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Helvetia & Lafayette Gold Mining Co. Stock Certificate / Letter (107424)

Currency:USD Category:Coins & Paper Money / Stock & Bond - Mining Start Price:375.00 USD Estimated At:750.00 - 2,000.00 USD
Helvetia & Lafayette Gold Mining Co. Stock Certificate / Letter  (107424)
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Extremely rare and unusual. This is a Gold Rush era Grass Valley stock that is mounted to the back of a letter. No. 6229, issued to Fowlers & Wells for one share on Dec. 22nd, 1852 in Grass Valley, Nevada Co., California. Signed by Carville Conaway, president, and by Daniell Adee, transfer agent. Not cancelled. Vignette at center of allegorical woman and horn of plenty. At far left is another vignette of an allegorical woman. “Grass Valley, Nevada Co., Cal” is printed beneath masthead. No printer. 3.5 x 8" Tears, soiling, a portion missing at bottom left. Mounted to the back of a letter. This letter is datelined New York, 1869 (or 64), and addressed ti Fowlers & Wells. Message reads:"I am sorry to say that the last intelligence I rec'vd from the Helvetia Gold Mining Co. was some six and eight years since, and that was that it had all been sold out by the sheriff and I suppose it is no longer in existence." Signed by the agent. This company is named for two very early gold discovery localities, Helvetia and Lafayette Hills. These two hills later became famous for the North Star (and later Empire) Mine, two of the richest in California history, with more than $50 million mines by 1900, and perhaps double that afterwards. They are about 2 miles southwest of Grass Valley. Lode gold was discovered at Grass Valley on Gold Hill in June, 1850. By October, the lodes at Helvetia and Lafayette hills were discovered. The quartz mills built during the initial period of mining were a disaster, and generally kept away development capital. The early claims were only 30 x 40 feet. The Empire and North Star mines purchased many of these tiny claims, including those of this company. The Empire Co. was incorporated in 1854, which undoubtedly led to the incorporation of this company, a neighbor, about the same time. This company was the original North Star Mine. Errol MacBoyle relates the importance of this company in his important work, Mines and Mineral Resources of Nevada County, 1919: "The North Star vein was discovered by the Lavance Brothers in the fall of 1851. A number of claims 100 feet square were located by different men and these, a few years later, were consolidated as the Helvetia and Lafayette Gold Mining Co. This group of claims controlled 480 feet along the apex of the vein…In the hanging wall of the Helvetia and Lafayette mine a group of claims had been located known as the North Star. In 1858 the Helvetia and Lafayette mine was sold at sheriff sale for $8000…." Within three years, significant gold was found on the property, and history was made. Neither Montgomery nor Conway would later appear in Nevada County events. This certificate has particular importance because it is the predecessor to the famous North Star and Empire mines. [Ref: MacBoyle, Bancroft, Gudde].

Provenance:
Country (if not USA):
State: California
City/County: Grass Valley
Date: 1852