in the Caroni swamp in Trinidad and the gold treasures of King Tutankhamun.
Tim’s involvement with gold did not stop there. While writing an article for American business magazine Fortune on the London gold market and the private buying of gold, he was unable to find an authoritative text on the topic. This led to him writing and publishing his first book The World of Gold in 1968.
The success of the book resulted in Tim being hired as a consultant on an annual survey into the consumption of gold worldwide in jewellery, industry and investment, visiting 30 countries a year for a first-hand investigation into their local gold markets for almost 30 years. The gold survey became an annual mammoth research and writing task, but Tim also continued to write books and magazine articles on gold for companies such as Reader’s Digest and Smithsonian.
By Tim’s side throughout his career was Maureen, his wife of 62 years, whom he married three years after she gave him his first assignment at the London bureau news desk at Time Life. A fellow writer, Maureen and Tim co-authored The Good Water Guide and, eventually, even set up their own publishing house.
Over the past couple of decades, Tim and Maureen had been unwinding in their village house in the South of France and then settled in Kew. While Tim’s three-countries-a-week routine became a thing of the past, he and Maureen still saw a lot of the world, travelling to Russia, Spain and Greece with less haste and seeing art galleries, museums, operas and the ballet along the way.
Tim lived an exciting life and experienced so much of the world. An expert at his craft, alive for some of the most exciting periods in gold’s history – the “doyen of gold writers” in Stewart Murray’s words – Tim was also a family man, spending his best years with those he loved most and even passing the writing bug onto his daughter Miranda, also a reporter and editor at London’s Financial Times. Tim is also survived by two granddaughters who he adored. His impact on writing in the gold industry is incalculable and he will be missed by all who knew him.
Rest in Peace, Tim.
At Tim's funeral his family asked for donations to REACT, a charity giving depth to short lives.
Recollections of Tim
by Robert Guy, Founder LBMA Chairman
“Earlier this morning I was chatting on the phone to Iris in Jakarta. This was the quick update she gave me on what is happening in the
Indonesian gold market…” The audience at the FT Gold Conferences in the 1980s and 1990s were quickly attentive whenever Tim spoke.
No dry, dull, Powerpoint presentation weighed down with statistics but, rather, a vivid, enthusiastic and quite often funny review on what was happening in the physical gold market, particularly in the Middle East, India and the Far East.
Traders, central bankers, jewellers, refiners, smugglers – he knew them all. And they not only knew him, they trusted him. They spoke to him in confidence and knew that trust would not be broken. For his part, the highly professional journalist that he was, Tim knew how to distinguish between the telling hint and the casual bluff.
All these conversations informed his work as a consultant for Consolidated Gold Fields Annual Gold Reports (later published by GFMS). These were the essential compendiums for anyone interested in the gold market. Similarly, his books on the market, such as The World of Gold, were widely read and greatly admired. I have ten of them on my bookshelves, testament not only to his erudition, but also to his standing as the best commentator on the gold market of his generation.”
Traders, central bankers, jewellers, refiners, smugglers – he knew them all. And they not only knew him, they trusted him.
Recollections of Tim
by Philip Klapwijk, Managing Director of Precious Metals Insights Ltd
“I made several trips with Tim to North and South America and many to Switzerland and Germany. It was quite something for a chap in their mid to late 20s at the start of his career to spend time with the legendary Tim Green. Impressive to see how Tim gathered information in the field and the tremendous respect and confidence he had from his contacts in the gold business in numerous countries.
I think it is fair to say that Tim was a pioneer in on-the-ground gold market research. He really developed the field research methodology used by Gold Fields and later GFMS, based on multiple confidential interviews with all manner of participants in (principally) the physical gold market. When he started, nobody was out there, systematically gathering information on what – at the time – were very opaque markets for gold supply and demand. Bear in mind, that in those days the physical markets counted for a lot more than they do today.
It's very sad that Tim has passed away, but he had a long and interesting life. I have very fond memories of him.”
I think it is fair to say that Tim was a pioneer in on-the-ground gold market research