The Saudi Sewing Machine Hoax

Are you struggling with the credit crunch?

Would you like to turn old family heirlooms into cash?

Well, don’t bank on getting much for that old sewing machine, regardless of what they seem to be believing in Saudi Arabia right now.


Police are currently trying to determine the origin of a hoax that has left hundreds of Saudis searching for old sewing machines that may be worth a fortune.

The reason for believing that the sewing machines may be valuable is that a rumour has been spread which suggests that some older models may contain red mercury which is said to be worth a fortune, even though it probably doesn’t even exist.

The hoax has spread far and wide and is so well believed that large numbers of Saudis have been pictured trying to sell their sewing machines at markets.

The main gist of the hoax is that old machines made by Singer are worth anywhere up to $50,000 each, as long as they contain red mercury which is, unbelievably, meant to be detectable by mobile phones!

The mythical red mercury is said to hold value because it can be used as a component in nuclear bombs or, alternatively, as an aid to discovering buried treasure.

Are these people mad to believe in such a hoax or is it just a sign of the times that people want to believe that there is a way out of their financial troubles?

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. Red mercury also holds value in some peoples minds because it is said that it can ward off evil spirits.

  2. Why do people believe these things? This isn’t even remotely plausible.

    • Maybe it’s a cultural thing in Saudi? Or perhaps people are feeling the strain of the financial crisis and that’s led to them throwing commonsense out of the window?

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