We love to hear about people finding gold nuggets with metal detectors. These kinds of stories often appeal to our sense of adventure and, frankly, are fun to report on!
While treasure hunting and metal detecting are very popular and rewarding hobbies, not everybody has the time or means to go out searching for buried gold. There is an alternative for people in this position, however, as a slew of different gold nuggets are now heading to the auction block.
Finding Gold Nuggets
According to Coin World, "Holabird Western Americana is offering multiple lots of gold nuggets, found in locations around the United States, during the Oct. 1 session of its three-day sale [from] Sept. 30 to Oct. 2." While some particularly large or historically noteworthy gold nuggets do sell at auctions, it's uncommon for so many of them to be featured in one event.
While there have been several recent discoveries of nuggets of impressive size that have made headlines, these items will typically trade hands privately or end up melted down and sold. The principal part of the value of a gold nugget is the value of its precious metal content, after all.
However, gold nuggets have become increasingly popular among collectors due to the one-of-a-kind nature of such a discovery. Not only are gold nuggets unique items in and of themselves, but they are also becoming more and more scarce in an age of advanced mining technology. There simply aren't as many gold nuggets of a considerable size left for the average person with a metal detector to stumble upon.
There are at least four different lots going up for auction at the event hosted by Holabird Western Americana. A pair of nuggets found in the Bering Sea near Alaska, each weighing about one troy ounce, are being offered at the auction. The larger of the two is expected to realize between $2,000 and $4,000—well above its melt value—while the smaller nugget could sell for as much as $2,000.
Another gold nugget weighing close to one ounce comes to the auction block from Arizona's Gold Basin, a region known for its placer deposits of "both coarse and fine gold." This particular nugget is expected to garner between $1,500 and $1,900. A third nugget found elsewhere in Arizona weighs in at an impressive 1.8 oz, and could realize an auction price in the $3,000 to $4,000 range.
By far the biggest attraction that will appear at the upcoming auction, however, is a cluster (pictured above) of gold nuggets that was found in California. With over 8 ounces of gold in the cluster, the lot is expected to haul in at least five figures.
The same auction will feature another precious metal item, albeit one that doesn't naturally occur as a mineral deposit. A .999 fine silver round, dated 1907, is also expected to sell for $150 to $300. It weighs roughly 9.5 grams—6 pennyweights and 3 grains in the troy measurement system.
The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product.