C.WIEGAND / ASSAYER at center, in his typical small punches. Above, the weight (3.18 ounces), and purities (Gold .311 FINE; SILV. 586 FINE) are given. Below Wiegand's mark he gives the value breakdown, GOLD $20.44 (88%); SILV. $2.38 (12%); VAL. $22.82, in three lines. BANK EXCHANGE GOLD HILL NEV. on reverse with $22.82 below.
A very scarce and seldom encountered silver mixed with gold ingot with an overall appearance of Very Fine. Very pale silver with a hint of the faintest yellow from the apparent gold content. Squared edges, fairly sharp corners. The only Wiegand, or any other assayer's ingot, known with the stamp of the BANK EXCHANGE on it. It's hard to know what to make of this piece, as it has the look of a presentation bar so perhaps the bank stamp is sentiment. It has none of the look of a banking bar, as it is small, has no ingot number, and shows no corner clips. An anomalous bar, the only one seen like it the cataloguer can remember with a prepared banker's mark. Purchased by John Ford from Paul Franklin on May 25, 1964.
A number of precious metal ingots remain today as a testament to this troubled, yet apparently brilliant man. Perhaps ten different silver ingots exist, mostly from the Gold Hill Assay Office. A few may have originated from the short-lived Virginia City office. At least five gold ingots exist from Wiegand’s Gold Hill Assay Office, all dated 1865 or 1866, which was during the initial period of his Comstock assay business, and during which time Wiegand pushed the specie in payment issue in preference over greenbacks.
Much has been written of late on Wiegand, but little of it coming from detailed research. Wiegand’s historical record clearly demonstrates that he made many presentation ingots including one to Sam Clemens. More importantly, he was an outspoken proponent of specie as money. He constantly pushed the “specie as money” concept in the press, in public speeches, in printed pamphlets, and in his own newspaper. From his early days working for the Branch Mint at San Francisco to his last days on the Comstock, Wiegand promoted the use of gold and silver.