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    Description

    Blake & Co. Small Size Gold Ingot
    23.06 Ounces, Ex:
    S.S. Central America

    Blake & Co. Gold Ingot. 23.06 Ounces. CABG-007. Gorham Blake and his cousin, Frank W. Blake, arrived in San Francisco in 1852, and Gorham was employed late in 1852 to purchase gold dust for Wells, Fargo & Co. The cousins established their assaying company in Sacramento in October 1853. Sacramento was actually a more logical choice than San Francisco for an assay office since it was closer to the gold fields.

    All assay offices in California were concerned about reputation and acceptance of their ingots (and coinage). But some cared more than others. Some actually cared little, and their coins and ingots were exposed by Eckfeldt and DuBois as borderline fraudulent -- those companies failed, and are little remembered today. Blake & Co. sought to establish itself in the top tier of reputable assay offices. In several publications they stated: "We guarantee the correctness of our assays, and will pay all differences arising from the same with any of the United States Mints." This could be viewed as a mission statement for Blake & Co. Their actual ingots were treated differently than any others in Gold Rush California. They commonly show beveled edges (as seen here). This post-production edge filing was done to compensate for the loss of the full weight of the ingots caused by the assay chips taken out of opposing corners in order to verify the ingot's fineness.

    This small ingot was awarded to insurers, successor companies who initially had insured the loss of the bullion on board the S.S. Central America. The top face reads: BLAKE & Co / ASSAYERS / SACRAMENTO / 752 FINE / VALUE / $358.47. The individual ingot number is seen on the short top side: No 5191. The weight is imprinted on the short bottom side as: 23.06 Oz. Each of the six faces is heavily toned, undoubtedly from 130 years exposure to the rusted iron hull of the ship. The ingot measures: 41 x 50 x 21 mm. This small-size Blake ingot certainly has an interesting backstory and is a small, colorful memento of this historic shipwreck and later recovery.


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2019
    9th-14th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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