Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Piece of California Gold Rush History

Take a look at this old brooch.

Doesn't look like much, does it?

Actually, it's a bit of the first piece of gold James Marshall found in 1848, while supervising at Sutter's Mill in California. The same gold that set off all the brouhaha...and eventually the California Gold Rush.

Here's the note Marshall wrote with it; obviously, he was barely literate. Figures...a lot of people during the first half of the 19th century could not even read, or signed their names with an X.

Marshall had the gold set into a brooch for his baby niece Abigail; it stayed in the family until it sold last week at Heritage Auctions.

The price? A cool $35,850. Actually, that was probably a bargain!

Read all about it here. And if you're curious about learning more about Marshall's connection with the Gold Rush, you might try my book, Quilts of the Golden West. See it here.

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