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A large quantity of gold has been recovered from the wreck, including jewellery
A large quantity of gold has been recovered from the wreck, including jewellery

Jewellery recovered from ‘Ship of Gold’

An excavation of an old shipwreck has yielded a bounty of treasure, including jewellery, gold coins and gold bars.

Since beginning excavation of the SS Central America shipwreck located off the coast of South Carolina in April 2014, US-based deep-ocean exploration company Odyssey Marine Exploration has recovered more than 15,500 silver and gold coins as well as 45 gold bars and hundreds of gold nuggets.

The shipwreck also contained a number of pieces of gold jewellery, including necklaces, a pocket watch as well as other watch remains, cufflinks, brooches, rings, bracelets, chains, pendants and a locket.

The SS Central America was lost to sea when it was hit by a hurricane in September 1857. The sunken ship came to be known as the “Ship of Gold” due to the fact that at the time, it had been carrying a large consignment of gold, mostly in the form of ingots and freshly minted US $20 Double Eagle coins.

According to Odyssey, the loss of this large quantity of gold shook public confidence in the economy, sparking a financial crisis – the “Panic of 1857”.

The SS Central America shipwreck was not located again until September 1988, with some of the commercial gold recovered in an operation spanning the subsequent four years.

However, further exploration of the site was halted for more than two decades due to lengthy legal battles until earlier this year when Odyssey was awarded an exclusive contract to complete the recovery work.

The Odyssey’s ship is currently undergoing maintenance, but the company stated that “sizeable areas remain to be inspected and excavated outside the main shipwreck” with the operation expected to resume within the next 12 months.
 

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