Gold bullion’s price might have swooned more than $50 an ounce during the Feb. 4-6 Long Beach Coin Stamp and Collectibles Expo, but collectors visiting the show were light-headed for another reason.
On display for the first time in six years was the $18 million “Ship of Gold,” which showcased California Gold Rush-era sunken treasure recovered from the shipwreck of the S.S. Central America, which had sunk off North Carolina in a hurricane in 1857.
“There was a nearly half-block long line through the convention center lobby to the registration desk on the first morning of the show, and despite rainstorms we had good turnout the following two days, too,” said Ronald J. Gillio, Expo general chairman.
The 40-foot long display that attracted the crowds is a representation of the ship’s hull. It displayed gold nuggets, coins and ingots – including the huge, 933-troy-ounce “Eureka” gold bar.
The display was presented by Monaco Rare Coins and included items loaned by private collectors. The Eureka ingot was produced by well-known San Francisco assayer Kellogg & Humbert and was purchased by an anonymous collector for $8 million in 2001.
Bob Evans, the chief scientist and historian on the mission that found and retrieved the treasure, presented daily lectures about the Central America and its historic cargo.
The three-day expo also featured an exhibit of the all-time finest set of early U.S. half dollars in the Professional Coin Grading Service Set RegistrySM. It was assembled by collector Dale Friend of Reno, Nev.
The next Long Beach Expo will be June 3-5. For more information, call Expos Unlimited at (805) 962-9939, or visit online at www.LongBeachExpo.com.