Saturday, August 23, 2014

U. S. Assay Office New York

A few weeks ago I wrote about redemption of Silver Certificates at The United States Assay Office At San Francisco. I received a few emails and had a number of conversations in Chicago at the ANA about the redemption process; it was especially interesting to talk to Ron G who personally participated in the redemption of hundreds of thousands of Silver Certificates.  

The date of June 24, 1968 was questioned as some seem to remember the redemption program lasting longer than that. I was researching this upon my return and came across the photos below from the August 2, 1968 LIFE MAGAZINE of the US Assay Office New York. 

Interesting photos on the first page but look at that line on the second page! The photo is dated June 23, 1968 and captioned as "the day before the final deadline" for redeeming Silver Certificates.

The article is an interesting read about the evolution of currency with intrinsic value to an age of representative money but the ending caption sums it all up, 'money now is worth only what you can buy with it"!

Anyone interested in the entire article let me know and I will email a PDF.

Silver Ingots

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Silver Ingots 100th Post & 15,000 Pageviews

On February 17, 2013, I published the first Silver Ingots post; a year and a half and 100 posts later, Silver Ingots has received over 15,000 pageviewsThe Silver Ingots blog has opened up numerous doors of opportunity for new acquaintances, ingot acquisitions and research information. I am honored that my writings about silver ingots have been met with such interest and sincerely thank all of my blog  followers and readers for their support.   

Julie and I are just back from the ANA's World's Fair of Money in Chicago and I especially enjoyed finally meeting in person, quite a few of those "acquaintances" that I have come to know over the past year and a half through phone calls and emails. The highlight of the trip for me was being the successful bidder in the Heritage auction on the 1892 US Assay Office New York silver ingot below.  

I had a chance to have Fred H examine it on Friday and we believe it to be the oldest government issued silver ingot in private hands. Fred noted that years ago, he saw an old black and white photo of a similar ingot so there is most likely at least one other of similar age. Watch for more to come on this in a future post.

Thanks again for your interest and support.

Silver Ingots

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

United States Assay Office At San Francisco Ingots - Hallmark

In 1962 the status of the Mint Of The United States At San Francisco was officially changed from mint to an assay office. The United States Assay Office At San Francisco operated until March 31, 1988 when its mint status was restored.

The last hallmarked silver ingots produced at San Francisco bear the United States Assay Office At San Francisco hallmark, shown in enlarged format for magnification of details.  

USAO At San Francisco Hallmark 1962 through mid to late 1960's

The United States Assay Office At San Francisco was a primary location for redemption of Silver Certificates. As of March, 1964, redemption of Silver Certificates for silver dollars was terminated and until June 24, 1968 redemption of Silver Certificates was in silver bars and silver granules or shavings. 

To date, I have encountered two gentlemen that participated in the Silver Certificate redemption program. Buz T tells me that in 1965 he stopped by the Assay Office and exchanged Silver Certificates for two silver bars and a bag of silver shavings.  The bars had no stampings other than serial numbers; the weight was marked in grease pencil. Recently Ron G wrote in Coin World that he redeemed Silver Certificates in 1966 and 1967 and the bars he received had no markings at all, not even serial numbers; the weight was marked in grease pencil.

At the other end of the spectrum, Tom P has a bar with the USAO hallmark, fineness and weight all stamped on it. The one from my collection pictured below has only the USAO hallmark and fineness. The black smear could possibly be the remnants of the 103.22 ozs weight marked in grease pencil.

Clearly these USAO bars were produced in a variety of styles and I will continue to research them, BUT one possible scenario is that as the Silver Certificate exchange program picked up the demand on silver bar production did as well and less time was available to apply all of the original markings. The later the production, the less markings until ultimately, no time was spent marking the bars other than with the weight in grease pencil until the redemption program was terminated in 1968. That would certainly hold up between the two dated transactions reported above; a possibility that remains to be researched further. 

Silver Ingots