According to history these gold bars should not exist. But there they are, defying the experts, pundits, non-believers and aristocrats that would have you believe that if it does exist then it surely belongs to them. But that's a matter for the courts, lawyers or pistols to settle at a different time. The mystery of the gold that shouldn't exist goes back to the hellish Southwest territroies of early Arizona and Sonora, Mexico when the Jesuits had a heavy presence in the area. These black robed priests were converting the Natives and settling new towns in future Arizona cities and according to some were also mining gold from the rich desert hills. Of course, mainstream history denies that the Jesuits ever did any mining in the Southwest and even Jesuit historians like the late Father Charles Polzer state without equivocation that the Jesuits' in Primeria Alta never operated any mines or owned any Silver or Gold except what they used for trade for goods and services. They certainly weren't operating, smelting and mining their own gold and silver. Or were they?
A few years ago Ray Kopman lent two gold bars to the The Arizona Mining and Minerals Museum in the hopes that someone would identify them as Jesuit.
Later, treasure hunter and Jesuit historian Mike McChesney, was contacted by Kopman to act as a broker, in the hopes of trying to sell them. McChesney was able to gather more history about the bars, and take better pictures.
Do these two bars represent the proof of an old Jesuit mining operation? If so they would be historically significant, in that they represent something that according to the experts shouldn't exist, like Jesuit Mines in Arizona. Professor W. Wrightson was an executive for the Aztec Syndicate Mining Group who spent half of his life exploring the Santa Cruz River Valley looking for good mining sites. While examining the long abandoned grounds of the Mission at Tumacacori in 1860 he found an oblong building where metallurgical operations were once carried out. Professor Wrightson wrote: Here are still the remains of furnaces and quantities of slag, attesting the purpose for which this was formerly used.
But according to the Parks Services there was never any indication that smelting operations were going on in Tumacacori in the 1700s. But both father Kino's and father Manje's Diaries tell of visiting mines but they didn't specify which Mission had these mines. A number of Indian Revolts over the years, would make mining the area extremely difficult and as a result the locations of these mysterious mines have been lost to history. That's why Kopman's bars are so fascinating, they provide a real link to this suppressed bit of history. When Padre Kino died in 1711, these bars were given to a Yaqui Family who kept them until the 1940s when the last member of that family sold them to Kopman. Kopman displayed the two bars off and on at the Arizona Mining and Minerals Museum from 1947 until 2004. Many people tried to buy the bars over the years, but Kopman refused to sell, because the story from the Yaqui man was that these were actually the personal property of Padre Kino. True? Who knows. Kino's diaries don't say anything specific about these two bars.
It is a well known fact that the Jesuits taught mining schools in the New World. Now, if the Jesuits stuck by the letter of the law (according to Charles III, they were not allowed to mine), they would not have owned or operated any mines. We know the Jesuits wouldn't do anything against the King's Laws would they? Why did they get expelled from the New World? Because the Jesuits were becoming too powerful and wealthy and had the loyalty of the Indians (at that time) all of which made the Spanish very angry and jealous. Keep in mind they weren't just expelled either, King Charles III sent a secret Envoy to round up all the Jesuit Priests and put them on a ship back to Europe in 1767. But why would the King want the priests' roundup to be kept a secret? Doesn't really make a lot of sense on the surface, if you believe that they had no mines. If the Jesuits were poor, what would be the need for secrecy? They couldn't run anywhere. They weren't being executed. Just kicked out of the New World, and sent home. So, why the secrecy? Unless the Jesuits had mines in the far North of Pimeria Alta. Mines that were in direct conflict with the King's orders.
The only sensible reason to keep the Jesuit Roundups a secret, would be to grab them before they had a chance to hide something, or run away. And since there is nowehere to run in a vast endless desert, burying your goods seems a much wiser option. But what did they had to hide. Crops? Cattle? Converts? Those were all within their charter from the King. Nothing to hide there. Mines? Goes against the Kings Charter to the Jesuits. Large Scale mining operations, and none of the money going to the Crown would be a VERY GOOD reason to keep the Jesuit Roundups a secret. This way, the Spanish could catch the Jesuits before they had time to hide evidence of their mining operations. The King (after receiving reports of Jesuit mines), wanted to catch them with their pants down (so to speak). Only problem was, the Indians liked the Jesuits much more than they did the Spanish. When they saw the roundups in the Port Cities, they quickly sent word to the Missions farther inland. This resulted in the father's in Pimeria Alta Inland Areas getting about a six week head start. Plenty of time to backfill and bury mines and hide any cache's of gold and silver.
In the late 1930s, a man named Milton Rose supposedly found a Spanish Mine right near the border West of Nogales, Az. Here are B&W Pics of some of the 800 or so bars of Silver, Gold, and Silver-Gold Alloy (and this alloy was only about 40% Gold) of his discovery.
Charles Kenworthy recovered a Jesuit Cache consisting of 1028 silver bars thought to be a Martyr Cache for father Javier Saeta SJ who was murdered in the Pima Indian Uprising of 1695. This is a copy of the only known picture of one of those Silver Ingots: