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    Justh & Hunter Gold Ingot, 159.23 Ounces
    Scarce Very Large Size Ingot From Marysville

    Justh & Hunter MS Gold Ingot. 159.23 Ounces. CAGB-370. The recovery of 85 Justh & Hunter gold ingots from the wreckage of the S.S. Central America has provided historians and numismatists with considerable insight into this previously little-known Gold Rush-era partnership. Namely, the hoard showcased the important place Justh & Hunter occupied in California during the mid-to-late 1850s, and the massive scale of their business.

    Documentation pertaining to the lives and practices of Emil Justh and Samuel Hillen Hunter is limited to local newspaper ads, sparse appearances in a city and business directories, and ship passenger lists. Dan Owens' 2000 reference California Coiners and Assayers does a terrific job laying out what little information there is. He traces Justh's origins as a lithographer in Verboca, Hungary to Hamburg, Germany, where he departed for San Francisco May 18, 1850. Arriving on November 14, 1850, Justh worked with a printing office in 1851 before cofounding a short-lived "ship and custom house broker business" in 1852. S.H. Hunter is noted in Matchett's Baltimore City Directory for 1853-54 as a shipping merchant located at 23 North Front Street. He arrived in San Francisco on the steamship Sonora on March 3, 1855, and quickly formed a partnership with Emil Justh, as advertised in the Alta California newspaper, May 15, 1855:

    "New Assay Office. By reference to our advertising columns, it will be seen that Messrs. E Justh, late of the U.S. Mint, San Francisco, and S. Hillen Hunter, have opened an office for assaying gold at 188 Montgomery street, two doors south of Jackson. From the recommendation of Mr. Haraszthy, assayer, and Dr. Birdsall, superintendent of the U.S. Branch Mint, we should judge them to be competent and liable."



    Justh & Hunter announced the opening of their Marysville office on May 27, 1856, just a year after the partnership was established. Business had obviously taken off. Unfortunately, we had little tangible evidence until that last couple of decades, when the cache of ingots was discovered. The contents of the S.S. Central America provided a sampling of what assaying firms were operating in San Francisco, and to what extent. The ingots of Kellogg & Humbert enjoyed the greatest representation among the cache of over 500 gold bars, but Justh & Hunter took second place - surprising for an assayer few knew anything about.

    This is one of the 25 bars from Justh & Hunter's Marysville office. Weighing 159.23 ounces, it falls under the Very Large Size class (100.01 to 300.00 ounces). At the time this bar was cast in 1857 it was valued at $3,067.74, making it one of the bigger ingots by Justh & Hunter among those from the Central America. The ingot measures 52 x 124 x 38 mm. The legends are laid out horizontally with two Justh & Hunter hallmarks. The ingot reads: NO. 9489 / company hallmark left / 159.23 OZS. / company hallmark right / 932 FINE / $3067.74. Significant copper-colored encrustation can be seen on each of the six sides. An attractive example of this scarce, large-size Gold Rush ingot.
    From The Marcello Collection, Part VIII.

    Coin Index Numbers: (NGC ID# 7HV6, PCGS# 661000)


    View all of [The Marcello Collection, Part VIII ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2019
    14th-18th Wednesday-Sunday
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