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    Kellogg & Humbert Gold Ingot
    Medium to Large Size, 48.74 Ounces
    S.S. Central America

    Kellogg & Humbert Gold Ingot. 48.74 Ounces. CABG-503. Most passengers aboard the S.S. Central America were making the long journey back from California to the East coast. Many were hardscrabble forty-niners who had spent years toiling in the gold fields around San Francisco and Sacramento. A few were returning penniless, having never made any money or having lost what they had made, but many were transporting vast amounts of gold dust, coins, and ingots. This was not limited to the men traveling on the ship. According to Gary Kinder:

    "Many of the women traveled with a great deal of money they had not registered with the purser. All of them were now advised not to carry more than two twenty dollar gold pieces with them. Two women retrieved a satchel from their stateroom and upon returning to the cabin, opened the satchel, and weeping, shook eleven thousand dollars in gold onto the floor. Through the tears, they said that anyone who wanted the money could take what they please. 'That money is all we made in California,' they added. 'We were returning home to enjoy it.' "

    The circumstances are almost impossible to fathom. On the night of September 12, 1857, the precious yellow metal for which so many had sacrificed so much became essentially worthless, a burden that served no purpose other than to hasten their demise. As Kinder explains in Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea:

    "A red house brick weighed about four pounds; a gold brick of the same size weighed nearly fifty. Even in smaller amounts, gold could sink a weak swimmer or quickly exhaust a strong one. Yet some of the men had suffered great hardship since the summer of 1849 to accumulate the contents of that treasure belt or that carpetbag."

    Thousands upon thousands of coins, hundreds of ingots and immeasurable quantities of gold dust were lost in the sinking of the S.S. Central America. Hundreds of victims also perished. The souvenirs and relics brought to the surface during the late 1980s and again in 2014 are highly sought-after reminders of both the vast amounts of wealth generated by the California Gold Rush, as well as the difficulties that settlers, miners, and seafarers endured in their pursuit of riches.

    The private assayers who had gold ingots aboard the Central America numbered only five firms, and of those five Kellogg & Humbert was by far the largest and best known. It was also the firm with the largest number of ingots in the ship's hold with 532 ingots recovered from 1988-1991. That this ingot is regarded as "medium to large size" tells us a great deal about the relative size and value of all the Kellogg & Humbert ingots aboard the S.S. Central America. The ingot is vertically laid out: No 643 / K&H hallmark / 48.74 Oz / 809 FINE / $815.10. The back side repeats the serial number, but in a different font. The ingot measures: 43 x 95 x 21 mm.

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

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    Proxy Bidding Ends
    25th Thursday 6:50 pm CT
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    Additional Location Info:
    Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel
    1551 North Thoreau Drive
    Schaumburg, IL 60173

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