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The Ship of Gold – “The Greatest Treasure Ever Found”
165 years ago, the Sidewheel Steamer, S.S. Central America, sunk in a hurricane off the coast of the Carolinas, taking the lives of 425 men and over 4,700 pounds of California gold, 8,000 feet below the Atlantic.
SS Central America (Lost 1857)
In the 1850s, passengers and gold, in the form of coins, ingots, and nuggets, regularly traveled from California to New York, not over land, but by sea. Typically the route consisted of a side-wheel steamer from San Francisco to Panama, then across the cape via railroad, and then reloaded on a different side-wheel steamer from Panama to New York. The SS Central America, was a 280 foot side-wheel steamer that operated between Central America and the eastern coast of the U.S. at that time.
On September 3, 1857, 477 passengers and 101 crew members left a Panamanian port, with a one night stopover in Havana, Cuba, and then sailing for New York City, under the command of William Lewis Herndon. The ship was heavily laden with 10 to 15 tons of cargo and gold that was prospected during the California Gold Rush, which is how this ship picked-up the nickname, “Ship of Gold.” The $2.6 million dollars’ worth of gold onboard later would prove to have a numismatic value estimated at well over $100 million.
- 1865 S TYPE I $20 GOLD DEL SSR MS63 $20,000.00
- 1859 O HALF DOLLAR Seated Liberty NGC-SSR A-UNC $1,750.00
- 1858 O HALF DOLLAR Seated Liberty NGC-SSR A-UNC $895.00
- 1856 O HALF DOLLAR Seated Liberty NGC-SSR A-UNC $1,975.00
- 1854 O HALF DOLLAR Seated Liberty NGC-SSR A-UNC $1,250.00
- 1865 TYPE I $20 GOLD Liberty NGC-SSR MS62 $18,750.00
- Random Date SEATED HALF DOLLAR NGC-SSR Shipwreck Effect $249.00
- 1864 TYPE I $20 GOLD DEL NGC-SSR MS61 $42,500.00