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Kellogg & Humbert Gold Ingot, 102.17 Ounces
Kellogg & Humbert Assayers 102-Ounce Gold Ingot. Kellogg
and Humbert were a highly respected private partnership that was
formed in April 1855 and remained in business until 1860. The
firm's name is closely associated with the treasure of the S.S.
Central America, as they manufactured far and away the greatest
number of gold bars recovered from that famous shipwreck. The
partnership is also well known for its twenty and fifty dollar gold
pieces that were created in an era in which the recently opened San
Francisco Mint could not keep up with demand for coinage.
Ideal Representative California Ingot
Ex: S.S. Central America
John Glover Kellogg was born on December 3, 1823, in Marvellus, Onondaga County, New York. He studied law and passed the bar, but succumbed to the call of the goldfields before he could set up in practice. He sailed aboard the bark Belvedere on February 13, 1849, taking the long route around Cape Horn, and arrived in San Francisco on October 12 of the same year.
Upon arrival, Kellogg sought employment with the highly esteemed Moffat & Co., a private coining firm that later became the United States Assay Office of Gold, and eventually turned over operations to the firm of Curtis, Perry and Ward. Kellogg later formed a partnership with assayer G.F. Richter and operated with great success, minting approximately $6 million in twenty dollar gold pieces used in the regional economy.
Augustus Humbert was born on July 2, 1815, in Switzerland. After immigrating to the United States, Humbert was appointed United States Assayer of Gold in San Francisco. He joined Kellogg in the firm of Kellogg & Humbert in April 1855. The new firm operated as an assaying and coining firm, with offices at No. 104 Montgomery Street in San Francisco.
When the San Francisco Mint was first established in April of 1854 its operations were hampered by shortages of many critical supplies, such as alloy and parting acids. The facility was not able to satisfy the need for coinage in the booming Western economy. Kellogg & Humbert helped supply the shortfall, primarily by issuing twenty dollar gold coins until the end of 1855, when the Mint was fully operational. A newspaper article in May 1855 revealed that Kellogg & Co. delivered 50% more coinage than the San Francisco Mint during this period, with an output of $60,000 to $80,000 per day.
Kellogg and Humbert dissolved their partnership in 1860. Kellogg organized other business ventures, returned to New York for a time, and finally returned to California to manage the Pacific Refinery and Bullion Exchange. He died on April 21, 1886. Humbert retired from the firm in 1860 and returned to New York. He arrived onboard the Northern Light on June 27,1860. He died suddenly in Paris, France on June 6, 1873. Humbert's coin collection was auctioned by the Chapman brothers, on behalf of his heirs, in May of 1902. Lot 716 was a Kellogg & Co. proof fifty dollar gold piece from 1855.
For those who desire a single representative ingot of California native gold, the present ingot is ideal. Few such ingots have survived outside of shipwreck finds over the years, due to the high intrinsic gold value. This particular ingot, along with many other Kellogg and Humbert bars, was recovered from the S.S. Central America. Indeed, more Kellogg & Humbert ingots were represented in the treasure than those of any other assay firm. Many recovered ingots in the treasure were sold at auction by Christie's New York office on December 14, 2000. The ingots varied in size and fineness with the smallest ingots realizing higher premiums over current gold value. Although not as many buyer's were in the market for the larger size ingots, today these represent an ideal combination for desirability and value.
This medium-sized ingot measures 55 x 112 x 29 mm, and has bright yellow-gold color throughout. The top side was intended to read: No. 615 / KELLOGG & HUMBERT ASSAYERS / 102.17 Oz / 903 FINE / $1907.17. Three large gas bubbles from the casting process have slightly distorted the inscription. One bubble makes the company imprint read HUMB ASSAY, rather than HUMBERT ASSAYERS. Another bubble is located just to the left of F in FINE. The third bubble is just barely touches the top of the 0 in the value. On the back side the individual bar number 615 is repeated. Opposing corners have the assay chip that is so-well known on these ingots. It is instructive to note the .903 fineness is actually higher than the standard for gold coins.
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