Treasure Hunter Discovers £50,000 Gold Nugget Linked to Shipwreck

Vincent Thirkettle couldn’t believe his luck when he found it and said, “When I realized it was a huge nugget, it was a magical moment.” Excited treasure hunters are flocking to a UK beach after a 60-year-old man found part of a £120 million treasure haul.

Vincent Thirkettle was stunned to find the incredible 97.12g nugget of gold worth £50,000 – about the size of a chicken egg.

It is believed to be part of a £120 million haul of gold that went down with the Royal Charter when it was shipwrecked during a hurricane in 1859.

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The incredible find is almost twice as heavy as the UK’s second-biggest nugget, which was found in Cornwall more than 200 years ago in 1808.

He spent seven summers scouring the shore before he was rewarded for his efforts.

He spent around six weeks each summer looking for gold dust with a team of his family and friends and uncovered the nugget when he was shallow diving around five meters from the shore.

Vincent Thirkettle said, ‘I was absolutely stunned when I first saw the nugget’ (Image: Geoff Robinson)

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“I was absolutely stunned when I first saw the nugget. The sun was out, so the gold was gleaming, and because it was underwater, it was magnified, so it looked huge,” he said.

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“I was really only expecting to find gold dust, so I couldn’t believe it when I realized it was a huge nugget; it was a magical moment.

“My first thought was that I had only ever seen nuggets like it in a museum.

“I didn’t want to touch it at first, just to savor the extraordinary moment and burn into my memory how beautiful it looked.

“It was stuck in a crevice, and as it lay where nature had hidden it, the nugget reminded me of a Faberge egg. When I picked it up, it was surprisingly heavy.”

Vincent Thirkettle found this in Anglesey, Wales

It was found about five meters below the water and around 40 meters from the famous Royal Charter shipwreck, which sank just to the north of the village of Moelfre on the northeast coast of Anglesey on October 26, 1859.

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The ship, which was bound for Liverpool, was carrying gold from Australia.

Around 450 people are believed to have died in the disaster.

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When Vincent made the discovery, storms had taken away about two meters of sand that normally covers the site, exposing parts of the seabed that had been hidden for decades.

He added: “I’ve spent 39 years prospecting, and I have handled a lot of gold nuggets, but I never thought I would find such a large one myself.”

As the nugget was found close to a shipwreck, Vincent had to notify the Receiver of Wreck, and the piece is now property of the Crown.

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It is being kept in a safe place until it eventually goes on display in a museum, and Vincent expects to receive a finder’s fee.

He believes the nugget could fetch as much as £50,000 due to its extreme rarity and the fact it was discovered near such an important shipwreck.

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He added: “It has broken my heart to part with the nugget, but I think it’s important that it ends up in a museum for everyone to see.

“I had grown very fond of it. Other pieces I’ve found before have been quartz with gold in, but this was a big lump of gold with bits of quartz in.

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“It just goes to prove that if you go out and about in the British countryside and get stuck in, you can still make spectacular discoveries.”

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