Odyssey Marine completes latest phase of treasure salvage operations from wreck of SS Central America

Suspends operations to allow repairs, new equipment installation for recovery vessel
By , Coin World
Published : 09/17/14
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More than 15,500 gold and silver coins, 45 gold bars and hundreds of gold nuggets, deposits of gold dust, jewelry and other artifacts have been recovered over the past five months by Odyssey Marine Exploration from the sunken SS Central America.

The salvage company's recovery ship, Odyssey Explorer, returned to port in Charleston, S.C., for necessary repairs and installment of new equipment, Odyssey officials announced Sept. 16. The repairs and equipment installation are expected to take two to three weeks, according to Odyssey officials.

The Odyssey Explorer also recently completed a 161,000-square-meter, high-resolution video survey of the shipwreck and surrounding seabed. The extensive time involved conducting this planned site survey, as well as days of unworkable weather due to Hurricane Cristobal, resulted in a smaller than average inventory of items recovered during the past month, according to Odyssey officials.

Operational reports and inventories of items recovered can be found here.

According to the cargo inventory report filed with the U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Va., covering salvage operations for items recovered between Aug. 19 and Sept. 14, the items recovered include:

➤ Coronet gold $20 double eagles — eight 1856-S coins, 13 of the 1857-S coins and one 1852 coin.

➤ Coronet gold $10 eagles — one 1857-S coin.

➤ Coronet gold $5 half eagles — one 1843 coin, one 1846 coin and three 1856-S coins.

➤ Gold $2.50 quarter eagles — one 1836 Classic Head coin, and three coins of the Coronet design: 1853, 1856-S and 1857-S.

➤ Gold dollars — one 1852 Coronet coin and two gold dollars unidentified by date or type.

Two 1856 California fractional gold pieces were also recovered — one a quarter dollar and the other a half dollar — as well as several U.S. copper large cents and several U.S. silver coins.

While the shipyard work on the Odyssey Explorer is being performed, Odyssey Marine Exploration and Ira Owen Kane, the court-appointed receiver of Recovery Limited Partnership, will evaluate information and data gathered from the 2014 operations, including the new visual survey, to plan future operations.

Depending on the results of this analysis, operations at the SS Central America site could resume within the next 12 months, according to Odyssey officials.

Additional details can be found here.

The SS Central America sank 160 miles off the coast of South Carolina on Sept. 12, 1857, during a hurricane. The wreck site was located by another salvor in 1987 and treasure recovered between 1988 and 1991. In 2014, Recovery Limited Partnership awarded Odyssey the exclusive contract for the excavation and recovery of additional cargo from the wreck site.

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