Most experts agree the Welcome Stranger is the largest gold nugget ever found and is closely followed by the Welcome Nugget. You’d think we would have a clear-cut winner based on weight alone but that is not the case. Gold nugget enthusiasts, also known as gold bugs, have been debating whether the “Holterman Nugget” is actually a nugget.
The main difference between these two chunks of gold is how they formed. Follow along as we learn what an actual nugget is and which is the true “largest nugget ever found.”
What is the Largest Gold Nugget Ever Found?
The biggest gold nugget ever found is the “Welcome Stranger” but there are larger pieces of gold weighing more than the largest nugget. Part of the confusion over which gold specimen is the largest is the definition of “nugget.”
Technically speaking, a gold nugget is naturally occurring gold in its host rock. This formation is essential because the Welcome Stranger and Welcome Nugget are alluvial nuggets. This means they formed as heavy deposits of gold and were naturally separated from the host rock by the water.
The Holterman “Nugget” is not technically the largest nugget, despite being larger than the Welcome Stranger. This nugget is not a nugget but a large gold deposit. It formed deep in the earth and not in waterways as other nuggets form.
It was found attached to a hefty chunk of quartz and slate. Even though this specimen is heavier than both nuggets discussed, it’s not a nugget, so it doesn’t qualify!
What is the Story Behind the World’s Largest Nugget?
The Welcome Stranger was discovered back in February 1869. It was buried only a few feet under the soil near a tree, not far from a small waterway. It was founded by Cornish miners John Deason and Richard Oates in Victoria, Australia.
John Deason and Richard Oates were two men who managed to catch gold fever back in the mid-1800s. At this time in history, thousands of people struck out into the wilderness hoping to find gold. Most people never found a nugget but John and Richard got extremely lucky when they pulled this massive nugget out from under some tree roots.
The nugget was so heavy it had to be broken into three pieces to be weighed.
It weighed in at over 150 pounds and the men were paid a total of 9,381 pounds sterling, which is about $666,000.00 in today’s US dollars. Most experts believe if the nugget were still in its full form today, it would be worth over $4.5 million US dollars!
Where Can You See the Single Largest Gold Nugget?
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see the original Welcome Stranger Nugget or Welcome Nugget because they were quickly melted down after their discovery to make ingots and other gold bullion. You can see a replica in the Dunolly Museum in Victoria, Australia.
If you want to see one of the few remaining large gold specimens, check out the Canaa Nugget. It’s the fifth-largest gold nugget ever found, weighing just over 115 pounds! This beauty is on display at the Museu de Valores do Banco Central in the capital of Brazil.
Large Single Gold Nuggets and Gold Deposits
When you’re grabbing coffee or attending your local rock and mineral club meeting you’ll be able to educate your friends and hobbyist about the largest gold nugget ever found. There will be a few that will question you about the Holtermann nugget but you’ll set the straight because now you know the difference between a gold nugget and a large deposit.
How Much Did the Largest Gold Nugget Weigh?
The Welcome Stranger weighed over 2,500 Troy ounces or 171 pounds. This was before it was refined and later melted to make gold bricks. The Welcome Nugget, the second largest gold nugget, weighed a close 2,218 Troy ounces, or 151 pounds.
How Much Was the Largest Gold Nugget Worth?
The Welcome Stranger Gold Nugget worth is estimated to be $4.5 million dollars today. However, it was melted down and repurposed over 100 years ago, so if you were thinking about purchasing you will have to settle for a smaller nugget. The finders, Deason and Oates, received over 9,000 British pounds sterling, which is about $666,000.00 USD in today’s dollar terms.