Tuesday, November 25, 2014

U.S. Assay Office New York Ingots Part IV

Just a quick note for this week's post, Julie and I are heading out of town to spend Thanksgiving with friends in Florida. Half way through my U.S. Assay Office New York ingots; we will cover the 43.00 ozs ingot and 110.05 ozs ingot in upcoming posts.

A special thanks to Edward A for continuing to work with me to acquire government ingots from his collection that he has decided to part with. The 1928 U.S. Assay Office New York ingot #2894, 43.00 ozs and melt #20 is the latest to make its way from Edward's to my collection.  

I hope everyone has the opportunity to spend time with family and friends this week and enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday.

Silver Ingots

Friday, November 21, 2014

U.S. Assay Office New York Ingots Part III

Staying with the U.S. Assay Office New York ingots again this week, a closer look at my 1920 U.S. Assay Office New York ingot #182, 6.61 ozs and melt #653. (photo enlarged)

I have not seen this particular eagle vignette on any other U.S. Assay Office New York ingot, in silver or gold. I have been looking specifically at this for some time now and continue to research it. Without examples from every year, precise vignette tracking is not scientific but I am working on a hallmark timeline that should be completed in the near future.

Most U.S. Assay Office New York silver ingots fall into categories of 40 oz or 100 oz. Extremely rare in any weight, the smaller U. S. Assay Office New York silver ingots are by far the most rare. At 6.61 ozs, my 1920 #182 represents one of, if not the finest of these smaller rarities.

Standard government placement of the ingot identification; the ingot number 182 on the leading edge facing and the melt number 653 on the top edge facing. 

And the reverse with very interesting pour rings and some black markings that do not appear to be relative to any of the production stamping.

Silver Ingots

Thursday, November 13, 2014

U.S. Assay Office New York Part III

The pages below are from two different Scientific Americans published shortly after my 1892 U.S. Assay Office New York ingot #10, 8.93 ozs and melt #682 was produced at this very location. 

First, from February 15, 1902, the cover photographs depict the assaying of both gold and silver at the New York Assay Office. 

The #1 photograph is the weighing room, #2 melting gold bullion; #3 pressing the assay sample; #4 muffle furnaces for fire assay; #5 humid assay for silver; and #6 extracting the silver with boiling acid. 

The article written to follow the cover above discusses the assaying process in great detail and notes that a follow up article is forthcoming that will discuss refining. To my surprise, I have been able to find that article as well. 

Published on March 15, 1902, the follow up article describes the melting and refining processes. The #1 photograph is the stamping $8,000 gold bars with fineness, weight and value; #2 concentrating the silver solution and precipitating the silver; #3 separating the gold from the silver by boiling with Sulfuric acid; #4 stamping value, weight and fineness on silver bars; and #5 pressing precipitated silver into "cheeses".

The gentleman at the desk in the #1 photograph is identified as Mr. B. T. Martin, New York Assay Office Chief Melter and Refiner. The article says he worked there since 1850 and became Chief Melter and Refiner in 1883. This is awesome, just think, a photograph of the guy in charge when my 1892 U.S. Assay Office New York ingot #10, 8.93 ozs and melt #682 was produced. Maybe he stamped it sitting there at that very desk? Most likely he knew who AGB was! (the initials on the reverse)

Silver Ingots

Thursday, November 6, 2014

U.S. Assay Office New York Ingots Part II

As promised, a closer look at my 1892 U.S. Assay Office New York ingot #10, 8.93 ozs and melt #682. 

Added to some possible wear, the irregularities of the obverse surface have resulted in less than a full strike of the year. Without close examination, there are two possibilities of the actual date, 1892 or 1902, as the first and last digits leave no question. Upon close inspection, the circular closure that can be seen of the top loop on the second digit, on both the left and right sides, leaves no question that is an eight and not a nine. The top of the third digit appears to begin to close on the left side ever so slightly but just enough to confirm that it is a nine rather than a zero.   

The following represent standard placement of other markings, the weight of 8.93 ozs is on the right side facing. 

The ingot number 10 is on the leading edge facing and the melt number 682 on the top edge facing.

The reverse is marked with "AGB".

I have been researching various historical New York documents from the period, trying to find a prominent name to match the initials "AGB". My focus has been in banking and finance but if you Google "AGB New York 1892", the page will fill with articles and photographs of Alexander Graham Bell in New York City, placing the inaugural long distance phone call to Chicago on October 18, 1892. Mark V and I have discussed this and while I agree it is unlikely that Alexander Graham Bell is the "AGB" on the ingot, I'm just saying............. Actually, if anyone has any ideas about the initials, please let me know, thanks.

Silver Ingots