Is it really a bad thing?

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Since when did it become a bad thing to shop around for the best deal when purchasing an expensive item? When I found out that I was going to have the money to buy my new 5000 about a month ago, I did as anyone would and started looking around for the best price. That's what I have always done with big purchases. Another thing I look for, which is more important to me than price, is the help and courtesy I get from the prospective dealers. I mean, $7,700 is a lot of money no matter who you are in my opinion. That's why I am going with my local Chevy dealer on my new truck purchase...because he took the time to assist me even though he knew I was only shopping around at the time. The other salesman said, "Come back when you have the money and we can talk".

So one of the Minelab dealers I spoke with was located here in California. I wont mention a name because I don't condone bashing people publicly by throwing his/her name out there. I have bought 2 detectors and a drywasher from this dealer in the past year. I was honest and told him that I was looking for the best deal I could get, sent him my list, and awaited his response. I did not tell him anything else or that I had even talked to other dealers. The response I got was "Are you aware there is a global gold rush going on? I say let me see some cash, then we can talk"! Now I know that Minelab dealers are in business to make money, and I am fine with that. But to basically tell me that I am not worth talking to unless I am shoving Benjamen's into his pocket right then and there, to me is just flat out rude and wrong. And when I questioned the morality of his response, I was told to buy from someone else. NO PROBLEM AT ALL, BUDDY!

Well, there is one dealer that has answered every single question I have had, responded to every single email I have sent, and treated me with respect and courtesy even though I can't pick the items up for another 3 weeks. AND THAT IS WHO IS GETTING MY BUSINESS! He knows who he is, and to be honest (whether he did it intentionally or not) he has made the feel the most comfortable of any of the other dealers I have been in touch with, and he will have me as a customer for as long as he is in business. There are two very great, well-known dealers in Az. and if I was a millionaire I would buy a 5000 from each one of them, but unfortunately I'm not and I have to choose only one. But I know I will be happy with my decision.

Maybe this is just my opinion, but I feel that a consumer should not be made to feel as if they are a burden if they are not spending money with you.

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Hey Chris,

Hopefully I'm one of those two dealers ... :wub:

That being said, I actually get a bunch of business from dealers that don't want to take time and answer questions. However, there are times I get frusterated, cause I will spend a good hour on the phone answering every question I can and then a week later the customer will call and say can you take me in the field with my new Minelab! :(

I just keep doing what I do best, knowing I will never get all the sales, but at least the ones I get I know I done my best with service and support beyond the sale.

I wish I had more free time, or time to dedicate to the business. Most don't realize, but I work a full time job, run the business (Rob's Detector Sales), operate a small commerical gold operation with a partner and have a family life with a beautiful wife and 3-year old daughter. I honestly think I would knock the socks off of the other dealers if I dedicated 100% towards the business.

Always great to answer your questions Chris, along with all the other members or lurkers out there. Contact us anytime by email, phone or through the forum here and we promise to give you the best service and advice we can.

Talk with you all later,

Rob Allison

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Don't mean to make you blush, buddy, but HELL YEAH you are one of them. You have been so much help to me and have never made me feel as though I am bothering you. Even with your busy schedule I can ALWAYS rely on you answering my e-mails and phone calls in a very timely manner. I am really looking forward to finally meeting you in person next month.

Sent you the e-mail you requested with the list. I hope it made it easier on you the way I decided to do it. And I know you are not expecting me to, but I'm about to drop almost $8,000 with you so I hope it makes up for all the questions! LOL.

Talk to you soon.

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"Are you aware there is a global gold rush going on? I say let me see some cash, then we can talk"!

That has to be THE worst Comment any Minelab Dealer could have made, or any business for matter of fact.

There is no room for elitism behind a counter in any industry that wants to stay in business, customer satisfaction

and loyalty are paramount to stay in the game.

Good onya for not naming names as i also agree public forums are not the place for it, but geez, what a mob of wankers

and the best outcome is that you found out exactly how they run their operation and trust me, the follow up service would

have been non existent...

Glad you found a dealer who knows what customer service and loyalty is all about.

