Gold prices have some selling and some prospecting

FRESNO, California

Gold buyer /*Stephen Foster*/ checked the market price on his cell phone Thursday morning. "Gold is at this moment, 17 hundred and 49 dollar"

Foster, of /*Fresno Coin Gallery*/ says the high prices for gold have folks lining up to sell whatever they have. "People are looking into their jewelry boxes and finding things they haven't thought about in years, or enjoyed in years are worth a lot of money."

Gold seekers are not just digging through jewelry boxes some are digging for gold the old fashioned way. Prospectors like /*Don Blocker*/ are panning for gold in streams and rivers and finding it. Don's been at it for about five years and tells us; "Whenever you find gold you have a great time."

Don and a group of others we met along the /*San Joaquin River*/ at /*Friant*/ are members of the /*Coarsegold Prospectors Club*/. /*Kelly Hall*/ is Vice President of the club, and while there's a financial incentive for some gold seekers, he says for most this is just a hobby. "What makes it fun is just coming out with the people. If you find something, it's that much more fun."

In his brief demonstration for us, Kelly spent about half an hour sifting gravel with a homemade suction device and a pan, and struck gold. About a dozen gold flecks were separated from the black sand in his gold pan. "There's probably a quarter of a gram, you're looking at 15 or 20 dollars' worth of gold."

Most of the gold is in small flakes collecting a full ounce can take days, or weeks or months. But if you get lucky there are nuggets out there too. Kelly has a few dime size finds he's found over the years.

Stephen Foster says Fresno Coin Gallery buys gold from hobbyists all the time. "If you can find gold in nature it's near an all-time high right now it makes your hobby not just fun, it makes it worthwhile to your pocket books too."

But, Kelly says, what he finds isn't for sale. "I'll probably end up giving it to my grandkids."

Looking for gold may just be a hobby for many but with these prices it is serious business for some and many streams on Federal Land already have claims filed. But in public areas on the San Joaquin River, it's open to anybody, and a shovel, plastic bucket and a pan are all you need to get started.

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