SS CENTRAL AMERICA
The Ship of Gold
On September 3rd, 1857,
477 passengers and 101 crew on board the Central America
left the Panamanian port of Colón and sailed for New
York City. The ship was heavily laden with over
three tons of gold.
The precious cargo
included approximately 5,200 recently-minted $20-
denomination ("Double Eagle") gold pieces produced in
1857 at the San Francisco Mint. The gold for these coins
was mined during the California Gold Rush. There also
was a much smaller quantity of other historic gold coins
that circulated in the Wild West. The cargo also
contained privately-made gold coins and ingots produced
by such historic, government-supervised San Francisco
Gold Rush-era assayers.
On September 9th, the Central America was hit by a
Category 2 hurricane off the coast of the Carolinas. Two
days later, 105 mph winds shredded all her sails. At
noon, a leak in one of the seals to the paddle wheels
gave way to seawater and her boiler could no longer
maintain fire. The passengers and crew flew the ship's
flag upside down (a universal sign of distress.) No one
A bucket brigade was formed and her passengers and crew
spent the night fighting a losing battle against the
rising water. In the morning of September 10th, two
ships came to the rescue. 153 people, primarily women
and children, managed to make their way over in
lifeboats. 425 people still on board the Central America
went with her to the bottom at around 8 pm that night.
Unable to meet payrolls or pay creditors because of the
loss of the gold cargo, New York banks began to fail and
stores and factories began to close, touching off a
financial crash in the United States and Europe. It was
"The Panic of 1857."
2014, more gold has been recovered form the SS
Central America that sank 160 miles off South Carolina
in September 1857 .
Marine Exploration Inc--an exploration company in
Florida--has recovered nearly 1,000 ounces of gold,
worth $1.3 million at current gold prices, on a
dive. Recovered gold
included gold ingots and $20 Double Eagle coins...
$20 Double Eagle coins fetch an average of $5,000 from
than $40 million in gold had been previously recovered
by Tommy Thompson, an Ohio engineer who discovered the
shipwreck in 1988 using sonar and robotic technology he
developed. The recovery efforts were stopped in 1991 by
lawsuits and Tommy Thompson is now considered a
Thompson explored only only about 5 percent of the
shipwreck site. Hopefully all of 21 tons of
gold ingots, freshly minted gold coins, and raw gold
from the California mines plus personal wealth of the
ships' 477 passengers will be recovered this time.
This SS Central America model features:
parts are wooden or metal
Copper-plated bottom (Individual copper plated, not
Authentic side wheels can turn like that of the the
37" long x 16" tall x 9"
wide (1/87 HO scale)
16" long x 8" tall x
Out of stock