At the time the California Gold Rush was reaching maturity, the country was dependent on the rapid inflow of money of the period . . . gold.In September 1857, the side-wheel steamer S.S. Central America was bound for New York carrying 578 passengers and more than two tons of gold and coins from San Francisco. The “Ship of Gold” sank in deep water off the coast of the Carolinas. The loss has been described as the greatest economic catastrophe in all of U.S. maritime history, triggering the Panic of 1857, a severe recession and a deep depression.

San Francisco Harbor, San Fancisco Mint and San Francisco Portsmouth Square 1851

However, 131 years later, famed scientist and explorer Tommy Thompson, along with the Columbus America Discovery Group, located the sunken S.S. Central America. There, beneath 8,000 feet of ocean was found an unparalleled treasure trove of thousands of gold coins minted by the then-new San Francisco Mint, along with over 500 unique assayer gold ingots.


The creation and minting of the Liberty $20 gold Double Eagle was authorized by the U.S. government in response to greatly increased gold production brought about by the California Gold Rush. Over 7,000 gold coins, mostly $20 gold Double Eagles produced by the San Francisco mint, were recovered from the S.S. Central America shipwreck. Most of these coins from the “Ship of Gold” were quickly acquired by numismatists and private collectors when the coins were first brought to market in early 2000. Finest Known has a limited number of these certified coins in a wide range of dates and conditions and is now making them available to interested collectors and investors. These S.S. Central America $20 gold Double Eagles are graded and certified by PCGS, an independent coin certification firm.

Contact your Finest Known account representative today to get more details on this exciting coin, and to inquire about getting your copy of the award-winning “how-to” book, An Insider’s Guide to Collecting Type I Double Eagles by Douglas Winter and Adam Crum. It is filled with historical intrigue and a year-by-year analysis for each Type I mint issue. Bob Evans, curator of the treasure coins recovered from the S.S. Central America, also makes a special contribution in the book. Because of the number of Type 1 Double Eagles recovered from the S.S. Central America, a thoroughly researched collectors guide to these coins was needed to help numismatists understand and enjoy the amazing treasure discovery, and this book ably fills that requirement. If you would like a copy of An Insider’s Guide to Collecting Type I Double Eagles, request one from us that is personally autographed by Adam Crum.

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