California man discovers massive gold nugget

A Modesto man may be tens of thousands of dollars richer after finding a large gold nugget in Tuolumne County.

Full-time gold prospector Oscar Espinoza told employees with Gold Prospecting Adventure, LLC in Jamestown it didn’t take very much work at all to discover the nugget.

Now, Espinoza wouldn’t divulge the exact location where he found it, but he believes the 559-gram nugget was bound by bedrock.

The prospector said he had been working a particular portion of Woods Creek – a popular gold panning creek – that he had prospected before when he saw a big rock that “had never been moved by anybody,” he told Gold Prospecting Adventure in a video the company posted to its Facebook page.

So he moved it.

“And there it was,” Espinoza said.

After uncovering it, he put it in his back pocket.

Gold Prospecting Adventure employees say the 17.9 troy ounce [a measurement used to measure the mass of precious metals] nugget could be worth anywhere from $20,000 to $70,000.

The reason the price range is so large is because it will depend on the buyer. Bryant Schock , co-owner of Gold Prospecting Adventures said the location it was found, the formation of the nugget, and the history of the piece could effect its value.

Since news of the gold nugget has came out, Espinoza has since handed it over to a friend and owner of the Jamestown Hotel, Charles Morgan, for safe keeping.

“It’s a great thing for Jamestown to find gold here and that’s what this town did back in the 1800’s and who knows how long that piece has been rolling around out there," Morgan said.

Morgan has owned the hotel for four years now -- He said he has had people calling from all over the country to book rooms. He said the recent attention to the nugget has sparked the interest in the town and he would like more people to visit.

(© 2016 KXTV)


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