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Historic Sunken Gold Treasure Makes Its Public Debut In California

Kitco News

(Kitco News) - Ever wanted to know what $40 million in recovered gold looks like? Well now you will get your chance as the world’s greatest lost treasure goes on display in California next month.

From Feb. 22 to 24, gold recovered from the SS Central America, also known as the “Ship of Gold,” will be on display during the Long Beach Coin, Currency, Stamp & Sports Collectible Expo, courtesy of the California Gold Marketing Group.

This will be the first time people will get a look at the sunken treasure that has made headlines around the world for more than 30-years. The display, housed in a 40-foot long re-creation of the ship’s hull, will showcase many of the 3,100 gold coins, more than 10,000 silver coins and 45 gold ingots that have been held in secure vaults since they were retrieved from the ocean floor off the coast of the Carolinas in 2014, according to the marketing group.

The display will also include never-before opened leather satchels of gold dust that was mined during the California gold rush.

“This is truly an international discovery. In addition to all the United States coins, the trove includes many coins from around the world, including two Australian sovereigns struck in Sydney in 1855 and 1856, and both are the finest known. There also are gold coins from France, including a Napoleon 20 francs, British gold sovereigns of Queen Victoria, Mexican eight escudos, Netherlands ducats, Dutch guldens and Peruvian gold, too,” said Dwight Manley, managing partner of the California Gold Marketing Group.

It's also the perfect gift for those history buffs, as the gold is all for sale. However, you will need some deep pockets to get a piece of this treasury. Just one tiny coin alone could go for $1 million because of its combination of rarity and the history behind it, said Manley.

Initially found in the 1980s, SS Central America was carrying California gold that had been shipped from San Francisco to Panama when she sank in a September 1857 hurricane. The loss of the gold cargo was a significant factor in the economically devastating financial panic of 1857 in the United States.

In the past four years, the treasure has been caught in the middle of a major court battle between investors. In December, a judge finally gave the okay for the sale of the historical treasure.

The original treasure hunter who discovered the sunken gold, Tommy Thompson has been in prison for the last two years for being in contempt of court as he refuses to reveal the location of some 500 gold coins. In the 1980s Thomson convinced a group of investors to back his project; however, none of these investors were paid and staked a claim for the recovered gold in court.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.