The Black Hills Travel Blog

Icebox Gold Nugget Unveiled in Black Hills

By • Sep 17th, 2010 • Category: Discoveries

Click on the video above to view the unveiling of the Icebox Nugget.

The largest undisputed gold nugget found in the Black Hills in the past century was revealed to the public yesterday at Rapid City’s Journey Museum. It was discovered on July 6, 2010 by local prospectors Charlie “Digger Chuck” Ward and Byron Janis who call themselves the “Icebox Mining Company.”

Dubbed “The Icebox Nugget” after the duo that found it, the monster nugget weighs in at more than five troy ounces with almost four troy ounces of that being pure gold! Ward and Janis sold their find for an undisclosed amount to local gold buyer, Chris Johnson, owner of the Clock Shop in downtown Rapid City . The nugget will remain on public display at the Journey Museum until mid-October.

Fast Facts about the Icebox Gold Nugget

  • Discovered July 6, 2010 by Charlie Ward and Byron Janis in the Black Hills. Found somewhere “within a 20-mile radius of Rapid City.”
  • Total weight of nugget: 5.27 troy ounces (163.915 grams).
  • Net weight of pure gold: 3.96 troy ounces (123.1694 grams).
  • Dimensions: 57mm x 35.5mm x 26mm.
  • Gold Value as of September, 13, 2010: $4,930
  • Intrinsic value as a historic specimen: Priceless. Current owner, Chris Johnson said that based on inquiries that he has already received, if the nugget was to be made available in the appropriate venue, it could easily fetch a value of six figures.
  • In 1929, Potato Creek Johnny became famous for finding a gold nugget that weighed in at 7 3/4 troy ounces, but its authenticity has been widely disputed. There are claims that the Potato Creek Johnny nugget was a mass of gold that had been man-made by melting several smaller nuggets together.
  • Records show that gold nuggets of similar and larger sizes were found during the late 1800′s Black Hills gold rush, but did not remain in one piece.
The Icebox Gold Nugget was unveiled recently at Rapid City's Journey Museum in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The Icebox Gold Nugget on display at Rapid City's Journey Museum in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

About the Author

is a resident of Spearfish, S.D. He grew up in the tall-corn state of Iowa, where he developed an early interest in all things outdoors. After high school he moved to Vermillion, S.D., where he earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising. During his college years, two things caught his attention: the beauty of western South Dakota’s Black Hills and a girl from those Black Hills. After graduating from college, Joe traveled across the country as a recruiter for the University of South Dakota. He saw the sights from Pittsburgh to Las Vegas and everywhere in between, but it was the Black Hills (and the girl) that kept drawing him back. He and wife moved back to the Black Hills in 2008. He's an avid hiker, mountain biker and road cyclist whose future plans include trying to fit a pair of kayaks into the spare bedroom.
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