An evenly worn, but still highly collectible example of this famous gold coin -- generally called the first of the California Gold pieces. This problem-free example is evenly worn and displays plenty of luster throughout the entire coin.. On January 24, 1848, James Wilson Marshall noticed some small flakes of yellow metal near the Sutter's Mill project outside Coloma, California. Marshall's discovery turned out to be gold, touching off one of the largest voluntary migration of humans the world has ever known -- the California Gold Rush. In December 1848, the Military Governor of California, Col. R.B. Mason, sent 228 ounces of newly mined gold to the Secretary of War, William L. Marcy. Marcy forwarded the gold to the Philadelphia Mint, with instructions to use the gold for Congressional Medals for Generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott. Any leftover gold was to be turned into specially marked Quarter Eagles. 1,389 1848-dated Quarter Eagles were struck from the California gold shipment, each one stamped with a small CAL. in the upper reverse field. The stamping appears to have been done while the coins were still in the press, as none of the obverse features appear to have been flattened.