Discovery of a lifetime – A record-breaking piece of silver has been found! ​

Silver was discovered in Colorado in the 1860s and the first mining was made in Clear Creek Canyon at Georgetown during 1864. However, the price of the metal was not high enough to attract serious exploration until The United States Congress passed the Bland-Allison Act. in 1878. This act allowed for free minting of silver.

Sudden government demand has increased mineral prices significantly. 1879, the very next year, saw the beginning of the Colorado Silver boom when a silver mine was discovered at Leadville. The boom lasted throughout the 1880s, leading to a dramatic increase in both Colorado’s population and wealth. Government purchases of silver were subsequently nearly doubled by the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890, which further prolonged the boom of the early 1890s. It ended disastrously in 1893 after the collapse of silver prices due to the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act.

Discovered America’s largest silver coin

Ironically, in 1894, just one year after the Colorado silver mining operation encountered this loud noise, the largest nugget of silver ever found was discovered at the Smuggler Mine near Aspen, CO. And I mean huge. It is believed that the original nugget weighed about 2,340 pounds, but it was too large to be carried out of the mine intact. It broke into three pieces, the largest piece weighing 1,840 pounds.

Yes, British pounds.

Nugget is 93% pure silver. Silver prices at the beginning of 2018 were around $16/troy ounce. Using some basic math, that would make this block of gold worth around $500,000 at today’s prices. And that’s just the value of the gold bar; Surely a mineral collector will pay many times that amount in today’s market.

Smuggling mine

Although the Smuggler Mine is primarily used for tours today, limited operations continue. The mountain is not yet out of silver – an estimated 890,000 tons of ore remains unmined. In 1987, largely due to the recovery of this massive nugget, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Although many towns grew up with the silver rush in Colorado, the town best known today is Aspen. When one thinks of Aspen, CO, images of great skiing and playgrounds for the rich and famous come to mind. However, for much of the region’s history, its immense value was found beyond the ski slopes of some of the most valuable silver mines in North America.

The world-famous smuggler mine near Aspen once produced one-fifth of all the silver recovered worldwide. The Smuggler Mine is named for its location on the slopes of Smuggler Mountain, so this is not a creative name. It is the oldest operating silver mine in the Aspen mining district and one of the few mines still in operation from the early years of Aspen’s boom.

First discovery of silver

The origin of the Smuggler Mine remains a mystery. According to legend, the first prospectors to find silver there were Edward Fuller and Con Albright in 1879. They are said to have sold the land shortly after its discovery due to one of the strange stories seems too strange to be true. They are said to have sold their claim for $50 in exchange for a mule and some necessaries. In reality, “selling” the claim would be quite difficult since they never formally filed. But, it makes for a good story.

How Charles Bennett, who filed the original suit, came into possession of the claim that later became the Smuggler is also unclear. One report states that his party viewed the claim around that time, June 1879, and allegedly found it abandoned. After purchasing some additional land nearby, Bennett sold his interest in 1880. The buyers were several partners who formed the Aspen Town and Land Company to survey and build the 282-acre tract. English Model. They subdivided it, named streets after themselves, and sold lots for $10 each, creating the city of Aspen.

Silver prices plummeted, causing trouble at the mine

During the silver boom that followed, the Smuggler became the most productive silver mine in the area. Like most mining companies, Smuggler suffered heavy losses after silver prices collapsed in 1893. Even so, Smuggler was one of the few mines in the Aspen area to reopen after the disaster. . It continued to produce silver until the Smuggler reached the bottom of the vein that was the mine’s main source of ore.

Although there may have been other sources in the area that could have worked, the mine was closed in 1918. This was largely due to a pricing dispute with the local power company owner as well as due to shortage of electricity supply. ore.

The consequences of mine closure were economically disastrous for the community. During the 1920s, as much of the rest of the park prospered, the area continued to deteriorate. By 1930, fewer than a thousand people lived in Aspen. That was down from a previous high of 10,000 during the Silver Boom, when it was the largest city in Colorado.

Rebirth in Aspen

Although some mining continued at Smuggler after World War II, the city’s renaissance had nothing to do with these mines. In 1947, Aspen’s first ski resort opened. And the rest, as they say, is history. Instead of dark, dank silver mines deep underground, Aspen is now famous for its surface beauty.

The smuggled mine will always be known as one of the most productive silver mines in the world, but the largest block of silver ever found will certainly be remembered for it.

One has to wonder if there is another, possibly even larger, mass hidden somewhere in the mountains surrounding Aspen, Colorado.

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