Pete B)

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Hey Rob,

Thanks, never got back to your e-mail, but thanks for everything :) I will be getting a Blitz coil from you soon, but just bought a "Delorme PN 60 SE" GPS, with everthing to help research on new ground. Hope your wrist is healing well. And thanks for the forum, and you guy's; Grustake, Reno Chris, Jim Straight, and everyone... P.S. Jim, watch out for redheaded woman wearing black underwear :P Another great book, Jim...

Take care,


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Well I was utterly and completely unaware that this happened to you babe. But I think I am 100% positive I know who this dealer was and as long as I have anything to do with the decisions of purchasing prospecting equipment we will NEVER buy from this dealer again I don't care how good the deal is. I too am a firm believer in giving good customer service if you treat me like crap I don't care if your giving me something for free you will not get my business.

On a good note I may not be able to as active as you are in all the prospecting stuff I.E going out and playing ;) or being able to get on here and chat with everyone, but I know I do enjoy doing it all when I can. I have not had the pleasure or opportunity to meet some of the people you know on here, But I enjoy hearing about your dealings with them. I can tell you guys that Chris enjoys his prospecting very much, but he also enjoys being on here and knowing, meeting and talking to all of you. He has had nothing but great things to say about everyone on here.

Rob all I know about about you is the few conversations and kind words you have shared with me on here and all the great stories and conversations Chris tells me you guys have. I do know you are a good guy, a GREAT business man and from what I can tell a dedicated family man. I want to thank you personally for all the great advice, service, conversations, hospitality and friendship you have shared with Chris and I. I am very very excited and anxious as well to meet you in person FINALLY next month as I will be with Chris when he goes to Arizona. It is a trip the whole family is anticipating and looking forward to. As well as a much needed and deserved break for us all. So again thank you very much for everything. I do hope your wrist is healing and coming along for you :(

As to everyone else who has had dealings with Chris and I ( you all know who you are ) I want to send a big thank you to all of you as well, and hopefully one day I will meet you guys as well. :) Until then everyone " HAPPY HUNTING " :wub:

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My answer would have been; "Are you aware of the fact that the dealership agreement you signed with Minelab Americas limits your sales to within the United States? So there is a global gold rush going on; I know you wouldn't risk your dealer status by exporting machines outside of the U.S. would you?"

When the Sudan Gold rush was in full swing a lot of us Minelab dealers did very well, myself included. However, we had to sell within the United States. So a customer in the U.S. would buy 6 machines from a dealer and then export them to Sudan. As long as our sale and our shipment was to a U.S. customer what happened to them after that was none of our business. Back then, the going offer for machines from U.S. Sudan middle men was $6,000. If you had machines they would give you $6000.

I always kept two GPX4500 on hand for my local customers. And regular customers paid the regular Minimum Minelab Advertised price, not an inflated price. There were times when I would have 7 calls in a week from people offering $6,000 for any GPX4500 that I had, a couple of times I had people offering $7000. I would look at those two machines, and I would remember that my local regular U.S. customers were the ones who helped me build my business, and my local U.S. customers would be the people who would still be buying from me long after the Sudan Gold Rush was over.


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Hey Doc,

Have to agree with you. This Gold Rush is different, at least for prices. They are looking to get as many as they can for as cheap as they can. I had one customer call last weekend and said he wanted as many as he could purchase, but only for $4,300.00 per unit. I couldn't believe it was possible, but the buyer said he is buying them all day for that price back east from a dealer(s), but they only had a limited amount and he was looking for more.

What upsets me the most is Minelab allows these dealers to sell them for that price. I understand it's hard to police every dealer and their sale price, but this is just stupid. Most of the dealers that are selling for this price never move GPX-5000's, so I'm sure it's not that hard to figure out.

Just my thoughts,

Rob Allison

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It was the same in Aus for Coiltek and NF coils, some Sudanese buyers would enter stores with countless thousands

of dollars to purchase as many coils as possible,prepared to pay as high as au$800.00 per 18x12 Mono.

