Man With Broken Metal Detector Unearths Largest Gold Nugget Ever Found in England

Richard Brock stumbled upon the treasure, valued at more than $38,000, about 20 minutes after starting his search

Gold nugget next to coin
Richard Brock found the nugget using an old back-up metal detector. Mullock Jones

Richard Brock was an hour late to a meetup of amateur metal detectorists. Worse still, when he finally arrived, he realized his metal detector wasn’t working properly.

The odds seemed stacked against him. But despite everything that went wrong that day, Brock discovered a 2.3-ounce (64.8-gram) gold nugget after just 20 minutes of searching. The object, nicknamed “Hiro’s Nugget,” is thought to be the largest gold nugget ever discovered in England.

Now, Brock wants to sell his lucky find—and he plans to split the proceeds with the landowner. The gold nugget is open for bidding through a Mullock Jones online auction that runs through April 1. It’s expected to fetch between £30,000 ($38,000) and £40,000 ($50,700).

“We’ve handled gold before but usually in the form of a ring, or jewelry or coins,” auctioneer Ben Jones tells BBC News’ Lee Bottomley. “This is certainly a one-off for us.”

Brock, 67, has been metal detecting since 1989. Last May, he decided to join a group expedition in the Shropshire Hills, a region just west of Birmingham. Brock lives in Somerset, so he spent over three hours driving to the site.

He showed up late but decided to see what he could find anyway. When he realized his metal detector was malfunctioning, he started using an older piece of equipment instead. That back-up metal detector wasn’t perfect, either, as it had a faded screen and was “pretty much kaput,” he says, per the Telegraph.

But just a few minutes later, the device picked up on something buried about five or six inches below the surface.

Gold nugget against black back drop
The nugget is thought to be the largest ever discovered in England, though larger pieces of gold have been found in Wales and Scotland. Mullock Jones

Brock started digging and pulled out a nugget that’s “around the size of a U.K. 50 pence coin,” writes CNN’s Emily Blumenthal.

“It just goes to show that it doesn't really matter what equipment you use if you are walking over the find and are alert enough to what might be lurking underneath the soil; that makes all the difference,” says Brock in a statement from the auction house, per CNN.

He shared his discovery with his fellow treasure hunters, who soon began scouring the ground nearby, hoping to replicate Brock’s success.

Larger gold nuggets have been found in Scotland and Wales, including the 3-ounce (85.7-gram) Douglas Nugget discovered in 2017 and the 4.3-ounce (121.3-gram) Reunion Nugget found in 2019. Still, Brock’s may be the largest ever discovered in England.

How such a large chunk of gold ended up buried under the soil in this part of England is unclear. But the site is home to rocks thought to have come from Wales, which is “known to be rich in gold,” reports the Guardian’s Jessica Murray.

“The site does contain an old road/railway line and has remnants of Welsh stone within,” Jones tells CNN. “So [there are] a variety of possibilities [as to] how it made it there.”

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