The discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill on January 24, 1848 set in motion events which shaped America’s destiny and helped to produce the lot offered here. As people headed west to hopefully strike it rich in the California gold fields, they inevitably headed for San Francisco which soon became the center of commercial and cultural activity for the region. Gold fever was so rampant that many business had to close due to their employees leaving to prospect for gold in the Sierras.
ss central america shipwreck coins
Tons of gold was being mined and most of this was being sent via ship from San Francisco to the financial centers in the East (mainly New York) and many were1857-S Twenty Dollar Gold Piece 1857-S Liberty Double Eagle twenty-dollar . In 1854 the San Francisco branch of the US Mint opened with the expressed purpose of processing the gold being mined into (and to alleviate the shortage of) legal tender US coinage. The coin offered here was struck at the San Francisco mint at the height of the California Gold Rush in 1857 and placed aboard the S.S. Sonora for shipment to New York via Panama. It was carried across the isthmus of Panama via railway and placed aboard the ill-fated S.S. Central America. On September 9, 1857, the side wheeler encountered an unexpected gale which eventually gained hurricane strength. On September 11, the fire went out in the ship’s starboard boiler causing the paddlewheel and the pumps which helped bail the boat to stop. On the next day, Captain Herndon ordered the women and children into the too few lifeboats, and at approximately 8:00 PM the ship sank, taking 425 of its 578 passengers and crew, along with its treasure of gold coinage and bullion to the bottom of the ocean (approximately 2 miles down) about 160 miles off the coast of Charleston, SC. This was the greatest maritime disaster in US history ever at the time and was of a similar scale of tragedy as the sinking of the Titanic almost 55 years later.
The wreckage was discovered 130 years later almost to the day. Miraculously, the gold coins and bullion were discovered in the ship’s hold virtually intact and unchanged from the day they were put aboard, due mainly to the depth at which this treasure was found. This coin recovered from the ship’s hold has been annotated as such on the PCGS holder. Double Eagles 1857-S Liberty Double Eagle twenty-dollar(so-called because they were double the $10 Eagle)1857-S Twenty Dollar Gold Piece were first produced for circulation in 1850. From 1850 to 1866 they did not carry the now familiar ‘In God We Trust’ motto 1857-S Liberty Double Eagle twenty-dollar. Because of their high face value and scarcity, they were not saved by collectors when they were originally minted and specimens as nice as this one do not come along every day. The San Francisco mint pieces are especially 1857-S Twenty Dollar Gold Piece prized by collectors representing as they do a direct link to this historic period in US history.
Graded as (Gem Brilliant Uncirculated) MS65 1857-S Twenty Dollar Gold Piece (out of a “perfect” 70), 1857-S Liberty Double Eagle twenty-dollar it has full original mint luster, with only just the slightest toning evident in a couple of small spots on the obverse and reverse. A very clean, strong strike and incredible eye appeal. The bag marks which are typically found on this series are minimal, thus accounting for its high grade. A real piece of American history. Of the over 17,000 “No Motto” (1850 -1866) Double Eagles graded by PCGS, less than 200 have been graded higher than MS65 and these are for1857-S Twenty Dollar Gold .