The London Mint Office starts search for the descendants of the ‘Welcome Stranger’ discoverers – is this you?

The London Mint Office has launched an appeal to find the living descendants of the two Cornishmen who discovered the ‘Welcome Stranger’ in Australia, the largest Gold nugget ever found.

In 1869, John Deason – born on the Isles of Scilly before moving to Pendeen – and Richard Oates – also from Pendeen – discovered the ‘Welcome Stranger’ Gold nugget near the base of a tree in Victoria, Australia.

Weighing in at 72kg the ‘Welcome Stranger’ was and still is the largest alluvial Gold nugget ever found. This year, we celebrate the 150th anniversary of this record-breaking find.

For this milestone, the London Mint Office is to present a pure Gold coin commemorating the discovery of the ‘Welcome Stranger,’ to the people of Cornwall and is conducting a search for the living descendants of the two men who discovered the famous nugget.

Descendants of Deason and Oates have been located in Australia, but the search now continues for any relatives of the two men who may still be living in or around Cornwall.

Daniel Penney, Managing Director of The London Mint Office, says of this special occasion:

It is a privilege to celebrate this monumental historic discovery by two Cornishmen 150 years on, with the people of Cornwall, and we hope to track down descendants of the founders to join us at this special event. This beautiful coin, struck in Australia where the discovery was made, is a fantastic celebration of such history. We hope the families and people of Cornwall will join us to celebrate 150 years of this remarkable discovery

Upon the discovery of the ‘Welcome Stranger,’ the London Chartered Bank of Australia paid just under £10,000 for the nugget. It was so big, it had to be broken into three pieces since no scales could hold it. The discoverers were paid approximately £9,381 for their find, an equivalent to £1m in today’s money. Both Deason and Oates died in Victoria, Australia.

Any descendants of the pair should contact The London Mint Office via tim.powell@thinkorchard.com.

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