The dream of discovering buried treasure came true for a California couple who found a real pot of gold while walking their dog. The largest such hoard ever found in the U.S. is comprised of 1,411 gold coins, minted between 1847 and 1894, worth an estimated $10 million in today's marketInquiry Online
According to an interview given to the coin company that will market the hoard, the discovery was made on a path they had used for years. Spotting the side of a rusted can barely emerging from a hillside, they dug it out with a stick and carried it home. Subsequent trips to the site turned up several more treasure-filled cans
Most of the coins are $20 gold pieces, known as double eagles. All of those were made at the San Francisco mint, founded in 1854 to process the nuggets that prospectors were finding in the newly discovered California gold fields
"Before the California gold rush, there were discoveries [of gold] in North Carolina and Georgia in the early 1800s—not on the same scale, of course, but enough to cause rushes to those places," said Douglas Mudd, the director and curator of the American Numismatic Association's Money Museum, in a phone interview
"The U.S. government then opened two mints—one in Charlotte and the other in Dahlonega," he explained. Before that time, the mint in Philadelphia was the country's only such facility, established in 1792 when the city was the national capital
At the start of the U.S. Civil War, the Confederate government took over the mints in North Carolina and Georgia. But by then, the East Coast gold had mostly played out, and the mints closed after the end of the war
Aside from sheer quantity, one of the extraordinary features of the Saddle Ridge Hoard is the condition of the coins. "They are in very good shape—they don't show a whole lot of wear," says Mudd. "Some of them probably haven't circulated at all."
Condition affects the value of a coin, as does rarity. In 1860, for example, San Francisco produced more gold double eagles than it did in 1866, so coins from the latter year have added value. One of the finest double eagles from the Saddle Ridge Hoard, minted in 1866, has an estimated value of $1 million
A researcher with the time and interest, who knows the location of the find, might uncover an answer. Property records would record the owner of the land in the late 1800s, says Mudd. That might be one clue. And a search through newspapers of the time could turn up a report of money gone missing. There might even have been a local tradition of buried treasure recorded somewhere
"You get a lot of hoards in Europe—coins buried for hundreds or thousands of years," says Mudd, "but they're less common in the U.S. Our history isn't that long, and for most of the time we've had banks, so people have tended to put their money there."
The occasional cache of Spanish pieces of eight comes to light in the Southwest. Or a modest collection of colonial coins is uncovered. Finding "60, 70, 200 coins—yes," says Mudd. "1,400? That's exceptional."
In 1985, construction workers in Jackson, Tennessee, unearthed 300 gold coins in almost mint condition. The workers quickly took them to banks for cash, traded them for jewelry, and in one case even exchanged some for a used car. A book called Gold Is the Key, published in 2012, makes the case that the coins are linked to a local bank robbery and murder in 1859
Most discoveries wouldn't have such a dramatic backstory, and are rare occurrences anyway. Still, people who sweep metal detectors over fields as a hobby, and backyard dog walkers casually kicking up a bit of dirt, can always hope for a lucky strike
A prospector made an extraordinary discovery yesterday, when he found an "incredibly rare" 12-pound (5.5-kilogram) gold nugget under only 23 inches of dirt. The total price for such a happy unearthing: a whopping $300,000. And he found it in a place where hundreds searched before, all thanks to state-of-the-art technology.
And it could be even more than that. At current market prices, 12 pounds of gold will get you 298,697 US dollars but, apparently it can reach a higher price because it's such a weird discovery. Geologists are impressed by the finding, which looks like howling jackal to me
The anonymous prospector discovered the nugget in a field near the city of Ballarat, located on the Great Dividing Range in the state of Victoria, Australia, by the Yarrowee River. It's 8.66 inches (22 centimeters) on its longest side
Cordell Kent, the owner of the Ballarat Mining Exchange Gold Shop, told the courier mail that the prospector was shocked by the discovery, just as much as himself: "He thought he had detected the bonnet of a car when he saw a glint of gold. He cleaned the top of it and the gold kept expanding and expanding... he saw more and more gold... he couldn't believe what he was seeing [...] We've got 800 local prospectors on our records. I cannot remember the last time we saw a nugget of this size."
Kent says that, surprisingly, Ballarat is still producing big nuggets after 162 years of gold rush. But this nugget is outstanding. The prospector found it in a nearby place where hundreds of gold diggers have searched before, which makes the event even more surprising. He believes that the difference may have been the equipment. The gold digger used a Minelab GPX-5000, a state-of-the-art metal detector that goes for about $5,200. According to its marketing description:
The GPX 5000 sets the new benchmark in gold detecting technology. With an amazing range of features and functions the GPX 5000 is not only superior to its predecessor, the GPX-4500, and is in a class of its own. Featuring Minelab's exclusive technologies, Multi Period Sensing (MPS), Dual Voltage Technology (DVT) and Smart Electronic Timing Alignment (SETA), the high performance GPX 5000 is capable of finding more gold than ever before. From sub-gram nuggets to the elusive 'retirement nugget' and everything in between, with the GPX 5000, you can find it
New improved electronics, new Soil/Timings and an amazing range of features combined with the legendary GPX ability to ‘see through ground' mineralisation, gives you a significant Depth Advantage over other detectors
It was found by John Deason and Richard Oates in 1869 near Moliagul, Victoria, Australia. It was 171.9 pounds (78 kilograms) gross, 156 pounds (71.0 kilograms) net. The previous record belonged to the Welcome Nugget, which was also found in Ballarat. The gold nuggets in Australia are the purest in the world, "often are 23K or slightly higher." [Courier Mail and Wikipedia]
Stuff like this is very hard to happen in the USA because of something called "Mineral Rights". The rich created that law so in the event they sell property to someone and gold or oil or anything of immense value is found underground... they can come and take it from you. A lot of people don't realize that the houses they own... even if you own the house itself and the property... in many cases... the mineral rights to your property belong to someone else
This was the river that started it all. Gold was first discovered here at Sutter’s Mill, and gold was soon found all throughout the river. This was the richest river in the entire state. Between all the different forks of this river, there are literally hundreds of miles of gold-bearing water here. A great area that you can prospect today is at the Auburn State Recreation Area. This area provides many miles of access for prospecting and other recreational opportunities.
