Most people think of gold in its refined state as a coin, a bar or a
piece of jewelry. Few get the chance to see gold as it’s naturally formed.
On May 4, Heritage Auctions will offer in its mineral auction “The
Lightning Bolt” – a nearly 10-inch-high formation of gold weighing
22.66 troy ounces.
The piece is from Mt. Monger Station, Western Australia, and its
discoverers gave the piece its name due to its unusual form.
The catalog notes, “There is an increasing amount of evidence that
some near surface gold is the product of biologically mediated
deposition, involving plant derived compounds that assist in
mobilization and deposition of metallic Gold.”
Supporting this theory, the description cites irregular cylindrical
features running lengthwise down the piece, which Heritage notes “is
very similar to material that accretes around tree roots in desert
regions, where it has been associated with transport and deposition of
Copper and Aluminum ions.”
The description uses a term familiar to coin collectors of gold coin
by saying that the surface of the piece has areas of luster, with
smooth and rough areas. Another thing that is of note to collectors of
naturally formed gold is that it has a large surface area for its
With gold at around $1,300 an ounce, by weight alone it would have a
“melt value” approaching $30,000. But to a collector, the value is
much greater. The piece carries an estimate of $150,000 to $180,000.