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The Turnagain Gold Nugget

Arctic & Northern Mining

Photo of the Turnagain gold nugget     In 1937, while walking along a creek to her husband's claim in northern BC, a glint of gold caught Alice Shea's attention, and she found a huge nugget wedged in a boulder. The nugget turned out to weigh 52 ounces - it's about 7½ inches long and nearly 4 inches wide. Alice's husband Vern Shea sold it to the BC government that year for $1,500.

    Their gold claim was on what is now called Alice Shea Creek in the Turnagain River area, about 60 kilometres east of Dease Lake.

    After being purchased, the nugget was placed in a vault and nearly forgotten about until 1991. It was discovered when workers for the BC Finance Ministry completed an inventory. A locksmith had to pry open the box to reveal the glowing treasure!

    In 1991, the "Turnagain Nugget" was the star of the B.C. Gem and Mineral Show in Tsawwassen. It was valued then at more than $80,000.

    Today, the Turnagain nugget is the largest nugget ever found in BC that remains in the province. It is one of the prized display objects in the "Gold Rush: El Eldorado in BC" exhibition at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria.