3¢ California Gold
Issue Date: January 24, 1948
City: Coloma, CA
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10 1/2
Color: Dark violet
U.S. #954 commemorates the 100th anniversary of the discovery of gold in California. The stamp pictures the famed Sutter’s Mill in Coloma.
The California Gold Rush
Gold was discovered in California on January 24, 1848 – just before the U.S. and Mexico signed the peace treaty. The gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill in the Sacramento Valley, on land granted to pioneer-trader John A. Sutter. Sutter hired carpenter James W. Marshall to construct a sawmill. It was Marshall who discovered the area’s first gold nuggets.
News of this discovery spread like wildfire, and thousands of miners rushed to establish claims. These miners became known as “Forty-Niners,” and they came from all over the world. Between 1848 and 1849, California’s population grew from about 15,000 to well over 100,000. The wealth generated by gold transformed small communities like San Francisco and Sacramento into flourishing towns.