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Rare Gold Rush-era gold nugget stolen at Long Beach show; $10,000 reward posted – San Bernardino Sun

“There’s an old saying,” says Bob Campbell, a veteran numismatics dealer, “that gold brings people together like fire in a dark room.”

Unfortunately for Campbell, gold also attracts thieves.

So Campbell is now offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who reached into a defective display case and stole an unusually large 27-ounce gold nugget on Thursday, June 6, at the Long Beach Expo. that Campbell priced $82,000.

Campbell, 66, owner of the All About Coins store in Salt Lake City, said the nugget’s value is $64,000 based on its gold content alone, but he believes its history multiplies its true value. Campbell said the gold nugget was mined in the Yolo River during the Gold Rush era.

“We think it goes all the way back to the 49ers when they first won gold. Very few gold nuggets from that time have survived because most people melted them down,” Campbell said in an interview shortly after returning to his shop on Saturday.

Collectors come to the three-day show at the Long Beach Convention Center to buy and sell coins, precious metals and trading cards.

Customer traffic at Campbell’s stand was busy Thursday when the man took advantage of a broken hinge on the locked case, put his finger under a lip and pulled the case open. Surveillance footage showed the man looking over his shoulder as he put the gold nugget in his pocket and walked away.

Other dealers told Campbell they had seen the thief at previous shows. Campbell said he believes the man likely had accomplices.

Campbell filed a report with Long Beach police. He said it would be difficult to resell the nugget without attracting attention as it is now infamous. But Campbell said he hopes the thief will try, rather than melt it down.

“Thieves get caught because they are stupid,” Campbell said.

Police could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

Campbell said he hopes to get another chance to place the nugget in his display case.

“I love putting history into people’s hands,” he said. “There’s nothing like holding it and imagining who handled it before, and then going back to the actual miner who dug it out of the mine. This would have been talked about in the mining camps for years.”

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