and the Ship of Gold Exhibit from Long Beach
A decade after
its first appearance, the precedent-setting
“Ship of Gold” display showcasing California
Gold Rush-era sunken treasure recovered from the
1857 shipwreck of the SS Central America was
again docked in Long Beach, California.
The $10 million exhibit was publicly displayed
during the Long Beach Coin, Stamp & Collectibles
Expo in February, marking its 10th anniversary.
“The ‘Ship of Gold’ exhibit is out of dry dock”
said Ronald J. Gillio, Expo General Chairman.
“The eye-opening display on the convention
center floor is housed in a
specially-constructed 40-foot long
representation of the famous ship’s hull. This
will be the first public appearance of the ‘Ship
of Gold’ exhibit anywhere in the country in six
The exhibit is courtesy of Monaco Rare Coins of
Newport Beach and involved months of work to
coordinate the display with collectors who
privately own and now have generously loaned
many of the items for the exhibit, according to
Adam Crum, Monaco Vice President.
“The ‘cargo’ on display include examples of
historic assayers’ ingots as well as San
Francisco Mint and California territorial gold
coins with a combined value today of over $10
million. One of the highlights is a huge, 662.28
ounce Kellogg & Humbert ingot. Weighing just
over 55 troy pounds, it is the fourth largest
gold bar recovered from nearly 8,000 feet blow
the surface of the Atlantic Ocean where the
Central America sank in a hurricane in September
1857 while carrying California gold from Panama
to New York City,” said Crum.
There was also one of the 13 recovered octagonal
$50 gold pieces produced by the United States
Assay Office of San Francisco, and the remains
of a wooden cargo box that still contains
approximately 110 Double Eagles as they were
found on the ocean floor. Many appear to be
1857-S $20 gold pieces, apparently freshly
struck at the San Francisco Mint when they were
placed in the container for shipping.
Visitors to the exhibit also saw the front pages
of three 1857 newspapers that published amazing
stories about the shipwreck, the ordeal of
survivors and the devastating economic effects
created by the loss of the gold.
Bob Evans, the chief scientist on the 1980’s
mission by the Columbus-America Discovery Group
that located and recovered the fabulous sunken
treasure, was also at the Long Beach Expo
display each day to meet with visitors and
present educational programs about the SS
Central America, her cargo, crew and passengers.
The Ship of Gold display was first publicly
presented at the February 2000 Long Beach
Expo.and has seen by over a million people in
half dozen other cities across the country.