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Ophir Mint

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So I heard from my bro-n-law that there was a mint in Mariposa, CA back in the day. Also heard about the floor of 1861 that wiped most of the town down the river. Went out to the site and wandered around looking at possibilities. Came back for more research only to find out the mint closed in 1854.

Some good looking areas to poke around in over there.

Anybody hear of finds in the river from this flood?

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Thats all private property over there, I live in Mariposa, If you don't have written permission, I'd stay out, unless you want to get cited or go to jail. Grubstake

And there never was a mint here, its a fairy tail, the mint was in the gay bay, the only thing they had here was a gold exchange, trade your nuggets for gold slugs, that were minted in SF.

That property is owned by two brothers, one lives here, the other lives in Mexico, I've been trying to get permission from them for 8 years now, they both say no! There are signs posted everywhere, that tell you to keep out, and the county fire depart ment use's it to train the convic's how to cut fire trails. on the north side, it belongs to another guy, who is in a legal dispute with his nieghbor, and shooting has been threatend on both parts.

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Yeah, we saw all the postings and only walked in for the photo of the old foundations. Wife's mother and family live in Mariposa and we go down once a month to help out.

Been swinging on the tailing piles down in Snelling where my folks live as well. No joy.

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In this case at least the Wikipedia article amounts to little more than rumor. Grubstake is right that the "slugs" were minted in San Francisco.

From the January 22 1851 San Francisco Herald:

Moffat & Company petitioned for and received the contract for coining the new issues of the U. S. Assay Office and, in a letter to Treasury Secretary Corwin, Moffat made the dubious statement that his company alone was then (September 30, 1850) operating a mint in California. Augustus Humbert, a watchmaker in New York, was appointed United States Assayer with a salary of $5,000 a year, while sculptor and medalist Charles C. Wright was commissioned to engrave in New York the original dies which Humbert was to bring with him to California.

Moffat & Company immediately ceased their own operation and prepared for the increased business under their federal contract by moving from Clay and Dupont Streets to larger offices on Montgomery Street between Clay and Commercial. On January 22 the following notice appeared in the Herald:

"United States Assayer’s Office – we give notice that on or about the lst February ensuing we will be prepared to receive Gold Dust for SMELTING AND ASSAYING and forming the same into ingots and bars in accordance with our recent contract with the Secretary of the Treasury, authorized by an act of Congress approved 30th September, 1850, “under the supervision of the United States Assayer” AUGUSTUS HUMBERT, Esq., who will cause the United States stamp to be affixed to the same.

Moffat & Co.

We also announce our intention of erecting forthwith extensive Reverberatory Smelting Furnaces for the purpose of reducing ores and gold-bearing black sand.

Due notice will be given of the removal of the U. S. Assayer’s Office to Montgomery Street.

Moffat & Co."

Source - http://www.coinfacts.com/pioneer_gold/united_states_assay_office/humbert/united_states_assay_office_under_humbert.htm

Here is a photo of Ophir in 1860


Mariposa county has an interesting history but very little of it from that era was recorded.

There are several of the Humbert Assay "slugs" known to exist but never has a "slug" produced in Ophir been found to exist.



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On my last mariposa trip in may found out that there are less than 5% of the folks there now as when the strikes were being worked and building moratorium keeps it that a way--MINING MUSEUM NOW CLOSED A LOT-don't believe website and printed brochures--we went and closed when supposed to be open in the summer??? _John

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I heard about the closures but didn't think they were in effect yet. That is a bummer. Randy and crew are great and the place is amazing.

He sure is excitable when looking at specimen gold. He helped me make the right decision on having mine acid washed and checking the continuity prior to that to ensure the vein was continuous.

Hope the state retains the true value of a place like that.

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No, not right off hand ,Jack. I know alot of folks, by site, but not by name. I managed Bagby REC. campground for 5 years, from 91 to 95, when it was private. I know alot of people from our church but the name doesn't ring a bell. Grubstake

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