Catalog Archive
Auction 130, Lot 240

"[Lot of 2] Positions of the Upper and Lower Gold Mines on the South Fork of the American River, California. July 20th, 1848 [and] Upper Mines [on sheet with] Lower Mines or Mormon Diggings", U.S. Government

Subject: California

Period: 1848 (dated)

Publication: Mason's Report, Doc #1, 30th Congress, 2nd Session

Color: Black & White

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Pair of early maps illustrating the gold discoveries in California. Gold was first discovered in January 1848 and Sutter tried in vain to keep the discovery quiet. In July, Col. Mason, the Military Governor of California, toured the diggings and sent a report to the President officially announcing the discovery of gold. These maps were a part of this report, and spawned the great California Gold Rush. Both maps were drawn by Lt. William T. Sherman, of later Civil War fame, when he was adjutant to U.S. Military Gov. Mason.

The first (18.4 x 9.3") is probably one of the earliest printed maps to actually name and locate the gold discoveries in California, and one of the best first-hand accounts of the Gold Rush. It covers the country along the American River from its junction with the Sacramento River to just above Weber’s Creek. It shows Sutter’s Fort and numerous other diggings. Full margins and dark, fine impression. Some occasional light foxing. (B+)

The second map (6.4 x 9") contains two maps within one border. The Upper Mines are along the South Fork of the American River and notes where gold first found by James W. Marshall. The lower map "Lower Mines of Mormon Diggings" depicts numerous tents surrounding a store with a large area of the river bar marked gold. Dark impression and full margins. More light scatted foxing. (B)

References: Wheat (Gold) #51-52.


See individual descriptions.

Estimate: $275 - $350

Sold for: $210

Closed on 12/2/2009