Balance Scale

Balance Scale

Assayers gold scale has a wood base with three brass coloured feet

Two feet adjustable for leveling. Glass case with wood trim encasing scale has front access that slides up. Brass main stem circular water level and rectangular ivory plaque at base; darker metal brace running parallel to arms that raises and lowers; brass arm with markings from centre to ends from 1 to 19; tiny silver coloured metal concave pans rest on inverted heart shaped hangers; front drawer with ivory handle contains assorted assayers' equipment. Marked: "Christian Becker Successor to Becker & Sons & Becker Bros. New York. Patd. Feb. 23. 1886" on ivory plaque at base; "Made for J. Claire. San. Francisco, Cal." on ivory bar on top edge.

Originally used in the Mining Recorder's Office in Dawson during the Klondike Gold Rush; the scales then went to Eagle, Alaska in 1939. Arthur Daily purchased the scales in 1945 or 1946 in Eagle and used them until 1971 with his work for Shell Oil. Arthur had a case made in the 1960's.

Gold scales were used to weigh out gold nuggets and dust during the Klondike Gold Rush. Gold dust was paid out at sixteen dollars an ounce at saloons and stores. Assay outfits were set up by the banks, so gold could melted down into bricks. The assayed gold could be evaluated and the price was usually between $14.50 and $18.50 an ounce. At the time, gold dust was an acceptable form of exchange in Dawson but fell out of favour because gold dust was prone to spillage and could easily be misweighed by unscrupulous bartenders. These scales from the mining recorders office were used to receive fee payments. When staking a claim for mining, the law required prospectors to register with the mining recorders office at the cost of $10.00 a claim.


Dawson City Museum, Dawson City

Accession Number

1997.205.1.a -ss

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