Considered one of mankind’s most prized possessions, for centuries people of all walks of life have dreamed of acquiring the riches associated with gold—of finding that ‘golden nugget’.
Although the gold rushes of California and Alaska may have become some of the most well-known, there have been gold rushes and discoveries in most every state of the U.S. Even my home state of Minnesota had a short lived gold rush in the 1880’s.
The largest single gold nugget ever found and ‘recorded’ was in Australia on February 5, 1869. It weighed around 140 pounds and had to be broken into three pieces to be weighed because there wasn’t a scale capable of weighing it. It was discovered in a rut along a road. This photo was taken at the discovery site. The nugget was quickly melted down and sent to the Bank of England fifteen days after being found. At the time it was valued around $50,000. In today’s market, that nugget would be worth approximately four million dollars.
I found my ‘golden nugget’ a few years ago. While at a book sale a small paperback book, “Gold Finding Secrets” written by Edwin P. Morgan and first published in 1966 caught my attention. It’s autographed by the author, and I believe I paid a quarter for it, thinking it would be a cute little ‘coffee table conversation piece’. However, when an Alaskan gold rush story came to me and my editor said ‘write it’, this little paperback became a treasure of information. Full of black and white pictures, illustrations and blue prints for building rockers, sluice boxes, and vibrating tables (among other things), this book had the answer for practically every gold mining question I had. It has since gained a protected spot on my ‘keeper’ bookshelf.
Do you have a little nugget like that? Something you stumbled across, but truly didn’t know how valuable it would become to you?