In a recent eNewsletter from Stack's Bowers, an article from Senior Numismatist, James McCartney, highlighted an item that Stack’s Bowers will be offering in their August ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction.
A Harris, Marchand & Company rectangular gold ingot discovered during the second exploration of the S.S. Central America shipwreck in 2014 was his choice.
He describes the ingot as, “predominantly deep gold, all sides reveal reddish-russet and/or charcoal patina, the result of the more than 150 years that this ingot spent on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. It is stamped: No. 6542 / HARRIS MARCHAND & Co / pictorial hallmark / 25.18 OZ / 893 fine / $470.02.
All stamps are boldly and neatly impressed on the face, the Harris, Marchand & Company stamp particularly noteworthy for its crispness and evenness. There are no post-production flaws apart from the aforementioned toning, although several prominent fissures in the surfaces are present from the casting process. A delightful example, and a highly significant relic from the California Gold Rush.”
Of the gold ingots found in the S.S. Central America treasure, those of Harris, Marchand & Co. are considered among the most desirable and are the only ingots with a pictorial hallmark. Assayers who made ingots included Kellogg & Humbert, Blake & Company, Henry Hentsch, Justh & Hunter, and Harris & Marchand, far dominated by Kellogg & Humbert ingots. There were only 38 ingots by Harris, Marchand & Company.
The S.S. Central America was a 280-foot long, three-masted side-wheel steamship carrying tons of California gold that had been shipped from San Francisco to Panama when she sank in a September 1857 hurricane during a voyage from Aspinwall (now Colón), Panama, to New York City. The loss of the gold cargo was a major factor in the economically devastating financial panic of 1857 in the United States.
The California Gold Marketing Group LLC of Brea, Calif., acquired the 2014 treasure from Ira Owen Kane, Receiver for Recovery Limited Partnership and Columbus Exploration, LLC in a court-approved transaction in November 2017. In 1999, the group acquired all of the available treasure that was recovered in the 1980s.