In the face of natural disasters, shipwrecks are devastating events that cause mass property loss and even loss of life. However, these wrecks also allow us to uncover buried treasure in the form of coins from different eras, from antique gold and silver coins to modern quarters and dollars. Some shipwreck coins are so rare that they’re worth more than their weight in gold! Here are four shipwreck coins that rare coin collectors are interested in.
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The US. Gold Coins
The gold coins discovered in the shipwrecks of the SS Republic and the SS Central America are some of the most famous numismatic treasures ever found at sea. Both wrecks occurred in 1857, and these two ships held many similarities, including carrying passengers and crew members aboard, a large cargo of gold coins, and being lost during a storm.
The SS Republic was carrying about $300,000 worth of gold coin treasure when it sank to New York City from Boston. The SS Central America was carrying approximately $2 million worth of California Gold Rush-era coins when it sunk off Cape Hatteras while attempting to return to New York City after taking on cargo in Panama.
The US. Silver Coins
One of the most famous shipwrecks in history is the Spanish Atocha, which was wrecked off the coast of Florida in 1622. The Atocha carried a large load of silver coins from Central and South America. It is estimated that when all its treasures are finally recovered, they will exceed $1 billion in value. The second most famous wreck was the SS Central America, which sank in 1857, carrying $1 million worth of gold from California on its way to North Carolina. More than 400 people lost their lives when it went down with more than 1000 passengers aboard.
The Mary Rose Commemorative 50 pence coin was issued to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose. It is composed of 92% copper and 8% tin, weighs 6g, and has a diameter of 28mm. The ship sank in 1545 during a battle with France but was salvaged in 1982, and many shipwreck coins were found on board.
The Centenary of the Battle of Jutland Commemorative 50 pence coin is a tribute to the Battle near Denmark on May 31st, 1916, which marked the last major naval confrontation between Britain and Germany during World War II I before America joined the war effort. It weighs 6g and has a diameter of 28mm.
The Fortuna II wreck is one of the most recent shipwrecks discovered in 2013. The ship sunk off the coast of Turkey, near Antalya, carrying many coins from the Roman Empire’s reign. Divers found more than 500,000 silver coins weighing about a tonne in total. This finding dates back to about 270 AD, and many experts believe this is one of the most significant discoveries. The Nuestra Señora de la Concepción was another Spanish merchant vessel that sank off Portugal’s coast in 1782 with more than 400 chests full of gold, silver, and other treasures on board.
Rare coin collectors are always interested in shipwreck coins. Whether they are looking for coins that were lost at sea or find them on dry land, there is a very particular set of coins that collectors want to add to their collections. From the largest gold hoard ever discovered to a sunken Spanish galleon loaded with bars of silver and gold, these shipwrecks have made rare coins extremely valuable.
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