One of my favorite quirky L.A. public sculptures — the gold panner of Carthay Circle — has been stolen and recovered. The bronze cast in 1925 by Henry Lion recently went missing and was sold to a scrap yard by two suspects (who were arrested) for $900 and cut in two. It may be worth $125,000 as an art piece, the Times says. The story behind the miner is what I find cool.
Carthay Center, the district's original name, was developed by J. Harvey McCarthy, whose father Daniel — the model for the miner — was a 49er. Young McCarthy loved the old California theme and named the neighborhood's streets after historical figures. He also adorned the area's centerpiece, the Carthay Circle Theater, with Californiana and commissioned sculptures for the street medians. The gold miner used to sit beside a pond at San Vicente and McCarthy Vista, which itself was originally lined with sculptures. The LAPL photo shows the 1926 unveiling; here's a night shot and a picture of Lion, McCarthy and the sculpture in the studio.
Smithsonian oral history interview with Lion, 1964