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TERRITORIAL GOLD

1854 Oregon Territories Gold. Hing Yuen Pure Gold

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1854 Oregon Territories Gold. Hing Yuen Pure Gold
 
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2.2 grams. 13.9 x 10.1 x 0.9 mm cast in yellow gold with two vertical Chinese characters on the face; the back is blank. Moderate signs of handling have appeared over the years. From a condition standpoint, this is probably Extremely Fine. This small gold ingot was the subject of an article in The Numismatist issue of March 1987. David T. Alexander contributed "Peter Britt, the Chinese and Oregon Gold," and this identical piece, which is certainly unique, was illustrated on the cover. This particular piece was recorded as a product of Chinese immigrants living in southern Oregon. Jacksonville, Oregon is located just west of Medford, and about 50 miles north of Yreka, California. Peter Britt was a photographer who settled in the area and became friendly with the Chinese in their work camps. "From the time of his arrival in Jacksonville, Peter Britt was noted for his friendly dealings with the Chinese miners," according to Alexander.

Peter Britt had several children, including Emil Britt, born sometime prior to 1871. Emil eventually inherited this small ingot, which eventually made its way to Walter H. Jones, a Medford numismatist who purchased the piece directly from the younger Britt. Jones carefully recorded the history as it was related by Britt: "This gold slug was made from gold mined at Jacksonville, Oregon by Chinese miners. These Chinamen camped on property purchased by Peter Britt, who received this slug from them as a gift of appreciation about 1854. At that time most business was done on a barter [sic] basis or by payment of gold dust or nuggets as there were not enough coins available. Hence this slug was intended for use as money. This specimen [sic] was purchased from Emil Britt, son of Peter Britt." The handwritten note, on stationary from Hotel Benson, is illustrated in The Numismatist, however, no longer accompanies this ingot. The characters stamped on the face of this piece were translated by Alexander as "Heaven Original" and "Sufficient Gold."

Alexander summarized the importance of this ingot: "this Chinese piece exists today with impressive historical evidence documenting that it was, without a doubt, made in Oregon from native gold; dug, refined, and cast by Chinese miners; and presented by them to their friend and benefactor, Peter Britt. As far as is known, the ingot is unique and may be the latest significant addition to the history of pioneer gold." Please see the accompanying documents from “The Numismatist” publication by the American Numismatic Association from years ago.
From The Great Western Collection of Territorial Gold. Please Click Here to read more >>

 

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