Shipwreck Gold Coins

There are some pretty famous shipwrecks that most people know about, such as the Titanic. When modern technology, including underwater robots brought items from this wreck to the surface, it was like rescuing a time capsule of history that could then be preserved. With this and other wrecks, some of what they recovered was gold coins. Gold coins that have been recovered from shipwrecks are generally referred to as shipwreck gold coins. One of the most famous ships that carried a treasure trove of gold coins on it before it was shipwrecked was the S. S. Central America mail steamship. 

On its journey in August 1857 from San Francisco, California to New York it met up with a terrible hurricane just off the coast of the Carolinas. Unfortunately, the hurricane got the better of them and after three days, only about one fourth of the over 500 crew members and passengers survived and the rest were drowned as the ship sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.  In addition to the passengers and crew, a large cargo of newly minted gold coins, gold bars and private-issue coins was included, as well as 10,000 pieces of mail. 130 years later, a massive effort identified this ship about 8000 feet below the surface of the ocean. It took years of working out the legalities, but eventually, many items from this ship were recovered and preserved as National Treasures and went to museums, collections, and investment portfolios. Many of the shipwreck gold coins have been made available to the public for purchase when investors decide to liquidate their holdings..

Included in the treasure was a chest full of $20 Liberty gold coins that were dated 1857. Newly minted in the San Francisco mint, the water helped to preserve them in top condition. After their recovery, each coin was certified as authentic and graded. These pre-Civil War coins are highly prized by collectors of rare coins.

Other shipwreck coins make one think of pirate treasures. The Spanish coins from shipwrecks are often in the form of 8 reales coins, which are commonly referred to as pieces of eight and the 8 escudos coins which are generally called gold doubloons. Many of these were minted at the Spanish colonial mints in Lima, Mexico City or Potosi. These shipwreck coins were salvaged from ships that had been lost at sea while transporting gold and silver to the Spanish thrown. Between pirate attacks and hurricanes, there were many hazards that sent much wealth to the bottom of the ocean.

When looking into shipwreck gold coins, it is important that a certificate of authenticity is included with each coin. Without this, your coin will not increase in value over time, and it may even be illegal or fake. The value of these rare shipwreck gold coins tends to increase because of the circumstances under which they were both lost and found. The condition or grade of the coin is very important, as the more highly graded coins are worth quite a bit more than the lower grades of coins, although having been in a shipwreck significantly increases their value over other coins of the same grave.


If you are interested in investing in shipwreck rare gold coins, we can locate specific high value year minted coins. For more information, please call SDL Numismatic Properties at 1800-878-2646