Tampa's Odyssey finds thousands of coins in shipwreck - WFLA News Channel 8

Tampa's Odyssey finds thousands of coins in shipwreck

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Odyssey Marine Exploration has uncovered over 13,500 of gold and silver coins from the site of a 1857 ship wreck off the coast of South Carolina.

Odyssey began exploring the site of the SS Central America shipwreck in April, after decades of legal battles played out over the site. On Friday, reports and inventories became public due to U.S. District Court ruling.

The inventories detail the items recovered to date, which include gold ingots, nuggets, dust and a wide variety of gold coins from $20 double eagles down through $10, $5, $2.50 and $1 gold coins, as well as California fractional gold, territorials and a wide variety of foreign gold. Additional significant cultural heritage artifacts have been identified and will be recovered.

The SS Central America was caught in a hurricane when it sunk in 1857 during the California Gold Rush era. The ship was carrying a large amount of commercial gold when it sunk. The site of the shipwreck was found in 1988. Only 5 percent of the site was explored until now. 

Odyssey has been working since April 2014 under contract to Ira Owen Kane, the receiver for Recovery Limited Partnership (RLP). RLP is the court-appointed salvor-in-possession of the SS Central America shipwreck.

"This is an iconic American shipwreck, and, as salvor-in-possession, we have a duty to not only recover the remaining valuable cargo and significant items of cultural heritage at the site, but to also share what we learn with the public," said Kane

RLP's chief scientist Bob Evans has been aboard the Odyssey Explorer since operations began in April 2014, cataloguing the gold as it is recovered.

"The variety and quality of the coins being recovered is just astonishing," commented Evans. "Of course there are spectacular $20 double eagles like we found back in the 80s and 90s. But the wide variety of other denominations makes this year's recoveries very different from the earlier finds. I have seen what I believe are several of the finest known examples so far. The coins date from 1823 to 1857 and represent a wonderful diversity of denominations and mints, a time capsule of virtually all the coins that were used in 1857."



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