Sunday, May 25, 2014

The "T" Box & The "U" Box

Not much in either and some are fairly common so I will include all of them in the upcoming list but focus on the more collectible ingots in this post.

Thorne Mining And Refining Company are most rare from the "T" box. The namesake dates back to the 1890's in the Eureka District of Arizona BUT whether or not they ever produced any ingots remains unanswered. Fred researched these extensively and concluded in previous writings that while he can trace the exact name to a 1904 Arizona ledger, the style is not conducive to 1900's ingots but more similar to those from the Franklin Hoard. Fred's writings from years past are fully supported in Karl's John H. Ford, Jr. and The "Franklin Hoard" published last year.

Even among "Hoard" ingots, Thorne Mining And Refining Company examples remain most rare, never appearing in quantities like others with a similar story. AND there is always the chance that someday we find that a least one of these was original from the 1890's! 

T & T Refiners and a neat little sheared example with a thunderbird hallmark wrap up the "T" box.

United States Smelting And Refining Incorporated, Plant City, FL,  held this registered trademark between the late 1980's until 1999. 

U.S. Silver Corporation is woven into the rich history of the Coeur d'Alene Mining District of northern Idaho, along with names like ASARCO, The Helca Mining Comapany and the Galena, Caladay and Coeur mines.  U.S. Silver Corporation officially ended business in 2012 but had discontinued production of ingots like those below much earlier. By best estimates, the examples below date from the late 1980's through the early 1990's. The first example is a plate with sheared edges, the second cast with a large font name and the third, the most common cast ingot with small font name.

Silver Ingots

Monday, May 19, 2014

Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Type I Ingots Part IX

Revisiting the basis of dating Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Type I ingots this week. From my research to date, I believe that the Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Type I ingots date back to the early 1930's. The screenshot below from the American Numismatic Society's Website represents the oldest date of record with accompanying picture that I have found.

According to the ANS Collection Curator, the donation was received on June 21, 1939. There is no "letter from Mint" on the back of the box as noted in the text above but there is a note stating that donor, David Bullowa, reported purchasing the ingot in 1935 for $5.

Earlier Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Type I ingot references exist in auction catalogs but without pictures or individual ingot numbers; catalog descriptions are limited to weight and fineness. The earliest of these that I have found to date is in the M.H. Bolender One Hundredth Auction Sale catalog dated Saturday, November 30, 1935. Note that this listing also includes reference to an earlier auction record for price comparison but I have not yet found that particular catalog. 

M. H. Bolender catalogs contain a number of similar listings between 1935 and 1937, and then in 1938 they begin to include the individual ingot numbers. Throughout ALL of these listings, (all of M. H. Bolender and the ANS) fineness of 999.75 is consistent. In no other series of Type I ingots other than the large font, curved stem nines, (similar to the ANS photo) does 999.75 fineness exist until the early 1940's. This, along with individual ingot numbers (when available) that are within the correct numerical range form the basis of my position that the large font, curved stem 999.75 are the earliest Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Type I series produced.  

A few photos from my collection follow to demonstrate the consistency and reliability of characteristics throughout this series.

Silver Ingots

Friday, May 9, 2014

Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Type II Ingots Part VIII - Unique Examples

Continuing on in this week's post with more discussion about the Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Type II large hallmark ingot, #1267. 

As I noted in wrapping up the last post, the only place I have seen a large hallmark used is on the reverse of sheared plate examples where it appears that the originally produced plates, prior to being cut (sheared) were hallmarked with a much larger die. Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Type II ingot #1767 is one example of this, see the obverse and reverse with partial larger reverse stamp below.

I immediately knew that the hallmark on #1267 was something that I had never seen on any obverse BUT if it matched the larger hallmark from the reverse of #1767, along with the other supporting information that I presented in the first blog, then I felt it could be authenticated.

This last picture says it all. 

Silver Ingots

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Type II Ingots Part VII - Unique Examples

Thanks to David from Cape Fear Coins for helping me acquire the next Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Type II unique ingot; a formidable effort on his part as the ingot was not even in the US. The Type II hallmark is massive and unlike any other obverse strike that I have seen to date, as far as I can tell, another one of a kind.

Look how it compares to the typical Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Type II ingot hallmarks that we are familiar with.

From David's first text photos I could not be sure of the exact size of the hallmark but I recognized the ingot immediately. Chris with Old West Gold has shared years of listing photos with me for my research and I remembered that he had done a deal back in 2008 that included an old photo (not the actual ingot) of this very example. Note that the small "53 ozs" and "53" are not present in this old newspaper ad. The ad message is a bit confusing but if "small bars are no longer made" but large examples were still available, it would date to the late 1950's.

From my registry work, the ingot fits the series of cast examples with numbering that I have found to date ranging from #155 to #1785. All are 999.75 fine and within the specific numerical range of #1042 to #1345, edge marked with lot number 164. #1272, the next in sequence that I have found to date, is reverse stamped with the 1956 US Mint San Francisco hallmark. Other 1956 dated round hallmark ingots are also edge marked with this same lot number as is #1848 from my collection.

The only place I have ever seen a large hallmark is on the reverse of the sheared plate examples so I was most anxious to compare #1267 to those. I'll conclude this comparison and authentication of #1267 in my next post.

Silver Ingots