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FINE ANTIQUE AMERICAN FEDERAL EAGLE GOLD RUSH PERIOD SCALE ~ COMPLETE
FINE ANTIQUE FEDERAL EAGLE CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH PERIOD
POCKET SCALE IN ORIGINAL OVAL ORANGE TIN CASE
COMPLETE WITH 9 WEIGHTS ~ CIRCA 1848 - MID 1850'S
This is a Fine Antique mid-19th century American Federal Eagle decorated California Gold Rush period oval tin pocket gold scale, case & weights complete set, circa 1848 - mid 1850's; in a pocket size that was favored by both gold prospectors then, and collectors today. Almost all of these scales were made in Germany and imported to America for gold seekers headed to California to seek their fortunes. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors & decorations; with smaller oval tin pocket cases, and bright colors being the most desirable and sought after in the American Federal Eagle motif.
The tin case has almost all the original orange color; paint that is delicate and easily pocket worn. Usually the color has faded over time but almost all the original paint is intact with bright color; with only a few light surface scratches and very minor wear to one spot on the top edge. The bottom usually is worn the most; but this scale has all the bottom paint! The top oval cover has a gold line border decoration with a center panel of the American Federal Eagle clutching arrows and olive branches in gold. The Eagle head shows some wear, with a few dark spots of naturally occurring aging to the gold paint. You expect to see these tin cases with lots of dents, as is almost always encountered; but this piece has no big dents; just a few minor dings to the non-display bottom of the case. The top has two very shallow depressions to the right and left of the Eagle where the owner pressed down with his thumbs when closing the top. This set was intended to carried around in the pocket at the gold fields; and is in fine overall condition with very light wear, considering it's extreme age of 165 years or so.
This small - medium size painted oval tin case is about 6" long X 3" wide X 1" thick is all original. This size was intended for use with gold dust & gold nuggets that were mostly gone by the mid 1850's. There is a 1" pinned, 4 pronged hinge that holds the top and bottom together at the back that is intact. When the scale is out of the case, the top lid closes properly and has a snug fit with the base. As is common, you sometimes have to arrange the scale's beam & chains inside to ensure the case closes all the way. If desired, some take a pair of pliers to gently bend the top lip of the bottom half to adjust a slightly tighter fit; but I have left it as found. As expected the inside top and bottom of the case has lost some of the original orange paint due to the scale & weights moving inside the case when pocket carried. The small shaped 1/4 oval weight compartment is original and does not have a lid to hold the weights, as some of the smaller scales have to secure the tiny weights. There are a 9 old octagonal brass weights from small to large size that are correct for this scale. The brass balance scale has a 4 5/8" long beam and is complete and correct, with both the original thin top brass wire figure 8 hanger and lower brass U shaped wire connector intact. The concave brass pan are about 2 3/8" in diameter with a finely upturned border and nice natural aged patina, with one small dent and one small ding. The original brass chain & connectors are original. This entire set, including the case, scale and weighs 6.5 ounces.
These scale sets are hard to find complete; especially in fine condition with almost all of the bright orange paint and no real dents. Identical scales, but with the "Made expressly for California" lettering, in this condition, would be 3 times the price. This handsome, eye-appealing Federal Eagle scale in fine condition is the desirable oval tin pocket gold scales that was favored by gold prospectors (and collectors); and would be great for any mining, miner, pocket scale, Old West, Gold Rush, '49er, California or Western Americana display.
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