SS Central America ingot to make $140,000 at Bonhams' coin auction ?

Another ingot from the wreck sold for $8m in 2001

From Paul Fraser Collectibles

A gold ingot salvaged from the wreckage of the SS Central America is to star at Bonhams' Coins & Medals auction in California on September 2.

Also known as the Ship of Gold, the SS Central America was a 280-foot sidewheel steamer that was sunk by a hurricane off the east coast of the US in 1857.

At the time of sinking, the ship was weighed down with 10 tons of gold prospected during the California gold rush.

The worth of the gold carried aboard the Central America was valued at approximately $2m, which shook public confidence in the economy and contributed to the panic of 1857.

The ship was eventually located in 1987, when a group of divers was sent to recover the gold, coins and various artefacts that had sank with it.

After an intense legal battle, 92% of the gold was awarded to the discovery team in 1996.

A gold ingot weighing 80 pounds was sold in 2001 for $8m and was recognised as the most valuable piece of currency in the world at the time.

The ingot at auction weighs considerably less - 40.56 ounces - and is stamped: "No.648 Kellogg & Humbert Asssayers 40.56 oz 8.87 Fine".

Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the group that discovered the wreckage and a custom made presentation box, it is expected to bring $120,000-140,000.

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