A 292.46-ounce gold nugget originally discovered in 1980 by Jack Bray at the Feysville mine in Western Australia is expected to fetch upwards of $1 million when it headlines "Jewels Online: The Geneva Edit," a Christie's online auction.
Described as a large amorphous form with bright yellow patina, the "Golden Aussie" is one of the most impressive examples of Australian gold ever found, according to Christie's Lot Essay. Bray's 1980 find was so monumental, the Perth Mint feted the Golden Aussie in its 1987 series of commemorative gold nuggets coins. Bray reportedly sold his "monster" for $250,000 in an undisclosed year.
The impressive nugget measures 26.2 cm x 18.1 cm x 7.4 cm (10.31 in x 7.13 in x 2.91 in) and weighs 8,291 gm (8.28 lb). With the spot gold price standing at about $1,988 per ounce, the intrinsic gold value of the Golden Aussie is $581,410. Christie's pre-auction estimate of 700,000 to 1 million Swiss francs ($779,770 to $1.11 million) reflects the specimen's extreme rarity and provenance.
First established in 1896, the Feysville mine is located in Australia’s premier gold belt. According to Christie's Lot Essay, the mine is known for producing exceptionally high grade gold.
While the Golden Aussie, by most standards, is enormous, it pales in size to the largest nugget ever found. That distinction goes to the "Welcome Stranger," which was found at Moliagul, Victoria, Australia, in 1869 by John Deason and Richard Oates. It had a gross weight of more than 2,520 troy ounces (173 lb).
The prospectors found the massive nugget just 3 cm (1.2 in) below the surface, near the base of a tree. Legend states that the Welcome Stranger was so large that it had to be broken into three pieces on an anvil before it could fit on a bank scale. Based on today’s gold price, the nugget's precious metal value would be worth $5 million.
The Golden Aussie is the largest of 11 gold nuggets set to hit the auction block during The Geneva Edit. The online auction began on November 3 and is scheduled to run through November 16.
Credit: Image courtesy of Christie's.