Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Ingots - Hallmarks

Presented in this post, in chronological order, are all of the hallmarks associated with silver ingot production from the Mint Of The United States At San Francisco. They are shown in enlarged format for magnification of details.

Type I Oval Hallmark - Early 1930's to mid 1940's

Type II Oval Hallmark - 1946 to 1958

Type II Oval Hallmark LARGE - Early 1950's to 1956 

Round Dated Hallmark - 1956

Round Dated Hallmark - 1958

Round Dated Hallmark - 1959

Round Dated Hallmark - 1960

Silver Ingots

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

U. S. Mint Philadelphia Ingots Part II

U.S. Mint Philadelphia hallmark strikes are seldom anywhere near the quality of No. 88. Most are struck over depressions or surface irregularities in the ingot casting and do not achieve full surface contact like the hallmark below. Thanks to Tammie at AU Capital Management for this recent acquisition.

Really just beginning the study of ingots from the U.S. Mint Philadelphia so the following represents my first draft of a registry table similar to those I maintain for Mint Of The United States At San Francisco ingots.

I am working with the same research materials; major auction catalogs and archives including Goldberg, Heritage, Holabird-Kagin and Stack's Bowers, which provide information back to the early 2000's; completed listings on eBay and information from a number of fellow collectors and dealers, in particular Chris from Old West Gold and Tom. I've looked through older auction catalogs as I would apply the same approach here that I do with Mint Of The United States At San Francisco ingots; if it was in the public eye after 1980, I would assume it was still around today. Only difference is that I just do not find U.S. Mint Philadelphia ingots listed anywhere in this older reference material.

The following list is what I have to date. There are three hallmarks used throughout the 1946 run of ingots. Still working to determine precise individual introductions but with the ingots that I have seen to date, the third hallmark and one that carries over to 1956, is also the first for now appearing on ingot #3. There are a number of ingots with one hallmark on the obverse and another on the reverse and some that I have only seen photos of one side so my information is only partial. I have placed the hallmarks in order with the carryover hallmark last, not sure about positions one and two. In the registry table, the numbers match the order in which the hallmarks are presented. 

Again, really looking for help with these, let me know if anyone has information or other examples to add to the registry table.

Silver Ingots

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Ingots - Missing Link?

To date, my research has left me with a timeline gap between the Type I oval hallmark, small font ingots, for which I have a receipt dated December 28, 1942, and the first Type II oval hallmark silver ingot dated 1952, a large sheared plate example. 

Once again, thanks to my recent New York Assay Office ingot research with Mark, I found that the Type II oval hallmark was actually used on gold ingots from the San Francisco Mint beginning in 1946 until the early 1950's. If the hallmark itself dates back to 1946, is it possible that Type II silver ingots that are not dated were produced earlier than 1952?

A possible gap filling scenario, the "missing link", could be that unnumbered 5 oz class ingots were produced between the mid 40's and early 50's. I have not yet found any dated material regarding these particular ingots and have struggled to determine exactly where they fit into the timeline.

The Type I oval hallmark ingots mentioned above that were produced in 1942 are 999.75 fine; I have placed the Type I oval hallmark, small font ingots that are 999.5 second, to date only because they tend to have a newer look but now the 999.5 being last in line starts to make more sense. That would transition 999.5 production right into the following.

The pairs of ingots below represent Type I oval hallmarks on the left and Type II oval hallmarks on the right. This possible missing link scenario would have them in the production timeline just as they appear filling the gab between the mid 40's to the early 50's.

Yet another argument in favor of this possible scenario is the exact match of casting size between the Type I oval hallmark, the Type II oval hallmark and the round 1959 hallmark. This is a unique size, larger than all Type I numbered ingots and consistent (if this idea holds water) through the end of 5 oz class production. 

Throwing this out as a distinct possibility but really looking for input for further analysis.

Silver Ingots

Saturday, July 5, 2014

U.S. Mint Philadelphia Ingots Part I UPDATED

While historical information about the Mint Of The United States At San Francisco ingots is generally nonexistent, I have had great success in acquiring a wide variety of examples and assembling my collection. Silver ingots produced by the U.S. Mint Philadelphia are much more scare as original production quantities were significantly smaller and distribution restricted. 

Upon my initial introduction to U.S. Mint Philadelphia ingots a few years back, I was informed that the first hallmark was a Type II and the second a Type I. I have been so focused on Mint Of The United States At San Francisco ingot research that I have never really studied these until now. While recently working with Mark, researching a New York Assay Office ingot, it struck me that the above identification of these two hallmarks must be reversed.  

Both examples above are dated 1946, in fact all but one U.S. Mint Philadelphia ingot that I have seen to date are dated 1946; I have seen one odd shaped example dated 1956. The 1956 hallmark matches the second hallmark pictured above and establishes one argument for identifying it as the last hallmark. 

Throughout other government ingots, hallmarks standardized in later years of production and eventually all ended up similar to the U.S. Mint Philadelphia hallmark below establishing the second argument for identifying it as the last hallmark.  




In my original post, working to establish the latest hallmark, I overlooked the fact that it is preceded by TWO rather than just one other hallmark. All U.S. Mint Philadelphia ingots are dated 1946, (one exception noted above), and I have found no numerical duplicates within the range of #3 to #308. In the next post regarding these ingots, I will show how the three hallmarks are randomly applied, to both obverse and reverse, throughout the entire series. For now, I present them in this order due to the first hallmark being applied to ingot #7 and the second hallmark not showing up until ingot #19. I should note that I have not seen photos of every ingot in perfect sequence so it is possible that a lower numbered ingot contains one or the other hallmark. 

I now believe the U.S. Mint Philadelphia hallmarks should be identified as follows:

Type I or II applied to Obverse

Type I or II applied to Reverse

Type III applied to Obverse

Really looking for some help on this one, thanks.

Silver Ingots