Important Gold Nugget
near Winnemucca, Nevada
Nevada is the largest gold-producing state in the nation, second only in the world behind South Africa. The vast majority of Nevada mining is from hardrock i.e. gold-bearing bearing quartz which is mined in vertical or inclined shafts far beneath the earth's surface.
However, single large placer nuggets found in Nevada are significantly rarer. The vast majority of alluvial nuggets retrieved have been generally no larger than in the 1 to 2 ozt range. Indeed, the largest nugget ever recorded in Nevada was found in 1877 in Dry Gulch near Osceola. At 25 pounds, that nugget was still a far cry from the largest gold nuggets retrieved from Australia (e.g. Welcome Stranger the largest Australian gold nugget weighed 2520 ozt or 210 troy poundsand it is no longer in existence.) The present nugget is therefore exceptional within the context of past and existing Nevada nuggets in that it weighs nearly 2 troy pounds.
Found around 1970 or so, the present nugget was discovered by a pair of prospectors with a metal detector and has remained in a private family trust for the last thirty-six years. Its shape is impressiveit is a very large, hand-sized nugget with a rich patina and contoured outline. There are tiny traces of brown limonite visible as well as one or two quartz crystals lending the nugget a rugged and individualistic character.
Weighing 23.9 ozt (742.4 grams) and measuring 3 ½ x 2 ½ x 1in