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    Description

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

    Henry Hentsch Gold Ingot. 154.23 Ounces. CABG-215. Henry Hentsch was born in Switzerland on July 23, 1818, the scion of a long-established Swiss banking family. He immigrated to California in 1854 to establish a banking house, arriving in San Francisco on May 31 on board the S.S. Sonora. By early 1856, Hentsch was associated with another Swiss emigrant, Francis Berton, and added assaying services to his other financial activities, as attested by this notice in the February 2, 1856 edition of the Alta California:


    "ASSAY OFFICE OF HENRY HENTSCH
    Northwest corner of Montgomery and Jackson Streets.
    I have this day annexed to my Banking Establishment an Assay Office, and am prepared to carry on this business in all its branches. All orders confided to my care will be executed with promptness, and I will guarantee all my assays. H. Hentsch San Francisco, Feb, 1st, 1856."



    Hentsch further advertised that he would return deposits in 12-24 hours "in Coin or Bars, at the option of the Depositor." A total of 33 Hentsch bars were recovered from the wreck of the S.S. Central America in 1988, many of them marketed by Sotheby's in their December 8-9, 1999 offering titled Treasures of the S.S. Central America. Unfortunately, the sale was cancelled due to a court injunction. The cataloger noted the Hentsch bars had a unique matte finish, unlike any other bars recovered. Legal matters were resolved after a seven-year court battle, and many of the S.S. Central America bars were subsequently marketed by other firms, including Bowers and Merena, Monaco Rare Coins, and Heritage.

    Henry Hentsch relocated his business to 120 Montgomery Street in 1858 and invested in many other businesses, owning a theater and acting as the Swiss Consul for several years. He returned to Switzerland in 1868 to manage the family bank there, leaving Berton in charge of affairs in California until his bank became part of the Swiss-American Bank in 1873. Hentsch passed away in Geneva, Switzerland in 1905, aged 87.

    This is classed as a Very Large Size Hentsch ingot; in fact, the fifth largest Hentsch ingot recovered from the S.S. Central America. The top side is laid out in the usual fashion in vertical format: No 3125 / 893 FINE / Hy HENTSCH / Oz 154.23 / $2847.07. The ingot number is repeated at the top of the back side in the same font and size as seen on the top side. Noticeable incrustation from the ship's rusted hull is seen on the long left side with a lesser presence seen on the top and back sides. The ingot measures 58 x 158 x 31 mm.
    From The Marcello Collection, Part II.


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

    View all of [The Marcello Collection, Part II ]

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    November, 2018
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