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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 39, September 24, 2006, Article 6

CENTRAL AMERICA ARTIFACTS SIEZED AT LONG BEACH

Alan V. Weinberg writes: "U.S. Marshals seized numerous Central
America-sourced large gold ingots and, perhaps, coins, on exhibit
at the Long Beach coin show on Thursday, the show's opening day.

The seizure totaled many millions of dollars in numismatic value
and left Monaco's large vertical black-lined display cases virtually
empty. The same exhibit had been prominent at the Denver ANA and was
probably featured on Denver television, news of which may have
reached litigators or the original Central America investors. It
is unknown if the Marshals went on to make seizures at Monaco's
corporate office or their bank.

The seizure may have been triggered by a lawsuit by creditors/
investors in the Central America ocean venture who had not yet
been paid despite huge sales of the recovered treasure to third
parties. The story has been addressed in Forbes Magazine and other
news media with the main topic being the current whereabouts of
Tommy Thompson who put together the Central America exploration
and recovery. Apparently, the court that ordered the seizure in
California believes that the Central America artifacts cannot
legally change hands if the original investors haven't been paid.

One interesting side note is that several dealers at the show
pulled Central America ingots and coins from their showcases
when word got out of the  Monaco seizure on the bourse floor.
No reason to give the Marshals an excuse for an expanded seizure.

Ironically, today's LA Times had an article on Tommy Thompson
and I emailed the staff writer to advise her to read the Forbes
magazine piece and gave her background on the Long Beach seizure."

[The L.A. Times story was in the kids' section, playing up the
little boy grows up to find treasure angle.
To read the story, see:  Full Story
-Editor]

"One wonders about the marketability and "exposure risk" of all
the Central America ingots and coins in numismatic "circulation"
until the case is resolved and that could be years down the road.

Thousands, if not tens of thousands of 1857-S, 56-S etc $20's in
gem slabbed condition have been privately sold and auctioned over
the past few years. Does that mean the court can subpoena all the
sales records and advise the owners to surrender their coins?
This was done in effect with the stolen and switched American
Numismatic Society large cents where the ANS additionally was
seeking treble damages from innocent 3rd party buyers.  This
legal action subsequently resulted in the loss of dozens of
longtime ANS members.  But, the ANS eventually recovered virtually
all their large cents, taken or switched decades earlier, through
contingency-based fees and thus highly motivated NYC attorneys."

[By the time this E-Sylum reaches readers, the numismatic press
will have published more details on the seizure. Here are links
to some background articles, one from Coin World and the rest
from The E-Sylum archive:

'EUREKA' BAR SELLS FOR $8 MILLION (COIN WORLD, 11/26/2001):
Full Story

FORBES CENTRAL AMERICA ARTICLE FOLLOWS THE MONEY: SHIP OF FOOLS?
esylum_v09n24a09.html

BOB EVANS ON THE FORBES CENTRAL AMERICA ARTICLE
esylum_v09n25a11.html

WHERE ARE YOU, TOMMY THOMPSON?
esylum_v09n26a21.html

Monaco Financial issued a press release on September 19th.  They
say the seizure was a result of a New York lawsuit filed by a
creditor of the Columbus-America Discovery group.

"Officials of Monaco Financial of Newport Beach, California say
they will vigorously fight the seizure of six California gold
rush ingots and one gold coin from the famous sunken treasure
of the S.S. Central America. The seven items were taken from the
Monaco's showcase display at the Long Beach, California Coin,
Stamp & Collectibles Expo, September 14, 2006, forcibly under
an ex parte court order.

"This is theft of private property. Monaco is forced and prepared
to use its resources to rectify the situation, recover these items
and protect our firm's reputation and the property rights of all
collectors," said Adam Crum, Vice President of Monaco.

The items were seized as security for damages in connection with
a lawsuit filed earlier in New York City by International Deep
Survey, Inc., an underwater research company, against Columbus-America
Discovery Group, the Ohio-based exploration group that found and
retrieved the S.S. Central America treasure in the 1990's.
International Deep Sea Survey and nine current and former employees,
claim they are still owed nearly $12 million by Columbus-America and
others, for sonar work performed two decades ago.

"Among the S.S. Central America items taken by a U.S. Marshal and
private security guards were a 754 ounce, Justh & Hunter gold ingot,
and a 622 ounce, Kellogg & Humbert gold ingot, both made in the mid
1850's. The seized coin is an 1857 San Francisco Mint Double Eagle.

"Five of the ingots are privately owned by customers, who are
likewise not a party to the suit. This was not a garnishment, we
were robbed!" said Crum."

To read the complete press release, see: Full Story

-Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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