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Thread: Aluminum once more valuable than gold.

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  1. #1

    Mar 2016
    1,561
    2349 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Aluminum once more valuable than gold.

    When your detecting old sites, pay special attention to anything found that is aluminum.
    From 1820 thru 1888 aluminum was twice the price of gold. $550 per pound was the going price.
    In the 1850's wealthy women wore aluminum jewelry.
    A "silverware" set made from aluminum would be very valuable at the time. Reserved for only the most wealthy people.

    The Lincoln Monument was topped with a 6 pound block of aluminum, the largest piece of aluminum ever cast in 1884.

    By 1888 aluminum was being mass produced and quickly became worthless.

    I could see someone throwing a piece of aluminum jewelry away thinking it was modern costume jewelry. It may bear the mark of a famous jeweler.

    Fun fact I recently learned.
    All treasures found with permission on private property or on active mining claims.

  2. #2

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
    Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
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    Quote Originally Posted by IMAUDIGGER View Post
    .... I could see someone throwing a piece of aluminum jewelry away thinking it was modern costume jewelry. It may bear the mark of a famous jeweler....
    As historically accurate as your time-line is, I am not aware of any collectible vintage "aluminum jewelry". Is there any sales (closed ebays, etc...) that you can link ? And if there *IS* any "collectible vintage aluminum jewelry" finished sales, I would think that any 150-ish year old pieces we would find, would be nothing but un-recognizable ground-kissed globs.
    Nick79 likes this.
    Metal detecting is my one worldy vice!

  3. #3

    Mar 2016
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    I don't scour eBay to back up interesting facts.

    If you find jewelry or say a pocket watch that has aluminum incorporated into it and it was made in the 1850's,
    It was a valuable piece. That's all. Most people see aluminum and immediately figure junk.

    Most of the pull tabs I find are still in pretty good condition. In the right soil conditions, I don't know why something aluminum wouldn't survive.
    All treasures found with permission on private property or on active mining claims.

  4. #4
    us
    Just dig it

    Jan 2018
    California
    Garrett Ace 350, Harbor Frieght
    490
    1110 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by IMAUDIGGER View Post
    I don't scour eBay to back up interesting facts.

    If you find jewelry or say a pocket watch that has aluminum incorporated into it and it was made in the 1850's,
    It was a valuable piece. That's all. Most people see aluminum and immediately figure junk.

    Most of the pull tabs I find are still in pretty good condition. In the right soil conditions, I don't know why something aluminum wouldn't survive.
    Here in California many older pieces of aluminum I find are corroded and pitted. Interesting thought though about it being valuable back in the day

  5. #5

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
    Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
    13,524
    9856 times
    Banner Finds (4)
    Quote Originally Posted by Nick79 View Post
    Here in California many older pieces of aluminum I find are corroded and pitted. Interesting thought though about it being valuable back in the day
    I have a large pile of vintage pocket watches (some even with precious metals in them) , that are all worthless. Aside from gold or silver melt value, if they contained any gold or silver. So I would tend to agree with you that a metal like aluminum, if it were in a pocket watch (or any jewelry item) would probably be unrecognizable.

    I once attended a lecture by a vintage pocket watch collector, who had an entire table display of scores of pocket watches from the 1800s. And it occurred to me, right then, as I looked over his displays, that there is no-way-in-heck that the stuff we find is anything beyond scrap/melt value An exception, I suppose, would be if something were in a crawl-space under a house, that had been totally protected from the elements and ground for 150 yrs. ?
    Nick79 likes this.
    Metal detecting is my one worldy vice!

  6. #6

    Mar 2016
    1,561
    2349 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    From what I've read 1850's alum. Jewelry is fairly rare.
    They apparently alloyed it with some brass.

    "First discovered and isolated in 1825, aluminum was still a rare and expensive metal in the 1850s and 1860s. Intricate bracelets, like this example, were produced as luxury items by many notable Parisian jewelers. During that time, aluminum was often combined with other more precious and expensive materials, such as gold and gems, in ways that required intensive labor and exacting workmanship. Aluminum and gold could not be soldered easily and instead required riveting. The rivet heads, as seen in the small beads and flower buds in this bracelet, were made into a design feature."
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by IMAUDIGGER; Apr 10, 2019 at 02:06 PM.
    All treasures found with permission on private property or on active mining claims.

  7. #7

    Mar 2013
    31
    31 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Thanks for the interesting read IMAUDIGGER! It goes to show that times change and so does peoples opinion of value.

  8. #8

    Mar 2016
    1,561
    2349 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    All treasures found with permission on private property or on active mining claims.

  9. #9

    Mar 2016
    1,561
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
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    DeepseekerADS and Plumbata like this.
    All treasures found with permission on private property or on active mining claims.

  10. #10
    Charter Member
    us
    Oct 2014
    Massachusetts
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    Thank you for sharing!

 

 

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