Also a lot of the local fella's sold there coils on eBay for a very tidy profit to the Sudanese buyers.

The latest cash grab here was a few blokes selling nuggets on eBay and listing the weight in grains (g) instead of grams (grm)

which is our recognized local gold buying weight scale on eBay, so a lot of unwary buyers just assumed the weight was in grams

and unfortunately paid up to au$720.00 per gram for gold in the bid war..


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Dear Pete, this Ebay crap has been going on for a long time.

In 1999 I wrote and copyrighted an article titiled:

How not to get RIPPED OFF buying

Gold Nuggets on Ebay

© 1999 G.M. Lousignont, Ph.D.

all right reserved

Before I start I want you to know what an uproar this article has caused. I get emails about it all the time. The emails run 50 positive to every 1 negative email. The positive emails are usually from the buyers of nuggets, and the negative ones are from unethical sellers of nuggets. But I have also gotten several very nice letters from some of the bigger ethical gold nugget sellers on Ebay. In fact one of the biggest sellers asked if he could use this article.

The purpose of this article is to give new gold nugget buyers at least a basic understanding of buying gold, and enough knowledge to hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls. The biggest complaint I've heard from some disappointed folks who have bought nuggets, has been that they thought the nugget they were buying was much bigger. The problem occurred because of the picture; and the seller provided no standard of measurement, either by weight or something to gauge the size like a ruler or a point of reference like an object of known size; like a nugget laying next to a dime. Sellers should be honest and forthright about what it is that they are selling, and Buyers should feel comfortable that the seller has given them enough information to make an informed buying decision. So with that being said, I hope you will have a better understanding of the purpose and intent of this article.

I know a lot of you are educated gold nugget buyers, and this is not directed towards you. However, there may be some people who are new to buying gold nuggets and I see a lot of bidders on Ebay who are setting themselves up for disappointment, to my way of thinking.

I'd like someone to explain to me the consumer mentality that is operating on Ebay when people are buying nuggets and paying what amounts to $1,244 an ounce for a piece of gold that is not even a REAL Natural NUGGET! A REAL NUGGET is one that has been made by Mother Nature! There have been nuggets sold on Ebay where if people had read the fine print carefully they would have seen that the nugget was man made.

First, the price for smaller nuggets 1 to 2 grams usually runs around $18 a gram. Larger Nuggets 3 to 5 grams around $20 per gram. Real Large nuggets 6 to 7, $25 per gram. Really Large nuggets 8 grams up to 16 grams $30 per gram. Over 16 grams and the really really large nuggets 1 ounce or more well these are extremely rare and it's sort of a "what ever the traffic will bear" type of situation. REAL Gold nuggets are like diamonds, the bigger they are the more rare they are. Now granted, these prices can fluctuate, depending upon the aesthetic appeal of the nugget. Some are very pretty, others are as ugly as a baby vulture. A 1 gram ugly may go for $15 a gram, the 1 gram jewelry grade nugget may go for as much as $25 per gram. And let's not forget, everyone has different tastes. Some folks like the smooth river worn looking nuggets, others like nuggets that are more rough and jagged, still other folks like nuggets with quartz or ironstone in them.

Some folks just like to collect different types of nuggets. No matter what you pay, as long as you like the nugget, and you feel good about the price, and the seller has given you enough honest information for you to make an informed decision, then you have invested in a rare piece of what God and Mother Nature have created.

Sometimes people are willing to pay a little more for a particular shape or type of nugget because that's precisely what they have been looking for. I heard a story of someone who paid handsomely for a nugget because it was shaped like the letter "L" and that was the initial of his family's last name.

I don't have a problem with anyone paying whatever they feel comfortable paying for a nugget, no matter the price. The problem I have is when the person buying the nugget has an expectation that they are getting something much different than that which arrives in the mail after the sale is complete.

When nuggets are advertised without a weight or measurements, or standard of reference for size you have nothing to go on but to guess from the picture. Imagine how disappointed you would feel if you had won the bid on a nugget that appeared to be the size of a penny, and when it came in the mail it was the size of a kitchen match head.

