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  THE FIRST RAILROAD RIDE IN CALIFORNIA  

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The SS Central America, which was the most remarkable numismatic find of the century, brought about an incredible treasure
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trove of Kellogg's assayer ingots from the gold rush era. By  incredibly fortuitous circumstances, the original dies for the celebrated 1855 Kellogg $50 gold coin survived. For many years, the dies were owned by Mrs. Harry Cutler of San Francisco, later passing into the hands of modern numismatists.
In 2001 Ron Landis was hired to create 4,953 restrikes of the Kellogg $50. The dies used to strike each piece were originated by transfer from the original 1855 dies engraved by Ferdinand Gruner in San Francisco, California and have the added commemorative inscription on the reverse ribbon: "S.S. Central America Gold - C.H.S." - the last being for the California Historical Society. Each coin contains 1309 grains of .887 fine gold taken from a unique and original Gold Rush ingot
 
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made in San Francisco by Kellogg & Humbert - the same John G. Kellogg who issued the original 1855 $50 coin. Each ingot was part of the recovered treasure from the most famous of all finds, the SS Central America, "The Ship of Gold," lost at sea on September 12, 1857. All of the issue was struck (using an old San Francisco Mint press) at the Presidio in San Francisco commencing August 20th and ending September 12th, 2001. These 24 days coincide with the gold's journey, 144 years prior, from San Francisco to where it lay preserved under 8,000 feet of the Atlantic Ocean.
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Sacramento claims the honor of the first California railroad,” said the Sacramento Union of January 1, 1856, which carried the cut shown here on the left. “On the seventeenth of last August a trial trip was made on the opening of the road to Seventeenth street. The occasion was marked by the gathering of a large crowd of people at the depot, who gazed upon the iron horse, harnessed for the first time, with mingled feelings of surprise and admiration.” ~ The Sacramento Union
I found it quite interesting that nearly every necessary tool, appliance, rail, and piece of rolling stock had to be shipped from the East Coast to the West Coast by sea, a route that entailed sailing all the way around Cape Horn.
 
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The trip stretched well over sixteen thousand statute miles taking a minimum of three months and often over six months. The Clipper Ship 揥inged Racer delivered Locomotive 揝acramento No.1 on June 3rd, 1855.
When I noted the juxtaposition of the 1855 $50 Kellogg gold issuance and the 1855 historical event in California railroading I couldn抰 wait to have a carving done with a Hobo/Railroad theme. I chose Lee Griffiths of Blackfoot, Idaho to create it for us. You will note that Lee has portrayed what are arguably the first two California Hobos I can only hope you enjoy this carving as much as I do!

Verne R. Walrafen ~ OHNS HLM#620


  Postscript ~ Afterthought  
Here is a look at the slabbed $50 gold before Lee carved it.
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  Comprehensive Online Resources  
The Treasure
America's Lost Treasure ~ The S.S. Central America
Ship Of Gold ~ Journey through history
The Commemorative Kellogg $50 Restrike
The S.S. Central America ~ GMM ScrapBook 10/24/2001
But Honey... I Saved $1,500! ~ GMM ScrapBook 7/20/2002
SS Central America Commemorative Mintages ~ GMM ScrapBook 11/23/2002
America's Lost Treasure ~ The S.S. Central America ~ Commemorative Coins
The 1855 Kellogg & Co. $50 Gold Gem Proof Commemorative Restrike
The First Railroad Ride in California
“The First Railroad Ride in California” ~ OHNS News & Events ScrapBook ~ 5/23/2005
Sacramento History Online ~ First railroad ride in California ~ 1855
The Sacramento Valley Railroad
“Railroads Shipped by Sea” ~ OHNS News & Events ScrapBook ~ 6/26/2005
“Railroads Shipped by Sea” ~ Railroad History, Bulletin 180, Spring, 1999. pp. 7-30. ~ Wendell W. Huffman
Vessels/Voyages That Delivered Locomotives to California and Oregon, 1850-1869
The New Clipper Ship Winged Racer, of Boston. ~ The Boston Daily Atlas, November 12, 1852.
Building the Sacramento Valley Railroad ~ −by Robert Briggs ~ 9/22/1957
People & Events: Tunneling in the Sierra Nevada
The Creation of the Carving
You were serious about defacing a valuable coin ...right? ~ OHNS News & Events ScrapBook ~ 12/2005
What do you think of the silver? ~ OHNS News & Events ScrapBook ~ 12/2005
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Webpage last updated:   Saturday, February 4, 2006