Folks, this is one of the toughest writing assignments I ever had in my life...speaking of my own life and experiences for 1/2 of this Autobiographical Tale I was asked to write up, using only "3rd person case" WHEW!!!
_by MEGAN “Click the Yellow Chick” ROSE
(*The combination of Gold, Treasure and Junking.)
Author Megan "Yellow Chick" Rose proudly displays her treasures from her "citified" prospecting. Photo (posted in Part 5 at the end of this short series)
show the many items found in second-hand stores which Megan has found contain astonishing amounts of gold-plated goodies.
My Story Begins:L
ight fog swirling between buildings slows commuters rushing to work as Megan Moore gets ready for a new day of "citified prospecting." Deftly looping an old belt into a hole she'd cut in the side of a well-worn but sturdy box, she conducted a close inspection of her duct tape reinforced comers and bottom. Taping it muffles the noise her "sluice box" makes when she drags it along behind her while making her rounds of thrift stores and garage sales. Megan recalls the images of gold-plated items which have previously passed through this box. Some end up in her"clip'n ship" pile. Others she's ground up for leaching or processed in aqua regia.
Monday through Saturday, this daily routine never varies. Yesterday, she found two pieces of Hawaiian 24kt gold-plated, jeweler quality sculptured ferns, just lying on their sides in a bin. Each piece was complete with its flashy advertising still tied on, which declared the gold purity and native origins.
One week she found two, one-tenth ounce Chinese gold coins which the manager thought were replicas. Last week she found a single two-gram nugget in an ash tray in a salvage store. It had been tossed there by a skeptic who thought it was just a painted rock. Laughing at her because she thought it was real, he had flicked more cigar ashes on it. Finally, he just out right gave it to her when she expressed her curiosity about it.
Next door, a similar store had a 9-inch, 12kt gold chain mixed up in their costume jewelry box. She bought it for 50 cents. Megan knows she has found a paystreak, and she citified prospects daily. People just do not know they have real gold; their low prices repeatedly prove that.
By using her 16X jeweler's loupe and experienced eye, Megan confirmed her two finds. The combination nugget, coin, and gold chain necklace now hangs around her neck– an easy $275 value. And she was out only $2.50, total!
Double-checking to make sure there were no minute holes in her box, Megan planned to stop first at one store where she had noticed someone had spilled a box of discarded transistors in a bin the day before.
Knowing her thrift stores' circuit as well as she did, Chick figured that the store manager had most likely stripped the tables the previous afternoon, clearing out the bulkier items which had not sold. Today would probably be the perfect time to sort through the "trash" at the bottom and find more gold-plated transistors just like the ones she'd gotten the day before, she guessed.
The first sun break brightened the sky, promising that soon the morning fog would burn off. Stepping to the door of her apartment, Megan decided she'd only need a light jacket for the brief time she'd be in line before that first thrift store would open for business.
Keys, loupe, and strike tester were stuffed into her left front jeans pocket. She tucked her magnet and her small, homemade 9 volt circuit tester in her other pocket. (You see, she's learned to check and see if discarded items still work. If they don't, she haggles down the price.)
Nestled in the right rear pocket is her prize possession: American-made electrical dikes with cushioned grips--Yes, they say SNAP-ON!!
Some items only need a quick snip to untangle them from other stuff piled up in the bins.
Megan is a well-equipped, portable, "citified prospector." A small Phillips head screwdriver and a narrow, wooden-handled, slotted screwdriver with a longer shaft peek out of her left front shirt pocket. Tugging on her prized detector store cap, Megan joins other commuters heading for work. Only her work is shopping...at thrift stores!
There in the bottom of the bin, just as Chick figured, lay the coveted transistors, gold still a gleaming, partially obscured by a tangle of old electric cords. Plucking out the gold plated ones, Megan then searched for any old electric skillet probes made back in the mid 80's.
Having previously disassembled some of those electric skillet jobbers, she knew of the two silver "buttons" inside. Their dab of copper, brass, and stainless steel get sorted into various coffee cans, bringing a little extra cash at the scrap yard. Finding three, she tossed them in her sluicebox.
Next she spied some marble-based desktop pen sets, whose pens had long since disappeared. A quick twist neatly separated the gold-plated pen holders from their bases, which went back into the bins. Marble collectors always hunt for any sized polished marble pieces, she'd learned earlier.
Moving to another section, Megan hoped to find one of the fancier, gold plated coffee filter screens. She gets tickled as she watches others look right at them and not see what she sees. The phrase, "Swiss GOLD"
is stamped right into the filter's center. Placing one in her box, she adds a couple of broken coffee cups, which are still heavily plated. She recalled how sympathetic the cashier was the last time she bought some broken cups and plates. "If they only knew..." she silently mused.
