A very brief history of gold & prospecting

Gold Prospector Jess
PJ back in ’49 ;)

A Really Short History of Gold

Why is Hunting4Gold.com interested in gold?

One reason centers on one of the richest gold placer creeks in California. That makes for fun recreation and a real opportunity for gold adventure. This historic legacy has an added degree of excitement when considering the future of DoradoVista & Hunting4Gold. For now it is only a minor gold prospect, but in the future God only knows. That makes life fun and a great big Adventure just the way life should be for you…


Why not join us in the historic…
Adventure of Your life time hunting for and finding Gold?

The Gold prospecting, excitement and history are well worth the effort! This is especially true as the world once again looks as Gold providing safe haven from other risky financial assets in time of wide-spread currency crisis. Let’s look at some historical facts about Gold…

Historic prices driven by mining boom bust cycles & world economic events:

Look at the current rise in the price of Gold from about $20-35(~1900) to somewhere around $850 in 1979 back to $300 (early 1980’s). At the end of 2007 we saw Gold returning to about $850 US. Currently now at mid 2011 Gold is setting new records above $1760/oz (double that of 2007!)  Indications are strong that it will climb even higher, just how high is in the realm of speculation. Some have indicated $2000-2500/oz is likely by 2012, rising possibly to even $3000 (doubling yet again) before it starts dropping depending on the volatile world economic conditions we face.

Just remember that when the reference for Gold is given for a creek in California in 1900 US Dollars the typical price back toward 1900 was $20/oz. This means today’s price is about 40 times higher. Before you start jumping up and down with joy, think about what has really happened; The US dollar has experienced a 40 fold inflation in the last century. The value of a standard reference commodity called Gold costs you 40 times as much. That’s a bad thing, there’s nothing like losing 4000% in value. The very real possibility of that inflation is happening even faster as international deficits and costs spiral further out of control. That’s when Gold (and Silver) really shines as an asset class.

Why is Gold so special?

Gold has been considered a precious metal for as long as humans can remember. The reason it is precious is that it is universally accepted as a monetary exchange medium, its useful, beautiful and hard to find. It is said by some that most of the world’s gold supply was removed from the ground and melted into bars and coins, but in reality only somewhere between 1 to 20% has been taken by miners, depending on who you talk to. That leaves 80% to 99% of all the gold in the world still in the ground!

People have always desired gold and because of that there have been many gold rushes around the world. A gold rush is a time when people race to the Gold panning fields where gold was found to work hard and try to grab their share of the golden riches. These typically take place in 30 year cycles corresponding with mining supply & demand waves. Also they follow major financial cycles as the world’s economy heats and cools causing inflation and deflation in the local currency.

More than Gold… Opportunity!

Not many miners made it rich in the 1800’s. Often Gold miners would go home with much less than when they started out on the journey, if they made it back at all. Although some mining claim owners did strike it rich, most didn’t.

Besides the lucky few making their fortunes in gold mining, the ones that made it big were the prospecting tool marketing entrepreneur’s. People who had these entrepreneurial skills and initiative to set up a business and take the risk did very well. For example, Levi Strauss the inventor of Levis blue jeans was one of these in the California 1849 gold rush. Lester Pelton inventor of the Pelton wheel got started by supplying Gold Mines with efficient Hydropower generators.

One more way an entrepreneur accomplished this feat was by taking goods from stores in town out to the remote mines and placers. Goods that included precious food that the miners didn’t have, like kegs of butter or berries. They would take the goods up to the gold fields and sell it for many times the price they bought it for (a form of inflation.) Another thing was to buy up all the mining equipment they could. They bought tools like picks, shovels, and gold pans and sold the equipment somewhere up in the mining claims for many times the price as well. Supply and demand in action.

The Gold Standard:

Back in the past gold had a fixed price called the gold standard, which was around 12 to 35 dollars an ounce at that time. When the United States took the dollar off the gold standard in 1971, by 1979 the price of gold quickly rose to $850 an ounce. By 2007 this would be valued around $2,600 an ounce when corrected for 4% inflation. Shortly after this rise, it fell to $300 to $400 an ounce. The current spot or market price as of January 2008 was back over $860 per ounce. If you find a good-sized nugget it’s market value may be up to 2 to 4 times higher.

Note: Gold Specimen Value is Greater than Spot!

Sometimes specimen quality gold sells for 2 to 4 times higher than the spot price of gold bullion! Where the specimen spot price is the value per ounce actually paid for a rare specimen of raw gold. For jewelry and for nugget collectors the price is typically higher than the spot price based on the quality and rarity of the specimen. See the kitco.com chart below for today’s gold bullion prices.

One interesting fact is that a 1 ounce gold nugget is rarer than a 5 carat diamond! Many of the best nuggets in history went to the smelter to make bullion before this fact was known. Now you need to be careful not to even scratch a similar specimen! After all just think of it, diamonds are just another form of carbon!

Gold, Platinum and Diamonds are all found in placers

On the other hand, with the right geologic conditions, sometimes Gold, Platinum and Diamonds share placers. The old prospectors often did not know the Platinum or Diamonds were there. In raw form they aren’t as remarkable in appearance as Gold. That also means there are still a lot more of these precious finds out there!

See  www.DoradoVista.com/Links.html for more links to website pages on gold and gold mining.
Visit http://www.goldfun.com/ too, a site started by my good prospecting friend Joshua Vick, he is gone now but his site lives on.
If you want a not-so-brief history of gold take a look at this: NMA gold history PDF document


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