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 California Gold Centennial
January 24, 1948

California Gold Centennial

A commemorative postage stamp on the Centenary of the Discovery of gold in California :

954 California Gold Centennial [United States Stamp 1948]Issued by United States of America

Issued on Jan 24, 1948

The Historic Stamp :
The 3¢ stamp commemorates the 100th anniversary of the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in California. A carpenter, James W. Marshall found the first gleaming nuggets. News of his discovery spread quickly, prompting thousands of prospectors to head West to seek their fortunes. Between 1848 and 1850, California’s population increased nearly 400%.

C. R. Chickering designed the stamp showing John Sutter’s sawmill as it appeared in 1848. In the foreground is the Sacramento River and in background, dimly visible, are the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The California Gold Centennial Stamp was printed in dark violet by steel engraving. The First Day City was Coloma, California, near the site of the original sawmill.

Type : Stamp, Postal Used

Denomination : 3 cents

Colour : Dark Violet

The Subject of the Stamp : 

  • The “forty niners” who rushed to California after the discovery of gold changed the size and character of the territory. Communities arose, flourished, and died as soon as the gold supply was exhausted. The population of San Francisco leaped from 800 in 1848 to some 25,000 in 1849, while Sacramento grew from fewer than a hundred in 1848 to 10,000 but a year later.
  • Few of the prospectors struck it rich. A number eventually forsook their dream of a fortune in gold and settled for the more prosaic prospects of farming and cattle ranching.
  • Today, continued migration, abundant natural resources, and almost limitless opportunities for recreation and industrial growth make California one of the fastest growing states in the nation.
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