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Chris Gholson

Past 20 Years - One of my Most Amazing Finds!

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This is one of those stories I would have never believed, had it not happened to me. I have been metal detecting for over 20 years and I can honestly say this is one of my biggest surprise finds ever!

It started early one Saturday morning in July. I decided to brave the Arizona heat and go check out a place I had spotted on Google Earth. What I saw on the screen sure looked like the remains of several old buildings. Was this an early homestead, an abandoned ranch, or maybe something from the days of the railroad? I had no clue who had lived there, but I sure hoped they had left behind some silver coins or cool relics for me to find. 

The road getting in was dirt, but I didn't need 4WD and I easily found the spot. Sure enough, there were two crumbling foundations from what were likely small houses. Based on the look of the concrete and the trash lying about, I dated the site to roughly the 1930's. All of the usual rusty garbage was there, and unfortunately so was a layer of modern day junk. It was obvious from the stone fire rings and countless shell casings, that this was a popular hunt camp. 

I decided to start in what I dubbed the "parking lot". It was a nice flat area in front of the foundations that looked the most likely to hide coins. I fired up my Minelab CTX 3030 and went to work. Even with a low level of discrimination, the machine was blanking out virtually everywhere. I knew I would miss targets, but I figured I would try to cherry pick the most obvious signals first. 

About ten minutes into it, I get a mixed-up sound beside a bush. As I swept the coil, the threshold blanked out, then gave a clipped high tone. The target ID came up as 12-40. I envisioned a silver coin near the surface surrounded by garbage. Using the side of pick I scrapped away about two inches of the loamy soil. The target moved immediately, which I didn't consider a good sign. I sifted through the dirt until I found the source of the signal; a smooth, heavy slug of metal. It was gray to brassy in color, and was covered in dark spots, almost as if it had been burned. I rubbed off some of the grime and noticed its' surface was pitted and deeply scratched. I assumed it was a molten blob of lead or brass and slid it into my pocket. I continued my day, never giving a second thought to the weird lump of metal. 

My new spot didn't turn out to be the relic bonanza I had hoped for. I found a handful of old buttons and a few clasps, but not a single coin. When I got home later that evening I was disappointed to tell my wife and daughter that I hadn't found anything good. As I emptied out my pockets onto the table, my daughter asked, "What's this?" holding up the mystery metal blob. 
"No clue." I replied.
She wandered over to the sink and held it under the water. "It almost looks like gold."
"Yeah right," I scoffed.
"No I'm serious!" she replied.
I took it from her outstretched hand and held it up to the light...she was right. I got into the cabinet and took down my digital scale. I dropped it on and the scale responded 14.8-grams. I hefted it a few times in my hand. God, this thing was dense! It was a convincing color and weight, but that was impossible! The nearest gold country was over 50 miles away! Unable to accept the evidence that was piling up, I went back to the cabinet, this time for my 30X light scope. 

"Do you think it could be?" she asked.
"Ha ha, I wish! How cool would that be!?" I grinned as I lowered my eye to the scope. I adjusted the focus and literally couldn't believe what I saw below. It was gold - solid gold! I looked closer, down into the bright yellow crevices and could see sugary crystals of quartz and patches of limonite. This was, without a shadow of a doubt, a genuine, authentic gold nugget! 

I have had many incredible finds over the past twenty years. Some have been nuggets much larger than this, but this is the first time I have ever struck native gold while hunting for coins! It makes no sense at all, but there you have it. A half-ouncer, found with the CTX 3030 in the middle of a parking lot surrounded by broken beer bottles and spent cartridges. Definitely one of the most bizarre, and amazing surprises of my life. 

P.S. The pics show before and after cleaning in a mild acid. 
 

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I have held this amazing chunk and there is no doubt that it is gold. Awesome. Chris has a built in gold radar system.

Dean

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