In the 1850s, gold was circulated as currency. Gold found in Placer County was sold to the U.S. Mint in San Francisco and coined into $5, $10, $20 pieces.
This changed with the introduction of the “greenback” dollar, the paper currency printed in green that was issued by the United States during the American Civil War.
By the 1930s, gold was taken out of circulation and many miners sold their collections to the government for cash. In 1921 L. G. Garbe sold the five largest pieces of gold in the collection to Placer County for $3,506 ($25/oz).
By 1959 the collection grew to 48 specimens. The County Treasurer’s Office managed the collection, exhibiting it periodically throughout the state.
In 1996, the entire collection was appraised at $343,500.00 based on weight and historical relevance.
On November 12, 1996, a resolution by the County Board of Supervisors allowed for the relocation of the gold to the Placer County Museum for permanent display.
The gold is currently on display at the Placer County Museum in Auburn's Historic Courthouse.