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Mammouth Lumps of California Gold ?

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The manufacture of mammoth lumps has been carried on to some extent in California, and apparently for different purposes. [These are sold at a premium to visitors, museums, collectors and the like as being exceptional examples of native gold. Of course, they are not natural, but man-made.]


At first, the genuine California gold, being taken fluid from the melting pot, was ingeniously mingled with broken bits of quartz, producing a specimen which at once astonished the beholder, and commanded an extra price. But this was legerdemain of the golden age [before 1851]. They have since found a method of imposing upon traders with a base mixture, about half gold, the rest silver and copper. This is cast out amongst stones, cooled and afterwards pickled. This certainly presents quite a native appearance, and is very likely to deceive. Several such [manufactured lumps] have been offered at the mint. They can always be detected, however, by one of the surfaces (the bottom one) showing marks of previous fusion. A little cutting, also, soon betrays the hardness and redness [of alloyed gold].


(Eckfeldt and Du Bois, New Varieties of Gold and Silver Coins, 2nd ed., p.15.)

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