Mark Twain? Walter Powell? Collis Huntington? Mark Hopkins? Jim Winder? Gavin Dobson? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: During the 1800s the discovery of gold in a locale triggered a frenetic scramble of miners who dreamed of great fortunes. Unfortunately, mining led to disappointment for most miners. Here are two versions of a pertinent adage:
- Don’t dig for gold, sell shovels.
- The secret to getting rich in a gold rush is selling picks.
This observation has been attributed to the famous humorist Mark Twain, but I have been unable to find a solid citation. What do you think?
Quote Investigator: QI has found no substantive evidence supporting the ascription to Mark Twain. He died in 1910, and he received credit many decades later in 1982.