Significant Gold Find Revealed

 (Hit it big and you'll cash in too.)

Not long ago I wrote a Bedrock Dreams news post wherein I alluded to some recent significant gold finds by small-scale miners and relic and nugget hunters in California, Oregon, and Nevada. At that time I deliberately held back from giving details on these finds to protect the privacy of the finders, but now that the cat's out of the bag, read on to learn more about one of these extraordinary recoveries.

You Can't Argue with Success

Kevin H.'s family owns some old property in the Motherlode Region east of Sacramento, California. Periodically he and his wife take a run up to the property where evidence of old mining activity abounds, including tailings piles and artifacts such as rock hammers, broken crucibles, and drill bits. In the past Kevin has found multi-gram placer nuggets and even a 3/4 troy ounce beauty in a nearby creek, but the really "big one" had eluded him. In September of this year Kevin and his wife headed up to the property and set up their detecting gear which includes standard metal detectors as well as gold "locators" such as the Pro-Spector Gold Locator and the Accumeter Pro Resistivity Meter. 

If you'll humor me here, I'd like to digress for a moment and declare once again my innate distrust and distaste of so-called gold locators (and their purveyors) that claim to detect or locate gold, coins, treasure, and other precious metals from a my opinion this sort of gear is "fringe" at best and at the worst, a shining example of P.T. Barnum's old adage that "There's a sucker born every minute." Having said that however, I mean no insult to Kevin H. or his you'll soon find out, I'll be eating crow big time. After all, you can't argue with success however it comes someone's way.

Dirt Encrusted Piece of Junk?

To start his big day, Kevin found an 1848 Seated Liberty silver dime near an old cabin on the property. This was a nice find and definitely proved the historical nature of his property. I'm assuming he found the old dime using a conventional gold or coin hunting metal detector, but I don't know that for certain. However, finding the Seated Liberty dime definitely gave Kevin (and his wife) great impetus to search on.

While using his resistivity meter Kevin says he got a hit in a generalized area and then proceeded to break out his gold locator to verify the resistivity signal. Kevin "boxed in" the target to a smaller area of around ten to twelve feet and then fired up his conventional metal detector to pinpoint the target. In less than five minutes Kevin's machine screamed out a strong, non-ferrous target signal and he dug down about eighteen inches and pulled out what at first he thought to be a dirt-encrusted piece of junk in the general shape of a small crucible. After cleaning the clump and scraping away at its top part, Kevin noticed a yellow metallic color begin to peek through. As he succinctly put it, "I think my blood pressure went through the roof!" 

Hitting the "Big One"

Little wonder, brothers and sisters. Kevin's find wasn't junk at all, but 29 troy ounces of gold! Kevin surmises that some old timer had melted down his placer gold in a small crucible giving the object its shape. Having worked and dredged the Motherlode Region for many years I tend to agree with him on this assessment. The question that comes to my mind that's a bit more difficult to answer, however, is exactly how did some old timer end up letting all that gold go missing in action? I guess we'll never know.

(Image copyright 2013 Kevin H., courtesy the International California Mining Journal.)

This was an extraordinary find for any number of reasons. From a purely financial standpoint, that melted clump of gold that Kevin thinks runs about .900 fine is worth close to $40,000 if we assume a spot gold price of $1,500 per troy ounce. That ain't small potatoes by any stretch! If, on the other hand, this clump of crucible gold could be verified as an artifact from the 1848-49 California Gold Rush period, that value could double, triple, or perhaps go even higher. Who knows? However, the likelihood of that sort of verification is probably slim-to-none at best. Either way, Kevin hit the "big one" and my sincere and heartfelt congratulations go out to him and his wife for this great find.

The Lesson ?

The lesson here? Excellent finds are still out there awaiting recovery by small-scale gold miners and artifact and treasure hunters. Do your research, get on the right ground with the right gear, and throw a bit of luck into the mix and you too might be grinning from ear-to-ear as you hot foot it to the bank.

Me? Maybe I need to talk to Kevin about gold locators!

(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.)


  1. Wow! very encouraging story. So often you think, "It's all been Found". In this case, that's true, but lost again. You really do have to wonder why. Well, in my case, if rusty nails and pull tabs every go up in value, I'll be rich!!! Thanks again Jim!

  2. Yep, this was one hell of a find for sure Gary. J.R.

  3. Hello J.R., after all the hard work it's nice when a small nugget of luck crops up. I am a desert hermit and work the California deserts alone, I love the desert. To me the real gold is not yellow in color, it's a grayish sand that stretches across the desert floor. I often work the El Paso Mountain Range with my hand drill and hammer, I often yell down to those cleaning up my scraps at the base of the mountains, "Thanks for cleaning up my scraps." I doubt they ever hear me at that distance but I guess it connects me somehow to civilization. A note on luck; years ago I was walking through an old mine here in the desert, my light had become dim so I had to hold it real close to the wall moving it up and down. As I moved through the tunnel I noticed a small slit at the base of the wall, opening it further revealed that the slit at the base of the wall was actually the very top of another tunnel that had been back-filled. I hammered granite into the area to hide it until I could return with better light. On returning I opened her up and could see back a few hundred feet where the rock had settled down from the top of the old tunnel. I could see color but did not excavate because I had learned BLM had declared the old mine a monument. Later in years I learned that many have sought this very tunnel since the late 50s. It was just a stroke of luck that on that day my light was weak. The Desert Hermit

  4. I love the desert as well Hermit and always will. I cut my placer (and lode) mining teeth in the SE CA and SW AZ desert areas, so I understand you completely on that issue. Heck of a find you had there but too bad you couldn't exploit it. Hang tough out there! J.R.

    1. J.R., you know, it always amazes me when I find an area out here that has not yet been worked, the Randsburg area has been scoured for many decades. It appears to me that most miners want to set on their #*? and let the mountain bring the gold to them instead of working the mountain. The area I'm working right now is a good example; the mountain is steep and you can find old workings up to the point of about 1/3 of the way from the top, but crawling down further there are outcroppings that I am the first to work. When I say work I don't mean work until it plays out, more-or-less I just like to laugh when I find it and usually leave it behind in a few days, that's the old hermit in me that must always be on the move. After coming across your website today it got me thinking! Maybe I should map these finds out, do the initial testing, take several pictures, make sure it is claimable, then put all the information on a website and let people bid on my map. I don't know if I'll ever do anything with it but I just went and bought a website name bobsgold dot com. The whole thing is, I kinda feel sorry for all those folks paying a hundred bucks to work on someone else claim where 1000's have already taken the good stuff. Watching them come year after year makes me think they must be happy just finding a little color instead of real nuggets. Maybe the website idea is a bad idea. The Desert Hermit

    2. I think most folks only get out occasionally and find a bit of color works for them. Very true at Randsburg where I worked for a number of years. You could sure give things a try with the website...ya never know what might transpire. Keep at it out there! J.R.


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