An unidentified amateur prospector unearthed a massive gold nugget with an estimated $300,000 price tag in southeast Australia on Wednesday.
The man used a state-of-the-art metal detector to find the 177-ounce nugget that was deposited at a depth of about 24 inches in a prospecting area outside Ballarat, Australia's ABC News reported
He turned to a gold shop owner for help finding a buyer, and Cordell Kent, owner of The Mining Exchange Gold Shop, said the find was one of the most significant he had seen in his 20 years of business.
"I have been a prospector and dealer for two decades, and cannot remember the last time a nugget over 100 ounces has been found locally," Kent said. "A lot of people think Victoria's goldfields are dead and that there's none left, but [the prospector] has worked in an area where a lot of people have worked in the past but he persisted and he's been rewarded."
Though gold is valued at $1,600 an ounce in Australia, Kent told the Ballarat Courier that the nugget could be worth more than the estimated selling price because of its extreme rarity and Y-shape. Kent hopes to sell it within Australia because, given its size, there would need to be special permission granted for it to be exported overseas. He expects a collector or museum will end up buying it.
Reports say the prospector originally thought he had detected the hood of a car before seeing a glint of gold. Kent told the Daily Mail that the man plans to "pay off a lot of bills and pay off his house" with the money he collects from the sale of the gold.
Prospecting has grown in popularity recently, thanks to shows like "Gold Rush" on the Discovery Channel, which chronicles gold miners at work. The first season finale was the most-watched Friday night program in all of U.S. television among males 18-49 and 25-54, according to TV by the Numbers. The show, currently in its third season, airs Fridays at 9 p.m. EST.
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