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Historic South Dakota gold nugget on permanent display in bulletproof case in Deadwood museum

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DEADWOOD, South Dakota — One of the largest gold nuggets ever found in western South Dakota's Black Hills is now on permanent display in Deadwood.

The Potato Creek Johnny gold nugget is housed in a $4,000 bulletproof display case at the Adams Museum. The case was paid for with money from the sale last fall of a replica of the nugget. Additional funds were used on electronic security measures. The nugget was put on display late last week.

John Perrett found the nugget on his claim on Potato Creek on May 27, 1929. It weighs nearly 7.4 troy ounces. Adams Museum founder W.E. Adams bought the nugget for $250 in 1934.

Museum Exhibit Curator Darrel Nelson said the value of the nugget is priceless.

"People can estimate the dollar value based on the price of gold, but historically its value is incalculable," he told the Rapid City Journal. "Like any artifact, it is one-of-a-kind and what it does to the imagination is what's so invaluable. This nugget concentrates the Black Hills story so dramatically.

"It is tangible evidence of a much bigger story - the European settlement of the Black Hills, the reasons for it and the drama behind it," Nelson said. "It represents the last great gold rush in the U.S."

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