When it comes to buying historic gold items, there’s nothing more unique than gold salvaged from shipwrecks. Over the course of the last several centuries, several famous shipwrecks occurred that not only cost countless lives, but that also resulted in the loss of extremely valuable gold ingots and coins. The S.S. Central America is famed as America’s lost gold ship, but its treasures have been recovered and are available to investors and collectors at Provident Metals.
Many of the world’s famous shipwrecks were carrying gold in its most common form: gold ingots. When the S.S. Central America sank in September 1857, it was carrying more than 30,000 pounds of gold. much of that was in the form of gold ingots assayed by Kellogg & Humbert Assayers of San Francisco. Many of these gold ingots have been recovered from the wreckage of the S.S. Central America since its discovery in 1988. After more than a century on the ocean floor, these gold ingots have a patina of rust-brown coloration on the otherwise yellow-gold bars.
Not quite as unique as the gold ingots from Kellogg & Humbert Assayers are US gold coins that were aboard the S.S. Central America when it sank. These coins come from the US Eagle denominations and were struck with gold from the California Gold Rush by the San Francisco Mint. While the exact number of coins onboard is not precisely known, some 7,000 coins were eventually recovered from the wreck and offered to collectors and investors.
While the S.S. Central America went down with gold ingots and freshly-minted Double Eagle Gold Coins from the San Francisco Mint, it also took down with it various other forms of gold. Among the gold recovered from the wreck was Double Pinch Gold. These small flakes of gold are referred to as “pinch” because miners would come into boomtowns with nothing but raw gold to pay for goods and services. In particular, miners would frequent local saloons for a drink and pay for a double shot with a double pinch of raw gold flakes.
Shipwreck Gold is a term used to refer broadly to any gold recovered from a shipwreck. The most common form available to American investors and collectors recently hit the market in the 21st century after having been recovered from the wreckage of the S.S. Central America. The gold from the S.S. Central America was discovered and retrieved from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean starting in September 1988. All Shipwreck Gold at Provident Metals has been authenticated as having originated on America’s infamous gold ship.
The S.S. Central America was a sidewheel steamer that was built in the United States in the 1850s and spent its operational life running a consistent route along the US East Coast between the major cities of the United States and Central America. Its final voyage saw it steam down to Panama to collect a load of gold from the California Gold Rush that had been steamed down the Pacific Coast from San Francisco to Panama’s Pacific Coast. The gold was moved overland to the S.S. Central America and was destined to be delivered to American banks in New York.
After a port call in Havana, the S.S. Central America steamed up the East Coast of the United States. On September 9, 1857, it ran into a category 2 hurricane off the coast of the Carolinas. After becoming disabled in the storm, the ship was eventually swamped by the waves and sunk. In addition to taking 425 of the 578 passengers down with her, the S.S. Central America took 30,000 pounds of gold ingots, coins, and flakes to the ocean floor.
The loss of the gold on board the S.S. Central America, valued at $8 million based on 1857 gold prices, was the final nail in the coffin of the global economy at that time. The result of the loss was the Panic of 1857, a global economic slowdown that was exacerbated by the overexpansion of the domestic economy in the United States.
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