GOLD BARS REVIEW
Michael E. Marotta offers the following brief observation on "Western American Gold and Unparted Bars: a Review of the Evidence" by Michael Hodder, which appears in the American Numismatic Society's AJN Second Series 11 (1999):
"Consistently observational and never theoretical in his method, Hodder demonstrates that there is no general way to distinguish genuine bars from fakes. For myself, as a fan of the "Columbo" series of mysteries, I was most impressed with Hodder's explanations of what one would have to do if one were motivated to create simulation assay bars."
A reading of the article shows "what one would have to do" discussions on p136-137 (for the Western bars) and p145-146 (for the Mexican bars). The paper's conclusion is that "The Mexican bars remain in a sort of numismatic limbo, awaiting the attention of serious study." but that "the question of the Western bars should now be settled in their favor."
As a bibliophile, your editor naturally found the footnotes and bibliography as interesting as the text, referring as they do to rare manuscripts, such as Breen's "Evidence to be Read at the Trial of the Knave of Hearts" and the report of the USAOG Study Group. Still to be published is Daniel Owens' upcoming book, "California Coiners and Assayers, 1849-1863", described as "in press".
Wayne Homren, Editor
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