The S.S. Central America, known as “The Ship of Gold,” was a 280-foot sidewheel steamer that carried passengers and Gold from the California Gold Rush. On September 12, 1857, the SSCA sunk in a hurricane 200 miles off the Carolina Coast in 8,000 feet below the Atlantic, taking the lives of 425 men and over 4,700 pounds of California gold to the bottom of the ocean floor. This enormous loss shook public confidence in the economy and contributed to the “Panic of 1857.”
Exactly 130 years later, on September 11, 1987, the ship was finally located in eight thousand feet of water off the coast of North Carolina, by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), in what LIFE Magazine touted as “The Greatest Treasure Ever Found!” The treasure was calculated at around 50 Lbs. of Gold Dust, 10,000 coins, and 577 Monetary Ingot gold bars.
The second recovery in 2014 brought up another load valued at nearly $50,000,000. More than 15,500 gold and silver coins, 45 gold bars, hundreds of gold nuggets, and gold dust were recovered. Today, SS Central America shipwreck coins for sale are among the most popular with collectors.