The gold is carried by boat to New York via Panama. In September 1857 the sinking of the SS Central America caught in a hurricane off the coast of Carolina with a load of 9.1 tons generates a catastrophic gold shortage.
The assayers were working in discretion and their companies were often short-lived. The exploration of the wreck after 1986 brought unprecedented information about their achievements.
Three assayers dominate the treasure of the SS Central America. The top two are Kellogg & Humbert and Harris, Marchand. Also known for his creations of coins, Augustus Humbert had previously been involved in the creation of the official administration, the US Assay Office of San Francisco. A brick valued at $ 17,433.57 by Kellogg and Humbert was sold for $ 8M in private sale in 2001.
In addition to weight, purity is an essential feature that demonstrates the expertise of the assayer. An ingot valued at $ 3,389.06 by Harris, Marchand from a weight of 174.04 ounces and a sensational purity of .942 was sold for $ 900K including premium by Stack's Bowers on August 9, 2012.
The operation of the third assayer, Justh and Hunter, was very brief, from 1855 to 1858. With a very limited prior experience in metallurgy, they had succeeded in obtaining industrially one of the best purities by importing a Parisian process with hot gas.
On January 5 in Fort Lauderdale, Heritage sells five ingots recovered from the SS Central America. The most important are an ingot of 327.97 ounces and fineness .909 valued at $ 6162.78 by Justh and Hunter, lot 6146, and an ingot of 152.96 ounces and fineness .886 valued at $ 2801.49 by Kellogg and Humbert, lot 6148.
Also by Justh and Hunter, an ingot of 179.50 ounces .886 fine of unusual proportions 124 x 51 x 47 mm offered as lot 6145 retains significant iron incrustations from the rusted hull of the wreck.
RESULTS INCLUDING PREMIUM :
Lot 6146 (Justh and Hunter, tweeted below) : $ 560K
Lot 6148 (Kellogg and Humbert, tweeted below) : $294K
Lot 6145 (Justh and Hunter) : $ 376K