ANCHORAGE - A Canadian company that owns an Alaska gold mine is offering some choice nuggets to the highest bidders on eBay.
Silverado Gold Mines Ltd. of Vancouver, British Columbia, put up 11 pounds of gold for auction from its Nolan Creek mine, located about 280 miles north of Fairbanks.
Silverado has owned the mine since 1980 and sells most of the nuggets to Alaska jewelers, said company president Gary Anselmo.
The Nolan Creek mine has produced roughly 18,000 ounces of gold since Silverado took it over. About half that has been nuggets and the other half dust, Anselmo said.
Nuggets tend to be from 92 percent to 97 percent pure gold. Most are suitable for jewelry and sell at an average premium of 66 percent over the market price for smelted gold, Anselmo said.
Silverado ventured online last year to see how much interest a 5-ounce nugget would generate.
The winning bid for that piece was $5,000, about $600 an ounce more than the market price for gold at the time, Anselmo said.
This month, the company decided to expand its use of online auctions for gold nuggets.
"We believe we can get substantially better prices on eBay," Anselmo told the Anchorage Daily News.
Last week, Silverado put up a second nugget, weighing just under 3 ounces, which ultimately sold for $1,625. That was $542 over the market price for gold, Anselmo said.
Silverado plans to sell the nuggets one at a time on eBay, an online marketplace where companies and individuals can list items they want to sell.
The site has items in thousands of categories and lists millions of items ranging from Rolls-Royce automobiles to vintage Converse All Stars sneakers from the 1960s.