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The Hand of Faith Gold Nugget is a monstrously huge chunk of gold on display in downtown Las Vegas! While there is some disagreement about whether it is the biggest gold nugget ever found or not, it is generally considered to be the largest single golden nugget on display in the world. It is, without a doubt, the most giant piece of gold I’ve ever seen!
Where is the Hand of Faith gold nugget now?
The Hand of Faith Gold Nugget is owned by the Golden Nugget Casino in downtown Las Vegas and is currently on display near the casino floor for everyone to see. It is believed to be the world’s largest golden nugget in existence today.
Every Las Vegas hotel tries to have some unique gimmick or attraction that draws people in and gets more players to visit their casino.
The Golden Nugget Casino on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas is no exception. The opportunity to see this gold nugget is about as unique as they come. Few Sin City casinos can boast of having a large lump of precious metal on their property. The Hand of Faith is quite a sight!
The fact that the world’s largest gold nugget in existence is owned by the Golden Nugget Casino seems entirely appropriate. It is a marvel to behold – that is, once visitors actually manage to locate it within the casino.
True to the nature of major Vegas casinos, you do have to go on a bit of a treasure hunt to find it. You have to walk through most of the casino before spotting it in a back corridor.
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Is the Gold Nugget at the Golden Nugget Real?
Is the Golden Nugget’s gold nugget real? It sure is! Standing there looking at it, though, it seems kind of surreal to be staring at a lump of gold rock this big and have it be just inches away from your fingertips.
It’s understandable to question it, however. It’s bright and golden, but it’s not a polished piece of shiny gold. This is a raw chunk of golden rock. This is what gold looks like when it comes out of the ground.
How Big is the Gold Nugget at the Golden Nugget Casino?
The huge rock is 27.21kg (about 61 lbs) of pure gold and measures 18.5 x 8 x 3.5 inches (47 x 20 x 9 cm) (source). I’ve mentioned that it is the largest gold nugget in existence, however, there have reportedly been larger pieces of gold found over the years, but they have been broken up or melted down to make jewelry. The Hand of Faith is still fully intact.
It shines brightly under the lighting of the corridor, and you can’t help but want to touch it. Understandably, there is a big glass case stopping anyone from getting their hands on it.
Maybe the casino is hoping it will entice you to stop and play a game of chance or two on the way through the property with the idea of striking it rich yourself.
Where was the Hand of Faith Found?
You might expect that the Hand of Faith was found during the California gold rush. That miners hauled it from the earth, maybe centuries ago, not far from the Nevada deserts outside the casino, and preserved it in Las Vegas, Nevada.
While this would be a great story and a wonderful way to romanticize that era in American history, it wouldn’t be the truth. Not only was the Hand of Faith not found in California or Nevada, it wasn’t even found in the United States!
So when and where exactly was this giant nugget of gold found? The gold nugget was found in Australia in 1980 by a man named Kevin Hillier.
You’ll never guess how he found it…
The Largest Gold Nugget Found with a Metal Detector
This is the Hand of Faith Story…
Kevin Hillier and his family were living in the old gold rush town of Kingower. Kevin was experiencing extreme financial difficulties, and money was tight. Kevin was working odd jobs here and there when he hurt his back and was unable to work.
He was told by his doctor that he should spend as much time walking as possible to strengthen his back. So he and his wife began spending a lot of time walking through the towns picked over gold fields with his old metal detector. One night he came home with a small gold nugget which only turned out to be worth enough to buy a new metal detector.
The story goes that several nights later, Kevin dreamed about finding a gold nugget so big that he wasn’t able to dig it out of the ground. He awoke and drew a picture of the gold nugget he’d dreamed about.
One day in September 1980, he and his wife were each walking with their metal detectors when Kevin yelled out to his wife. Running over to him, she found Kevin on his knees, crying. In front of him was a small hole he had dug and in the center of the hole was there was a part of a gold nugget sticking out.
They tried to pull the nugget out of the ground, but it wouldn’t budge. So they began to dig. They lifted the 60lb gold nugget out of the ground and realized they had just struck it rich! It was the largest gold nugget ever found with a metal detector!
Remarkably, the original weight attributed to the huge nugget was incorrect. It was re-evaluated from 720 troy ounces to 874.82 troy ounces. This undoubtedly added even more value to the gold.
The Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas bought the nugget from the Hillier family for the impressive sum of 1 million USD and put it on display for the world to see.
The Hillier family instantly became rich and earned a place in the history books. The pricey acquisition is also sure to have paid off for the Golden Nugget casino.
Is This Really the Second Largest Gold Nugget Ever Found
The Golden Nugget Casinos claims that the Hand of Faith is the second-biggest gold nugget ever found, but can they really call this Australian gold the second-largest gold nugget in the world?
There is some dispute over the claims made by the Golden Nugget Casino about this lump of gold. The official casino website states the following about their nugget.
1) It is now regarded as the biggest chunk of gold ore in existence
2) It is the second-biggest of these nuggets to have ever been discovered
3) It is the biggest that was ever found in modern times with a metal detector
Some experts in the world of gold and gold panning would dispute the second claim. This is because of a gold nugget discovery at the Serra Pelada Mine in Brazil – which is measured at 52.33 kg of gold – and the Great Triangle nugget discovered in Russia, which has a fine gold content of 32.94kg. The Hand of Faith gold nugget in Las Vegas is impressive but doesn’t have the same weight at all, coming in at 27.21kg.
Having said that, the Hand of Faith nugget is, without a doubt, the largest gold nugget ever found with a metal detector.
What is the Hand of Faith Gold Nugget Worth Today
Although somewhat speculative, it is believed that the Hand of Faith gold nugget is worth approximately 5 million dollars today. I say speculative because, with a nugget of this size, its value comes down to more than just how much it weighs.
Furthermore, because it’s not for sale on the open market and it’s the largest hunk of gold currently in existence, it’s hard to judge because it may have more worth to a collector above and beyond its actual monetary value.
Regardless, the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino is still the perfect place to display this impressive golden rock.
This casino has been a part of the Las Vegas landscape since 1946 and helped to shape the vibe and grandeur of Vegas. The casino can be found on the ever-popular Fremont Street downtown.
The nugget adds another level of bling and opulence to an establishment that also houses an extraordinary swimming pool with a waterslide through a shark tank.
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Gold remains an important part of the culture and history of Nevada and the Western States, and it’s really cool to be able to go and see this enormous chunk of gold with your own eyes. It’s completely free to check out this remarkable rock, and when visiting Las Vegas and the Golden Nugget Casino, it’s well worth your while.
Looking for more interesting things to do and see in Sin City? You’ll want to check out our article about the best aquariums in Vegas.
Where is the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas? The Golden Nugget Casino is located at 129 East Fremont St in downtown. You’ll find the hotel in the area known as the Fremont Street Experience.
Which Hotel in Vegas has the Shark Tank? The Golden Nugget Casino in downtown Las Vegas has a shark tank with a clear waterslide running through it. In addition, it has the Hand of Faith Gold Nugget. The largest chunk of golden rock in existence.