Kernville and Keyesville were the two major mining towns that sprang up when gold was first found in the Kern River. Rich placer deposits were also found in nearby Greenhorn Creek. There is good access at the Keyesville Recreational Mining Area, which provides 400 acres of access for prospectors.
Gold can be found in the Santa Maria River in Southern California. The gold here is very fine, and finding access to the river will be challenging. There are even reports that miners have found gold on the beach in the area where the river enters the Pacific Ocean.
There has been gold found all throughout the San Gabriel Mountains. This has always been a popular area for prospectors due to its proximity to Los Angeles. The East Fork of the San Gabriel River is considered the richest part of the river.
San Diego County has a very rich history, with small mines dotting the landscape of this harsh desert. Placer deposits can be found in many dry washes and gulleys throughout the vast region. No surprise that gold can be panned from the San Diego River.
The Sacramento River flows well west of the richest gold areas in California, but since the waters that feed into it include the Feather River and American River you can bet that there is some gold here too! Since it isn’t as close to the source most of the gold is finer textured.
The Feather River drains the northern extent of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and is part of the richest mining areas in California. Oroville, Nelson’s Camp and Rich Bar were some of the best mining areas, but there are literally dozens of historic mining camps along the Feather River. Miles and miles were churned up by bucket line dredges. There is still plenty of gold here left to find.
The Yuba River is another one of the major gold rivers in California. The town of Downieville was one of the main gold camps during the California Gold Rush. There is lots of gold all throughout the river. Some big gold nuggets have come out of this river as well. Lots of hydraulic mines and dredge fields are located in the Yuba River country.
There is a lot of gold still left to be found from the Cosumnes River. The early miners worked the areas around Indian Diggings, Grizzly Flats, Michigan Bar and Buck’s Bar. This is still rich gold country and worth exploring. The many tributaries to the river throughout the El Dorado Natural Forest offer great prospecting opportunities.
This is another very rich area that is great for gold prospecting. Most of the mining takes place upstream of Lake Don Pedro in the main river, as well as the many creeks that flow into it. You can find gold just about anywhere in this area. Just make sure you are on public land and aren’t on anyone’s mining claim.
One of the main dredging fields in California was at Snelling on the Merced River. The area produced millions in gold over the years, with much of the production coming from the bucket dredges operating in the mid 1900s. The Merced River Recreational Area is a great spot to check out. It offers the opportunity for casual prospecting along a proven area of the Merced River.
This is the longest river in the Mother Lode Country, and many of the richest rivers in California drain into it. Although it was never as rich as the rivers that were close to the source, there is decent gold in many areas. Use a gold pan to check the gravels and see if you can turn up a little “color.”
There are tons of great areas to explore along the Mokelumne River. Some of the earliest camps were Campo Seco, Camanche, Jackson, Lancha Plana, Mokelumne Hill and San Andreas. It wasn’t long after the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill that gold was found on the Mokelumne River.
Rich veins of gold in quartz were located near Angel’s Camp that fed the placer deposits of the Calaveras River. There are many hard rock mines in this area and the river is full of gold. Other gold camps along the Calaveras River include Jenny Lind, El Dorado and Calaveritas.
There were once thousands of miners at the town of Sonora working to recover gold. There were several large hydraulic mines in this area. Hildreth’s Diggings were near the town of Columbia and there were thousands of miners working here too. Today you can pan for gold at the Columbia State Historic Park.
The Klamath River is far north of most of California gold country. Many don’t even realize that there was gold mining up this far, but actually the Klamath River is absolutely loaded with gold. You can recover gold around the town of Yreka, following the road all the way up to Happy Camp. Some very, very big gold nuggets have been mined from the mighty Klamath.
The Trinity River is another great place to prospect for gold. One of the biggest mining camps in this area was at Weaverville. There were some huge hydraulic mining operations here, but there were also many prospectors that searched the small creeks in the area. This area has loads of gold. In fact, I know people who use metal detectors in this area and find many ounces of gold nuggets each year.
The Salmon River is a rich tributary to the Klamath River. You really have to work to get to this area, but it actually was one of northern California’s richest rivers. This flows through a region that the old-timers called the “Northern Mines.” Many great areas to explore in this remote area.
The Scott River is another rich tributary to the Klamath River. It’s a long drive for most people to get here, but it is a really beautiful part of the state with a lot of rich gold mining areas. The river itself certainly has a lot of gold, and you will find that pretty much all the tributaries will produce some gold as well, with a rich gold belt that spans north into Southern Oregon too
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