Shipwrecks and Lost Treasures of the Seven Seas

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43 gold bars, 1,300 double eagle coins and thousands of pieces of silver

SS Central America


From Daily Mail

Deep-sea explorers have recovered thousands of gold and silver coins and more than 40 heavy gold bars easily worth millions of dollars, along with a slew of personal items that are a virtual time capsule of the California Gold Rush in a 150-year-old shipwreck.

Newly unsealed court documents provide the first detailed inventory of a treasure trove being resurrected from an 1857 shipwreck at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

The operation is being directed by a court-appointed receiver of an Ohio company, led by a treasure hunter and dreamer named Tommy Thompson, that first found the Central America in 1988 in what was then a monumental achievement that was funded by a group of central Ohio investors.

Immediately after finding the ship and recovering a fraction of its garden of gold, Thompson became embroiled in a decades-long legal battle over who had rights to the treasure and how it was being dispersed.

None of the investors ever saw a return, and in August 2012 after failing to show up for several court hearings, a warrant was issued for Thompson's arrest. He has been a federal fugitive ever since.

Meanwhile, the Central America and its gold sat untouched since 1991, the last time Thompson and his team were at the site.

The new recovery operation was made possible after an Ohio court appointed a receiver over some of Thompson's companies, and he awarded a contract to conduct the efforts to Tampa, Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration.

The inventories, unsealed by a federal judge in Virginia late Wednesday, show that Odyssey Marine has brought up 43 solid gold bars, 1,300 $20 double eagle gold coins, and thousands more gold and silver coins.


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