With 14k Jewelry - you can usually figure at $40 a gram when it is appraised. Of course this takes into account the labor to produce the piece etc.

There are approx. 31 grams in a troy ounce of gold. I see people advertising, "HUGE gold nugget" on Ebay and then I look at the ad to see that these are 1 gram nuggets. A 1 gram nugget IS NOT a HUGE nugget! It may be huge compared to a flake of gold, but where nuggets are concerned a 1 gram nugget is pretty run of the mill. A 1 gram nugget is a little bigger than the size of a kitchen match head. These 1 gram nuggets are bidding out at sometimes $60 and $70. Which is fine as long as the buyer knows exactly what he or she is buying. But remember a 1 gram nugget is ONLY .032 of an ounce.

I think a lot of folks are getting boon swoggled into buying what they think is a big piece of gold only to find out when it arrives that it's just a little bigger than a flattened BB. This is going to turn people off to buying gold nuggets on Ebay and legitimate gold prospectors/dealers like myself will be hurt in the process.

Then there are those people on Ebay that advertise HUGE REAL GOLD NUGGET, and don't even give a weight! And again, sometimes I can get a sense that these nuggets are not even a gram and sometimes they bid out at prices so high that it leads me to believe the bidders must think the nugget is a good size chunk. Or some sellers don't give a weight but show the nugget next to a ruler, but you can only see one number on the ruler and the graduations.

Below is a nugget, that I've taken a picture of with a macro lens that makes it look enormous and it's laying next to the number 4 on the ruler with graduation marks. Well these close up shots make the graduations look like 1/4 inch marks, but they're not! They are 1/8 inch marks. Without seeing at least two numbers on a ruler, you have no idea of what value to place on the graduation marks! And nuggets are not sold by dimension, they are usually sold by weight. Dimensions are fine in addition to weight but probably a better way to judge a nugget is to have it pictured next to something familiar; like a nugget next to a dime, or a nugget held in someone's hand.

Here's the picture I took of one of those HUGE nuggets that weighs 1 gram presented in a rather deceptive manner. Well how big is this nugget really? Look at the next picture where I'm holding the nugget in my hand next to a dime.


Does this next picture give you a better idea of the REAL SIZE of a 1 gram nugget?


This is one of my 1 gram real natural nuggets and it is jewelry grade, but you couldn't make a pendant out of it. Maybe you could make a stickpin, a tie tack, or one stud earring. I may be prejudice, being that it is a nugget I found, but I think it's pretty. It has a unique shape and a lot of interesting natural design giving it character. I'd probably pay between $22 to $25 for this nugget.

BUT! Add a 14k gold stick with a clutch, and a 5 point real diamond and WHAM! A beautiful stick pin appraised value; $124


Then we have the third type of advertiser that promotes his gold nugget as 33 grns. GRNS is the abbreviation for GRAINS not grams! There are 480 grains in an ounce. A GRAIN is only .0648 of a GRAM, or .0021 of an ounce. And yet people are snapping these things up at bid prices that flip my stomach.

Here's an example from an actual auction on Ebay, a 43.1 grain nugget that sold for $112! It's a man made nugget to boot! So 43.1 grains is 2.8 grams or .09 of a troy ounce! $112 for .09 of a troy ounce. OK let's calculate that out. 1 ounce divided by .09 = 11.11. $112 X 11.11 = $1244 an ounce!!!!

$1244 divided by 31 GRAMS = $40 a gram. That's an awful lot of money for a 2.8 gram man made nugget; in my never humble opinion!

However, the advertiser is advertising that the weight is in "GRNS." It is up to you as the consumer to know that GRNS means Grains not Grams and to know exactly what you are buying and how much you are paying for it. If you understand the difference between Grains and Grams and you want to pay what amounts to $1,244 an ounce for a man made nugget then that is your privilege.

When it comes to buying gold on Ebay the old Latin saying "Caveat emptor", (Buyer beware!) takes on special significance.

