Precious Metals

Odyssey Marine Exploration to recover SS Central America

A selection of gold ingots found during the recovery of the SS Central America shipwreck by the Columbus-America Discovery Group.

Coin World file images.

Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. has been awarded an exclusive contract to conduct an archaeological excavation to recover the remaining cargo from the SS Central America

The firm announced the decision on March 3, 2014.

The Central America, nicknamed the “Ship of Gold,” sank approximately 160 miles off of the coast of South Carolina in September 1857 and was one of the largest documented shipments of gold ever lost at sea. 

Ira Owen Kane, the court-appointed receiver who represents Recovery Limited Partnership, which has exclusive salvage rights over the shipwreck, said that proposals were circulated to nine firms with expertise in the deep-ocean exploration and recovery industry.

In the arrangement, Odyssey will receive 80 percent of recovery proceeds until a fixed rate — which has not been disclosed — has been paid. After that, Odyssey will receive 45 percent of the recovery proceeds.

Kane said, “After conducting an exhaustive review of the extensive amount of historical research available on the shipwreck, our experts estimate the shipwreck still holds a commercial shipment of gold that was valued at approximately $93,000 in 1857, as well as a substantial amount of passenger gold valued in 1857 between $250,000 and $1,280,000.”

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