Scanning the housewares section usually yields at least one little coaster or restaurant tip tray, which has been covered by 24kt gold leaf. She knows that, easily scraped off with a safety razor blade, 1 troy ounce, when pounded that
thin, can cover about 100 square feet. But that doesn't bother her. She finds gold leaf regularly.
Today, Megan feels really lucky. She found 8 coasters, plus the coaster base and lid, sitting alongside a gold leafed waste basket. The basket was nicked, but it, like all the others, was still covered in 24kt gold leaf.
Mentally, she totaled up her finds, and figured that she had found about $105 worth of gold at today's 2001 gold price. There were still more sections to prospect in before she was finished here.
Over in the "pre-loved toys," Megan could hardly believe her eyes. There was a box of old Christmas decorations with their gold-wrapped, threaded trim alongside a vintage Disney toy bank, just waiting for a new home. Smiling to herself at the sight of a painted Mickey Mouse bank in her "gold sluice box," she knew that the cashier would really be thrown off track when she paid cash today. (It's good to keep 'em guessing when you are prospecting in thrift stores, Chick had learned!)
A gold chain fastened to a purse on the next table over, caught her eye as she moved to the clothing section. Two gold-plated old coins were still attached to two of the purse's chain links! Realizing that "good gold is soft,” she considered it to be " good stuff', especially if it twisted off the purse easily.
Needing a little more reassurance before tossing that old leather handbag into her box, Megan fished in her jeans pocket for her handy strike tester. Covertly, she marked the tester by swiping a chain link across it. Slightly rotating the tester, she turned the colored streak so it flashed in the overhead light. She knew it was heavily plated when she did not see many gray tones in her streak. Megan checked inside the purse for one last hint of its age and quality. Sure enough, the label declared its French origins. Feeling smug, she was now convinced it was old. And even manufactured in a foreign land! Both were telltale signs of the "good ol' days" when items were manually, heavily, gold-plated!
The purse added more color to the other items in the GoTrUnking box.
Glancing at her watch, Megan knew that her second targeted thrift store was about to open. She checked the length of the line at the register and added 15 minutes for travel time. Tossing in a couple of old T-Shirts, and a cute, cheap, stuffed animal to complete the disguise of her box's true purpose, [&whistle#]she scurried to the check-out line. She's a little short today of her goal of averaging about an ounce of gold for her customary $1.50 to $2.50 expenditure, but there will be more. Tomorrow! There always are... more tomorrows. And more discarded gold.
The second and third stores reveal much the same types of gold-plated goodies. Some stores yield a little more jewelry, others produce a little more gold-plated electronics. Over and over again, Megan daily proves, by her prospecting, that astonishing amounts of gold are thrown away in this nation. Daily! It is awaiting rediscovery, recycling, and recovery by any interested citified prospectors.
How do I know?
Because I am Megan “Yellow Chick” Rose
. Recognize my necklace?
Back in February of 1990, I attended the fabulous Parisian Gold foreign exchange exhibit, co-sponsored by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), I revisited that exhibit because it offered more (much more) than the promised, hands-on experience in gold panning. I had tried panning, and found it to be both challenging and great fun. (AND, if I got lucky, and panned the salted sands correctly, I could keep any of the placer gold I found, as they had advertised!
) Grabbing my best friend, and my teen-age daughter, we all headed to the exhibit for some great fun.
But, if you really want to understand my case of gold fever, I'll have to tell you about when I was just a wee lassie, aged 6.
Back in '53, I began collecting the shiny Lincoln pennies that arrived in the mail, glued onto the Reader's Digest
solicitations once a year. I stashed them in a Band-Aid can and added any other pennies that I could find with an "S" on them to my small hoard. We Kansans usually only saw or handled Denver minted pennies, so those early " S " mint marks were unusual to my young eyes. Finding them in my pocket change as a child was as exciting as it was hard for me to save them. You see, my allowance was only 25 cents a week.
That small allowance didn't even cover the cost of a Whitman Blue Penny Folder back then.
Industrious at even that young age, I decided to make my own penny folder, out of corrugated cardboard, by tracing around a penny multiple times. While not realizing that the tracing was ever so slightly larger than an actual penny, I cut out each circle, and placed one penny into its designated opening. Disappointedly, I discovered that I still couldn't securely hold my treasures. The holes were too big!
So, I Scotch Taped 'em all. Each and every one of them!
