COIN WORLD| By Paul Gilkes, Coin World | Published: 08/24/16
An Australian man who has spent his weekends the past 10 years prospecting for gold with a metal detector has unearthed a 145-ounce gold nugget valued at $250,000 AUD ($190,282 in U.S. funds).
The discovery was announced Aug. 25 by Minelab, the metal-detecting equipment manufacturer whose flagship GPZ 7000 model metal detector was used to locate the nugget. The unnamed prospector, who wishes to remain anonymous, dubbed his find “Friday’s Joy” after it was recently located in the far southern edge of Central Victoria’s Golden Triangle in Australia.
<“Friday’s Joy” is nearly double the weight of Australian prospector Mick Brown’s “Fair Dinkum” nugget discovered in 2015 using a Minelab 4500 detector during a prospecting trip near Wedderburn, a town located less than 140 miles from Melbourne. The 87-ounce Fair Dinkum nugget was subsequently sold at auction for $175,000 Australian.
The 145-ounce Friday’s Joy nugget was discovered the day after the anonymous prospector discovered a 9-ounce tennis-ball-shaped nugget more than 2 feet down while metal detecting. He decided to return the following day to see if he could extend his luck.
And he did.
“I thought it was rubbish at first, maybe an old horseshoe,” the prospector told Minelab officials. “About 12 inches below the ground, I could just barely make out the top of something. As I began to scrape away the clay and dig deeper, I really couldn’t believe my eyes — this wasn’t an old piece of steel in front of me. I had just unearthed a colossal gold nugget — a once in a lifetime find! I was in total disbelief as I didn’t think nuggets of this size were still around.”
Metal detecting in his spare time with fellow detectorist for gold, coins and relics, the prospector said he and his metal-detecting friends had previously made a pact to split the proceeds from any large nugget finds when the gold hunters went detecting together.
After he notified his friends of his discovery, the prospector said they all discussed what to do next.
“It’s like catching a big fish and not knowing what to do with it!” the prospector said. “Where do we put it? I washed it in water, covered it in aluminum foil and kept it in my oven on the first night.”
The prospector tells Minelab he’s not ready to quit his day job, but he does hope to step up his opportunities for more travel to pursue his love of detecting and prospecting.
“We’re thrilled that a Minelab customer has made such an amazing and important discovery. This is a historic find on par with a nugget like Cindy’s Pride and eclipsing Mick Brown’s recent Fair Dinkum nugget,” said Fraser Kendall, Minelab’s regional sales and marketing director. “He was prospecting in an area that others had clearly worked over and this just goes to show that there’s plenty of gold still coming out of Victoria.”
The nugget, currently secured in a bank vault, is being readied for auction, with plans to produce a replica nugget.