Science Education Center of California

Science Education Center
of California
231 Rochester St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627


Science Education Center of California

Antiques & Antiquities



Silver Ingots

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Silver Ingot Silver Ingots Square Ingots
Anaheim Metals click to see larger image click to see larger image
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Prices: All silver bars are $9 - $10 per ounce with the exception of the three bars in the center photo, which are priced separately. The center bar in the center photo is from the San Francisco Mint and has already been sold. The two bars to the left and right of the San Francisco mint bar are priced at $300 each, and were produced by Hallmark precious metals (10.26 troy oz) and Hoffman and Hoffman (5.13 troy ounces).

Background: Many of the hand stamped silver bars of the old west were melted during the great price spike of the early 1980s when the Hunt brothers cornered the silver market and the price of silver went to $50 per ounce. A few survived with most ranging from a few ounces to 100 ounces in weight. Most have the weight and purity hand stamped on either the top or side of the bar and have varying degrees of surface oxidation (patina) which has built up over the years. Many of the bars have an attractive toning and were purchased for their ascetic as well as historical importance.


Silver Coin Bags from the Old West

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click to see larger image click to see larger image Price: All coin bags are priced at $150 each.
The Gila Valley Bank and Trust Company (Globe, Arizona)
A well preserved cloth coin bag for holding 100 silver dollars, and displaying the following text at the top of the bag: LAWRENCE MAKER, Saratoga, N.Y.
The First Central National Bank (Calexico, Calif.)
An extremely well preserved leather pouch from a small border town in the Imperial Valley. The drawstring at the top is fully functional and allows for the bag to be tied and sealed for secure transport.
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Metals Bank and Trust Co. (Butte, Mont.)
A used coin bag (some fading of text) for silver transport in and around the mining district of Butte, Montana. As in the other bags, the typical contents would be 100 silver dollars.
Ass’t Treasurer So.Pac.Co. (San Francisco)
A well used canvas coin bag (some staining on the obverse and reverse sides) from the center of the California Gold Rush. The serial number at the top of the bag reads “8-7-16-5000-S.1769”. The bag is an original artifact from the Southern Pacific Railroad and may have been used to transport coin or currency on their local and interstate runs.

Blacksmith Items

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Background: The Krawitz blacksmith collection features over 30 hammers and mallets (and related items), two anvils, as well as an assortment of tools and survey items. The hammer collection includes pounding tools made from copper, rawhide, wood, brass, stone, and various types of steel.

Left Photo: A well-preserved mallet (original handle) containing a curved portion for shaping wagon wheel rims and other non-linear pieces of metal. With a handle approaching 30 inches, this mallet is the longest in the Krawitz collection.
Price: $125

Center Photo: A well-used copper hammer of soft composition and displaying a brassy patina along the head of the mallet. Numerous scuffs, scratches and dents on both sides attest to the hammer’s soft surface. Small quantities of red paint still adhere to the curved portions and the word “copper” is visible (but weak) along the side of the hammer.
Price: $100

Right Photo: A mallet with an inwardly curved portion on one side and a well pounded flat head on the opposite side. This type of mallet was typically placed between a metal surface (being shaped) and a large hammer. Repeated striking of the flat portion of the mallet would impart sufficient kinetic energy to the curved portion to shape a piece of softer metal.
Price: $55


Blasting Antiques

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Left Photo:

Locality: South America (1690-1850’s)
Composition: Bronze with a heavy patina of copper carbonate
Dimensions: Maximum exterior dimensions: 4 inches tall and 4 inches wide

Comments: A bronze cannon of irregular cylindrical form, with significant areas of copper carbonate on both the interior and exterior surfaces. The main bore of the cannon measures just under 2 inches in diameter, and is sufficiently wide to house a sizable charge.

Uses: The device could be used to either burn a charge for signaling a nearby ship, or to house a metal projectile for firing on objects at close range. The relatively short barrel (3.5 inches) would indicate the former use as being most likely.
Price: $395

Right Photo:

Item: U.S. Army Blasting Machine (10 CAP)
Composition: A copper and steel generator contained within a brass housing.
Dimensions: 8 inches tall and 4 inches wide
Manufacturer: White Rodgers Electric Company, St. Louis, MO

Comments: This antique hand operated generator probably dates back to WWII and is designed to produce an electric current for portable electric energy needs. This device is similar to the plunger type of blasting machine in principal, but is smaller and uses a rotating handle rather than a vertically oriented plunger.
Price: SOLD