So what's the difference between a jewelry grade nugget and a baby vulture nugget? Well I've already shown you a pretty little 1 gram jewelry grade nugget made into a stick pin, (by the way my wife snatched that stick pin right away from me so I never got a chance to put it on Ebay), but here's a nugget I consider an ugly!

Well here's a .6 gram baby vulture:


Personally I don't like this nugget. I don't like its color, I don't like it's shape. In my opinion it's butt ugly!

Beauty or Beast? How about this 1.5 gram Australian nugget

containing laterite, an iron type substance?


Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder I guess, and I like this nugget! It's unique! Beautiful color and interesting design. The laterite adds a striking contrast. It almost looks like Onyx. It might make an interesting tie tack.


And what about quartz gold specimens? Quartz and gold specimens are very rare. They are worth as much and most of the time more than pure gold because of their rarity. Why are they rare? Because most nuggets have already fallen out of the host quartz. Gold and iron are usually found together in veins in the cracks and fissures of quartz. As the iron oxidizes or rusts, it causes the quartz to fall apart and liberate the gold held inside.

Here are a couple of pieces from my personal collection. The first is from Whitehills Arizona. It weighs 4.2 grams and is about 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch. The gold is attached to very rusty quartz. Remember, iron is the mother of gold! This was given to me by a very good friend and prospecting partner of mine, John Green. I guess I carried on so long about how unique this piece was he figured giving it to me was the only way to shut me up. This type of specimen is generally considered to have been formed by extremely high pressure and temperatures and steam. White Hills has a large dormant volcano right in the middle of the gold producing area. The high pressure and temperature melted and forced the gold to the surface but the steam prevented in from forming into a vein. Instead, it has a gold matrix formation throughout the quartz. Notice the small quartz crystal formations at the top of the specimen. It was as if the molten gold was blasted into the quartz under high pressure.

The second is from Greg's Reef in Australia. It was given to me by a good Aussie friend and professional prospector, Dave Langley. It is pure white quartz, with a vein of pure gold sticking out of it. This is an extremely rare piece as there is no iron rust staining. This piece weighs in at 5.5 grams.

Prices? Well, these really are collectors items. You may be competing with museums, and/or universities who buy such pieces for their displays. The more unique the piece, and unusual the structure, the more valuable. The first piece could sell for upwards of around $200, the second, $400. It is really a sellers market when it comes to specimens.


4.2 grams qspecie_small.jpg

5.5 grams specy.1_small.jpg

Museum Grade

18 grams

The third piece is also from Australia and found by another good Aussie Mate of Mine, Chris Hake from Kalgoorlie, WA. This is really a museum quality piece. It's a beautiful example of quartz with gold just dripping all over it.

REAL, Natural Gold Nuggets (nuggets dug out of the ground), are in fact a rare commodity. It's estimated that only 3% to 5% of the world's gold is found in nugget form. And the larger the nugget, the more rare they are; just like diamonds. I've heard that a 1 ounce nugget is as rare as a 5 carat diamond. And REAL NUGGETS, sell for more than spot gold, especially if they are jewelry grade. BUT buyers still deserve to have a good solid idea of exactly what it is that they are buying; so if you are in doubt, ask the seller.

Here's a conversion chart to help everyone figure out just what they are getting. Don't buy from people that don't tell you the weight, and be careful of whether the ad is advertising a nugget in grains or grams and whether it is a REAL NATURAL GOLD nugget, (a natural nugget, one dug from the ground), or a REAL GOLD nugget; a nugget someone made from real gold. A REAL NATURAL NUGGET, one that is made by Mother Nature and dug from the ground, is more valuable.

Gold - Weight Conversion Chart









Accuracy: Rounded-off to 4 decimal places.

DWT = Penny Weight. This is a convenient way to size nuggets because 20 pennyweights equal 1 ounce. So, 5 dwt (penny weight) is a 1/4 ounce, 10 dwt is a 1/2 ounce etc.

However grams seems to be the most widely used weight measurement. So keep in mind that there are 31 grams to the ounce, so a 8 gram nugget is a little over a 1/4 ounce, a 16 gram nugget is over a 1/2 ounce, etc.

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