Dave Bowers forwarded this article from the Mississippi Sun Herald. The article discusses rare gold coins salvaged from the wreck of a steamship sunk in 1846. Stack's will be auctioning the coins in New York. -EditorA steamship that sank off the Louisiana coast during an 1846 storm has produced a trove of rare gold coins, including some produced at two, mostly forgotten U.S. mints in the South, coin experts say.
Last year, four Louisiana residents salvaged hundreds of gold coins and thousands of silver coins from the wreckage of the SS New York in about 60 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico, said David Bowers, co-chairman of Stack's Rare Coins in New York.
"Some of these are in uncirculated or mint condition," Bowers said, predicting the best could bring $50,000 to $100,000 each at auction.
Those coins were struck at mints in New Orleans; Charlotte, N.C.; and Dahlonega, Ga. The Charlotte and Dahlonega mints operated from 1838, when the first significant U.S. gold deposits were found in those areas, until the start of the Civil War in 1861, said Douglas Mudd, curator of the American Numismatic Association's Money Museum in Denver. Neither mint ever reopened.
The New York was a 165-foot sidewheel steamer built in its namesake city in 1837. By 1846, it was making regular commercial runs between Galveston, Texas and New Orleans. A storm took the ship to the bottom, killing 17 of the 53 people aboard. The other 36 were rescued.
A group of four hobbyists, who enjoyed looking for sunken vessels in the Gulf, discovered what was left of the SS New York around 1990. After several trips in the ensuing years and bringing up a handful of coins at a time from the mud that virtually covered the ship, the four invested in a full-scale salvage operation in 2007.
John Albanese, a rare coin dealer in Far Hills, N.J. since 1978, appraised about 200 of the gold coins. "This is the most impressive Southern-minted gold I've seen in my lifetime," he said.
To read the complete article, see: Coin dealers examining gold find from Louisiana coast
Wayne Homren, Editor
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