Assay Office Artifacts

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Left Photo:
Locality: Assay office of Dr. Ralph E. Pray
Composition: Graphite crucible coated with a glassy slag.
Size: 7 inches tall and 5.5 inches wide
Price: $95

Comments: A fascinating object and part of Dr. Ralf Pray’s assay office (see background below) during its hey day of production. Metallic particles and ore residue (imbedded in the glassy slag) gives the specimen a dark glazed look.
Price: $95

Right Photo:
This iron crucible from Randsberg, California represents one of the few mining artifacts that we have from Kern County, California. The Randsburg-Mining District (towns of Randsburg and Johannesburg) was famous for gold and scheelite (Atolia) and named after the famous and more prosperous gold towns in South Africa. Sporadic mining still goes on in the area with the bulk of the dollars being generated by tourists who travel through the Kern and Inyo County desert regions.
Price: $99

The Science Education Center has spent several years acquiring materials in an effort to reconstruct a complete assay office. Currently on exhibit are crucibles of various sizes, mortar and pestles, chemicals (native mercury, bismuth, tellurium, tin, tungstic acid, etc.) original gold amalgam balls, tools, gold pans, brass calibration weights, and ore samples from many California gold mines. Many of these items are available for sale (a few for display only), and each one represents a piece of history from the pioneer days of California. A special thanks goes to Dr. Ralph Pray (Territorial Assayer of the Alaskan Territories) who over the years has sold many items to the Science Education Center.


Lanterns & Torches

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Left Photo:
Locality: This torch was purchased in Magdalena, New Mexico.
Composition: All parts and fittings are composed of brass.

Size: 10 inches tall and 7 inches long
Price: $95

Comments: This hand operated torch was probably used in the highly productive lead, zinc and silver mines that flourished in the mountains to the west of Socorro, New Mexico. A pair of rotating feet extend 1.5 inches on either side of the torch and were designed to stabilize the highly elongated torch in a vertical position.

Right Photo:

Locality: European in origin
Composition: Steel and brass frame surrounding a tubular glass housing.

Size: 9 to 10 inches tall with a maximum diameter of 3.5 inches
Price: $140 each

Comments: The shorter lantern was manufactured in Manchester, England by the Protector Lamp & Lighting Company. A crown emblem is engraved on the glass and the word “British” appears over the crown.

The taller lantern has horizontal markings on the glass with the lowest 2 markings labeled 1% and 2%. The text BM 399/60 appears on the brass housing above the fuel tank.


Mining Equipment

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Together with the assay office specimens, the mining collection at the Science Education Center is a well-assembled collection of artifacts from the Western States. The collection includes ore buckets, windlasses, mining pumps, high capacity pulleys, survey equipment, historic books on mining and exploration, etc. A few items are listed below:
  • Ore bucket from the Rainbow Wells Mine, San Bernardino County (Now part of the Mojave Natural Preserve). This specimen (Center of left photo) was removed from the mine in 1945 and was purchased from Dennis Benson (Nipton, CA). Mr. Benson is one of the few residents who still lives in the Eastern Mojave Natural Preserve region.
    Price: $900
  • Electric motor from the Bagdad-Chase mine. This specimen (the far-left portion of the right photo) weighs about 400 pounds and was used to run the processing mill at the mine. The Bagdad-Chase mine in the Bullion Mountains was the largest gold producer in San Bernardino County until about 1980.
    Price: $400
  • Peter Wright Anvil: This anvil was used by Southwest Cement Company around the turn of the last century (around 1910). This monster weighs about 350 pounds and is pictured in the lower right portion of the right photo. The Peter Wright anvils are noted for their particular ring when struck and were rare treasures for any blacksmith.

    For those who like anvils and do not want to pay a large sum, I have an 85-pound Fisher anvil (1907) that I can part with for $150. It is fully functional, and like the Peter Wright specimen was part of the William Edwards collection (Hisperia, CA).
    Price for the Peter Wright anvil: $1,400
  • High Capacity Pulleys (Randsburg Mining district): The pulleys in the right photo were purchased in Randsburg, California and were designed to carry loads of around 10,000 pounds. The pulley on the left has the weight capacity (10,000 pounds) in large text on one side and the name Ingersoll Rand on the reverse side. The housing is made of forged steel and has the word Vulcan 12 stamped on it. The only distinguishing mark on the second pulley (front center of right photo) is the name “Mallory” and No 134 B.
    Price: $125 each.

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