Monday, October 31, 2016

The "A" Box Dump

Recently been working to pare back my 5 oz class hallmark collection to single examples; duplicates that remain in the photo below are ingots with consecutive serial numbering. Other hallmark repeats are variants of casting or stamping. Academy for instance produced a number of shapes and hallmark configurations in the 5 oz class. 

Neat to see these all together, let me know if anyone has any 5 oz class "A" examples that are not represented. In my 5 oz class registry, there are no "A" hallmarks available that are not included below except for Arizona Assay Office. My Arizona Assay Office ingot collection will be a photo by itself to come. 

Look for alphabetical box dumps over the next few weeks.

Silver Ingots

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Silver Ingots - Part XVI - Unique Examples

The U.S. Mint San Francisco 1956 round dated hallmark cast example below came to me with an interesting story. Obviously it is artificially toned gold and over-stamped with W.W. Smith

Reportedly from a family member, the story is that Walter W. Smith who served on the very first Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis was presented with this ingot as a retirement gift. It was painted gold in jest and presented as a 29.14 oz 999.75 gold bar.

Walter W. Smith's name can be found frequently in Federal Reserve Board documents from this period; he served on numerous committees and the Federal Advisory Council.

For anyone else that tries to test the math on this story; either he was very young in the 1914 photos below or very old when he retired since that would give him a work tenure of some 42 years.

Silver Ingots

Monday, August 15, 2016

Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Ingots - Part XVI - Unique Examples

Generally reserved for marking the reverse of large plates of silver prior to shearing, the Type III oval hallmark founds its way onto at least two cast ingot obverse surfaces. I recently acquired the example pictured below, #37, which now makes a grand total of two that I have ever seen, both are in my collection.

Not only is the Type III hallmark a rarity, #37 is the lowest of all serial numbers I have ever found on these 25 oz class cast examples. Ingots from this class that I have examined or have good information available, are from a limited number of melts or lot numbers. Lot 1, Lot 2, Lot 164 and Lot 178 have been identified to date. #37 is from Lot 1. 

The photo below shows the difference between the Type II and Type III oval hallmarks.

A photo to show the difference in size between the 25 oz class and the 5 oz class ingots.

And the final photo shows the use of the Type III hallmark on the reverse of a sheared plate example overlaid on #1267.

Silver Ingots

Sunday, July 31, 2016

U.S. Assay Office New York Silver Ingots - Part VII

U.S. Assay Office New York 45 oz class silver ingots remain among the most rare from any U.S. Government Mint or Assay Office. Recently able to expand my collection to a total of nine examples with two more from 1957. 

In my research to date, I have seen these in the date range represented below, 1928 thru 1957. U.S. Assay Office New York examples that predate 1928 are generally smaller while post 1957 examples are generally larger. During the specific date range of 1928 thru 1957, the 45 oz class is dominant.  

As with almost every other U.S. Assay Office New York silver example I have ever seen, there is always much apparent attention paid to placement and inclusion of all pertinent information including the hallmark, fineness, serial number and melt.

The photos do not do these little silver bricks justice!

Silver Ingots

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Mint Of The United States At San Francisco 25 oz Class Examples

Here's something you don't see everyday, an eight-pack of 25 ounce class Mint Of The United States At San Francisco silver ingots. Combination of Type II and round dated 1956 and 1959.

From careful study of ingots in my collection and photos from my research sources, I can write that there is an overlap of serial numbering between Type II and 1956, apparently as the transition was being made from one hallmark to the other. In an upcoming post I will publish the registry list as I have it.

Silver Ingots

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


For those of you that follow Silver Ingots Blog, you know that my 5 oz collection is focused on domestic hallmarks; silver ingots, old pours and extruded examples produced in the United States. Over the years I have acquired a few non-domestic ingots but those have not appeared in my blog posts to date. This one is too neat to ignore so across the pond we go.

The QE2 was christened and launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on September 20, 1967. Not only at the time of her launch but over the years as numerous refurbishments were made, the QE2 set the standard for cruise luxury. No wonder to me that a 5 oz silver ingot was chosen as a QE2 presentation gift.   

I have only ever seen the one of these QE2 ingots that I acquired in 2011 util this ingot in original presentation tin became available recently. A neat acquisition and story.

The 5 oz silver ingot and leather wrapped presentation tin pictured below most likely date back to either the QE2 launch in 1967 or her maiden voyage. 

Silver Ingots

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Ingots - Part XV - Unique Examples

The second most rare date of all U.S. Mint San Francisco round hallmarks is the 1960. In my research over the past six years I have only found four examples. This class ingot was produced in 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960. 

The most common date is 1956 which overlaps numerically with Type II oval hallmark ingots and makes the transition from Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Type II oval hallmarks to U.S. Mint San Francisco round dated hallmarks. I have never seen a 1957 round dated hallmark or found any reference to one. I have a photo of one 1958 that was in the Paul Franklin collection; that is the lone example I have found from that year. 1959 is second behind 1956 in commonality and then the four I mentioned above in 1960. 

