Insights

SS Central America wreck yields more gold during April 15 ROV reconnaissance

Salvors find ingots, coins during two-hour dive
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By , Coin World
Published : 05/09/14
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After remaining undisturbed for more than 20 years, the site of the 1857 shipwreck SS Central America off the Carolina coast is starting to yield gold treasure once again.

During a two-hour reconnaissance dive April 15, Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc., based in Tampa, Fla., retrieved two 19th century Coronet gold $20 double eagles and seven assay ingots fabricated from gold from the California Gold Rush.

The bars range in weight from 96.5 to 313.5 troy ounces, in varying fineness.

The gold melt value alone for the recovered items totals more than $1.2 million. The market value is likely going to be many multiples of that figure, based on prices received for similar items previously salvaged and sold into the collector market.

Some ingots recovered in the earlier salvage operations, by Columbus-America Discovery Group between 1988 and 1991, have individually sold in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Adam Crum, vice president at Monaco Rare Coins in Newport Beach, Calif., said May 7 that he is thrilled at the opportunities that await marketing any of the new treasure recovered by Odyssey Exploration from the wreck site.

“I wish I had some bars to sell,” Crum said.

Monaco, starting in the early 2000s, conducted extensive marketing in selling some of the bars and coins that were recovered from the wreck site between 1988 and 1991. 

Crum confirmed Monaco has bought and sold many of the gold bars more than once since they first became available for sale.

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1 comment
"As for the site itself, there is one thing that I can tell you without any qualification – and that is that anyone who thought that the previous operations twenty years ago recovered all the gold and valuables from the site was clearly mistaken. Nearly every day of seafloor operations produces new discoveries and recoveries of gold in a dazzling array of different forms.
Early recovery results are well beyond our expectations. We’ve already recovered over $100,000 in 1857 face value of ingots and other gold including rare natural nuggets, jewelry and a wide array of different coins. The collection we have recovered to date represents an amazing cross section of the type of wealth that resulted from the California gold rush, and coupled with the excellent methodical archaeological work our team is conducting, will contribute a great deal to the historical record.
Based on estimates provided by the independent expert hired by the court-appointed Receiver, this gold recovered to date represents a small fraction of his best estimate of what remained on the site. Now that we’ve completed recovery of most of the gold and valuable artifacts on the surface outside the hull structure, we’re starting on the excavation inside the hull itself. Ingots, gold nuggets, dust and coins have been coming up from this new excavation area daily, so we are off to a great start on this project.' "

Above from Odyssey Marine's annual meeting this week. Not bad for only a few weeks on the site. I can't wait to see what they have recovered. Who will be selling these new coins and bars?