Mining for gold in Colorado in the late 1800s was a difficult way to make a living. Most people who went off searching for gold and silver came back with very little or nothing at all. What kept them coming back for more?

When you look at old maps of mining sites in Colorado, these guys were everywhere. Stories like the tale about 'Tom's Baby' in 1887 showed the next big strike could come from anywhere and happen at any time.

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Colorado's Largest Gold Nugget

Tom Groves will live on through Colorado history as the man who stumbled upon the largest gold nugget ever found in the Centennial State. In an area east of Breckenridge known as Farncomb Hill, Groves, and his partner Harry Lytton, unearthed a 13.5-pound gold nugget that is still the largest one ever found in Colorado.

How Did It Get The Nickname 'Tom's Baby'

On the return trip to Breckenridge from Farncomb Hill, Tom Groves wrapped the gold nugget in his jacket to keep his discovery a secret. With the jacket wadded up in his arms, he walked back into town holding it close to his chest. Observers noted he looked like he was swaddling a baby. Once others found out what it was, the nickname stuck.

What Would Tom's Baby Be Worth Today

'Tom's Baby' went missing for several decades and was rediscovered in a vault in Denver owned by the Museum of Natural History. It was missing from 1878 to about 1972. When it was rediscovered in the Denver vaults, it was noted the nugget only weighed about 10 pounds. What happened to the other three pounds? No one seems to know. Take a closer look at 'Tom's Baby' in the photos below.

The Story of ‘Tom’s Baby: The Largest Gold Nugget Ever Found in Colorado

Check out the largest gold nugget ever found in the state of Colorado. Find out how much it weighed, and how much it would be worth today. Keep going to check out the Coors Hall of Gems and Minerals in Colorado's Museum of Natural Science.

Gallery Credit: Wesley Adams

Easy Money: Check Out 7 Colorado Gold Mining Adventures

Check out these Colorado gold mines that offer tours and a chance to strike it rich.

Photos: See Inside the Old Hundred Gold Mine in Silverton, Colorado

See inside the Old Hundred Gold Mine just outside of Silverton, Colorado. Tours of the Old Hundred mine are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays during the summer months. Visitors can pan for gold while waiting to ride the train into the mountain to see inside the mine and take photos.

Gallery Credit: Wes Adams

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