California’s Gold Rush pieces fetched over $1 million

Bits of California Gold Rush history fetched about $1 million at a recent auction of Western Americana in Reno, US.

Holabird-Kagin Americana, which staged last week's auction, said the main attraction were the gold coins part of the Jack Totheroh Collection. This included over 200 coins privately made in San Francisco in the 1850s, sold for $865,000, as well as some 50 similar gold coins, part of the Bergen-Istvan Collection, which fetched $252,000.

Historians said the cash in 25 cents, 50 cents and one dollar denominations were made by jewellers to solve the shortage of small change problem in California, during the Gold Rush era.

Though not accepted by banks, the currency was widely used at San Francisco businesses.

The auction, which drew over 400 bidders and included other objects such a telescope and Indian baskets, resulted in $2.4 million in sales.