Gold "tumbaga" bar #M-1014, 310 grams, marked with six finenesses VI, two letters B (or R), and five

Currency:USD Category:Coins & Paper Money / Shipwreck Ingots Start Price:16,000.00 USD Estimated At:20,000.00 - 30,000.00 USD
Gold  tumbaga  bar #M-1014, 310 grams, marked with six finenesses VI, two letters B (or R), and five
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Gold "tumbaga" bar #M-1014, 310 grams, marked with six finenesses VI, two letters B (or R), and five partial tax stamps, cut at one end, ex-"Tumbaga Wreck" (ca. 1528), Garcia-Barneche Cover and Plate, ex-Jones (Plate Piece). 9" x 1" x 1/4". The unidentified Spanish wreck known as the "Tumbaga Wreck," salvaged in 1993 off Grand Bahama Island, yielded the world's only known examples of ingots made from native artifacts in mixed silver, copper and gold, and while the silver ingots are now fairly well cataloged and traced to the Tarascan culture in Michoacan, Mexico, the gold ingots are still a bit of a mystery, mostly because there are too few to study. There seems to be some evidence the gold bars were cast in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), but their finenesses do not follow any pattern, the present ingot being marked 6K but probably more like 7K-10K in actuality. In fact this ingot is similar to the well-known "finger bars" of almost a century later from the Atocha (1622), the metal poured into a crude, natural, slightly bent "strap" with rounded sides and ends but one end clipped off, either to test the fineness or to make an "oro corriente" piece. About halfway down the length there is a natural void in the edge. Everywhere else on the top you see alternating markings, with attractive reddish-gray patina throughout, again like the later pieces that were clearly made to be broken up into coin-sized pieces, each with enough of a marking to prove official manufacture (and thus taxation). It is fitting that such an interesting piece ended up in Peter Jones' collection, adding to its already lengthy pedigree. From the "Tumbaga Wreck" (ca. 1528), pictured on the cover and on p. 66 of Agustin Garcia-Barneche's The "Tumbaga" Saga (2nd ed, 2018), also pedigreed to the Dr. Peter Jones collection, plated on pages 36, 38 and 215 of his book The First Coins of the Americas (2020), and to our Auction 10 (lot #242) and to the Christie's auction of June 1993 (lot #296), and featured (as a drawing) on p. 28 of Craig and Richards' book Spanish Treasure Bars (2003). Recovered from: "Tumbaga Wreck," sunk ca. 1528 off Grand Bahama Island