1853 G$1 Gold Dollar PCGS MS62 S.S. Central America W/Pinch Gold

IN STOCK
SKU
35669410
$4,000.00

SS Central America, known as the Ship of Gold, was a 280-foot (85 m) sidewheel steamer that operated between Central America and the eastern coast of the United States during the 1850s. She was originally named the SS George Law The ship sank in a hurricane in September 1857, along with 425 of her 578 passengers and crew and 30,000 pounds (14,000 kg) of gold, contributing to the Panic of 1857.

On 3 September 1857, 477 passengers and 101 crew left the Panamanian port of Colón, sailing for New York City under the command of William Lewis Herndon. The ship was laden with 10 short tons (9.1 t) of gold prospected during the California Gold Rush. After a stop in Havana, the ship continued north.

On 9 September 1857, the ship was caught up in a Category 2 hurricane while off the coast of the Carolinas. By 11 September, the 105 mph winds and heavy seas had shredded her sails, she was taking on water, and her boiler was threatening to fail. A leak in one of the seals between the paddle wheel shafts and the ship's sides sealed its fate. At noon that day, her boiler could no longer maintain fire. Steam pressure dropped, shutting down both the bilge pumps. Also, the paddle wheels that kept her pointed into the wind failed as the ship settled by the stern. The passengers and crew flew the ship's flag inverted to signal a passing ship. No one came.

A bucket brigade was formed, and her passengers and crew spent the night fighting a losing battle against the rising water. During the calm of the hurricane, attempts were made to get the boiler running again, but these failed. The second half of the storm then struck. The ship was now on the verge of foundering. Without power, the ship was carried along with the storm and the strong winds would not abate. The next morning, September 12, two ships were spotted, including the brig Marine. Only 153 passengers, primarily women and children, made their way over in lifeboats. The ship remained in an area of intense winds and heavy seas that pulled the ship and most of her company away from rescue. Central America sank at 8:00 that evening. As a consequence of the sinking, 425 people were killed. A Norwegian bark, Ellen, rescued an additional 50 from the waters. Another three were picked up over a week later in a lifeboat.

 
Commander William Lewis Herndon. U.S.N.

In the immediate aftermath of the sinking, greatest attention was paid to the loss of life, which was described as "appalling" and as having "no parallel" among American navigation disasters. At the time of her sinking, Central America carried gold then valued at approximately US$8,000,000 (modern monetarily 2019 dollar equivalent to $550 million, assuming a gold value of $1,528.40 per troy ounce). The loss shook public confidence in the economy, and contributed to the Panic of 1857

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More Information
Grading Service PCGS
PCGS Coin Number 7521
Year of Issue 1853
Denomination Type Gold Dollar
Numeric Denomination G$1
Grade MS62
Designation NONE
Mint Location Philadelphia
Strike Type Business
Circ/UnCirc Uncirculated
Variety SS Central America
Country of Origin The United States of America
Grade Add On NONE
Holder Type N/A
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