Editor's note: The Top 10 Stories of 2014 have been judged
by Coin World staff to be the most impactful and memorable
numismatic stories of the past year. They are not ranked in any
See all of the Top 10 Stories of 2014
The wreck site of the ill-fated SS
Central America yielded additional gold,
silver and other treasures during salvage operations reopened in 2014.
Five months of remotely operated vehicle dives began in mid-April from Odyssey Marine Exploration’s
Odyssey Explorer, the first to the wreck site off the coast
of South Carolina since recovery operations by another salvor ended in 1991.
Marine Exploration reports that during its salvage operations it
recovered more than 3,000 U.S. and foreign gold
coins, more than 11,000 silver coins, numerous gold assay bars, gold
nuggets, gold dust and jewelry.
The SS Central America sank nearly 200 miles off the coast of
South Carolina on Sept. 12, 1857, during a hurricane.
The wreck site was identified in 1987 and recovery operations took
place from 1988 through 1991 by the original salvors, Columbus-America
Millions of dollars in sales and several court cases later, Recovery Limited Partnership has become the
court-appointed salvor-in-possession of the shipwreck. And on March 3,
2014, Odyssey Marine Exploration officials announced the firm has been
awarded an exclusive contract to return to the wreck site for further excavation.
2014 salvage operations have ended, but Odyssey Marine looks forward
to further recoveries.
Just how much treasure remains at the site, and in what form, is yet
to be determined, but according to some experts, it could be worth in
the tens of millions to hundreds of millions of dollars.
“In my opinion, the treasure is wonderfully complex and complicated,
far more so than the previously recovered treasure (1988 – 1991) from
the S.S. Central America,” said Bob Evans in a Dec. 2, 2014, email to
World. Evans was the chief scientist and historian on the
earlier salvage operations and returned in the same capacity for the
2014 recovery efforts.
“As you (and many others) know, the recovered treasure has been
published, to the extent that it is known, in the court documents and
releases by Odyssey Marine Exploration,” Evans said. “The context of
those recoveries await further examination and analysis. All
information about it is currently preliminary, since the recovered
pieces were examined closely only once, by me, on board the Odyssey
Explorer, identified by me, photographed when unique to the 2014
expedition, and packed for delivery to the Marshals and the Substitute Custodian.
“I have not seen it since, nor has anyone else. It is safely and
securely stored. The court moves at a deliberate pace, and when some
decisions and rulings occur, I will resume the work of examining,
discovering, and reporting in much more detail.”
Odyssey Marine plans to return to the wreck site in 2015.
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