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7342

Henry Hentsch Ingot Gold Ingot. No. 3220. Swiss born ...

2004 September Long Beach Signature Sale #355

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Auction Ended On: Sep 10, 2004
Item Activity: 11 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Long Beach, CA
Description:
Bright Yellow-Gold Henry Hentsch Ingot, 63.30 Ounces
Henry Hentsch Ingot Gold Ingot. No. 3220. Swiss born Henry Hentsch arrived in San Francisco on May 31, 1854 at the age of 35 years. He began his assaying activities shortly thereafter, and continued for many years, his firm eventually evolving into the San Francisco branch of the Swiss-American Bank. Hentsch relocated to Geneva, Switzerland between September 1867 and October 1868, according to contemporary city directories cited by Dan Owens. He remained in Geneva until his death in 1905. Until the discovery of the S.S. Central America treasure, Henry Hentsch was barely a footnote in California history. He never issued any private gold coinage, and there were no known ingots of his firm. His name is not mentioned, for example, in Don Kagin's reference on private gold published in 1981, long before the treasure was located. Dave Bower's suggested that many of Hentsch's ingots may have been shipped to Geneva, given the businessman's connections in that location. They would have been on board the Central America, being shipped to New York for transit to Europe. Even today, the Hentsch name is still associated with banking in Switzerland.
Henry Hentsch ingots are the rarest of all five assayers, with only 33 such ingots discovered in the treasure. Serial numbers ranged from 3066 to 3244, thus it may be suggested that this ingot, with a serial number near the high end of that range, was produced closer to the time of the Central America disaster. Weights ranged from 12.52 ounces to 238.84 ounces. This ingot is in the middle of the roster, with 18 heavier ingots from Henry Hentsch. Twenty-one of the Hentsch ingots had a higher fineness than this, although some were only very slightly finer.
This is a bright yellow gold ingot with the following inscription on the face: NO. 3220 / 873 FINE / HY. HENTSCH / OZ 63.30 / $1142.34. The edges are blank and the back has the serial number repeated. The upper right face and opposing corner on the back have assay cuts as always. A couple minor blemishes (other than those as manufactured) are visible on the face, however, these are of very little concern. 56 x 105 x 20 mm. from ingot Mold HH-04, an intermediate size mold used by assayer Hentsch. Accompanied by the deluxe leather, gilt copy of A California Gold Rush History by Q. David Bowers, including a pinch of gold dust inside the front cover, and an enlarged glossy color print of this ingot inside the back cover.
From the Bodie Collection of S.S. Central America Gold Ingots.(#10364) (PCGS# 10364)

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