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Potato Creek Johnny gold nugget to go on permanent display

DEADWOOD (AP) — The Adams Museum in Deadwood is getting ready to permanently display one of the largest gold nuggets ever found in western South Dakota's Black Hills.

The Deadwood History group has used $26,000 from the sale last fall of a replica of the Potato Creek Johnny gold nugget to build a cabinet for the original and pay for a security system to protect it.

A special display was held Friday, and Deadwood History Executive Director Mary Kopco told the Black Hills Pioneer that she expects the nugget to go on permanent display sometime this month.

"Johnny's nugget is a Black Hills icon deserving to be viewed and enjoyed by the public," she said.

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 in 1934.

Deadwood History exhibits curator Darrel Nelson said that he and exhibits fabricator Carl Pengra, in conjunction with a California manufacturer, designed a bullet-proof case made of aluminum on the bottom and thick fiberglass on the top.

"Along with this and other enhanced security measures, we are entering a new state of security for the Adams Museum, which involves visual recording, motion sensors, and things of this sort," Nelson said.