Historic sunken treasure from the California Gold Rush recovered from the fabled S.S. Central America which sank in 1857 will be offered to the public for the first time in an auction to be conducted in September in Los Angeles, Calif., and online by Ira & Larry Goldberg Auctioneers, the auction company announced in a July 21 release.
“One of the important highlights is a major numismatic discovery from the legendary ship: an extremely rare 1856 San Francisco Mint Liberty Seated No Motto quarter-dollar with a large S mint mark punched over a small s. It was discovered in a canvas bag in the purser’s sealed iron box in the ship’s safe on the seabed more than 7,000 feet below the Atlantic Ocean’s surface,” said Dwight Manley, Managing Partner of the California Gold Marketing Group (CGMG).
CGMG owns that coin and the other S.S. Central America treasure now being offered for the first time in the Goldberg’s Sept. 13 and 14, 2020 auction.
“With a total mintage of only 286,000, ‘normal’ 1856-S quarter-dollars are scarce even in low, circulated grades, and extremely scarce in Mint State grade. The auction will include a recovered treasure 1856-S quarter graded PCGS MS-63 CAC,” explained Larry Goldberg, auction house co-owner with his cousin Ira Goldberg.
“Another major highlight is an 1856-S Liberty Seated silver dime graded PCGS MS-65 CAC and tied for the finest known,” said Manley. “Only 70,000 dimes – just $7,000 face value -- were minted in San Francisco in 1856 and a just handful is known today in uncirculated condition. This one’s a miracle survival coin, still pristine with full luster. It was displayed at the American Numismatic Association 2019 Chicago World’s Fair of Money.”
Also recovered from the ship and in the Goldberg’s September auction is a scarce 1854-O Liberty Seated Arrows at Date silver quarter-dollar Huge Mint Mark variety. It is graded PCGS AU-55 CAC and among the finest known of its kind.
All the PCGS-certified treasure coins in the auction are housed in special encapsulation holders that include a pinch of miner’s gold dust also retrieved during the last recovery mission to the ship in 2014.
“This gold dust was originally discovered by 49ers during the heydays of the California Gold Rush and untouched in the miners’ goldfield packets for more than 160 years,” explained Manley. “When it was recovered from the S.S. Central America the gold dust was still sealed in the miners’ original pokes, the satchels, and pouches made of buckskin, canvas or leather.”
The sale also will include five ounces of recovered gold dust now housed in one of the 88 hand-numbered elegant, large-format holders specially prepared by PCGS. The insert label on the 5-1/2 by 9-inch holder is personally signed by Q. David Bowers, author of two books about the Gold Rush and the S.S. Central America, and by Bob Evans, the chief scientist on the Ship of Gold sunken treasure recovery missions.