The following is part one of our 2017 FUN Platinum Night auction
coverage. Links to additional coverage can be found at the bottom of
A huge gold ingot recovered from a famous shipwreck topped
Heritage’s Platinum Night auction on Jan. 5 at the Florida United
Numismatists show in Fort Lauderdale.
The 327.97-ounce gold ingot emerged from the wreck
of the SS Central America nearly 30 years ago and was produced
during the California Gold Rush by Justh & Hunter, a company that
was little-known until 86 of its gold bars were discovered on the
While the bar is not dated, Justh & Hunter began advertising in
California newspapers in May 1855 and the ship sank in a hurricane in
September 1857. To put its size in perspective: it weighs 20.49 pounds
and at its time of casting had a value of $6,162.78. At the FUN
auctions it sold for $564,000.
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The “heavy metal” came from the Arizona Treasure Collection, a
consignment that included several other important bars from the
California Gold Rush. Perhaps the most handsome was a beautifully
crusty 179.5-ounce gold Justh & Hunter ingot that realized
$376,000. All six sides showed evidence of its time in the rusted iron
hull of the SS Central America via reddish-brown color, adding
character and reminding its owner of its long, undisturbed time in the
2017 FUN Convention: Check out the full schedule!
The leading gold coin in the auction, at $352,500, was also from the
California Gold Rush era — an 1851 RE Humbert 887 THOUS. gold $50
pioneer “slug” graded Mint State 63 by Professional Coin Grading Service.
It’s the finest example certified of the enduringly popular type by
PCGS. Heritage writes, “the importance of the 1851 fifty dollar gold
coins can scarcely be overemphasized. Ask any advanced collector of
Territorial gold to name the most significant and memorable coinage
design from the early California Gold Rush period, and the
Humbert-U.S. Assay Office octagonal fifty dollars will likely be the
More 2017 FUN Platinum Night coverage:
FUN 2017: The high-priced rarities
that fell short of their minimum bids:
A number of the anticipated top lots at Heritage's FUN 2017
Platinum Night auction failed to meet their reserves set by consignors.
FUN 2017: The early U.S. numismatic
treasures that headlined the year's first major sale:
There were no million dollar standouts in this year’s offering. But
that does not mean there weren't any notable coins exchanging hands..