The Perth Mint is delighted to present “King Henry” and “The Karratha Queen” – two of the most valuable gold and silver specimens in the world – as part of an exhibition that underscores The Perth Mint’s century-deep connection to Australia’s precious metals sector.
Weighing in at an impressive 93kg and containing an estimated 1400 ounces or approximately 45kg of gold worth more than $3 million, the King Henry gold specimen was discovered in the Beta Hunt underground mine near Kambalda, in WA’s Goldfields.
Named after Beta Hunt airleg miner Henry Dole who made the stunning discovery in 2018, King Henry is among the largest of its kind in the world and one of very few on public display.
It is a stunning display that evokes all the romance of gold – from the WA gold rushes more than a century ago to today’s world of modern mining practices – as well as the enduring value and allure of gold.
Sitting next to King Henry is The Karratha Queen, a 145kg silver nugget found in 2000 at the Elizabeth Hill mine, 45km south of Karratha in WA’s Pilbara.
The Karratha Queen contains about 3520 ounces of silver, worth $136,000 in metal alone, and is one of the world’s largest and most beautiful silver nuggets, or native silver specimens.
Like King Henry, The Karratha Queen is worth much more than its metal content.
“We are absolutely delighted that King Henry and The Karratha Queen form part of The Perth Mint’s revamped public exhibition,” The Perth Mint Chief Executive Officer Richard Hayes said.
“The two precious displays epitomise so much of what The Perth Mint has experienced since its foundation 122 years ago – mining, gold refining and fabricating techniques may have changed but our pursuit of the highest-quality gold and silver has withstood the test of time. These two prized precious metals exhibits stand as much for the thrill and adventure of discovery as for their beauty and enduring value.
“The opportunity to display King Henry and The Karratha Queen at The Perth Mint allows us to share these unique and world-class examples of Western Australia’s gold and silver heritage with the broader public and celebrate an industry that, since The Perth Mint opened its doors in 1899 following the Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie gold rushes, has captivated all parts of our society.
“The Perth Mint’s mission is to promote Australian gold to the world, a role we proudly carry out as trusted refiners of the vast majority of newly mined gold dore across Australia. King Henry, in particular, now allows us to showcase Australian gold’s finest to the rest of the world.”
King Henry and The Karratha Queen together form an impressive new display, which has opened to the public to coincide with a major refurbishment of the Mint’s foyer and retail showrooms in Hay Street, East Perth.
The elegant, heritage-listed building now has an enhanced reception area and renovated luxury jewellery showrooms, including a new dedicated Pink Diamond Room.
The Perth Mint acquired King Henry in 2019 to preserve this significant gold find and ensure it can be enjoyed by the public. The Karratha Queen silver nugget is on a long-term loan from the Shemesian family.
It is impossible to definitively rank King Henry among the world’s largest gold quartz specimens. However, industry experts estimate that King Henry is one of the largest of its type to have ever been unearthed, likely in the top five and potentially the largest still in existence and on public display.
Unlike a nugget, which is traditionally found at or near surface and mostly contains pure metal, King Henry is classified as a gold specimen – a gold-encrusted rock recovered from an underground lode, or gold-bearing quartz vein.
By way of comparison, the Hand of Faith, the largest existing Australian nugget, weighs 875 ounces or 27.2kg and is on display in the Golden Nugget Casino Hotel in the US. The second-largest nugget, the Normandy, weighs 819 ounces or 25.5kg and is already on display at The Perth Mint.
The Perth Mint’s popular exhibition and gold pour, which pre-COVID attracted more than 80,000 visitors annually from around the world, runs daily tours that include viewing opportunities of King Henry, The Karratha Queen and the One-Tonne Coin.