Making the top of the auction prices realized list at the recent September Long Beach Coin and Collectibles Expo auction, run by Heritage Auctions, were a pair of gold ingots.These ingots were among the treasures recovered from the wreckage of the sunken S.S. Central America.More than 80% of the gold ingots brought up during the first recovery period from that ship comprised of bars produced by two makers:Kellogg & Humbert and Justh & Hunter.Small quantities of gold ingots by Harris, Marchand, & Company and Blake & Company were also found, but the fewest bars salvaged from the famed sidewheel steamer were produced by Swiss-born banker and assayer Henry Hentsch.
The largest gold ingot sold at the Long Beach auction was a Henry Hentsch very large size gold ingot weighing in at 176.25 ounces.The ingot bears the imprints: No. 3213, 894 FINE, Hy HENTSCH, OZ 176.25, $3,257.20.Given the face value inscribed into the ingot, we can infer that gold was valued at $18.48 per ounce at the time.That’s quite a difference from the $1,497.20 per ounce that gold is at right now.Even more, if you do the math on the sale of this particular ingot, which sold for $324,000, you’ll arrive at a price per ounce of $1,838.30.
The second ingot being offered from Kellogg & Humbert and weighed in at 87.17 ounces.Selling for $204,000, one could say that’s $2,340.25 per ounce! Glassed as a Large Size ingot, this brick of nearly pure gold retained most of its character from when it was discovered at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean 30 years ago. Each of the six sides shows deep reddish-russet incrustation, remnants of the rusted iron hull of the ship that accrued to these ingots once the ship came to rest on the seafloor. The ingot measures 56 x 112 x 24 mm. The inscriptions are laid out vertically and all are on the top side: No 248 / K & H hallmark / 87.17 Oz / 923 FINE / $1663.21. As always, the serial number is repeated on the backside in a different font. This is an exceptionally attractive ingot with significant reddish color that alternates with bright gold.
See full results from the nearly $18.2 million raised during the September Long Beach Coin and Collectibles Expo U.S. Coins Signature auction, run by Heritage Auctions at www.ha.com.