Adelaide Assay Office Ingot from the Collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia


Adelaide Assay Office Ingot, 1852, Adelaide gold, irregular rectangular, 4.2 x 2.8 cm uniface

Adelaide Assay Office Ingot, 1852, Adelaide
gold, irregular rectangular,
4.2 x 2.8 cm uniface

Above you can see an Adelaide Assay Office Ingot from the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia. We were lucky enough to have seen this amazing piece of Australian numismatic history on our visit to the Art Gallery of South Australian in early 2014. This image above is used with full permission of the Art Gallery and may not be re-used without their permission. The full description the Ingot as required by the Art Gallery of South Australia is:

Joshua PAYNE, die-sinker and stamper
born Britain 1810, arrived Australia
c.1849, died Adelaide 1889
Adelaide Assay Office Ingot
1852, Adelaide
gold, irregular rectangular,
4.2 x 2.8 cm uniface
Impressed marks of a circular stamp
recording Weight of Ingot, Carat stamp,
and Assay Mark (a shield with S.A. with a crown above)
Purchase 1912
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

The Adelaide Assay Office Ingots

We’ve written about Adelaide Assay Office Ingots before but it’s worth having a quick look at where the Assay Office itself stood. The Assay Office opened up on February 10, 1852 in government buildings on King William Street. It seems likely that these buildings were between the corner of Flinders Street and Victoria Square. This is supported by The Adelaide City Council website which says:

“a government construction on the corner of King William Street and Flinders Street, on the northern side of Victoria Square, in late 1839 housed the offices of the colonial secretary, treasurer, accountant, and the Lands and Survey Department. Treasury vaults were added in November 1850. The vaults contained furnaces to smelt gold from the Victorian gold rushes of the early 1850s”.


Similarly the Adelaide Heritage Site says about the Treasury Building on the southern corner of King William and Flinders St:

“During these escorts some 327,000 ounces of gold was brought to Adelaide without loss through wild lonely country inhabited by bushrangers. The escorts were welcomed by large crowds in the quadrangle of the Treasury Building on the north-east corner of Victoria Square.”

The ingots themselves are staggeringly rare, with just 8 extant and only two in private hands. It’s not likely the authors or anyone they know will ever own one, and the chance to hold one was truly special. We must give our thanks again to the Art Gallery of South Australia.


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