Mystery buyer acquires Nugget’s gold collection
RENO (AP) – A mystery buyer has acquired a northern Nevada casino’s unique gold collection for at least $1.1 million.
The Carson Nugget in Carson City sold the golden treasure earlier this fall after it had been on public display there since the 1950s, said Fred Holabird of Reno, agent for the resort.
A confidentiality agreement prohibits the release of the buyer’s identity or the price paid for the collection of 170 specimens of gold in both nugget and crystalline form, he said.
The Nugget entertained offers from nearly 50 parties, including dealers, private collectors and institutions. Either a collector or institution likely wound up with the collection, Holabird said, and it’s unknown what the buyer intends to do with it.
While the capital city’s longest continuously operated casino set a minimum bid of $1.1 million, the collection had been valued in a broad range of up to $5 million.
“Interest was strong and from across the country,” Holabird said. “The timing for the sale was definitely good because of high gold prices.”
Gold closed Friday at $1,352.30 an ounce. Specimens in the collection have a combined weight of more than 300 ounces.
It had been one of the two largest such collections on public display in the U.S., with Mariposa, Calif., home of the other, Holabird said.
Among its highlights is a crystalline specimen of natural leaf gold that’s shaped like a large rose with multiple petals.
Nugget President Steve Neighbors has said the collection billed as “The World’s Rarest Gold Collection” was put up for sale because it no longer was drawing public interest and wasn’t vital to the resort’s operation.
The collection was put on display in the mid-1950s by Richard Graves, who purchased it from a Sonora, Calif., man after opening the Nugget in 1954, said former Nevada state Archivist Guy Rocha. The collection was enlarged and enhanced by brothers Howard and Hop Adams, who bought both it and the Nugget from Graves in 1957.
The collection was assembled in the 1930s or before by John Ghirioso, a Sonora saloon and barbershop owner, Holabird said.
“Today it would be almost impossible to put together a collection like that because specimens of that quality aren’t mined anymore,” Holabird said. “Wherever the collection went I hope they love it as much as people did over the decades at the Nugget. It was a treat for all of us.”