Description

    Kellogg & Humbert Gold Ingot, 107.76 Ounces
    Classed in the 'Very Large' Category

    Kellogg & Humbert Gold Ingot. 107.76 Ounces. CAGB-487. The recovery of the S.S. Central America yielded far more than the 532 gold ingots and thousands of coins contained within its rusted hull. It illuminated a fascinating and to that point narrowly understood history of California Gold Rush assayers. Researchers were generally unfamiliar with the style of Western assayers' bars from that period, and as Dave Bowers writes in his monumental California Gold Rush History, "The array of ingots furnished the unique opportunity to study characteristics and features the likes of which have never been recorded."

    As much as the historic shipwreck discovery revealed about the prominent San Francisco assayers of the mid-1850s, it also confirmed something that was already well-known to numismatists, that the partnership of J.G. Kellogg and Augustus Humbert was the best-reputed firm in Gold Rush-era California. Kellogg & Humbert ingots represented 65% of the treasure. There were 343 such bars in all, 258 more than any other assayer, including the largest ingot, the "Eureka" bar, weighing an astonishing 933.94 ounces.

    Augustus Humbert is widely known for his involvement in the production of the iconic, fifty dollar gold "slugs" manufactured in 1851 and 1852. He joined up with John Grover Kellogg in April 1855, striking twenty dollar gold coins despite the ongoing operation of the fledgling San Francisco branch mint, which had opened one year earlier. In fact, while the two facilities worked simultaneously to produce coinage for the West Coast economy, the private firm of Kellogg & Humbert was held in much higher esteem. A May 1, 1855 article in the Alta California explains:

    "It is not generally known, but is nevertheless the fact, that the principal private assay office in the country [K&H] effects over fifty percent more towards the supply of coin to the country that the United States Mint does. The highest point reached by the Mint was been about $1,500,000 per month in coin. The assay office has for weeks at a time, manufactured about $60,000 to $80,000 per diem. Every banker in the State will acknowledge that but for the assay office the financial crisis in this State would have been prolonged for weeks and weeks."


    These Kellogg & Humbert ingots are always in high demand. Their historical and numismatic significance, combined with the storied tale of their 1857 sinking and amazing recovery 138 years later explain the allure. This particular example's immense proportions are also certain to impress.

    The S.S. Central America ingots were categorized by size, ranging from very small to colossal. This 107.76 ounce gold bar falls within the very large size range of 100.01 to 300.00 ounces. The 55 mm x 111 mm dimensions correspond to Mold K&H-04. The top side is neatly laid out with the serial number, 621, at the top, followed by the company hallmark / 107.76 Oz / 871 FINE / $1940.24. The serial number is repeated at the top of the back side. The ingot is bright yellow-gold throughout with no traces of rust, but in the center of the back side there is an area of what appears to be some sort of ocean debris. A massive and highly attractive ingot from this historic salvage effort. (NGC ID# ANKB, PCGS# 10171)


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2017
    8th-11th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
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