Archive for October, 2014

October 28, 2014

Giant gold ‘Butte Nugget’ sells to secret Bay Area buyer.


Just one day after it was unveiled to awed crowds in San Francisco, the whopping ‘Butte Nugget’ of gold sold Friday to a “prominent Bay Area collector” for an undisclosed amount of money, according to the company brokering the deal.
“The new owner wants to be secretive, so we can’t name him,” said Don Kagin of Tiburon, the coin dealer who acted as middle-man between the buyer and the prospector who found the 6.07-pound gold lump — the biggest nugget of its kind found in modern times in Gold Rush country.
“Let’s just say it’s a win-win for everybody,” Kagin said.
The seller also asked that the price be kept secret, he said. But he added: “We were asking for $400,000 and it obviously wasn’t far from that.”
David McCarthy, Kagin’s chief numismatist, said he could only reveal that the buyer is “a prominent bay area collector” who specializes in historical items.
“We spoke to six different people who seemed to have legitimate interest and the wherewithal to purchase the item, but he was the first person to make an offer and he had the right price,” McCarthy said.
Interest in the nugget had built to a near frenzy among gold and history buffs since its existence was revealed in The Chronicle on Tuesday, with news inquiries coming in from as far away as Australia. When it went on display Thursday at the prestigious San Francisco Fall Antiques Show, hundreds flocked in for a peek.
The nugget — which will remain on public display until the antiques show ends Sunday, McCarthy said — got its name because the gold hunter who found it in July dug it out of the ground in Butte County. That man also wanted his name and the location of the find to be secret, to avoid scammers and treasure seekers.
“But I can say he’s very pleased with the sale,” McCarthy said.