SAN FRANCISCO >> One of the largest gold nuggets in modern times pulled from Northern California’s Gold Country has sold to a secret buyer.
The new owner of the so-called Butte Nugget and its exact price will both remain mysteries at the buyer’s request, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday.
But Don Kagin, the Tiburon-based coin dealer who brokered the deal, said that a "prominent Bay Area collector" paid about $400,000 for the nugget weighing 6.07 pounds (2.8 kilograms). That wasn’t far off from the asking price, he said.
"Let’s just say it’s a win-win for everybody, Kagin said, adding that the nugget went up for sale Thursday with the deal finalized on Friday.
Historically, prospectors found giant gold nuggets in California during the 19th century Gold Rush days, including a 54-pound chunk found in Butte County in 1859. It has been decades since a report of anyone discovering a rock of 6 pounds or more in California.
The gold hunter who found the nugget found it in July in the mountains of Butte County. He also asked Kagin to keep his name and the location of the discovery a secret.
Reports of the nugget’s pending sale caused a near frenzy among gold and history buffs, with the newspaper reporting one bidder inquiring from Australia.
"We spoke with six different people who seemed to have a legitimate interest," said David McCarthy, Kagin’s chief numismatist. "But he was the first person to make an offer and he had the right prices."