Rare U.S. Coins Salvaged from 1830s North Carolina Shipwreck Hit the Market
“To see these coins come to life after almost 200 years underwater, is a sight to behold.”
On June 14, 1838, the Steamship Pulaski was 40 miles off the coast of North Carolina when one of its boilers exploded in the middle of the night. The blast sent the ship and nearly half its 180-plus passengers (some of the wealthiest and most politically powerful people in the eastern United States) to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
Now, more than 180 years later, The State reports that 502 rare gold and silver coins salvaged from the shipwreck have been sold to a global coin dealer at a price that “wildly exceeded” expectations.
It’s unclear the price the coins fetched, but market value suggests U.S. coins from the early 1800s could sell for between $40,000 and $150,000 each.
The work to recover the Pulaski’s treasures is an ongoing effort between Blue Water Ventures and Endurance Exploration Group. Keith Webb, CEO of Blue Water Ventures International, told The State that coins included some of the oldest U.S. gold coins ever recovered off a shipwreck, dating to around 1800. The oldest is a 1750s British Gold Guinea.
And they’re not done yet. Webb believes that jewelry and more than 100,000 gold and silver coins still wait to be found.
“To see these coins come to life after almost 200 years underwater, is a sight [sic] to behold,” he said in a news statement.
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Webb explained to The State that this particular wreck is so valuable because the Pulaski had so many wealthy passengers. In the early 1800s, wealthy travelers were then known to cart their fortunes with them. He said the ship went down so quickly that few had time to gather their belongings.
Selected coins were sold to Asset Marketing Services (AMS), one of the world’s largest coin distribution companies. Collectors interested in acquiring coins from the Pulaksi shipwreck may contact AMS at Govmint.com