Recently able to add the round dated 1960 U.S. Mint San Francisco ingot below to my collection. At 32.41 ozs, it is among the heavier of these generally referred to as 25 oz class examples.   

Silver Ingots

Sunday, June 19, 2016

U.S. Mint Philadelphia - Part III

In previous posts about U.S. Mint Philadelphia silver ingots I mentioned that all were dated 1946 with the exception of one that was dated 1956; that one is now part of my collection. The unique shape and amazing original toning of this ingot add to its awe. 

U.S. Mint Philadelphia silver ingots continue to be the most rare of all U.S. Government ingots, even the extremely rare U.S. Assay Office New York gold ingots are less difficult to come by than these.

This ingot has apparently been assayed once or twice over the years; note the clipped corner, a typical result of common assay practice before the days of nondestructive analysis.

And the reverse showing the original weight of 15.32 ozs.

Silver Ingots

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Homestake Mining Company - NEW UPDATE PART II

Even though I thought the Homestake Mining Company information presented in the last post was news to me, I had this vague feeling of familiarity as I worked on the blog post. Finally it came to me, the Bulldog Mine in Crede, Colorado was one of the "Franklin Mint Collection of Official Silver Ingots of the Great Western Mines".

The Franklin Mint Collection of Official Silver Ingots of the Great Western Mines were produced in 1973. 3,085 sets were made each containing 10 examples, 2,000 grains each or 4.16 oz. Sets were available in customized wooden display boxes and included a Certificate of Authenticity and booklet with historical information about each of the ten mines. 

According to the Franklin Mint booklet, Nicholas C. Creede discovered the "Holy Moses Lode" in the town that was ultimately named for him, in 1889. After the original boom and bust of silver in the late 1800's, new mining operations began again in the 1920's and one of the new mines was the Bulldog Mine on Bulldog Mountain about three miles from Creede. The Homestake Mining Company leased the Bulldog Mine and began operation in 1964. By 1972, the Bulldog Mine was producing 94,000 tons of ore annually which processed at 24.5 ounces of silver per ton.

Homestake Mining Company's Bulldog Mine in Creede, Colorado ranked in the Franklin Mint's top ten and is represented by the ingot in the upper left. 

Silver Ingots

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Silver Ingots Tops 40,000 Pageviews!

Once again the Silver Ingots blog reaches a milestone that just blows me away; 40,000 pageviews! I wrote the first Silver Ingots blog post in February of 2013 and now, 3 years, 4 months and 146 posts later, we cross a number of pageviews that I never could have even imagined. An amazing feat that is only made possible by the tremendous support of all of my blog followers and readers; thanks so much to all of you.

Silver Ingots blog has given me the opportunity to share silver ingot information in a way never before possible. It has opened a door for new deals and introductions to numerous new friends and fellow collectors.

I looked through my 146 blog posts of photos for some of my favorite pictures from over the years to include in this 40,000 pageview post and I am going to have to go with these:

The oldest know dated US Government silver ingot, 1892 from the U.S. Assay Office New York.

December 1942, Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Bullion Deposit and Bar Delivery with seven of the original lot.

And a last one from my visit to the Old Mint Of The United States At San Francisco in October of 2014.

Silver Ingots

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Homestake Mining Company - NEW UPDATE

Bits and pieces of the story behind these unique Homestake Mining Company silver ingots have come together over the years. We know the hallmark is special, generally reserved for gold ingots. We know that the numbering is consistent with limited production or special edition Homestake Mining Company ingots. We know that the size is very rare for the Homestake Mining Company. We know that the fineness is uncommon and it has always been a puzzler. At least we were always sure of the date! 

From the story in my previous blog posts, we know that the specific ingot pictured below was presented to an office employee in Lead, South Dakota,  for service recognition. Now thanks to Travis H, we know the rest of the story! 

Travis H's father worked for the Homestake Mining Company in Creede, Colorado, at the Bulldog Mountain Operation. In 1976, he purchased the ingot pictured below along with the paper giving us the rest of the story. 

The complete story of these unique Homestake Mining Company silver ingots follows and another silver ingot mystery is solved! 

Silver Ingots

Friday, May 20, 2016

U.S. Assay Office New York Silver Ingots- Part VI

Recently able to add yet another 40 oz class U.S. Assay Office New York silver ingot to my collection, the 1951 example third from left. These are awesome ingots to handle, like a small silver brick; surprisingly heavy for the size.

Updated from my last U.S. Assay Office New York post, the 40 oz class silver ingots that I have come across in my research, represent the widest range of dates in any of the three common sizes; 40 oz, 100 oz and 1,000 oz. In the 40 oz class, I have now come across the following dates; 1908, 1928, 1940, 1946, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1954 and 1957. The examples pictured below are dated 1928, 1949, 1951 and 1957; four of the nine dates are covered so far. 

Another neat thing about the 1951 ingot is finding a U.S. Assay Office New York silver ingot that is exactly as old as I am!

Silver Ingots

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Type I Ingots - Part XIII - More Seeing Double

My last post covered two ingots of the very same type and series with identical numbers; as noted that situation is the only I know of. Identical numbers between different types and series are extremely rare but not one of a kind.

