Gold coins were among the treasures brought to the surface after several months of archaeological fieldwork was performed on the 1840 wreck of the Steamship North Carolina. The announcement was made in early October by Florida-based Blue Water Ventures International, Inc. (BWVI) and Endurance Exploration Group, Inc.
The work, including magnetometer surveys, was conducted in late September by the recovery vessel, the Blue Water Rose, and its dive team. Gold coins, marble, dinnerware and brass spikes used in the ship’s construction were among the first shipwreck items to be found.
The Steamship North Carolina sank off the coast of South Carolina in the early morning of July 25, 1840, after colliding with its sister ship, the Governor Dudley. All passengers and crew from the North Carolina were transferred to the Governor Dudley within minutes of the collision without loss of lives. However, passenger baggage and the ship’s cargo were lost in the sinking. It has been estimated that the hard currency lost on the SS North Carolina would be worth many millions of dollars in today’s value.
According to dahlonegagold.com, it is believed that some gold coins from the newly commissioned U.S. Mint in Dahlonega in 1838 would have been in circulation prior to the sinking of the SS North Carolina in 1840, and, if found, these coins would be extremely valuable in today’s collector market.
“After working the first half of the 2019 dive season on several wreck sites, some famous, some not, with the goal of future admiralty claims, it’s great to be back in recovery mode on the SS North Carolina, especially when you see gold coins the very first day on-site!” said Keith Webb, president of BWVI.
The Blue Water magnetometer survey team will now relocate to the SS Pulaski site, to remap the area. After several trips to the Pulaski site, it has been revealed that the 2018 hurricane season shifted sand and the debris field. In order to use resources efficiently, the BWVI team feels a thorough, updated survey of the area is required.
Recovery efforts will continue as weather permits during the months of October and November.
Blue Water Ventures International, Inc. is engaged in the business of conducting archaeologically sensitive recoveries of cargo and artifacts from shipwrecks. Its operations to date have focused on shallow water search and recovery projects in less than 150 feet of water. The company is now expanding its focus to include deep-water salvage of historic and modern-day shipwrecks. For more information, visit www.bwvint.com.
All images courtesy of Blue Water Ventures International.