On Wednesday Jan. 16, The Oakland Museum of California released a photo of the priceless gold- encrusted jewel box stolen on Jan. 7.
Police had previously refused to release a picture, fearing that it would compromise their investigation.
Lynn Fogarty, the director of the museum, said it was difficult to put a price on the artifact but Oakland city officials have said the jewel box was valued at more than $800,000.
"It's very difficult to assign value to something like this," she said. "But I can say it's a treasure of our collection and a critical piece in our holdings."
It was the second major theft in as many months from the popular Gallery of California History exhibit at the Oakland museum. Gold nuggets and other historic artifacts were taken in November. Police believe the same culprit may have committed both thefts.
In both robberies, the man was caught on surveillance cameras. He entered through a locked door that leads to an outdoor garden at the museum, at 1000 Oak St. Police said he used an "unknown object" to get in.
The box was created between 1869 and 1878 by San Francisco goldsmith A. Andrews and was a wedding-anniversary gift from a pioneer to his wife.
It measures 7 x 9 inches, with a rectangular moulded top and base that rests on four feet formed of four miniature female figures depicting allegorical California.
The top pilasters and mouldings are of veined gold quartz in tones of grey and cream with veining of gold. The interior of the top is recessed and engraved in full relief with scenes of the early days of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads, mounted Native Americans, herds of buffalo, and a train of cars.
The gold quartz is cut and set in mosaic fashion in the top of the lid, exterior and the sides are gold veined quartz.
Museum officials are offering a $12,000 reward for information leading to the return of any of the stolen items, but particularly the box. According to the box's insurer, no reward will be given to anyone involved in the theft.
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact the Oakland Police Department's Major Crimes Section at 510-238-3951 or the TIP LINE at 510-777-2805.