Gold Pans in the BC Gold Rush

Prospector with gold pan

Prospector with gold pan (Creative Commons image)

Who would think of buying gold pans from a stationery store? In the early days of the gold rush, it was possible to buy gold pans in Victoria from just about anywhere including Hibben and Carswell Stationers on Yates Street.

During the gold rush, gold pans were a  reference point.

Wrote one gold miner in September 15, 1860:

“I found gold on every bar I prospected – two or three colours to the pan…”

More often, the pan was an indicator as to how much gold dust could be found.:

“The lowest prospect obtained was 3 cents to the pan, the highest $1 to the pan… I may add, that there is any amount of “five cent dirt,” and with proper tools the average prospect is about one bit [1/8th of a dollar] to the pan.”