With respect to the so-called 1863 CSA ingot, it is almost certainly a recent fantasy concoction. The lettering and numbers do not resemble diesinking examples from the period. There is an abundance of fantasy CSA (and Union) Civil War items like this. The CSA was "silver-poor". At the time of their defeat, their tiny remaining treasury consisted almost exclusively of Mexican silver coinage, with which disheveled, discharged Confederate soldiers were paid by the victorious Union generals in charge of disbanding the Confederate Army.
Harold Levi writes:
I have seen similar Confederate bars, two images are attached. Earlier this year, Pierre Fricke contacted George Corell, my research associate, about two so-called Confederate silver bars. After some e-mail and face-to-face discussions between Corell and Fricke, images of the bars were passed to Fred Holabird, an expert on gold and silver bars. The response was what was expected, they were obvious fakes.
I spent over six years in research before publishing my book on the Confederate cent, and continue to research today. George Corell has spent nearly thirty years researching a sterling silver Confederate one-fourth coin he owns. During all of this research, neither of us had seen, read or heard of Confederate silver bars until these two appeared.
The Confederacy had both gold and silver bars, which were of Federal (Union) origin. Corellís research of mint records show that both silver and gold bars were in the New Orleans Mint. Gold bars were in the Dahlonega Mint and, presumably, in the Charlotte Mint. All of this being at the time the Confederacy took control of these mints. C.G. Memminger, CSA Secretary of the Treasury, was opposed to the time and expense it would take to recast these bars or to melt and cast Federal specie. Memmingerís view was that the bars and specie could be used in Europe as they were. The existence of original Confederate gold or silver bars is doubtful.
George Corell adds:
Another thing missing, which I mentioned to the gentleman that contacted me concerning his CSA bars, is the noticeable lack of an Assayers stamp.
Fred Holabird writes:
On the CSA ingots, it has been a hot topic recently. One showed up at the Baltimore ANA in August and it was reported that three more showed up in Michigan at a coin show there. These ingots have not been tested or analyzed by anyone with knowledge about antiquarian ingots to my knowledge. I have seen scans of two (maybe the same piece?), including one submitted to the History Detectives television show, for which I was consulted.
There are several suspicious things about these.
a. They resemble no known legitimate ingots
b. They are completely new to the historical record
c. They have come into the marketplace surreptitiously
d. The markings on the ingot have everything wrong with them, and little correct
My cautious and preliminary opinion is that they were made to fool people in an innocent way, in the same manner a souvenir copy, imitation, or creation of an antiquarian piece is made and rendered into the marketplace. Many of us have thoroughly researched ingots produced during the Civil War, primarily from Dahlonega.
Below are the images submitted by Paul Horner (top) and Harold Levi (bottom). The ingots have similar wording, but very different lettering styles. -Editor
Wayne Homren, Editor
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