The world’s largest gold specimen is known as "The Beyers and Holtermann Nugget". Although it was not a solid piece of gold, and therefore not credited as being the largest gold nugget ever found, it is nonetheless the largest single mass of gold ever known to be discovered.
Bernard Otto Holtermann and Louis Beyers were friends who set of to become gold miners. They headed to the town of Tambaroora, near Hill End. The two men mined for several years with only modest reward. They set up the Star Hope Mine, and were fortunate to strike a rich vein of gold that yielded several thousand ounces of gold. The men had become wealthy from successful gold mining.
Then on October 26, 1872, the discovery of a lifetime was made. Holtermann, who was the mine manager at the time, was notified that an extremely rich mass of gold had been located. It was carefully brought to the surface under close supervision from Holtermann. The magnificent specimen is believed to have contained approximately 3000 troy ounces of gold, among a matrix of quartz rock often called reef gold by Australian miners.
Holtermann felt a strong personal attachment to this magnificent specimen, and offered to buy it from the Star of Hope Mining Company (of which he was only partial owner) for 1000 British pounds over the estimated market value. For reasons unknown, his offer was declined and the specimen was sent off to be crushed and smelted along with other reef gold specimens recovered from the mine. There were reports of even larger gold structures found in the following months, which were broken apart for easier transport out of the mines.
Shortly after the amazing gold specimen was found, Holtermann resigned from his position as mine manager. He was proud of his discovery, and many believe that his heart was not in gold mining after his magnificent find was broken apart and smelted. Very few records exist documenting the find, and only a few photos exist today to document this rare gold discovery.