Tonopah Divide Mining Company
Tonopah Divide Mining Company
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Intricately engraved antique stock certificate from the Tonopah Divide Mining Company dating back to the 1920's. This document is signed by the company 2nd Vice President and Secretary and measures approximately 10 1/4" (w) by 6 3/4" (h).
The certificate features a detailed vignette of a mining operation.
The Tonopah Divide district was four and one-half miles south of the town of Tonopah, Nevada and was originally known as Gold Mountain. Sporadic mining had taken place there since 1901 after Jim Butler made his initial bonanza strike in Tonopah, but it was not until late 1917, when high-grade silver was discovered in a worked-out gold vein, that the Divide district experienced a real boom, albeit a short-lived one. By 1920 the Divide mines had closed, casualties of falling silver prices and labor unrest.
George Wingfield (1876-1959), who had already made his fortune by shrewd speculation and mining management in Goldfield, Nevada, joined an old Tonopah associate, H. Cal Brougher, to purchase the failed Tonopah Divide Mining Company. In 1912, Wingfield sold his interest in the mining company to Brougher when it seemed unlikely that the Divide mines would ever be profitable. When silver was later discovered in the company's mine, Brougher invited Wingfield to buy in; Wingfield provided the necessary capital to develop the mine from his recapitalized Tonopah Banking Corporation. In just two years the Divide Company's mines produced $1.4 million, and Wingfield made millions more from the sale of the soaring stock.
In late 1919, rather than give in to renewed labor demands, Wingfield, who had already shut down his operations in Goldfield, closed his Tonopah mines, which were already producing diminishing returns. As a consequence the bottom fell out of the market for Divide stock and with it, investments and profits in
In 1926 the Tonopah Divide Mining Company turned over the operations of all its mines to leasers who continued to produce small amounts of ore through the late 1940's. The Tonopah Divide Mining Company continues to own and lease its properties in the Divide district.
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