A man found a gold nugget the size of a small steak last month near Jamestown, California, that could be worth $70,000.
Oscar Espinoza, of Modesto, told Gold Prospecting Adventures that he found the 18-ounce nugget while searching Woods Creek, near Jamestown, KPIX-TV reported. Gold Prospecting owner Bryant Shock told the station Sept. 3 that the find could pique the interest of collectors, driving up the price of the nugget.
"I'm not going to tell you my spot (on Woods Creek)," Espinoza said in a video interview on the Gold Prospecting's Facebook page posted Aug. 30. "I was simply prospecting it, working it. I had a few tools … And I just moved a big rock that seemed to have never been moved by anybody and there it was."
Espinoza said in the video that he saw the top of the nugget but did not realize how big it was because the rest of it was buried in the ground. He said he realized it was much bigger than he thought when the top slipped out of his fingers.
Espinoza managed to dig out the rest of the nugget.
"I put it in my back pocket and was just wondering when I was going to wake up," he said in the video. "I thought I was dreaming."
Espinoza's friend, Jamestown Hotel owner Charlie Morgan, told KPIX-TV that the prospector was keeping a "low profile" until he found a buyer for the gold.
"I thought that's a lucky guy," Morgan told the station, adding that he thought the nugget could fetch $70,000. "(Espinoza) felt more secure with it being put away. The safe isn't actually here, so nobody knows where it is."
Jamestown is located in the heart of California Gold Country, KFSN-TV noted.
"Bumping up against the west side of the Sierra Nevada Range, on California's eastern side, the Sierra foothills that make up the Gold Country are California classics," the Visit California website noted. "Discovery of gold in 1848 sparked the largest mass migration in U.S. history, with more than 300,000 pioneers heading west."
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