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Published on Mar 12, 2007
We do know that gold weighs about 1200 pounds per cubic foot. Given the dimensions by Smith, some have concluded that the plates could have weighed as much as 234 pounds to as little as 100 pounds. The heavier weight is based on what would probably be the total weight of a solid block of gold measuring the size of Smith's plates. This weight would tend to be unlikely given the fact that engravings on a thin plate of soft metal such as gold would probably not lay perfectly flat. If such indentions did tend to cause the plate to "bulge," it would also seem likely that the engravings would have been difficult to read.
Mormon metallurgist Reed Putnam estimates that if the plates were made of pure gold, they would have probably weighed around 100 pounds. In perspective, that would be like carrying a bag of Portland cement under one's arm.