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Extremely valuable coins found on 19th century wreck

A group of divers have found very rare gold coins on a popular sunken wreck about 30km off the coast of South Carolina. The vessel, which has been resting underwater for 180 years, is now being examined by divers from Blue Waters Ventures International, a Florida-registered company that professionally explores wrecks. The shipwreck, which dates
Published: October 5, 2019 - 16:58
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 18:38
Extremely valuable coins found on 19th century wreck

A group of divers have found very rare gold coins on a popular sunken wreck about 30km off the coast of South Carolina. The vessel, which has been resting underwater for 180 years, is now being examined by divers from Blue Waters Ventures International, a Florida-registered company that professionally explores wrecks.

The shipwreck, which dates back to the 19th century, is known among divers as “The Copper Pot” (the copper pot – ed.). These are the remains of the steamer SS “North Carolina”, which sank as a result of a collision with another vessel in 1840. The gold coins belonged to the passengers and were probably in their luggage.

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The numismatic coins recently discovered by divers are gold $5 coins dating from the mid 1830s. The coins were found in late September by BWVI divers. Period tableware and pieces of marble were also found and excavated during the September exploration.

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“I cannot believe what we are finding. The coins almost look like they were just minted. All because they were hidden under a large piece of copper and didn’t have much contact with the environment,” said Keith Webb, president of Blue Water Ventures.

Blue Water Ventures and their partner Endurance Exploration Group say it is clear from available reports that a significant amount of cash, mostly in the form of gold coins, went down with the wreck. The present value of the lost cash is estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars. One passenger claimed to have lost $15 000 as a result of the tragedy.

This is where the story starts to get really interesting. As it turns out, most passengers were in possession of gold coins that were minted at the Dahlonega, Georgia mint, which operated for less than a quarter of a century. Numismatics from this mint are highly prized and coveted by collectors and historians, and consequently achieve considerable value.

So regardless of the intrinsic value of the gold coins found, each piece in perfect condition minted in Dahlonega is a real treasure of considerable value.

The wreck of the steamer SS “North Carolina” was surveyed for valuables by MAREX, which in the late 1990s unearthed coins worth a total of $700,000. However, further exploration and excavation was halted due to the harsh conditions.

Prospectors from Blue Waters Ventures International intend to return to the wreck in November, provided the weather does not derail their plans. In addition to coins, they hope to find pieces of silverware and other antiques that may have survived to this day.

Source: Blue Waters Ventures International

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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