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    Description

    Justh & Hunter Gold Ingot, 160.64 Ounces
    Ex: S.S. Central America
    Very Large Size Ingot

    Justh & Hunter Gold Ingot. 160.64 Ounces. CAGB-320. The assaying firm established in 1855 by Emanuel Justh and Solomon Hillen Hunter grew considerably within a remarkably short period of time. Emanuel Justh arrived in San Francisco from Verboca, Hungary in 1851 with a background in lithography. According to Dave Bowers' most recent reference on the S.S. Central America (2019), by 1852 Justh had become "a partner in a customs-house brokerage with F.I. Goerlitz" and from April 1854 to May 1855 "served as assistant assayer at the newly opened San Francisco Mint." Solomon Hillen Hunter, a Baltimore native with political connections and experience in the shipping trade, left for San Francisco from New York in February 1855, arriving on March 2.

    The Alta California newspaper announced their partnership and the opening of an assay office as early as May 10, 1855. Barely a year later the two men opened a second branch in Marysville, California, about 125 miles north of San Francisco. While this rapid growth was recorded in contemporary accounts, the scale of the Justh & Hunter operation was not fully understood until 85 of their gold ingots were brought up from the first round of S.S. Central America recovery efforts during the late 1980s through the 1990s. The total value of those bars in 1857 dollars was $232,328.86 -- the equivalent of more than $7 million in 2021. Of the five firms represented in the Central America treasure, Justh & Hunter had the second highest number of gold ingots, more by far than the third most represented assayer, Harris, Marchand & Co.

    What does it all mean? Justh & Hunter's ingots were virtually unknown prior to the Central America discovery. We now know just how trusted and respected the firm must have been in both San Francisco and Marysville. Numismatists, historians, and collectors have a much better sense of the role Justh & Hunter played in the Western economy during the California Gold Rush.

    This is a Very Large size ingot with an unusual, almost cube-shape. As with all gold ingots its heft in hand is considerably more than its appearance might suggest. The top side is laid out horizontally: NO. 4257. / J&H hallmark / 160.64 OZS 891 FINE / $2958.76. The top side shows just the faintest smudge of rust, while the back side is almost covered with incrusted rust from the iron hull of the ship, with scattered patches seen on the other four sides. This ingot was poured in San Francisco, rather than at their Marysville office, as seen by the 4,000 series used for the serial number; the Marysville office used a 9,000 series.
    From The FEB Iris Village Collection.


    View all of [The FEB Iris Village Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2021
    13th-15th Tuesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 23
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,925

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