(Newport Beach, California) – Professional Coin Grading Service (www.PCGS.com) is grading over 3,100 gold coins recently recovered from the S.S. Central America.
The S.S. Central America was a sidewheel steamship lost at sea to a hurricane off the coast of the Carolinas on September 12, 1857. The ship sank with 425 of 578 passengers and crew lost. It was the worst passenger ship disaster at the time. The ship’s loss also included tons of gold coins, ingots, and California gold dust. In 1857 this gold had an estimated value of over $2 million, giving it the moniker “Ship of Gold.”
Many coins and artifacts from the S.S. Central America will be on display at the Long Beach Coin, Currency, Stamp & Sports Collectibles Show running from February 22 to 24, 2018 at the Long Beach Convention Center. Admission is free for PCGS Collectors Club members. To learn more about PCGS Collectors Club membership, go to PCGS.com/join. This will be the first opportunity for the public and most press to view the shipwreck treasure in person. Artifacts and coins will not yet be for sale.
The Expo will feature a massive interactive “Ship of Gold” display for young and experienced numismatists alike to enjoy. There will be many gold coins, bars, and gold dust recovered from the S.S. Central America on display. There will be raffles and giveaways for some S.S. Central America merchandise, including several autographed pictures of a beautifully toned 1857-S $20 Liberty Double Eagle, signed by PCGS founder David Hall, treasure manager and co-owner Dwight Manley, and shipwreck coin curator Bob Evans.
This trove of gold and silver coins, ingots and gold dust is different from the original recovery that made its way to the numismatic marketplace in the late 1990s. The new recovery is what Evans calls “walking money” compared to the vaults that were brought up in the previous recovery.
Evans explains, “The last time we got into the ship, we were able to salvage the cargo hold – the kind of shipments that were being sent by banks. This time, we brought stuff back that was from every day people, too – this includes pocket change. It’s a great frozen time capsule of 1857.”
Evans, a numismatist specializing in the coins of the S. S. Central America, is carefully conserving the coins in the S.S. Central America Numismatic Conservation Laboratory at PCGS headquarters in Santa Ana. The entire shipwreck is an archaeological site being treated with the utmost respect and professionalism. Every artifact, including each of the coins, is carefully documented including its exact location. Evans is carefully preserving each coin through a complex conservation process which maintains its original surfaces while removing debris. Once Evans is satisfied with the conservation of a coin, he sends it over to PCGS for grading, where a team of expert graders assign the coin a grade defining state of preservation. Once graded, PCGS encapsulates each coin in an airtight, sealed, chemically non-reactive holder that preserves and protects the coin from damage.
Over 3,100 gold coins were recovered in the most recent salvage operation from a depth of 7,200 feet. There are also thousands of American and World silver coins, gold ingots, and gold dust.
Many coins in this salvage are in excellent condition. Numismatists considered many others rare. We do not yet know the full extent of the treasure, but the treasure’s owner, California Gold Marketing Group LLC (CGMG), has insured the exhibited portion of the treasure at $40 million.
Dwight Manley, managing partner of CGMG, is excited to play a part in this thrilling epic story. “This story has everything, it’s compelling - about incredible people and it’s about an incredible shipwreck treasure. The story that the coins tell in their way as a time capsule of 1857 is a fascinating look at human and American history. And then the turn this story took in modern times makes it even more interesting. I’m really glad I get to be a part of it.”
The coins are currently being conserved by CGMG’s Chief Scientist, Bob Evans. PCGS regularly conserves and restores coins professionally for collectors, but Evans was hand-picked for the project given his specialty and extensive knowledge of this wreck site. Restoring coins is always a careful, time consuming process as the value and conditional rarity of the coins are determined in large part by their grade. PCGS expects to finish grading the gold coins in March 2018.
Since its founding in 1986, PCGS experts have certified over 38 million coins with a total market value of over $32 billion. For information about PCGS products and services, including how to submit your coins for authentication and grading, visit www.PCGS.com or call PCGS Customer Service at (800) 447-8848.