A 9-pound gold nugget has gone to auction, drawing a record price for its owner. You may recall we wrote about the nugget after it was discovered. Experts speculated it would fetch at least double the value of its weight in spite of the fact that it contained several veins of dirt and rock.
On March 16, 2011, Spectrum Numismatics bought the nugget for an anonymous buyer, paying $460,000, which is three times its value by weight. The whole deal went down in a feverish two minutes of bidding at Golden West Auction in Sacramento, CA. Why was the nugget worth so much? It isn’t pure gold and although the market is strong, it is impossible to explain in flat terms.
It seems that the nugget is prized for two reasons. First, it is believed to be the biggest California gold nugget in existence. Rarity and scarcity can sometimes inflate the value of an item at auction, a bidding-war victim can attest to that.
But the other reason is the historic significance. This nugget was found on a parcel of land in an unincorporated town in Nevada County, CA, which is the same area where the 19th-century Gold Rush took place. It was discovered on a parcel of land that went un-examined during that era.
The auctioneers withheld the owner’s name to protect him and his property, which he also intends to sell. Experts say they believe as much as 4,000 more ounces of gold are waiting to be pulled from the ground at that location. All the current owner had to do to find this nugget (and two other smaller multiple ounce nuggets) was go out with a metal detector and a pick axe.
It’s a rare property owner who can go to their backyard with a shovel and come away with a nugget of precious metals worth $460,000. We don’t recommend you get your hopes up. In the Old West, mining was back-breaking work and while long nights around a campfire may have some romance, consider that six months of the year were spent in bitter cold because any “find” had to be jealously guarded.
We think a more profitable (likely more enjoyable, too) use of your time is working with precious metals in your business, and then “prospecting” for scraps after the job is done if you’re a manufacturer. Bring those scraps and “mini-nuggets” in for recycling at Manhattan Gold & Silver. Consider us your “County Assayers Office,” like in the Old West, but minus the pick axes, beans burned over an open fire and winters spent shivering in a canvas tent. We’re here when you’re ready to recycle your gold and silver scraps.