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The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 2, January 11, 2009, Article 4


Dave Bowers forwarded this release about his latest book on the coins and history of the S.S. New York shipwreck. -Editor
Treasure Ship S.S. New York Stack's announces the immediate release of a new book, The Treasure Ship S.S. New York: Her Story, 1837-1846, by Q. David Bowers. Combining adventure, numismatic history and lore, tragedy on the high seas, and the recovery of an undersea treasure, this book will be an absorbing “read” from front to back.

The S.S. New York, launched in New York City in 1837 and earlier engaged in the coastwise trade from New York to Charleston, was important in the Gulf of Mexico some years later. In 1846 it was an important passenger and freight ship connecting New Orleans with Galveston, the latter being the largest city in the newly formed (1845) state of Texas. On one fateful day in September the ship with crew, passengers, and silver and gold coins aboard left Galveston on what was supposed to be a routine trip to New Orleans. In the days before accurate weather predictions, there seemed to be no cause for alarm.

As the ship headed out of port and into the Gulf, rain and wind increased, surely to pass quickly it was thought. That did not happen. The intensity increased, and soon the ship was in the grips of a full-fledged hurricane. The crewmen and others struggled bravely, but to no avail, and the ship went down with a loss of several dozen lives and all of the treasure.

Fast forward to modern times, and a group of treasure seekers operating out of a port in Louisiana, styling themselves as the Gentlemen of Fortune, came upon the long lost wreck. The ship's bell was brought to the surface, giving positive identification. Legal and technical challenges had to be addressed. In the meantime, explorations continued.

By 2008, several thousand silver coins and hundreds of gold coins, up to and including 1846, had been found. Among these were some of the finest known examples of quarter eagles and half eagles from the southern mints of Charlotte, Dahlonega, and New Orleans.

Dave Bowers writes from first-hand experience, having gone out with the Gentlemen of Fortune to the wreck site to watch part of the recovery. In time, Stack's auctioned the more important pieces. The author gives you a “you are there” experience—in New Orleans and in Galveston in 1846, and aboard the ship.

The book, fully illustrated and quality hardbound, comprises 94 pages and lists for $29.95 plus shipping handling. However (and for a limited time only), we offer you free shipping if you mention the code SSNYFREE. To order, visit our Website at, or call us toll-free at 1-866-811-1804.

I have a copy of the book and can attest that it's another top-quality production from Dave. The hardbound book has a glossy pictorial cover illustrating the ship and several coins. Lots of interesting history (of course!), but what I found most interesting when first flipping through the book was Chapter 8: Treasure & Artifacts from the Deep, which illustrates examples of the myriad of different types of coins found on the ship, a wonderful snapshot in time of the nation's circulating coinage.

The first coin is a beauty, an AU 1836 quarter eagle. The U.S. quarter eagle, half eagle, and eagle coins are indeed a treasure. The one private gold coin found in the wreck is an 1834 $5 Bechtler. Next up is six pages of foreign gold coins, attesting to the wide use of foreign coins.

It's a relatively short book, but a great read and something I would encourage to be marketed and distributed both in numismatic circles and beyond. -Editor

Wayne Homren, Editor

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