Largest Gold Nugget Ever Found – Nearly 200 Pounds! ​

To date, the world’s largest gold specimen is known precisely as “The Beyers and Holtermann Nugget”. This was found in Australia in 1872. But despite its name, this is not actually a “gold nugget” because it is not a single piece of gold. The gold pieces in Holtermann’s discovery were separated by quartz, which essentially splits the gold into pieces. The actual biggest nugget is called the “Welcome Stranger” nugget.

Like many gold miners, James Deason and Richard Oates achieved only modest success after many years of work. Then some incredible luck happened. During February 1869 in Victoria, Australia (Apparently some of the biggest nuggets come from Down Under) John Deason stumbled upon this giant nugget.

The discovery of the world’s largest gold nugget

“Accidentally encountered” is a very accurate description of this discovery. The story goes that Deason was searching for gold near a tree when his pickaxe hit something very hard. After bending down to look for the obstacle that seemed to be blocking his way, he realized it was a giant piece of gold. Besides being extremely lucky, Deason is certainly no fool. As soon as night fell, he dispatched his associate Richard Oates and they began digging his astonishing find out of the ground.

Not only was Welcome Stranger found by chance, but it certainly wasn’t a difficult dig. When the story of how such a huge nugget of gold was discovered, you can expect to hear about difficult and exciting adventures. The Welcome Stranger Nugget was found after digging three centimeters deep.


Melted as fast as it was found

Alas, like most of the other largest gold bars, Welcome Stranger did not last long as a single piece. Most of the largest gold pieces ever recovered broke for one reason or another. Sometimes it is too difficult to bring the nugget to the surface or transport it. Once found just a few centimeters below the surface, the Welcome Stranger died for a reason extremely confusing to the pedestrian.

Once the nugget was unearthed, miners naturally wanted to weigh it. Unsurprisingly, there were no scales large enough to handle Welcome Stranger so it broke into three pieces. Once weighed, the pieces were melted into ingots and then shipped to the Bank of England. Like most gold, the pieces have likely been melted down and recast many times over the century and a half since their discovery. Therefore, the gold in Welcome Stranger still exists in many different places but no one knows where.

The pieces of the nugget totaled a staggering 2,520 troy ounces — that’s about 200 pounds for those keeping score at home — and 2,284 troy ounces were trimmed. A replica of the Welcome Stranger gold nugget can be seen at the Melbourne City Museum, Australia. There is also now a small memorial at Bulldog Gully, where the Welcoming Stranger was excavated in 1869.

John Deason continued to mine and work gold for most of his life, but like so many explorers, his luck had its limits. He lost a significant portion of his fortune due to poor investments in gold mining. Richard Oates has a more traditional future. After finding Welcome Stranger, he returned to his native UK and got married. Oates then returned to Australia with his wife and bought a farm which he worked for the rest of his life.

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