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Company Name: American Smelting and Refining Company

Location: ASARCO has owned mines in Mission, Ray and Silver Bell, Arizona; Butte, Troy, Black Pine and Mike Horse, Montana; Knoxville, Tennessee; Glover, Missouri; Garfield, Utah; Tar Creek, Oklahoma; Leadville, Colorado; Ground Hog, New Mexico; and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, among others.

ASARCO has had smelting and refining operations in Hayden, Arizona; El Paso and Amarillo, Texas; East Helena, Montana; Garfield and Murray, Utah; Selby, California; Denver, Colorado; Perth Amboy, New Jersey; Baltimore, Maryland; Bunker Hill, Idaho; and Omaha, Nebraska.

Company Information: Wikipedia has an extensive entry on ASARCO, which is still a company today.

Selby, CA location:

From “In 1884, under the direction of Prentiss Selby, the Selby Smelting and Refining Co. (often referred to as the Selby Smelting Works, or simply Selby Works) decided to move their huge refining operations from San Francisco to Contra Costa County. The Selby Works (the largest gold, silver and lead refining firm in the Western U.S.) had long been a cornerstone of San Francisco industry. Their growing success, however, also made them an increasingly bad neighbor in the city [due to emissions from the smokestacks].”

“Seeking to move to a more rural area that provided both a buffer from the city and room for expansion, the firm purchased a large tract of land from Patrick Tormey, near the shore of the Carquinez Strait. The site was ideal for Selby, being more isolated than the firm's original downtown operation, with room to grow and being located near very deep waters that could accommodate ocean-going shipping vessels. Construction quickly began on large furnaces, industrial buildings and a deep-water docking facility through which the firm could receive large shipments of freshly mined ore from around the world to be refined. Not surprisingly, eager to support big business in their backyard, county officials were quick to designate the unincorporated area around the plant as “Selby”, a name which still appears on some maps today.”

ASARCO purchased the Selby Smelting and Refining Company in 1905 and operated it for the next 67 years, closing it down in 1971.

From an East Bay Times article published in 2018 (The company town was razed in 1971, and the smokestack and refinery which had closed that same year, were then demolished in 1973 to make way for a new port facility):

Circa 1940's refinery badge:

An interesting aside for silver ingot collectors: In one iteration of John Ford, Jr.'s story giving background on the Thorne Mining & Refining ingots, he states that the silver for the (now known fantasy) pieces was processed in San Francisco by the Selby Smelting Works. [From Stacks 1997 Elm Rock Collection Lot #1025]

Amarillo, TX location: (to be finished)

Troy, MT location: (to be finished)

Known sizes: 1 oz rounds, ~5-6 oz bars, 15oz bar


Obverse Reverse Additional Description
15oz ingot, displaying old style serif typeface “FINE” stamping, and a unique hallmark
5.1 oz portrait piece from the Amarillo, TX refinery
1982 ~6 oz bar
a/asarco.txt · Last modified: 2019/12/07 16:44 by oldpouralchemy