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    Description

    Henry Hentsch Very Large Size Gold Ingot
    63.30 Ounces, Ex:
    S.S. Central America

    Henry Hentsch Gold Ingot. 63.30 Ounces. CABG-215. 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 whose ingots sunk with the Central America, 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 Hentsch ingots. 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 of minor blemishes (other than those as manufactured) are visible on the face; however, these are of little concern. The ingot measures 56 x 105 x 20 mm. and it is from ingot Mold HH-04, an intermediate-size mold used by assayer Hentsch.
    Ex: Bodie Collection of S.S. Central America Gold Ingots / Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 9/2004), lot 7342, where it sold for $117,875.


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

    View all of [The Marcello Collection, Part III ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2019
    9th-14th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 15
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 352

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