To this day, I can't bear the thought of cleaning or selling those early coins. Streaks of tape residue are still plainly visible. Their sentimental value is still high, even though I have bought and sold at least 6 complete Lincoln Cent collections since those early childhood days!
When my mother decided I was "serious” about this penny hobby, she dug out an 1858 flying eagle cent and gave it to me. I had never seen any money that old. I wondered if it was really a genuine US coin. I hunted for my answer in a Yeoman's Red Book
which became another new treasure to me. I was now officially "hooked," penny, dime and nickel.
The quantum leap from early pennies to gold recovery is really quite logical to me. My earliest, wildest childhood dream was to "own a real piece of US gold someday." Not only was that out of my tiny allowance’s reach back then, but, by the time I was able to afford coins as an adult, the “nice coins'” were still out of my price range! I was foiled again...
Now, I have realized part of my dreams of gold ownership. I maintain an ever changing small collection of modem US commemorative gold issued coins. Selling those recent coins helped get my brand new book - kit, THRIFT STORE PROSPECTING
. written and published. Studying each world gold coin on display last February has only deepened my resolve to look for all earlier US gold coins.
Still driven by my earlier longings, I have uniquely pursued my dreams of cheap, gold ownership. Now, having detailed my discoveries and pursuit of truly cheap gold recovery in my first book, I feel a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment.
The unexpected twist for me has been my readers’ surprisingly re-examining their recycling attitudes after reading my book, using the tools that come with my kit or after hearing me speak. They detail their successes in their letters which mirror my discoveries.
My unique, “city-prospector" perspective is encouraging recycling by example. When we search for plated gold items, we assist Nature. She cannot easily decompose plated gold items. Gold withstands oxidation.
Both private and commercial prospectors are being adversely affected by several different environmental groups currently stirring up negative reactions to any mining. I feel certain that my timely book and research into the potential for plated gold recovery, by all who want to look for refined-once, already-above-ground gold, will preserve prospecting and intrigue many prospectors, keeping us all busy and happy.
I have scraped, burned, leached and peeled gold from about everything imaginable.
My book lists six pages of items to look in and on, that I’ve personally proven there is genuine gold in or on and from which I personally have removed and refined genuine gold.
And you can too, if you choose to prospect for gold this way. It is basically a retraining manual for both your eye and your thinking. Each kit contains a small bag of hand-selected samples, as well as the strike tester to help you in your retraining.
Learn to ask, "How many pieces of this gold plated stuff can I find, cheap?'' I've already proven for you that it is real gold that is plated on almost all of them.
Plated gold items are basically cheap, cheap, CHEAP! In fact, I am still snickering after having just appeared on a local ABC-TV network affiliate as the guest "Cheapskate
" on their morning TV show. Just about six months were spent in the myriad of tests for determining what did and did not have real gold plated on it. Those tests recovered approximately 10 ounces of highly refined gold.
That gold had only cost approximately $20 an ounce, including the refining charges. I am still staggered when I visualize the potential of full-time, citified prospecting! Recognizing and reselling accompanying bulky materials surrounding the gold plating was one of my biggest challenges. That was until I read a fabulous little book, by Nancy Stone, PROFITABLE RECYCLING MADE EASY
! which helped me figure out how to make extra money by recycling all the other stuff that I encountered while GoTrUnking. And those revenues cut my gold acquisition costs even further!
I'm hooked on GoTrUnking! I am more convinced than ever of the abundance of this precious metal already above ground, already discarded, purity already known, and "cheap, cheap, cheep-cheep-cheep.”
This unique prospecting opportunity exists in all industrialized nations, as my continuing research indicates. Sometimes I wish that I lived in one of these older cultures, as I learn more about foreign plated gold items from Iran to Japan. The old methods of liberally hand applying gold are repeated world-wide, of that I am certain.
Granted, it takes a little getting used to, visualizing plated gold items in a gold pan (or box).But it is possible. And, it's most definitely PROFITABLE!You see, I'm a full-time, Thrift Store GOLD Prospector! Join ME!
This kit of mine is now bundled in 2009, with a FREE Nitric Process, full - color CD
containing my own photos, plus tips and tricks to getting gold off, sanely, safely, and above all...at the very VERY low cost of $20 per troy oz of solid, 24K gold!! And I teach the responsible and GREEN way to deal with waste as well...Solid, Liquid, Gases et al. And yes, discarded gold is MY KIND of "waste." page 12,13,14, Modern Gold Miner & Treasure Hunter - September / October 1991
REPRINTED BY PERMISSION, Publisher DAVE McCRACKEN Aug 2001
because I maintain the copyright on this true story by legal contract.