Gold is the commodity on everyone's minds these days, and bidders could very well strike paydirt over Labor Day weekend, September 3 and 4, when southern California auctioneer Don Presley offers nuggets and other specimens from the private collection of a retired professional prospector.
Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Now in his late eighties, the prospector - who traded in precious metals and sold mining equipment for a living - built a special reserve collection over his lifetime that consisted of exceptional geological specimens.
He is now liquidating his collection to provide for his grandchildren.
"Over the years, he has prospected all over the world, and this is the first time he has ever sold anything at auction," said Don Presley. "Some of the pieces in his collection are just fabulous."
Headlining the gold lots is a spectacular white quartz specimen with a total weight of 59.2 ozt. that contains a gold chunk weighing 29.5 ozt. "A specific gravity test makes it possible to determine the weight of gold when it is suspended in quartz," Presley said.
"The way the price of gold is going, it would have a melt value of close to $60,000, but I don't know why anyone would want to melt it; it's a fantastic thing to look at." Presley has estimated the item at $60,000-$90,000.
There is a powerful niche market for aesthetic gold nuggets.
Three nuggets have been consigned by the prospector, the largest weighing 12.86 ozt. (or 400g) and estimated at $25,000-$40,000.
Presley explains that because it is a solid nugget, it has more value than scrap gold of the same weight. An 8 ozt. nugget is estimated at $16,000-$20,000; while a 2 ozt. nugget that was made into a beautiful pendant enhanced with sapphires is expected to pan out at $4,200-$6,000.
Other, smaller gold-quartz specimens have been consigned to the sale, as well. An example weighing 29.58 grams (20 grams gold) is estimated at $1,500-$2,500; and one with a total weight of 20.96 grams (13 grams gold) is expected to fetch $800-$1,500.
Reasonable estimates have been placed on all of the gold and gold quartz lots, with opening bids just under the melt value.
"The prospector's collection has turned out to be quite a shrewd investment. Gold is on the rise, so his consignments have gone up in value without a single bidding paddle being lifted," Presley observed.
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