The Summer 2009 issue of the Brasher Bulletin has been published by the Society for Private and Pioneer Numismatics. Articles include
- California Gold Rush "Bills of Exchange" by Michael Wehner
- The Sealy, Latouche, Alaska Gold Nugget Token by Charles E. Sealy
- CC Museum Holds Two Early Errors by William Robins
- Pioneer Spotlight: Dame Shirley by Lena Taylor
- The S.S. Brother Jonathanís 1865 Branch Mint Gold Bars by Dan Owens
- In Search of J.J. Conway: The Man Behind The Mint by Dan Owens
Dan Owens forwarded a copy of his The S.S. Brother Jonathanís 1865 Branch Mint Gold Bars article. Here are a few excerpts.
In 1970, eleven refined gold bars surfaced in numismatic circles that were reportedly linked to the ship. The bars bore the hallmark "U.S. Mint San Francisco" and the date of 1865. They ranged in fineness from .995 to .999. They were alleged to have been the personal property of one of her passengers and recovered by one of the many treasure hunting expeditions searching for the ship circa 1916 or 1936.
Other modern printed sources stated the bars were found in the remains of a crushed lifeboat trawled up from the ocean depths in the 1930ís off Crescent City.
In recent years a number of numismatists have questioned the authenticity of these bars, claiming that they are counterfeit for several reasons including their irregular hallmark and lack of a tax stamp. In spite of having these anomalies, I set out to prove that these bars were authentic...
I won't divulge Dan's conclusion here, but he's done a great deal of research for this well-annotated article. One of his footnotes mentions an upcoming book on the topic.
John Kleeberg, Ted Buttrey, and Robert Leonard have publicly condemned these bars. In-depth research on the Bullion Tax 1864-1868, will be addressed in Fred Holabirdís standard reference work on Western Assay bars.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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