There are a few others in my registry but the duplicate numbers that I have in my collection follow:

Type I oval hallmark, curved stem nines, one in 999.75 and the other in 999.5, both #5

Type I oval hallmark, curved stem nines, one in 999.75 and the other in 999.5, both #946

Type I oval hallmark, curved stem nines, one in 999.75 and the other in 999.5, both #1267 and a one of a kind over sized Type II oval hallmark (only used on reverse of plates) all with #1267

Type I oval hallmark unique 20.04 oz and 1956 dated round hallmark, both #1268

Silver Ingots


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Type I Ingots Part XII - Seeing Double

In almost eight years of collecting and over four years of seriously studying Mint Of The United States At San Francisco silver ingots, I have been amazed at the lack of numerical duplication within any given type and series...........until today. 

Type I oval hallmark, medium font, curved stem nines in 999.5 fineness and both #1257.

My initial reaction to this find was to closely examine both ingots to determine if one was possibly fake but after lengthy inspection I see nothing in either to question authenticity. Just another first.

Mint Of The United States At San Francisco silver ingot numbering continues to baffle me; last year I created a spreadsheet to track the serial numbers of all ingots in my registry, and overall there is a noticeable lack of duplication between the various series. As yet, the explanation remains a mystery; surely all of the ingots that were melted over the years would not have all been different serial numbers. Why then, within the remaining ingots in circulation that I have been able to find, is there only a handful of numerical duplication between different series.

I will post all of the other numerical duplicates in my collection in an upcoming post.

Silver Ingots

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Type I Ingots - Part XIV - Unique Examples

Achieving a solid die strike of the oval hallmark was a difficult task given the inconsistency of most obverse surfaces of Mint Of The United States At San Francisco silver ingots. You will see them in almost any alignment thinkable in an effort to strike the most surface but never before have I seen this approach.

The die was actually struck twice on this Type I oval hallmark, medium font with curved stem nines in 999.5 fineness. There is a slight "ridge" running down the center of the ingot from the trailing edge to the leading edge, (top to bottom). The hallmark die was first struck on the right side of this ridge and then struck again on the left side. With magnification you can see the actual overlap.

Very interesting and another first.

Silver Ingots

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Mint Of The United States At San Francisco Type I Ingots - Part XIII - Trifectas

As rare as consecutive pairs of Mint Of The United States At San Francisco silver ingots are to come by, consecutive trios are so much more rare,  I can honestly say that before my collection, I know of no others. Certainly original purchasers were in possession of trios and more, (and may still secretly be), I am talking about those in circulation since the silver highs of 1980. Technically, these trios are not trifectas but putting three consecutively numbered ingots together sure feels like a win!

The greatest collection of US Government ingots previously assembled was that of Alan Bingel which according to a write up by Fred H (yes, that Fred H) contained some 66 examples. The Alan Bingel collection was sold by Heritage Auctions over a number of sessions beginning in 2005 and according to their auction archives, contained no consecutively numbered examples at all.   

With my collection now of over 200 examples, consecutively numbered acquisitions are always a treasure. I have some 16 pairs and the trifectas pictured below:

Silver Ingots

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

U.S. Mint Philadelphia - Part II

The photos below represent my collection of U.S. Mint Philadelphia silver ingots. The two class sizes represented, 5 to 10 oz and 25 oz, can be found in a wide range of thicknesses and weights within the particular class. 

The Table at the bottom of the post includes all U.S. Mint Philadelphia silver ingots that I have been able to find through my research to date. Again, I have researched major auction archives including Goldberg, Heritage, Holabird-Kagin and Stack's Bowers which provide information back to the early 2000's. I also obtained information from a number of fellow collectors and dealers, in particular Chris from Old West Gold.

This particular example fascinates me; someone took the time to shave the hallmark off of an ingot that probably was heading for melt!

U.S. Mint Philadelphia silver ingot Table follows:

Silver Ingots

Friday, April 1, 2016

FAKES? - Part II

In the last post about FAKES, I used the page below from the May 1972 Numismatist. This week Fred H (no, not that Fred H, a different one) contacted me with a photo of the actual ingot used in the column article below. The Mint Of The United States At San Francisco silver ingot #858, Type I oval hallmark, small font with curved stem nines in 999.75 fineness, is presently in Fred H's collection.

If you read the Featuring Fakes column in the May 1972 Numismatist, you are left with the impression that the ingots pictured are representative examples of the author's claim that "Mint Of The United States At San Francisco bars also are counterfeited", and would be fakes.

As far as #858, I would attest to its authenticity based on close examination of two high resolution photographs in my possession. Numerically, it is just before ingots on a receipt in my collection for the same type and style, #982 to #1018. Close examination of hallmark along with unique numerical features like the specific shape of the seven and small curled tail of the five match ingots on my receipt pictured below. Based on the date of my receipt, December 28, 1942, I would date #858 from mid to late 1942. 

No question; #858 is no fake.

Silver Ingots