Railroad dating spikes
Its existence was mentioned by a number of newspapers in both San Francisco and Sacramento when it was on exhibition, but after that it was not mentioned as such during the presentation of the 4 ceremonial spikes, and was only included anonymously as one of the "two gold spikes" used on that day.
The assayer reported its fineness as "50 gold and 942 silver." It was in a somewhat rough condition, unpolished, and bore only the stamp of "E. von Gorder in a buggy 20 miles to Reno, where he arrived just in time to catch the delayed Sacramento special to Promontory, and was there handed to Commissioner Haines.
The only markings on the spike are the indentations on the head, which tradition says were made by the silver hammer when it was driven into the tie as the last spike.
Nor are there any claw marks on or under the head to indicate its removal from a tie.
Also there is nothing in connection with the spike to indicate that it is not now in the condition it was in in 1869 when it was returned to Hewes from Promontory.
Any markings, sledge marks, claw marks, abrasions on the sides and edges made on that day would have been as highly regarded as the spike itself. This spike was overshadowed by the Hewes spike because of its less intrinsic value and because its donor was less well known.