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Just When You Thought The Gold Rush Was Over

A rare, large gold nugget found in California in July goes on display this week in San Francisco. The nugget is expected to go for $250,000-$450,000.
Posted at 1:53 PM, Oct 23, 2014

The days of prospecting aren't over: It turns out you can still find solid gold the good old-fashioned way ... by just looking around for it.

The foothills of Butte County, California, were part of the original California gold rush of 1848 to 1855. 

From 1850 to 1860, the area's population skyrocketed 238 percent, thanks to folks heading out West to strike it rich. As public property, the foothills were scoured for traces of the precious metal.

Which is why it was pretty shocking when a 5.14-pound chunk of gold was discovered there in July with a simple metal detector ... just one foot underground. (Video via Chico Enterprise-Record)

Multiple sources differ about the nugget's weight, but most agree the golden chunk is 80-90 percent solid gold, about the size of an adult's hand, and roughly 1 inch thick.

Dubbed the "Butte Nugget," this bullion was quickly traded off to numismatic firm Kagin's Inc.

It's slated to be displayed at this week's San Francisco Fall Antiques Show, which has a gold rush theme this year.

Kagin's President Donald Kagin says, "Large California nuggets are incredibly rare and valuable," and the firm expects private offers for the gold piece to soar anywhere from $250,000 to $450,000.

For those of us turning green with envy at the golden price tag, it's interesting to note the original finder of this hidden treasure was actually trying to strike it rich the the way miners used to.

Digger Bob Van Camp, a local metal detector dealer in Butte County, took this discovery as a chance to remind amateur prospectors everywhere: "Follow the three Ps: persistence, patience and perseverance. Keep at it. Keep the dream alive."

Who knows? If you follow his advice, maybe you can have a glittering future, too. 

This video includes an image from Ebryden.