Presumed to be and in the exact style of Conrad Wiegand or Harvey Harris, Assayers. Created using a familiar style, typical, organizational layout and small punches. Above, the weight ozs 1.75, and purities (Gold .24 1/2; SILV. 969 FINE) are given. Directlty below this ingot, which is so small he couldn’t find room for his assayer mark, the value is indicated as, GOLD $ .88; SILV. $2.19; VAL. $3.07, in three lines.
Wiegand was a notorious assayer, who got his start at the U.S. Mint in San Francisco. He stayed at the branch mint through the early 1860s, before starting his own assay office in Virginia City, Nevada. He briefly expanded and had two offices, the other in Gold Hill. We believe this was among the first bars created by Wiegand prior to, or just at the beginning of, him establishing these businesses. The size and nature of this ingot makes it all that more valuable.
Excerpt from the John J. Ford XIX catalog: Conrad Wiegand’s ingots are probably the most popular of them all. This is due in part to the fact that there seem to be enough of the them in collector’s hands that one or two come on the market in any given year. Their popularity is also explainable by their appearance. Much like Francis Blake’s bars (another popular assayer on the California Gold Rush scene) which exhibit a pleasing and regular layout of the information stamped on his bars, Wiegand’s also are remarkably regular in this same regard. IN fact, a Wiegand bar that has been damaged and no longer shows the assayer’s name can still be identified as one of Wiegand’s, just by the way the stamps on the bar are laid out. And perhaps more importantly, some of Wiegand’s bars are more gold than silver.
Wiegand’s bars are also the most popular because many of them are dated, their presentation or dedication inscriptions bearing year and sometimes even day dates. Blake’s bars do, too, of course, but there are more Wiegand bars around and more of them are dated than are Blake’s. Among Wiegand’s bars the commonest date is 1866. The date is usually found directly underneath the Office of Internal Revenue’s stamp and the cataloguer suspects Wiegand dated the 1866 bars in that place to satisfy some tax regulations with which we are not familiar but that was probably part of the July 12, 1866 tax law that established a structure of licensing fees payable by assayers. Interestingly, Wiegand’s dated bars usually do not have bar numbers whereas the undated bars are all numbered.