Famous Shipwrecks that have inspired collections

Pottery, glassware, and enamel signs are some of the areas that people collect.  Did you know that one of the areas of collecting are items from shipwrecks? 

The Titanic has produced highly sought-after collectibles (like items used on the ship as well as ads for the ship) while the Atocha is known for the gold and silver coins that were on it.  One of the ships that you may not think of is the SS Central America.

On Thursday, September 3 in the year 1857, the SS Central America (a side-wheel steamer ship) left the port city of Aspinwall (located in Panama on the Atlantic Ocean side of the country).  The ship then made a stop in Havanna on Monday September the 7th.  The next morning, the ship continued onward towards its destination of New York City.

On September the 9th, the ship encountered a tropical storm.  By Friday, the weather went from bad to just plain mean.  The ship was in the grips of a hurricane off the coast of the Carolinas.  On Saturday the 12th of September, the ship was hit with a wave and slipped beneath the surface of the ocean.

Why is this ship so important?  The cargo of this ship was valued at the time of the sinking at $2 million dollars in gold coins and bars from San Fransisco (which was 10 tons of just gold).

This ship is sometimes called “The Ship of Gold”.  Many books have been written about the ship, along with the recovery and sale of the coins and bars.


Many collectors covet the coins of the SS Central America, and coin collectors still actively look for pieces from the shipwreck to add to their collections (even well after the sale of the cargo in the year 2000).

Over 7,000 gold coins were recovered from the shipwreck, and most of them are the $20 gold Double Eagle from the San Francisco mint.  Because of the discovery of the SS Central America, this type of gold coin is a little more available to collectors due to the amount that was found.

What other famous events or people have you heard of inspiring a new way to collect items?

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