$15 million display includes California Gold Rush coins, ingots, and other historic artifacts from 1857 sinking of the SS Central America
To mark the 35th anniversary of the historic 1988 discovery of “the greatest treasure ever found,” a $15 million Ship of Gold sunken treasure exhibit will begin a nationwide educational tour with its first port-of-call at the Long Beach Expo (www.LongBeachExpo.com) collectibles show in Long Beach, California, June 22–24, 2023.
The display of recovered California Gold Rush treasures from the 1857 sinking of the fabled SS Central America will feature gold coins, assayer’s ingots, gold nuggets, and gold dust. There will also be a bank treasure shipment box, items from the ship, and recovered passengers’ artifacts including 166-year-old Cuban cigars and the world’s most valuable jeans – gold prospector’s heavy-duty work pants that sold at auction for $114,000 this past December.
“Many of the artifacts in the updated display have not previously been publicly exhibited. But we also will have the return of the mammoth ‘Eureka Bar’ which is considered by many to be a priceless national treasure,” said Adam Crum, president of Finest Known in Torrance, California.
“The centerpiece and highlight of the exhibit, the assayer’s ingot nicknamed “Eureka” is the single largest gold artifact in existence from the California Gold Rush and the most famous and desirable artifact from what Life magazine called ‘The Greatest Treasure Ever Found.’ After its upcoming first public viewing in over 20 years, it will be toured around the globe in a Treasures From The Deep exhibit,” he said.
“The Eureka Bar weighs 933.94 Troy ounces, a little over 64 pounds. The ingot’s value in 1857 was stamped by San Francisco assayers Kellogg & Humbert as $17,433.57, but today it’s insured for $10 million,” explained Crum.
The Ship of Gold touring exhibit is being organized by Finest Known, Argos Gold Group, and National Treasures I, LLC. The exhibit is housed in a 40-foot-long recreation of the famous ship’s hull.
“Central America was a 280-foot long, three-masted side-wheel steamship carrying tons of California Gold Rush treasures from Panama to New York City that sank in the Atlantic Ocean 150 miles off the North Carolina coast during a hurricane on September 12, 1857. It was discovered about 7,200 feet below the ocean’s surface in 1988 by a scientific expedition using a six-ton remote-controlled submersible vehicle,” explained Bob Evans, the chief scientist and historian on the recovery missions.
“The tragedy of the SS Central America sinking took the lives of 425 of the ship’s 578 passengers and crewmembers, and the loss of the gold cargo was a major factor in the economically devastating financial Panic of 1857 in the United States,” said Evans who will be at the Long Beach Expo to meet with visitors and answer questions about the SS Central America.
The exhibit also includes a prospector’s recovered saddle bag that contained gold coins, nuggets and gold dust. Visitors can see the only known complete treasure shipment box from the 1850s California Gold Rush period. An embossed wax seal on the box is still easily readable as “Alsop & Co.”, renowned merchants and gold treasure shippers of the era.
The record-setting miner’s pants in the display were discovered in the submerged trunk of first-class passenger John Dement of Oregon, a merchant and military veteran. The display will also have items found in the trunk of first-class San Francisco “royalty” passengers, Ansel and Adeline Easton, who were on their honeymoon trip to New York.
“After the steamship was overwhelmed and crippled by a hurricane, the captain, Commander William Lewis Herndon, ordered the lifeboats to be launched and the women and children, including Adeline, evacuated to a ship passing nearby. Ansel clung to debris in the water for hours after the ship sank until the crew from another vessel rescued him. Captain Herndon went down with the ship,” said Evans.
The Eastons were reunited eight days later when the rescue ships reached port at Norfolk, Virginia.
“It has been years since the Ship of Gold exhibit has been in public, and we are delighted to present both returning and never-before displayed historic California Gold Rush sunken treasure artifacts for people to see in person,” stated Crum.
The June 22-24, 2023 Long Beach Expo will be held in Hall C of the Long Beach Convention Center at 300 E. Ocean Blvd. in Long Beach, California. For additional information, visit www.LongBeachExpo.com.