First SS Central America Ingot Sales Reported “Brisk”
The opportunity to proudly possess unique numismatic items that were last owned by California Gold Rush miners has resulted in a fast sell-out of nearly three dozen historic gold ingots from the cargo of the fabled side wheel steamer, SS Central America. That ship was carrying tons of gold rush coins and gold bars to New York City when it sank in a hurricane in September 1857. The sinking and subsequent recovery are the subjects of a recent best-selling book, Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea, by Gary Kinder.
In the first phase of the Central America Gold Ingot Program, 33 assayers’ bars were sold in less than 72 hours for more than $2 million, according to the California Gold Marketing Group of Newport Beach, California. The California Gold Rush ingots ranged in size from 9 ounces to 158 ounces, and prices for individual bars ranged from $20,000 to more than $200,000 each.
“I’m pleasantly surprised at how brisk the sales were. People have been waiting over ten years to purchase the bars. No two are the same. They are unique pieces of American treasure that never were part of such famous collections as Eliasberg, Garrett or Norweb because these ingots were not previously available to anyone,” said Dwight Manley, Managing Partner of California Gold Marketing Group.
The partnership acquired more than $100 million of the SS Central America treasure in 1999 from the Columbus-America Discovery Group, the team that discovered and recovered the gold. The ingots and gold coins comprising the treasure were retrieved from the ocean bottom in the late 1980’s where they had lain for over 130 years. But because of litigation over the ownership of the treasure, these items only started to slowly enter the numismatic marketplace in February 2000 under a marketing program established by Manley.
The first phase of ingot sales included examples from all five of the notable San Francisco area assayers whose bars were found in the cargo: Blake & Co.; Kellogg & Humbert; Henry Hentsch; Justh & Hunter; and Harris & Marchand.
“The first ingots went on sale January 15 and all 33 were sold out by the morning of the 18th,” said Manley. “Collectors recognize the extreme rarity of these pieces.”
A “Ship of Gold” exhibition featuring $20 million of the treasure was on display in January and February at the California Historical Society in San Francisco and March 8 – 10 at the American Numismatic Association’s National Money Show(TM) in Salt Lake City, Utah. The exhibition can next be seen March 24 through June 30 at the Durham Western Heritage Museum in Omaha, Nebraska and August 8 – 12 at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money in Atlanta, Georgia.
The second phase of the ingot sales program is underway now. Monaco Financial is the premier authorized SS Central America ingot dealer. For additional information on acquiring rarities from the SS Central America treasure, contact your Monaco Financial representative at 888-900-9948.