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, The market for cast gold ingots is still relatively unresearched, and this area of collection is currently experiencing something of an awakening. Trade mainly occurs in the area of modern investment gold (bullion) and coins, but the interest in historic  ingots is growing. A few dealers have established themselves particularly well in the European environment in the trading of historic cast gold ingots, including those ingots from manufacturers no longer actively involved in production. Uwe Winkler from  Numisworld in Leipzig (numisworld.de) is one of these, and he was kind enough to make this short contribution.  Fascination: The collecting of historic cast gold ingots   Gold ingots are associated with many civilizations, including that of the ancient Sumerian culture, the realm of the Pharaohs, finds in ancient South African ore mines, the Roman Empire and, of no less significance, the advanced civilizations of South  America. Gold has always been a status symbol and was revered in ancient cultures as the metal of the Sun and the Gods. These early gold ingots were invariably manufactured through casting and, except for a few exceptions, were not stamped. The  purity of the gold corresponded to that of the nuggets which were found and collected. As gold was always much sought after by plunderers, it has historically been a favourite prize among the spoils of war and, ultimately, with hundreds of tons of this precious booty falling into the hands of Spanish and Portuguese conquerors, only a few  examples of ancient ingots have survived and can be seen today in museum collections.  The collecting of historic cast ingots is a relatively new area of interest which has only developed in the last 10 years. Consequently, catalogued literature on collectors is extremely sparse as, quite simply, no necessity was previously felt to keep  Collectable gold ingots available today range from pieces salvaged from historic shipwrecks and released for sale on the collectors' market and Asian ingots dating from the era of the Opium Wars in China/Hong Kong to American gold ingots from the  era of the California Gold Rush originating in the period following the founding of San Francisco which, incidentally, were the first to be engraved with the number of ounces, the gold purity and then the value of this precious metal in dollars.  From this period on, cast gold ingots were produced in many countries by many royal households, numerous private manufacturers and banks. Increasingly, the goal here was to ensure an ability to pay major international transactions through this  medium, to secure material for the issuing of national gold currencies in subsequent years in various kingdoms and principalities and the need to finance major infrastructural projects and wars.   Aside from the well-known Royal Mint Refinery of the Rothschilds in London, other manufacturers were also active during the 19th century whose ingots are now considered to be of historical interest, given that they are no longer produced and those  still in existence are of a collectable character. These include Al. Buggenhout, Boschmans of Antwerp, Comptoir Lyon Alemand Louyot & Cie, Schöne Edelmetaal B.V., Gosudarstvenny Bank SSSR (the State Bank of the USSR), Swiss Bank Corporation  & J. Gambert Essayeur and Thurn &Taxis Edelmetalle. 
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