Dawn and dime

Silver Coin and Gold – Jan 17th, 2009 – 2024

Finding a place to prospect is a difficult one. There are many potential issues involved, such as private property, mining claims, area withdrawn from prospecting, and in the wild river system of California, no motorized equipment.

Those area that you do find access to have been mined so much that it’s hard to find a place that hasn’t been hit hard, and the color is just hard to come by.

Research is critical. There are many good sources that talk about areas that have potential, especially old mining magazines, historical mining reports, maps, books, and just sometimes the grapevine of someone remembering a spot where they found gold. The old Mining and Scientific magazines were detailed in data about specific locations, and even the mines themselves.

Research is great, but sitting on the couch doesn’t get you there. With data you have, then it becomes hiking and prospecting out there, looking and finding your way. Not long ago we spent four days of tough hiking and looking to find an old mine and quartz vein system that had historically paid well. We found it in a very remote area, and the gold and quartz we found there was well worth all the work we did to find it.

Recently, again searching for a place to go, I remembered an area that two of us had been to 15 years ago.  We found some decent gold and a special 1864 dime in the sluice box! The problem was we never went back because there were other places to go, and this spot was semi-remote and hard to get to.

Remembering what we found gave me some incentive to get back there. Not only did we have some good color, but there also might be another old coin. The one we found then was an 1864 dime, S mint, which turns out to be considered a rare coin and worth somewhere around $250. Is there another one?

A few days ago Deb and I made a trip to head in that direction. We got to the river and prospected our way down the river, but the gold was sparce and very fine, until towards the end when the color started looking better.  We ran out of time though since this was early January and the daylight ended quickly. We didn’t find that spot where Dawn and I had been but I knew we were getting close. How to find it the exact location though?

On a rainy day after the trip with Deb, I started going through old pictures, knowing that somewhere on this computer I had a file set up for that trip. I keep files on most of the trips I take so I knew it was somewhere in my jungle.

Then there it was. Dated January 17, 2009. Today is January 13, 2024, almost 15 years later. The file had lots of pictures, so this blog is to briefly tell you that story, which will now guide us back to the specific location. Dawn and I did that trip in 2009, and in a few weeks or so from now she’ll be guiding us back there again!

To look back to that time, Dawn and I were just checking this river territory out. This turned out to be two trips. This first one was just with gold pans and the second one was bringing back a sluice box and better equipment because we found an area to work.  The river was running high then but it also offered some places to set the box up. We tried different spots with pans first and then hit a good spot that showed some decent color. We got the box set up fine and proceeded to run some material. There was quite a bit of black sand and, in the box as you know, it can pretty well mask any gold that’s in there. We could see some fine gold in the front of the box, in what I call the ‘show and tell’ matt of sorts.

We finally decided to dump the box into my steel gold pan and Dawn went to panning. Right off this silver edge of something showed up. Yep, it was the dime and she took a picture of it in the pan.

This was an exciting find. The front side of the dime was dis-colored some, but the back looked almost mint. It was only a week ago that she looked it up on the internet and found it was a very rare dime because of the San Francisco S mine mark. Hurrah!

We also found gold but I don’t remember how much. It wasn’t a lot. I’m guessing maybe a half-pennyweight or so.  It was mid-January though and the daylight was short so we didn’t run very much material.

Lots has happened to the river since that time. We’ve had some massive floods and gravels get moved around a lot. However, we were in bedrock so it should still be there, unless the bedrock is now buried as well.

Now we want to go back and we are going. Stay tuned to this story. I’ll write about it again once we’re finished with the area! So, what will it be this time?

Until soon. Don