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Gold "finger" ("church") Atocha bar #82A-9, 664 grams, stamped with fineness XXIII

Currency:USD Category:Coins & Paper Money / Shipwreck Ingots Start Price:35,000.00 USD Estimated At:40,000.00 - 80,000.00 USD
Gold  finger  ( church ) Atocha bar #82A-9, 664 grams, stamped with fineness XXIII
SOLD
50,000.00USD+ (10,000.00) buyer's premium + applicable fees & taxes.
This item SOLD at 2020 Nov 17 @ 12:18UTC-5 : EST/CDT
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Gold "finger" ("church") bar #82A-9, 664 grams, stamped with fineness XXIII: (2350/2400) and weight "144-2" scratched on surface, ex-Atocha (1622). 5-1/4" x 1" x 1/2". Among the earlier finds from the Atocha and Santa Margarita were some high-purity bars like this one that lack any markings except fineness (always XXIII:) and scratched-in numbers--no tax stamps, no owner/shipper marks, no assayer or mint/date cartouches, and also no assayer's "bite." Somewhere along the line it was postulated that these had to be "church" bars, as the wealth of the Catholic Church would not have been taxed, and since the bars were not for commerce, no assay was needed either. This theory may still be valid, but with some modification: The discovery of gold ingots belonging to South American missions among the salvaged items from the Luz wreck of 1752 point to the likelihood that these Atocha ingots were actually the property of missions as well. But the Luz ingots also helped to solve another mystery about these Atocha gold bars: The scratched-in numbers on both wrecks' ingots in fact refer to weights in an antiquated system where the main unit known as a peso or castellano de oro (144 in this case) is equivalent to 4.6 grams and the secondary unit known as a tomin (2 in this case) is equivalent to 0.575 gram, giving a marked weight for this bar as 663.55 grams, matching the actual weight. (As an aside, the confusion of "peso" for a 1-oz [31-gram] unit has probably caused modern manifest researchers to over-estimate gold cargo values by a factor of six!) Like all such bars from this wreck, this piece is neatly cast in rich-colored gold with clear markings, also with small bubble-hole in top near one end. From the Atocha (1622), with Fisher photo-certificate #82A-3958 (TSI #82A-9). Recovered from: Atocha, sunk in 1622 west of Key West, Florida