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Tumbaga Silver Bars

Christopher Columbus' discovery of the New World in 1492 marked the beginning of a new era of expansion. Spanish adventurers, driven by rumors of vast riches of gold and silver, conducted expeditions throughout the Caribbean and into South America. This was the age of the conquistador; the most famous of whom were Hernando Cortes and Francisco Pizzarro. Cortes and his band marched on the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, (Mexico City) in 1519 and claimed victory in the summer of 1521. Likewise, Pizarro subjugated the Incas of Peru in 1532 and founded the capital, Lima in 1535. The wealth of the two greatest empires in the New World was now in the hands of the Spaniards. The plundered silver, gold and copper were hastily melted into crude ingots call tumbaga. Contemporary documents of the time refer to the tumbaga artifacts but until 1992 none were actually known to exist, since all that made it to Spain were promptly melted and separated back into pure gold, silver and copper.

In 1992, a little over 200 tumbaga bars were recovered from the remains of a shipwreck off Grand Bahama Island. Research places their date of manufacture to the period of 1521 - 1535, precisely the time period of the fall of the Aztec and Inca empires. The majority of the bars are stamped with the assayer monogram BV (with a wavy line over the B and small o over the V). Interestingly, the documented assayer for the Spanish conqueror of Mexico, Hernando Cortes, is Bernardino Vasques whose assayer mark would likely be the same monogrammed BV.

All bars have been professionally restored by Douglas R. Armstrong. His 90-page book in addition to a certificate of authenticity accompanies each bar.


Markings - Serial #RC, assayer BV (with a wavy line over the B & small o over the V), ley #lVe (1500 or 62.5% pure), one partial tax stamp and one bite mark.


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Tumbaga Bar


    Item#:  98023
    Tag#:  M - 81
    Purity:  62.5% silver
    Weight:  6.8 lbs
    Size: 10x28x1.5 cm

    Not For Sale Reference Only

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TbarM81book.jpg (36518 bytes)



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