An Associated Press article published July 17, 2014 described the latest inventory of coins and artifacts from the current recovery operations at the wreck of the SS Central America.
Deep-sea explorers recovered millions of dollars in gold and silver and a slew of personal items that are a virtual time capsule of the California Gold Rush, according to newly unsealed court documents obtained by The Associated Press that provide the first detailed inventory of a treasure trove being resurrected from an 1857 shipwreck at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
The recovery effort at the SS Central America shipwreck, about 200 miles off the South Carolina coast, began in April and is expected to continue throughout the summer.
The new recovery operation was made possible after the court-appointed receiver awarded a contract to Tampa, Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration to conduct the recovery in hopes of bringing up more treasure and paying back investors.
The inventories, unsealed by a federal judge in Virginia late Wednesday, show that Odyssey Marine has brought up 43 solid gold bars, 1,300 $20 double eagle gold coins, and thousands more gold and silver coins.
Bob Evans, an Ohio scientist who was on both the original and current expeditions, said in a statement "the variety and quality of the coins being recovered is just astonishing."
He said the double eagles are just as "spectacular" as the ones recovered more than 25 years ago, but that the most recent recovery has resulted in a wider variety of coins.
"I have seen what I believe are several of the finest known examples," Evans said. "The coins date from 1823 to 1857 and represent a wonderful diversity of denominations and mints, a time capsule of virtually all the coins that were used in 1857."
The passenger items recovered from the Central America so far provide a window into the world of a California Gold Rush miner and other Americans who were on their way from The Golden State to New York when their ship sunk. Among them was a safe that contained two cotton pieces of clothing wrapped tightly around gold coins, nuggets, and dust, a pouch with 134 gold double eagles, a leather saddlebag with more nuggets, and a small packet filled with paper and sealed with twine.
Other items include wire-rimmed glasses, a gold puzzle ring, and the photographs of at least 60 passengers. The photos are called ambrotypes, a short-lived type of photography that used glass plates, and were left at the bottom of the ocean until Odyssey Marine can figure out how to safely recover them.
"Photographs of any mid-19th century Gold Rush miners are rare, and these ambrotypes are the only examples found on any 19th-century shipwreck worldwide," according to a court report by Odyssey Marine.
The inventories document what Odyssey Marine recovered at the shipwreck from the beginning of the operation on April 15 through June 15. An inventory of operations from the past month should be filed soon.
To read the complete article, see:
APNewsBreak: Shipwreck's gold inventory released
Phil Iversen and Nick Graver forwarded the article as well.
Dick Hanscom forwarded a version of the story from the Daily Mail. Thanks.
To read the complete Daily Mail article, see:
43 gold bars, 1,300 double eagle coins and thousands of pieces of silver: Inventory of treasure worth MILLIONS of dollars revealed from 1857 shipwreck off South Carolina coast
On July 18, 2014 The Maritime Executive published the first photos I've seen of the new finds, which include both coins and gold bars. Included is an eerie view of one of the SS Central America's iconic paddlewheels. Here's an excerpt and small version of the photos - see the complete article for larger versions.
The inventories detail the items recovered to date, which include gold ingots, nuggets, dust and a wide variety of gold coins from $20 double eagles down through $10, $5, $2.50 and $1 gold coins, as well as California fractional gold, territorials and a wide variety of foreign gold. Additional significant cultural heritage artifacts have been identified and will be recovered.
RLP's chief scientist Bob Evans served as chief scientist on the 1988-1991 expeditions to the SS Central America and later as curator for the treasure recovered. As one of RLP's representatives on the project, Evans has been aboard the Odyssey Explorer since operations began in April 2014, cataloging the gold as it is recovered.
"The variety and quality of the coins being recovered is just astonishing," commented Evans. "Of course there are spectacular $20 double eagles like we found back in the 80s and 90s. But the wide variety of other denominations makes this year's recoveries very different from the earlier finds. I have seen what I believe are several of the finest known examples so far. The coins date from 1823 to 1857 and represent a wonderful diversity of denominations and mints, a time capsule of virtually all the coins that were used in 1857."
Odyssey President and Chief Operating Officer Mark Gordon added: "The operational reports filed with the court provide an overview of the activities conducted during each offshore period. The first two reports detail the pre-disturbance work and the recovery of items visible on the surface in the debris field, as well as initial archaeological excavation activities in the stern area of the shipwreck itself. The next report, which will be filed before July 25, will cover work conducted from mid-June to mid-July. As planned, during this period we made significant progress removing large amounts of coal and overburden to access certain areas of the shipwreck. We're looking forward to getting back to work at the site in the coming days."
To read the complete article, see:
Odyssey Recovers SS Central America Shipwreck Treasures
Wayne Homren, Editor
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