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With phrases like, “She has a heart of gold. Follow the golden word. That was a gold mine of information! These are the golden years! Go for the gold!” It’s evident that people recognize gold as a valuable resource. Many accept this knowledge without understanding how or why gold is a treasured commodity. Gold currency became essential long ago, with usage and prices evolving and affecting The Argo Mill & Tunnel.
The Price of Gold Then and Now
The price of gold has changed immensely since The Argo began operation in 1893. In fact, that year, the average price was approximately $18.96 per troy ounce, whereas now, the price of gold is around $1,930 per troy ounce!
How Gold Currency Originated
In 600 BC, gold was first declared a form of money when the ruler of an ancient kingdom in modern-day Turkey called Lydia oversaw the first recorded mint. This was made of an alloy of silver and gold known as electrum, but Colorado’s relation to gold currency manifested with the gold rush!
The Gold Rush and Gold Currency in Colorado
In 1859 the Pike’s Peak gold rush rushed people to Colorado. With very little money in their pockets, this brought the earliest white settlers to the Colorado area. Yet, gold currency was not yet established. Most of the trading at this time and in this region was done on a barter basis. However, as mining became more prevalent, gold dust was used in exchange but it was difficult to measure this accurately. Gold from varying districts differed in value and there was also a possibility of fraud as other substances like brass filings and spelter could be mixed with it. These were known as “retort nuggets” and were sometimes recognized as gold.
Because gold currency became necessary to the trading system, some pioneering merchants became gold brokers in which they paid for gold with U.S. currency or drafts on eastern banks. Following this, in 1860, there was a need for banking in Colorado. Through the process came the most famous institution at the time in which The Clark Brothers partnered with E.H. Gruber to form a banking house in Leavenworth, KS, called Clark, Gruber & Co.
After the gold rush, the bank received hefty gold shipments from the Rocky Mountains. Over time, the bank began making coins with Pike’s Peak with the American Eagle. Their coins were key gold currency as they were almost pure gold-containing very little alloy. Considering this, the milling and mining industry was essential as this is where the gold originated, bringing The Argo great business in the upcoming years.
Gold and The Argo Mill and Tunnel
When The Argo Mill and Tunnel began operation, the business they endured due to the need for gold currency was outrageous. The Clear Creek and Gilpin County mining districts were known as The Richest Square Mile on Earth, so when finished with the tunnel’s construction, The Argo was able to capitalize.
With such high demand for gold, The Argo Mill and Tunnel generated great profit and were essential to the industry, extending the gold rush for decades. The Argo Mill and Tunnel produced $100 million of gold during its lifetime!
The Price of Gold
Considering the demand for gold currency and its usage over the years, gold prices have varied immensely over the past 200 years as one can see in this chart.
The prominent history of gold currency and the effects it had on The Mighty Argo’s business are all relevant to how gold became the valued resource it is today!
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