By James Callery - Mail Online
Rare treasure pulled from Gold Rush era shipwreck SS Central America, dubbed the Ship of Gold, have sold at auction, including a 32 ounce ingot that went for $138,000.
A trove of items found in the ship that sank off the coast of South Carolina in 1857 due to a hurricane went up for sale at the two-day event. Items sold included a large 18-karat gold quartz engraved brooch, which went for $49,200.
San Francisco businessman Sam Brannan was sending it to his son in Geneva, Switzerland, as a gift to his teacher.
The 32.15 ounce Kellogg & Humbert assayer's California Gold Rush ingot was the highest selling item, while a saloon sign from the ship attracted a winning bid of $13,200.
The auction on March 4 and 5 was conducted in Reno, Nevada, as well as online, by Holabird Western Americana Collections, spanning 422 lots. A haunting a portrait of a young lady found in the remnants of the ship was sold for $73,200.
The 19th century daguerreotype metal plate photograph was captured using the first publicly available photographic process. It is notable for its superb resolution.
The scientific mission recovery team nicknamed the woman 'Mona Lisa of the Deep', after retrieving the photo in 2014 from the seabed amid a scattered pile of the ship's coal. There are no records on her identity. Fred Holabird, President of Holabird Western Americana Collections, said: 'We had about 7,000 registered bidders, including some from Canada, Europe and South America.
'Many collectors were waiting for these extraordinary items to come on the market since the legendary, submerged ship was located in 1988 and Life magazine proclaimed it America's greatest treasure ever found.