by Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek….
Odyssey Marine Exploration (NASDAQ: OMEX) published its fourth operational report Report #14-04 (PDF), which details the firm’s ongoing salvage operations at the site where the SS Central America–the famed “Ship of Gold”–sank more than 150 years ago.
The court-appointed Receiver for the firms Recovery Limited Partnership, LLC and Columbus Exploration contracted Odyssey Marine Exploration to conduct an archaeological excavation of the site and to recover artifacts and valuable trade goods at the site.
The site was last excavated the in 1988 by the Columbus-America Discovery Group, which recovered more than $100 million in gold and silver coins and artifacts from the ship, which were buried under 7,200 feet of seawater.
Central America was a 280-foot steamship that carried passengers and bullion from Panama to ports on the Eastern seaboard of the United States.
The ship sank after it was caught in a September 1857 hurricane. More than 420 of the 550 people on board died. The sinking was the worst shipwreck in American history–a short-lived distinction as the sinking of the SS Sultana in 1865 took the lives of more than 1,500 people.
As CoinWeek reported earlier, the April 15, 2014 reconnaissance dive turned up five gold ingots and two $20 double eagle gold coins. Recovery efforts were threatened after a legal claim filed on behalf of the Columbus-America Discovery Group. Odyssey Marine continued their recovery efforts throughout the proceedings and a U.S District Court in Virginia dismissed the case.
In the report, recovery work that took place between April 15 and May 8, 2014 yielded more than 800 gold coins and a cache of nearly 10,000 silver coins, including 8,931 dimes. However, the company’s most recent communication to CoinWeek reveals that the firm’s efforts have turned up and extensive accumulation of gold and silver objects.
A summary list of all recovered items of numismatic interest is provided below.
Items Recovered from SS Central America Shipwreck, April 15 – August 15, 2014: UPDATED
- 45 gold ingots
- 1,709 $20 double eagle gold coins
- 82 $10 eagle gold coins
- 342 $5 gold coins
- 64 $3 gold coins
- 384 $2.50 gold coins
- 327 $1 gold coins
- 108 California Fractional gold coins
- 80 foreign gold coins
- 9726 silver dimes
- 644 silver quarters
- 381 silver half dollars
- 100 pieces of gold jewelry
- 21 packets of gold dust / nuggets
Correction: Article updated to reflect items recovered from April 15 through August 15, 2014. Original article highlighted recovered items from May 8-13.
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Charles Morgan is a member of the American Numismatic Association, the American Numismatic Society, the Numismatic Literary Guild, Central States Numismatic Society, and the Richmond Coin Club. Together with his co-writer Hubert Walker, they have written numerous articles for publication online and in print, including four NLG award-winning articles for CoinWeek.com.
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