OAKLAND -- A historic box made of California gold and said to be valued at more than $800,000 was stolen from the Oakland Museum of California Monday morning, the second break-in in two months, sources said Tuesday.

Museum spokeswoman Kelly Koski said a California Gold Rush era quartz and gold box with ornamentation depicting early California was taken from a museum display. She declined to say if the box was the only item stolen and would not disclose its worth.

"At this time, we are not discussing the value of the stolen object," Koski said.

Oakland Police spokeswoman Officer Johnna Watson confirmed that there was a break-in at the closed museum early Monday morning but declined to release other details.

Sources said another artifact, valued at roughly $2,000, was also taken Monday morning.

Police and Koski would not say how the thief or thieves got inside the museum, which is always closed on Mondays. Koski said the museum and police will hold a news conference Wednesday morning to talk about the theft, release a reward amount and possibly provide more details.

The last burglary occurred about 11:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12.

Gold nuggets and other, undisclosed artifacts, some more than 200 years old, were stolen during that break-in at the Oak Street museum.


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Video surveillance tapes were reviewed but no arrests have been made in the November theft; the items have not been recovered. In the November burglary, police said someone broke a door to get inside the museum and then exited the building through a different door. The alarms went off, the guards called 911 and police arrived within three minutes, said the museum's executive director Lori Fogarty. Information on whether or not alarms also sounded Monday morning or how quickly police arrived was not immediately available late Tuesday.

The museum, which has more than 1.8 million objects, opened in 1969 and is dedicated to collections of art, history and natural science related to California and its people.

Reach Kristin J. Bender at kbender@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/kjbender.