Speaking of gold, the fabulous Ship of Gold exhibit will come out of storage for the upcoming ANA convention in Boston. I was fortunate to see this exhibit several years ago at another ANA convention (but I've forgotten which one!). Below are excerpts from the American Numismatic Association press release. The first image was provided by Donn Perlman.
The incredible “Ship of Gold” exhibit, showcasing California Gold Rush-era sunken treasure recovered from the 1857 shipwreck of the SS Central America, will make port in Boston at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money, August 10-14 at the Hynes Convention Center. The exhibit is courtesy of Monaco Rare Coins of Newport Beach, Calif.
The SS Central America was recovered in 1988 from nearly 8,000 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. The ship sank in a hurricane in September 1857 while carrying California gold from Panama to New York City.
“There will be examples of historic assayers’ ingots as well as San Francisco Mint and California territorial gold coins with a combined value of over $10 million,” said Adam Crum, vice president of Monaco. “One of the highlights is a huge Kellogg & Humbert ingot. Weighing just over 55 troy pounds, it is the largest surviving gold ingot of the California Gold Rush.”
The exhibit also includes one of the 13 recovered octagonal $50 gold pieces produced by the United States Assay Office of San Francisco, and the remains of a wooden cargo box that still contains approximately 110 Double Eagles as they were found on the ocean floor. Many appear to be 1857-S $20 gold pieces, apparently freshly struck at the San Francisco Mint when they were placed in the container for shipping.
Visitors will see the front pages of three 1857 newspapers that published stories about the shipwreck, the ordeal of survivors and the devastating economic effects created by the loss of the gold. Robert Evans, the chief scientist on the 1980s mission by the Columbus-America Discovery Group that located and recovered the magnificent sunken treasure, will be in Boston to meet visitors and discuss the SS Central America, her cargo, crew and passengers.
This is a don't-miss exhibit for numismatists. The S.S. Central America treasure is a once-in-a-thousand-years hoard. Many thanks to the companies and individuals who made the exhibit possible.
I've thought a lot lately about the recovery of the Central America treasure, because the flailing efforts of oil engineers to cap the spewing BP well illustrate how incredibly difficult it is to work as such ocean depths. I learned a lot by reading the Ship of Gold book and other books on the Central America salvage effort. It took a lot of technology, hard work, and brainpower to discover the wreck and recover coins and artifacts from water so deep the pressure would kill a man instantly. Robots and remote-control vehicles are the only way to do it.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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