Another Gold-Rush era artifact pilfered from California museum
OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Museum of California offered a $12,000 reward Wednesday for the safe recovery of a stolen gold-encrusted jewel box — the latest in a series of thefts involving Gold Rush-era artifacts in the region.
The box stolen Monday depicts images of early California history and was originally a wedding anniversary gift from a San Francisco pioneer to his wife in the 1800s, museum director Lori Fogarty said.
It's the size of a small shoebox and weighs about three pounds.
Oakland city officials have said the box was valued at more than $800,000, but Fogarty said it was difficult to put a price on it.
“It's very difficult to assign value to something like this,” she said. “But I can say it's a treasure of our collection and a critical piece in our holdings.”
It was the second major theft in as many months from the popular Gold Rush exhibit at the Oakland museum. Gold nuggets and other historic artifacts were taken in November. Police believe the same culprit may have committed both thefts.
Fogarty said the high price of gold — which was selling Wednesday at about $1,657 an ounce — might have prompted the break-ins.
In September, a state mining and mineral museum in the Sierra foothills in Mariposa was robbed of an estimated $1.3 million in gold, precious gems and artifacts by thieves armed with pickaxes.
In February, thieves smashed a lobby display case at the Siskiyou County courthouse and made off with large chunks of gold. Both sites are in California's Gold Country, where people from around the world came in the mid-1800s to strike it rich.
Four people have been arrested and charged in the Mariposa case.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan made a plea for the safe return of the jewel box that belongs to the city.
“This is not something you can sell on a street corner,” Quan said. “We hope those who will be approached will return it to the people of Oakland. This is a theft not only of a valuable object, but a theft of our history.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Blast collapses NYC apartments, injures 12
- Bergdahl, speaking for 1st time, claims 12 attempts to flee Taliban
- Santorum: Obama opposition to fossil fuels ‘quasi-religious’
- Global warming is slowing down the circulation of the oceans — with potentially dire consequences
- Big croc predated dinosaurs, roamed North Carolina region
- Cyber warfare chief: U.S. needs to shift to offense
- Texas Sen. Cruz kicks off presidential campaign at Christian college
- Storms spawning tornadoes hammer Okla., Ark., killing 1