The Motherlode of Nuggets

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This is what is known in the industry as “a [colorful idiom of your choice] of nuggets”.  Back in 2009, we purchased this group of hundreds and hundreds of small nuggets, along with this group of big-boy nuggets from a single estate.

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The biggest in the lower right weighed 29+ ozt

We struck a deal with PCGS, who agreed to certify nuggets for the first time ever as part of a promotional deal.  As part of the submission process to PCGS, each and every nugget had to be weighed individually, and placed in its own separate bag.  At the time, the lucky one who got stuck with that job was yours truly.  It took several full 8 hour days doing almost nothing but separating, weighing, bagging, stapling, marking, and organizing by weight before the job was done.  Ah yes, it’s not all glitz and glamor in the back end of a coin shop.

This was my life for about 4 days.

This was my life for several days.

I think I went through the 5 stages of a relationship with those nuggets: At first I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen and immediately posted several pictures on Facebook; then as the newness factor wore off and reality of the enormity of the monotonous task set before sank in I was less impressed but still stopped to examine any that were particularly large or interesting; then they stopped being gold nuggets and became little yellow annoying beans that I couldn’t wait to get the hell off my desk.

The first PCGS certified nugtgets!

The first PCGS certified nugtgets!

It was all worth it in the end, and very satisfying to open big brown boxes full of blue PCGS slab holders, all brimming over with nuggets that I had prepared by hand.  We had to count it all in again, and prepare it to be shipped off to a buyer who had bought nearly the entire collection whole.  It’s not every coin-nerd who can say they were instrumental (that’s what I tell myself, let me have this) in the creation of a first-time PCGS slabbing.

Part of the fruits of our labors -- boxes and boxes of PCGS certified nuggets.

This isn’t even close to all the boxes of slabbed nuggets we had laying around…

As quickly as the little ones (most were only 1g – 3.5g in weight) lost their appeal while I was actively working on them, the big nuggets never ceased to amaze.  The biggest was this huge 29+ ouncer that quickly became the shop favorite.  It was on display in our normal counter-cases, and the eyes of everyone who saw it would pop right out of their skull.

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The two big ones displayed with a quarter for scale.

I will never until the day I die forget the day we sold the big one.  A woman came into the shop who had never been in before, and started asking some basic first-timer questions about bullion until she noticed The Big One.  She stopped in the middle of a sentence to me, pointed at it and asked “What’s that?”

I told her it was a gold nugget, almost pure gold (very little ore), and that the reason for the $50,000 price tag (a huge amount over melt at that time) was because of its rarity and collectibility, something akin to compairing a giant diamond with a tiny diamond.  After about 30 seconds of conversation she waved her hand and said “It’s cute — I’ll take it.”  I couldn’t believe my ears, so stupidly I sputtered out “I’m sorry, what?” She said it again, with an identical wave of her hand: “It’s cute, I’ll take it.”  

My cousins are internet-camera shy.

My cousins are internet-camera shy.

So, we said goodbye to our giant nugget.  We all passed him around for goodbye pictures, and of course I was no exception.  As sorry as I was to see it go, it also closed the Great Nugget Chapter of my life and gave me something to aspire to:  I’ll known I’ve made it in life when I utter “It’s cute, I’ll take it” and drop $50,000 on the spot!

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