HomeAuctionsGold Rush Treasure "Supernova" Sinks 1857-S $20 Auction Record at Legend Rare...

Gold Rush Treasure “Supernova” Sinks 1857-S $20 Auction Record at Legend Rare Coins

Multi-Toned Double Eagle From SS Central America Sells for record $282,000

The spectacular 1857-S Double Eagle, recovered in 2014 from the fabled SS Central America and nicknamed “Supernova” because of its amazing, unique natural toning, set a record price for any 1857 San Francisco Mint $20 gold coin in a public auction conducted by Legend Rare Coin Auctions in New Orleans, Louisiana on May 16, 2019.

Described by Legend President Laura Sperber as “the most beautifully and amazingly colorful toned gold coin we have ever seen!,” the sunken treasure Double Eagle, graded PCGS MS67, sold for $282,000.

“Because it has amazing blasts of colors, we named it Supernova after something truly cosmic,” explained Dwight Manley, managing partner of the California Gold Marketing Group (CGMG) that consigned the coin to Legend.

“The Supernova now is part of the Black Cat Collection, a world-class set of coins being built exclusively by Legend. The collection’s owner adores the color and the romance of this coin because it is real California Gold Rush treasure that was recovered from more than 7,000 feet under the sea after 157 years,” explained Sperber.

The Supernova was among piles and stacks of coins that originally were in boxes of Double Eagles being shipped to New York by San Francisco businesses.

The previous record price for any 1857-S $20 gold piece sold at auction was $152,750 in 2014. That coin also was recovered from SS Central America, the fabled “Ship of Gold” that sank in 1857.

There is only one finer 1857-S Double Eagle known, graded PCGS MS67+, that also was recovered from Central America. It is still held by CGMG as part of a six-coin “Crème de la Crème” type set of the finest known San Francisco Mint Gold Rush-era gold coins assembled by Manley from Ship of Gold treasures brought up in 2014.

CGMG acquired all the sunken treasure brought up in 2014 from Ira Owen Kane, Receiver for Recovery Limited Partnership and Columbus Exploration, LLC in a court-approved transaction. CGMG earlier acquired all of the available treasure that was recovered in the late 1980s.

Central America sank in a hurricane in September 1857 off the coast of North Carolina while carrying tons of California Gold Rush coins and gold ingots. There were 578 passengers and crew on board, but only 153 survived.

Legend Rare Coin Auctions
Legend Rare Coin Auctions
Founded in 2012 by Laura Sperber, Owner and President of Legend Numismatics, Legend Rare Coin Auctions (LRCA) was a boutique numismatic auction company specializing in the finest and rarest U.S. coins. LRCA’s staff of numismatic auction industry veterans included Julie Abrams, President; Greg Cohen, Senior Numismatist; and Jessica Berkman, Consignment Coordinator. The firm’s Regency Auctions served as the official auction for the PCGS Members’ Shows, held six times per year. LRCA sold many important collections for world-record prices, including the Coronet Collection of Morgan Dollars (#1 all-time PCGS set); the David Hall—Bob Simpson Collection of Liberty Head Eagles; the Sunnywood-Simpson Collection of Morgan Dollars; the Phil Flannagan Collection of Territorial Gold, Toned Dollars and 1795 coins; duplicates from the Gerald Forsythe Collections of Buffalo Nickels and Mercury Dimes; the Bob Simpson Collection of Standard Silver Patterns; the Northern Lights Collection of Monster Toned Morgan Dollars; the Crow River Collections of Indian Head $10s and Peace Dollars; the P.F.M Collection (former #6 PCGS Set of Morgan Dollars with varieties); the Oak Crest Collection of Carson City $5 gold; and the Konstantine Collection of Capped Bust Half Dollars, the #1 PCGS Set of Red Book varieties, 1807-1836. The firm recorded the second-highest APR in 2016 with the sale of Bob Simpson’s duplicate 1879 $20 “Quintuple Stella”, which realized $1,880,000.

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