As big as a filet mignon and shining in the Tuolumne County sunlight, a gold nugget seen in cell phone footage and posted on the Gold Prospecting Adventure’s Facebook page, was an unlikely find for Mr. Espinoza. The Central Valley man asked FOX40 not to use his first name.
“When I grabbed it,my hand kind of slipped off of it, that’s when I realized it was a lot bigger than a little nugget,” Espinoza said.
He found it last week.
"It took awhile to sink in that it was reality because usually not every day you see something like that," he said.
He and his dog Groucho search for gold often. It’s a hobby Espinoza said was born out of necessity,
"Thanks to unemployment, nothing to do and the search for something greater," he said.
He said he makes enough money from the gold he finds to get by. He hopes this latest discovery may help fatten his wallet. He turned to Gold Prospecting Adventures for answers.
The company in Jamestown knows the ins and outs of gold panning and said it’s the real deal. Based on the weight of the nugget, which is 559 grams, it could sell for thousands of dollars. Because it was found in nature, and not altered, buyers could shell up to $70,000 for the nugget.
We also asked to see the nugget in person, but Espinoza wants to protect his treasure. He’s very tight lipped about where he’s storing it.
"It’s a hot potato. I want to make sure it’s safe so that’s the reason why I didn’t present it,” Espinoza said while laughing.
If you want to take a look at it yourself, he is selling it.
He hopes he can find more.
"I’m not guaranteed to ever find anything like that ever again. Who knows?” he said.