Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The Washington Nugget Fraud

One of the largest California gold nugget left in existence was reportedly discovered near the northern California Mother Lode Gold Rush mining camp of Washington, California in 2010.

The nugget was claimed to have been found by an amateur miner who was out sleuthing on his own property using a metal detector. When the man brought the nugget to the offices of geologist Fred Holabrid in Reno, Nev., for verification, Mr. Holabrid knew it was "one in a trillion." and valued at $250,000-$400,000,

The nugget weighed in at 98 ounces and is about the size of a small loaf of bread. By way of comparison, the largest California nugget still in existence, which is on display at the Smithsonian Museum, weighs 80 ounces.

After frenzied bidding the nugget was sold for $ 460,000.
NEVADA CITY, CA (AP).- A 6.2-pound hunk of gold was auctioned for nearly half a million dollars in March after a man claimed he found it on his Sierra Nevada property, but it turns out it was actually dug up decades earlier in Australia.

After Jim Sanders' "find" on his property near Nevada City in California's Gold Country made news last year, Australian prospector Murray Cox compared pictures of Sanders' "Washington Nugget" with "The Orange Roughie" he unearthed near Melbourne in 1987, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

"I picked up the magazine and knew in two seconds that was (our nugget)," Cox said.

Cox said he and a friend, Reg Wilson, 62, unearthed the giant nugget in November 1987 in a farm field near the town of Ballarat, north of Melbourne.

Cox provided a 1987 article from the Melbourne Sun newspaper describing the event, along with a Sun photograph of the two men holding the giant nugget they called Orange Roughie because of its fish-like shape.

James Saunders Grill reported finding the 98-ounce nugget last year on his property along the South Fork of the Yuba River in the Gold Rush-era mining town of Washington.

After the discovery, a Website appeared seeking investors to help develop a commercial mining operation called the Lost Scotchman Mine on the 180-acre property, suggesting the giant nugget was just the "tip of the iceberg."

"The parties have mutually concluded that the nugget was from Australia," Holabird said Tuesday in a statement.

"The Orange Roughie" weighing 98 ounces found November 1987 near the town of Ballarat, north of Melbourne.
The Fricot Nugget is a piece of crystalline gold that was found by William Russell Davis in 1865. It was discovered while mining at the Grit Mine at Spanish Dry Diggin's in El Dorado County. It was found in a pocket 200 feet below the surface, along with over 200 ounces of other smaller nuggets. It was later sent to New York, where it was purchased by Fricot.

The nugget has traveled the world in various displays including the Paris Exposition in 1878. It weighs 201 troy ounces and is one of the largest masses of gold still to remain intact from the gold rush days as most were melted down and refined.