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Sunken gold recovered after 157 years: Shipwreck may hold $86 million in gold

Gold recovered from 157-year-old shipwreck which went down with almost a ton of gold.
Gold recovered from 157-year-old shipwreck which went down with almost a ton of gold.
Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, October 3, 1857 via Bernews

Over 157 years ago a ship went down off the coast of South Carolina carrying a fortune in gold and today it is in the process of being brought up to the surface. The S.S. Central American steamship sank in 1857. The ill-fated ship’s most precious cargo was not the gold, it was the 425 souls it took with it to the ocean’s depths of over a mile and a half down, according to Newsmax on May 6.

Research done on this shipwreck indicates that it was carrying thousands of pounds of California gold. The ship was on a return voyage from the West Coast when it sank in the extremely deep water. Fox News reports today that 1,000 ounces of gold has been brought to the surface so far during this expedition. This includes five gold bars and two $20 Double Eagle gold coins. One of the coins was newly minted in the year that the side-wheel steamship sank.

A remotely operated vehicle was used to recover the gold from this depth by Odyssey Marine Exploration, a company based out of Florida. The ship is looking for gold and “interesting artifacts” that were on the ship’s manifest during its final tragic voyage.

The 280-foot sunken vessel was first the site of a recovery effort back in the 1980s by Tommy Thompson. Thompson was the person to originally discover the S.S. Central America in its mile and a half watery grave.

His team recovered $52 million in gold, but Thompson sold all the gold and then disappeared. He went on the “lam,” reports Newsmax. He remains a fugitive today owing his team of explorers some $2 millon. If this latest recovery effort is successful, those folks could see that money owed to them.

It is thought that the ship held up to 10 tons of gold and that most of it is still there on the site in the deep ocean waters. Thompson’s recovery explored less than 5 percent of the site of the sunken ship and today they are hoping to get to the rest of the gold sprawled along the ocean floor where this ship met its demise.

For today's gold salvage attempt, a receiver has been appointed to oversee the recovery of the gold. This person will supervise both scientific and monetary findings. His name is Bob Evans, who believes that there is up to $86 million worth of gold left on the ocean floor just ripe for the picking!