An Australian Man Using a Budget Metal Detector Discovered a 10-Pound Chunk of Gold Worth $160,000

'I was just gobsmacked,' said the prospector who bought the rock from the metal detectorist.

The 10 pound chunk of gold, found in Australia's Golden Triangle. Photo courtesy of Lucky Strike Gold.

Australia’s Golden Triangle may be named for the abundance of its cereal grains, but since the 1800s, it’s been an equally fertile ground for gold prospectors.

It was recently the site for a once-in-a-lifetime find, a 10-pound chunk with 83 ounces of gold inside. It’s estimated to be worth more than $160,000. The prospector, who found it in late 2022 and wishes to remain anonymous, arrived at the Lucky Strike Gold prospecting store in Geelong, a city south-west of Melbourne, unaware of the value of his haul.

Darren Kamp, who works at Lucky Strike Gold and handled the transaction in December, had never before seen a nugget of such size and value.

“I was just gobsmacked,” Kamp told Australian television show Nine News. “He dropped it into my hand and said ‘Do you think there’s A$10,000 ($6,707) worth in it?’ I looked at him and said, ‘Try A$100,000 ($67,073).’”

Darren Kamp, who works at Lucky Strike Gold, holding the gold. Photo courtesy of Lucky Strike Gold.

Kamp’s disbelief doubled when the man told him there was another half which he’d left at home. “‘Wow,’” Kamp said the man told him, “‘the wife’s going to be happy with that,’” adding that he looked forward to spending the money on his family. “We are looking for a buyer to provide a good home for this special nugget,” Lucky Strike Gold told Artnet News via email.

In a further twist, the discovery was made using a Minelab Equinox 800 metal detector, which sells for under $1,000 and is generally considered a somewhat budget piece of kit. (Other hobby metal detectorists, in recent years, have unearthed artifacts from medieval coins to Viking jewelry to a 16th-century pendant with links to Henry VIII.)

Although a find of this size is rare, Australia has some of the world’s largest gold reserves; the gold deposits in the Ballarat and Bendigo regions of Victoria were the sites for multiple gold rushes in the 1850s. Some such finds have continued into the present day, and in 2020 a pair of gold diggers found two nuggets worth $250,000 in historic Victoria goldfields.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.