THERE is plenty of gold at Cripple Creek; the statements of actual bullion shipments prove it beyond the possibility of doubt. So, why not a great boom in mining stocks?
There is plenty of gold in the Witwettersrand, which a lot of English thieves recently tried to steal from the Transvaal Republic. The quantity and richness of the ore is a matter of indisputable record, and the scramble for "Kaffir" stock threw in the shade the wildest excitements of South Sea Bubble days.
Had it not been for recent "slumps" in Kaffirs, the United States would already be deluged with mining stock based upon something - no matter what - at Cripple Creek. The danger point is not yet passed.
There are valuable mining properties which need money for their development, and which their owners sensibly prefer to "stock" instead of to sell, but for every one of these there are a hundred alleged enterprises which are based solely on a "claim" unaccompanied even by a hole in the ground. Dollars may be scarce, but fools are not. Indeed, a man who is wise in his own business is generally as helpless as a fool in any other. Men think of precious metals as they do of crops; if a given bit of ground produces wheat or corn in abundance, why shouldn't the adjoining sections do likewise? But gold does not grow like grain; for particulars see geological reports.
But this is as nothing to the promoters of a mining scheme - which differs in every way from a mine. They "stake a claim" near a valuable property, set their printing-presses at work on certificates of stock and trust the public to do the rest. Usually the public does it.
The original cost of such stock is about five cents a pound, unless the paper is of high quality and the printing elaborate; the actual value is the money which the stock will bring when sold to a junk dealer as waste paper. In the single city of New York some tons of such "securities" of other years have been "closed out" at a half a cent per pound, with no allowance for loss of interest on the original cost.
Some men who had much experience in mining stocks used to think that by offering a cent a share on whatever stock was offered them they would come out even in the end - but they didn't.
A golden bubble is a charming thing to look at - but all bubbles burst.
"Whosoever is wise, let him think of these things" -when any one asks him to buy mining stocks.