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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Panning for Gold B'day CAKE

Stumbled upon this awesome gold panning theme birthday cake at .

Panning for Gold by cakewhiz on Cake Central:

from the baker:
This cake was created for a man who loves to pan for gold and was turning 70. I was given photos of him, his girlfriend, and their trailer to reproduce for the cake. They were all made out of sugarpaste. Tree and bushes were rice krispie treats. The small rocks were made out marshmellow fondant. The large rocks were made out of rice krispie treats covered in marshmellow fondant. Fun cake to do, but lots and lots of work!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fair Price for Gold Nuggets?

We are often asked questions about buying and selling gold as coins or as nuggets.  Here is one of  the most recent emails and our reply.


Subject: gold purchase pricing

i've been looking at nuggets for investments        i have an alsaka
prospector who has offered 1 gram avg size nugs  @ 1.5 oz for
$4925   which they say will be roughly 45 nugs.     at $1850  or so it
seem like 1.5 oz has a value only @$2800  not $4900

a friend whom own a coin shop tells me thats  too high, as my plans
r to buy around $10,000 worth before the end of the month

my delema is, is this good info,  or is he trying to discourage me on
nugs cuz he wants me to buy his .999 coins??


I'm afraid your Ak prospector friend is trying to rip you off.

He is effectively charging you 3283 per oz when the melt price of 24k gold is 1790 per oz. today.  Nuggets do sell for a premium over spot if of good character, purity and size.

The going fair rate for typical placer gold nuggets of this size when sold by reputable dealers at full retail is somewhere between 10 and 20% over spot price. Anything more is a complete rip off unless they are of specimen quality (think museum grade) which is highly unlikely.

You should also be aware that gold from Alaska is almost always less pure than gold from California. Ak gold can be 18k or far worse in some cases. Ca gold is rarely below 20k.   If reselling as a nugget to another collector it matters less but if planning to hold them and melt later it will be a large factor. We do not advocate buying large natural placer gold for melting - you will lose value. They are meant to be kept intact and resold as collectible items.

You can compare our nugget prices here:

Whether you buy coins or nuggets is a whole other issue.  If planning to melt them down - avoid nuggets as you will take a loss.  If planning to resell them intact to other collectors they could be a great investment.  Even more so, if you can fashion them into value added jewelry or partner with someone who can.

Buying coins or bullion  is a no brainer - buy them as close to spot price as you can. You have to allow for a little dealer mark up - usually no more than 10%.  And do not be scammed into paying a premium for "historic" or rare coins. Those are almost always a bad investment and pure hype. 

Personally I always prefer a natural nugget over a run of the mill mass produced gold coin.  There is no hope of ever having anything unusual or special with a man made minted coin.  Every nugget is unique and has its own character - this appeals to collectors. 


Gold Fever Prospecting  

Monday, November 7, 2011


Our blood was boiling today when we heard this!  
Where were the hearings, where were the votes? Was there even a debate?

Did you know the State of CA Water Board is now requiring a special $1120 permit to allow simple high banking or power sluicing.  Worse- it is per location! The Water Board threatens fines of $10,000+ per day for violations! We warned you when dredging was banned that it would extend to other types of mining shortly. It came quicker than we feared.

Time to stand up for your rights!

It is not just CA: Idaho, Oregon and a major new propaganda push is underway in the Carolinas now too.

Bad science and a hidden agenda by pseudo environmentalists are threatening to destroy our hobby.

READ MORE AT Are_Permits_Needed_For_Highbanking_In_California?

We entirely agree with The ICMJ's view:

Our View
This is another blatant attempt by the Water Board to stop mining in California with unelected officials promulgating unnecessary regulations and attempting to place new tax burdens on miners.

One of the primary purposes of the Mining Law of 1872 and its subsequent amendments is to promote the exploration and development of valuable mineral deposits in the United States. Despite the amendments that have been made over the years, that purpose has not changed.

It’s obvious that the Water Board is attempting to completely usurp the will of Congress by requiring a permit for simple exploration tasks like power sluicing and highbanking. Moreover, the agency’s requirement of $1,120 is site specific. If a miner went ahead and paid the fee and did not make a discovery at a particular location, he would have to pay another fee when he picked a new location to test! It’s impossible to know if a deposit exists unless you are allowed to process an adequate sample.

There are also no provisions in the Water Board rules that address permitting time frames. Could you imagine the time it would take for the Water Board to review and respond to 200 applications? How about 500, 1,000 or 3,000?

The Water Board is attempting to use the EPA Clean Water Act and NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System) permitting as their authority. But the sampling done by a miner within the ordinary high water mark and processed within that same area does not constitute the introduction of a pollutant. The materials that were already within the area will remain within the area.

Can the State of California legally require a permit for highbanking or power sluicing on a mining claim? In our view, the answer is “no.” A mining claim that includes a waterway is private property with riparian rights. If the miner is ensuring that his activities are “reasonably incident” to prospecting, mining or processing operations and the miner fills in his holes, this should satisfy the requirement to avoid “unnecessary or undue degradation” under 43 CFR §3809.415. And, as stated above, there is an obvious conflict with Congressional intent and no introduction of a pollutant.

How about on public lands that are open to claiming but not currently under claim? We also believe the answer to this question is “no.” The Mining Law of 1872 (USC 30 Chapter 2 § 22 ) states “...all valuable mineral deposits in lands belonging to the United States, both surveyed and unsurveyed, shall be free and open to exploration...”

Processing samples through a highbanker or power sluice is exploration. Again, as long as the miner is ensuring that his activities are “reasonably incident” to prospecting, mining or processing operations and the miner fills in his exploration holes, this should satisfy the requirement to avoid “unnecessary or undue degradation” under 43 CFR §3809.415

What are the fines for not obtaining the permit?

Answer: Violating conditions 1 and 2 may result in fines of up to $10,000 for each day, or if the matter is referred to the courts, fines up to $25,000 for each day in which the violation occurs.
Violating condition 3 may result in a fine of up to $1,000 plus $500 for each day the violation continues after 30 days of the State Water Board notification of the violation. Go to: for details.
Violating condition 4 may result in a fine of up to $500 per day of unauthorized diversion and use. Go to: for details.

for More info and to help support the fight against this encroachment on our rights visit:  western mining alliance