The 1857 wreck of the S.S. Central America yielded a fabulous trove of gold coins and bars. The key organizer of the expedition was a scientist named Tommy Thompson, who much later faced
charges relating to the disappearance of souvenir coins minted with salvaged gold. Thompson became a fugitive who was sought by the U.S. Marshalls office. Someone who has been following the case
against Thompson writes:
I recently found the below link regarding Tommy Thompson. Apparently this was filmed in December 2014, a month before he was arrested in Florida. It is approximately 20 minutes long and was done
by ESPN films. I thought your readers might be interested in it.
Signals: In Deep Water Once upon a time, the SS Central America, a side wheel steamer with a cache of gold aboard, sank during a storm in 1857. Years later a group of men used library
research, Bayesian theory and underwater technology to find the ship.
This is my kind of video. Rather than being about Thompson, it's actually about the hard and thoughtful work that went into finding the salvage site. In it, E-Sylum
contributor Bob Evans, Chief Scientist and Historian for the S.S. Central America project, walks through his steps researching, calculating and estimating where the wreck would most likely be found.
He gathered data, evaluated it, adjusted it for important factors, combined it togehter, and with the use of math and statistics narrowed down the field where searchers should look for the remains
of the vessel. Author Gary Kinder is interviewed as well - his 1999 Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea is a fascinating account of the successful effort to find the ship's wreckage and
salvage its treasure including thousands of gold coins and bars. Here are some still shots. -Editor
Reading Old Newspaper Accounts
To watch the complete video, see:
Signals: In Deep Water (http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=12834923)
The first salvage operation took place in 1989. A new group, also including Bob Evans, returned to the site in 2014 to recover additional gold and artifacts. I understand a
hearing took place in state court regarding that second operation; it was more or less a reunion of sorts of most of the major players from the saga. A good portion of the hearing was deciding who
would control the marketing and schedule of selling of the gold and artifacts recovered in that one season. Here are excerpts from a recent Columbus Dispatch article. -Editor
A court-appointed receiver has asked a Franklin County judge to approve the sale of $30 million of gold brought up from the SS Central America shipwreck to help satisfy claims of creditors and
The 16,000 artifacts recovered in 2014 by the Odyssey Marine Exploration’s dive on the 1857 wreck off the Carolina coast include gold dust, coins and bullion. An original estimate had placed the
value at $47 million.
Ira O. Kane, the receiver representing Recovery Limited Partnership and Columbus Exploration LLC, filed a motion Oct. 24 with Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Laurel Beatty-Blunt asking her to
approve the agreement. The judge will hold a hearing for “any interested party” at 9 a.m. Nov. 30.
Kane has an agreement to sell the gold to California Gold Marketing Group LLC, which will sell the gold for cash.
To read the complete article, see:
Sunken gold from shipwreck could be sold
To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
SS CENTRAL AMERICA SALVAGE: THEN AND NOW (http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v17n45a08.html)
THE SS CENTRAL AMERICA TREASURE AND THE HUNT FOR TOMMY THOMPSON (http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v15n35a11.html)
LATEST SS CENTRAL AMERICA FINDS REVEALED (http://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v17n30a05.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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