Archaeologists have unearthed one of the most lucrative treasures ever found on a shipwreck that has been lying on the ocean floor for 150 years.
In total, about £38 million worth of gold bars, coins and dust were discovered – representing the recovery of what has been described as the largest lost treasure in US history. 3,100 gold coins, 45 gold bars and more than 36 kg of gold dust recovered from the wreckage of the steamship SS Central America were discovered by Bob Evans.
The treasure was cleared (Image: Reuters)
He was the lead scientist on the trip and found the wreck in 1988. As the coins and gold – which Mr. Evans cleaned piece by piece – said in 2018: “This is a season of total exploration. new.
“We are now looking underneath the dirt and rust on the coins, removing those objects and materials, and treating the treasure as it was in 1857.”
Dwight Manley, managing partner of the California Gold Marketing Group, praised the treasure – saying a single coin could cost $1m (£764m).
“This is something that hundreds of years from now people will talk about, read, look back on and collect,” he said.
Treasures worth £38 million (Image: Getty/Reuters)
“There’s no other ship that has sunk that hasn’t been salvaged that can compete with this ship or like this one, so it’s really a once-in-a-lifetime situation.”
Evans joined an expedition led by Captain Tommy Thompson in the late 1980s when they first discovered what they called the “Golden Garden” more than a mile above the surface.
“The bullion and the coins… are covered with a light layer of sediment,” Evans said. That’s what’s fascinating about it in a number of ways. You’ve got this coral that looks like it grew out of a block of gold.”
Using a robotic vehicle they built in the garage, they were able to make around £38 million ($50 million) in gold.
Thompson began searching for SS Central America in 1983 (Image: shipofgoldinfo.com)
Tommy G. Thompson organized an expedition to find the epic ship (Photo: facebook)
Mr Manley added: “This time there are dozens of the best known coins.
“They’re like little time capsules every time you hold one, who’s had it before, what it’s for.”
A similar discovery was made aboard the Spanish ship Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, which sank in battle off the Portuguese Cape St Mary in 1804.
Researchers found 594,000 gold and silver coins worth £308 million from the site in 2007.
These finds have invaluable historical and scientific value,” said Ivan Negueruela, director of Spain’s National Museum of Underwater Archeology.
The ship is believed to have been shot down before Spain entered the Napoleonic Wars against Britain. When the Treaty of Amiens in 1802 was broken, Britain declared war on France amid an uneasy peace with Spain.