Visitors will see immeasurable riches in this exhibition including: stunningly beautiful specimens of native California gold; coins, bullion, and recovered treasure from sunken ships.
This exhibition highlights some of the finest examples of native California gold as it is found in its natural form as leaves, crystals, and nuggets. The more Mojave Nugget, weighing over 10 pounds and the largest gold nugget ever to be found in California is included here. The gold specimens are supplemented with very rare items from the gold rush era, including books, maps, and instruments. A selection of artifacts focuses on the treasure from the SS Central America, sometimes referred to as the Ship of Gold. This ship was carrying 35,000 pounds of gold from the California goldfields to the national Mint in Philadelphia when it sank off the coast of South Carolina in 1857 and took the lives of 400 passengers. The loss of so much value in gold was so severe that it caused a major economic panic for the United States. The ship rested undisturbed until recovery teams located it in 1987. The treasure was valued at nearly 200 million dollars. And finally, the exhibition features gold specimens from one of the most successful California gold mines of the 20th century, the Oriental Mine located near the small town of Alleghany in Sierra County. Today, there are few commercial gold mines still working in California, and the Oriental is a wonderful example of how gold can still be recovered from the ground 162 years after the California gold rush.