An Australian Man Found A 49-Ounce Gold Nugget Worth Roughly $62,500 With His Metal Detector

'It just a bit bigger than a packet of smokes,' said a shopkeeper who saw it.

a man using a metal detector along a beach
MonikaP / Pixabay

'It just a bit bigger than a packet of smokes,' said a shopkeeper who saw it.

An Australian man found a 49-ounce gold nugget while out treasure hunting with his metal detector, and the find could be worth as much as $62,000, BBC News reports.

The Western Australia town of Kalgoorlie sits in the middle of Australian’s gold mining region, and weekend prospectors and treasure hunters frequently haunt the area. Out and about with their metal detectors, they look for chunks of gold that may be near the surface. Some find tiny chunks not more than a gram or so. A few find some as big as an ounce. Most find nothing.

And a few times per year, says Professor Sam Spearing, director of the Western Australia School of Mines at Curtin University, someone finds a whopper worth thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.

The unidentified man who made the 49-ounce find was one such treasure hunter. Details are scarce — as of this writing, most of what’s known about the find comes from local shopkeeper Matt Cook. Cook, who supplies equipment to weekend prospectors, said that the lucky hunter came into his shop and proudly showed off the prize.

“He walked into my shop and showed me the nugget in his hand with a big smile on my face. It just a bit bigger than a packet of smokes, and the density of it was incredible, so heavy.”

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The rock checks in at 49 ounces. As of this writing, the spot price of an ounce of gold is $1,277.75, according to Money Metals. That means that the find could be worth as much as around $63,000.

Although the odds of any treasure hunter finding a chunk of gold valued at five figures or more may seem slim, such finds are actually rather common. Indeed, just a week ago, the New York Post reported on an Australian family who was out walking their dog when they happened upon a gold nugget roughly the size of a large grape, with their daughter having inadvertently kicked it. It weighed in at 20 ounces — the family had to take it to a grocery store to weigh it — and is worth an estimated $24,000.

In case you were wondering, if you find a giant chunk of gold (or any amount, for that matter), things are going to get complicated, says gold-prospecting blog The New 49’ers. First, you’ll have to find someone to sell it to — you should avoid pawn shops at all costs, lest you get only 50 percent of the spot price, or even less. Then there will be taxes and paperwork, and you may have to split the money with the landowner if you found it on private land.