Sunday, February 12, 2017

New York Assay Office Silver Ingots - Part VIII

The recently acquired New York Assay Office silver ingot pictured in the first plate below bears a hallmark similar to that of the earliest NYAO known to exist, but is not dated within the circular hallmark center. Another extremely rare U.S. Government silver ingot example from Edward A., the missing hallmark date is only the beginning of the mysteries to be solved on this ingot.

Starting in this post with dating of this ingot; I can match the hallmark to my 1892 Type I hallmark example shown in the second picture which is the earliest dated U.S. Government silver ingot known to exist. In my registry photos, I have one example bearing the same hallmark dated 1909 and a second 1909 example with the eagle vignette and Type II hallmark indicating a transition from Type I hallmark to Type II hallmark in 1909. 

I have found a 1981 Bowers and Ruddy Auction of the Garrett Collection with a written description of a 1911 New York Assay Office silver ingot that would seem to describe the Type II hallmark. And certainly the 1920 New York Assay Office silver ingot in my collection shows that the transition had been made at some earlier date. Both of these points, while not proving it so, also lend support to the transition occurring in 1909. 

Evaluating everything discussed so far, a date range of 1892 to 1909 can be established. Photos of all ingots discussed follow.     

The 1892 New York Assay Office silver ingot is the oldest known dated U.S. Government silver ingot. Under magnified examination, the upper loop of the second digit closes enough that it has to be an "8" while the third digit could then only be a "9" since 1802 is not a possible date of production as it predates the New York Assay Office origin in 1854.

The following photos are from the collection of Gerow Paul Franklin at the time of his passing and provided to me by his son for use in continuing research on U.S. Government silver ingots.

The 1920 New York Assay Office silver ingot if from my collection bearing the Type II NYAO hallmark.

In the next post we will tackle the mystery of the reverse.

Silver Ingots

Thursday, January 19, 2017

U.S. Mint Philadelphia - Part IV

U.S. Mint Philadelphia examples remain the absolute most rare of all three U.S. Government Mint & Assay Office silver ingots, New York Assay Office, Mint Of The United States At San Francisco, and U.S. Mint Philadelphia. Unconfirmed reports indicate that these were limited in distribution to jewelers but even if that is not completely accurate, no one has ever heard a story about a private individual getting one of these directly from the U.S. Mint Philadelphia like the stories we hear and read about that happening at the New York Assay Office and the Mint Of The United States At San Francisco. 

The following pictures are from one of Fred H's old auction catalogs and represent the most uniquely shaped U.S. Government ingot I have ever seen, almost like a coffin.

I've always assumed this was a one of a kind example like the Mint Of The United States At San Francisco loaf or cube; that was until now. My most recent acquisition has given me reason to think that this shape may have in fact happened more often that just the one time for #216.

The picture below is the "shaved off" hallmark piece from my collection that I wrote about in previous U.S. Mint Philadelphia blog posts. I've always looked at it with the writing right side up but if you flip it, starts to look like a piece from another coffin ingot maybe.

I never looked at the piece above with this in mind until I recently acquired the ingot pictured below. This could easily be the end of a coffin ingot. Obverse and reverse pictured.

What I am referring to as the reverse sure looks a lot like the obverse of the ingot from Fred H's old auction catalog. The indentations in the obverse look like other coffin ingots were staked on top of this one leaving their mark; so much so that I had to test the fit as shown in the picture below.

The shaved hallmark is not only a perfect shape and size match to the reverse of the 15.20 oz ingot, it is a perfect fit into the indentations as shown above.

Not exactly sure what all of this means but I am going to go out on a limb and bet that at one time there were at least three U.S. Mint Philadelphia coffin ingots!

Silver Ingots