Justh & Hunter Gold Ingot, recovered from shipwreck of the SS Central America-! For centuries, just as the specter of gold has whetted man’s imagination, so too has allure, romance and excitement of sunken treasure. In September 1857, the SS Central America was caught in a vicious hurricane and sent to her watery grave a mile and a half beneath the furious waves of the Atlantic ocean; with her went hopes, dreams and a vast fortune in gold. While some of the story of her loss is etched in sorrow it is also imbued with 19th-century gallantry, bravado, and heroism of the first order.
The recovery of the cargo some 130 years later required both high and low tech solutions, and brought to the surface what is without doubt the single richest and most important treasure in the annals of American sea salvage.
What was revealed is a snapshot in time of one of America’s defining moments, the California Gold Rush. The treasure encompasses the very essence of that period, gold in all it’s forms; raw dust and nuggets, small balls of amalgam (the minors most rudimentary way of purifying their finds), gold assay bars of all sizes — from 5 ounces to 55 pounds — and coins, both privately produced and those struck by a nascent San Francisco mint.
The ship foundered taking these astonishing riches with her, but her cargo was heavily insured and the underwriters paid out the claims immediately to assuage fears with in the financial community and the public at large. When the gold was recovered so many years later, the insurance companies and their successor firms, both American and British, were found to still have valid title to a portion of the glittering cargo.
It is an irony, perhaps, that the bars these men made were intended to be destroyed. The vast majority were shipped back east or to Europe to be turned into gold coin. The cache discovered on the SS Central America, is without precedence; it contains new and hitherto unknown objects which inspire awe; glittering objects of a bygone age, produced by largely forgotten men – objects which, by their very nature, should no longer exist.
Gold ingot. No. 4333 – $561.64 – 885 Fine. – 30.70oz. Most likely from the San Francisco foundry as those numbered in the nine-thousands are pedigreed back to Marysville.
Face: No. 4333 / JUSTH & HUNTER / 30.70 OZS. 885 FINE. Back has 33. Front edge: $561.64. All other edges are plain. Assayer’s cut taken from lower left corner of front edge and the surface of the assayer’s cut is typically stamped J&H. This specimen is fully lustrous olive gold essentially free of any encrustation and quite attractive as such.
This Justh & Hunter gold ingot #4333 was formerly in the famous “Golden Gate Prestige Collection” as featured in Life Magazine.