This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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A 100-ounce gold nugget sold for $460,000 March 16 at Holabird-Kagin Americana’s The Golden West Auction.
The nugget quickly became the talk of the American Numismatic Association National Money Show held at the Sacramento, Calif., Convention Center, the next day because of its prominent location in the Museum Showcase exhibit area where the anonymous buyer left it on display until almost the close of the show.
Placing the winning bid on behalf of the unknown buyer was Spectrum Numismatics International of Irvine, Calif.
“The winning bid was made by Richard Melamed, a senior numismatist on our expert staff, and placed on behalf of a client who was on the phone with Richard during the bidding and who wants to remain anonymous. We are all delighted we were able to assist the happy new owner successfully acquire this historic, 9-pound nugget,” said Andrew Glassman, president of Spectrum Numismatics International.
“The nugget was found using a metal detector. Our client is probably as excited about the prospect of now owning the nugget as the prospector was who found it a year ago,” added Glassman.
Nicknamed the “Washington Nugget” because it was discovered near Washington, Calif., it is believed to be the largest, verifiable California gold nugget still in existence.
In cataloging the huge piece of gold, auctioneer Fred Holabird described its importance: “The Washington Nugget may be the sole remaining authenticated large gold nugget of the 100 troy ounce caliber from the California gold region. It came from one of the best producing tertiary channels and from the very area where hydraulic mining was invented… This nugget is thus one of the greatest gold specimens in California and has a place in history along with the famous ‘Fricot Nugget,’ the most famous of the surviving old crystalline gold specimens mined during the Gold Rush period.”
“The Washington Nugget is the latest in a long list of historic collectibles Spectrum has purchased or sold over the years including such world-famous coins as a 1913 Liberty Head nickel, 1804 silver dollar, and the beautiful 1907 Ultra-High Relief Saint-Gaudens double eagle gold coins,” said Greg Roberts, President and Chief Executive Officer of Spectrum Group International.