Excerpt from the Book, "America's Greatest Treasure Ship: The SS Central America" by Q. David Bowers

Counter-stamped Gold Coins

Of particular historical interest in the 2014 find were gold coin of the $2.50, $5 and $20 denominations counter-stamped by dentists W.W. Light and H.H Pierson and druggist J.L. Polhemus, each of whom lived in Sacramento. Counter-stamps of Light had been seen before, and those of Polhemus on silver and gold coins were well documented, but H.H. Pierson was a new discovery. In total, five counter-stamped gold coins were recovered from the SS Central America in 2014. A few counter-stamped silver were also discovered.

James Lozier Polhemus arrived in California in 1849 and established his pharmacy in Sacramento across the street from the Magnolia Saloon. Soon afterward he relocated to 190 J Street on the corner of 7th Street, where he counter-stamped coins. The establishment was open around the clock and sold paint, cosmetics, and other goods. It was in operation until his passing in 1866.

Interesting Note: In the 1999 sale of coins and ingots from the Central America sold by Christie's and cataloged by the present author, Lot 166, a circulated 1855-S $20 counter-stamped on the reverse by J.L. Polhemus, sold for $48,300.

The Present Specimen: 1845 $5 Liberty No Motto VF30 – Counter-stamped by Dentist H.H. Pierson

This rare no motto variety of the an early Liberty Head $5 Gold coin is a discovery coin for any baring this dentists counter-stamped making it an immediate major rarity. This coin would be highly valuable even it was not discovered in the "Garden of Gold" on the site of this historical shipwreck.

The opportunity to own such a spectacular rarity should not be taken lightly. Truly a tremendous discovery from the "Passenger and Purser's Gold Hoard".

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