How did the nugget come to be in the collection of the museum?

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The gold nugget is one of the oldest objects in the collections here. It arrived here in 1861. We have a very good paper trail on it. We don't know who collected it here but we do know who gave it to us. There's a letter of transmittal from Captain Joseph Folsom, a quartermaster in the U.S. Army and with it came the nugget. It's a letter of transmittal transmitting the first piece of gold found in northern California, the piece of gold that kicked off the gold rush.


Interview with David Shayt, National Museum of American History, May 31, 2006.