Aaron Oppenheim passed along a FoxNews article about salvage efforts at the wreck of the S.S. North Carolina off the coast of South Carolina. I had seen a
Charlotte Observer article about it earlier in the day. The Observer piece says the salvagers believe "Many of the passengers were likely carrying coins from
the newly commissioned U.S. Mint in Dahlonega, Georgia..." -Editor
A 180-year-old shipwreck popular with scuba divers is proving to be a trove of rare coins and artifacts for a salvage project launched 20 miles off the South Carolina
Known to divers as “The Copper Pot,” the wreck is actually the Steamship North Carolina, which collided with another boat in 1840 with hundreds of gold coins stuffed in
passenger's steamer trunks.
The first of the newly found coins -- “several” $5 gold pieces dating from the mid-1830s -- were brought up in late September, along with 19th Century dinnerware and marble,
according to Blue Water Ventures International based in Florida.
“I can't believe what we're finding,” Keith Webb, president of Blue Water Ventures, told McClatchy news group. “The coins look almost as if they were just minted and it's
blowing our minds. It's because they were hidden by a large piece of copper and were not moved around in the sand by the current.”
The S.S. North Carolina was previously searched for treasure by an outfit called MAREX, which salvaged $700,000 worth of coins in the late 1990s. MAREX ceased working the site
in part because the coins were difficult to salvage.
Recovery efforts will continue -- weather permitting -- into November, he says.
Time will tell exactly what coins are recovered. We'll stay tuned for more news. I reached out for comment to E-Sylum reader and contributor Bob Evans, who has
worked on all of the salvage efforts from the wreck of the S.S. Central America. -Editor
I am aware of the S.S. North Carolina, remembering it from MAREX's effort back 20-odd years ago. Shipwrecks are all different, with this shallow-water (humans can
actually dive on it) never making it into my professional sphere. Very interesting however, and always neat to see the little numismatic wonders that are hidden in shipwrecks.
Remarkable time capsules!
To read the complete articles, see:
19th-century shipwreck is suddenly turning up gold coins off South Carolina coast
1840 shipwreck reveals trove of gold coins that could be worth million
Wayne Homren, Editor
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