CONA July 2018 Newsletter

July Meeting

When: 7 p.m., June 18,2018
Oakstone Academy: 939 State St. Westerville, Ohio 43081
Topic: Type Collecting Foreign Coins in Albums
Speaker: Jim

July Presentation

I started out collecting United States coins. I got to the point where I couldn’t find or afford some of the coins I needed. I came across a few old foreign type albums which were fun to collect and it filled the void of collecting U.S.

Soon I was looking for Dansco and Whitman type albums made in the past. Once I found an album the question was, “Could I complete it?” The hunt was on!!

The talk will cover the topic of collecting foreign coins by Type or by Date in albums. We will cover a list of old type albums made in the 1960s and what are some of the foreign albums currently available from non-standard sources. We will discuss different ways you can make your own custom albums. — Jim

June Presentation Recap

Evans, chief scientist on the salvage of the S.S. Central America, discussed the 1857 shipwreck, the conservation of the coins and artifacts recovered and sang a contemporary song about the wreck of what has come to be called the “ship of gold.”

The story of the shipwreck has been told and retold since it was discovered in 7,200 feet of water 30 years ago, and court news appears in the paper even now as Columbus treasure hunter Tommy Thompson sits in jail, refusing to tell a federal court what he did with an estimated $2 million to $4.5 million worth of the recovered treasure.

In a fascinating presentation, Evans talked about the treasure and his work with it. Here are a few facts from Evans talk:

Steamship voyages from California to Panama and from Panama to New York with a trip across the Isthmus of Panama in between were the “fastest means of communication” between California and the East in 1857, before the transcontinental telegraph and railroad. “If you hit everything just perfect,” he said, it took 23 to 24 days.

The ship carried a commercial shipment of $1,219,187.43 in gold and an undermined amount of gold in the passengers’ pockets, pokes and vests.

The commercial shipment, he said, covered the seabed in gold coins, especially double eagles and ingots.

The coins, he said, “look like they were minted yesterday.” Because the waters surrounding the shipwreck are alkaline and not acidic, the copper in the coin’s 90 percent gold alloy did not leach out. Unlike most shipwreck gold coins, the Central America coins did not have the matte “shipwreck effect.”

He showed a photo of one business-strike double eagle that had such deeply mirrored fields it reflected the printed words of a book.

Ingots, which comprised abort 7/8 of the commercial shipment, were used to “transport large amounts of wealth to its final destination.”

Each ingot was stamped with its maker’s mark, weight to the 1/100th of an ounce, purity and value in dollars, with an ounce of gold figured at $20.672.

California gold is naturally alloyed with silver. Evans said San Francisco silver coins of the era were struck on silver that was parted from gold deposits.

In 1991, after salvaging $1,096,114.10 of the commercial shipment, salvors left the site. “We got all the easy stuff.”

In 2013, salvors, now acting under a receivership, returned to the site for the $100,000 left behind.

A safe in the ships debries field was too large to bring up. But, he said, it had rusted in its years on the bottom of the ocean. “The door fell off” when pushed, he said. Inside were pokes filled with gold. The canvas bags gave off swamp gas when they were brought up. “Boy did it stink,” said.

A volleyball size bag in the safe contained what Evans believes was the ship’s cash supply. He estimates the ship had $2,500 in cash to pay for labor and fuel. A sack inside the bag contained 9,600 dimes. Sailors, he said, were paid a dime a day.

The shipwreck also contained numerous $3 gold pieces. Collectors have long though the odd-denomination coins did not circulate. Evans said, “In 1857 in California they were using plenty of $3 gold pieces.

Fractional gold coins, too, were found in abundance. “If it was stamped, it traded,” Evans said.

The shipwreck took the lives of 425 men. Some 153 people, including all the ship’s women and children, were rescued in the hours it took the storm-battered ship to sink.

He said he saw photographs of people in the shipwreck. “When you see pictures of these people starring at you, it was just eerie. I feel like I know these people. It puts faces with the disaster.”

By: Gerry Tebben

Interested in past CONA Newsletters? Please visit the Newman Portal for a vast collection that dates back to 2011!

No comments yet

Comments are closed

Copyright 2018 Central Ohio Numismatic Association
Designed and Developed by Beth Rich