Goldberg’s June Sale Includes World Gold Coins From S.S. Central America Sunken Treasure


Two of the finest known, very rare 1855 and 1856 Australian sovereigns as well as an interesting mix of 74 other sunken treasure gold coins from Europe and South America that were also recovered from the fabled "Ship of Gold," the S.S. Central America, will be offered in an auction by Goldberg Coins & Collectibles (

1855 Australia Gold Sovereign
Recovered from the S.S. Central America, this first year of issue Australian 1855 Sydney Mint gold Sovereign (Fr-9; KM-2, PCGS MS-62+) will be offered at auction by Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, June 13-16, 2021. Photo credit: Lyle Engelson/ Goldberg Coins & Collectibles

The auction will be conducted in Los Angeles and online, June 13-16, 2021.

"These 76 gold pieces were among 82 world gold coins retrieved during the 2014 recovery expedition to the Atlantic Ocean site where the legendary ship sank during a hurricane while sailing to New York City in 1857," said Larry Goldberg, co-owner of the auction company. "This is the first time these recovered sunken treasure coins from Australia, Bolivia, Costa Rica, France, Great, Britain, Netherlands, Peru, and Spain have been offered."

The Australian 1855 Sydney Mint gold Sovereign, Fr-9; KM-2, now graded PCGS MS-62+, was made during the first year of that mint’s operations. An 1856 Sydney Mint Sovereign, Fr-9; KM-2, now graded PCGS AU-58, also was incredibly recovered.

"It is fascinating to think how these coins got to San Francisco where their journey to New York began. Were they carried by an Aussie miner seeking his fortune during the California Gold Rush or acquired as winnings in a gold camp poker game? Those two coins were onboard when the SS Central America went down 164 years ago," said Dwight Manley, managing partner of the California Gold Marketing Group which consigned the 76 recovered world gold coins to the Goldberg auction.

Among the other especially notable world coins recovered in 2014 and in the auction are:

  • Great Britain 1852 Queen Victoria Sovereign, S.3852D; Fr-387e; KM-736.1, PCGS MS-63+;

  • Great Britain 1855 Queen Victoria Sovereign, S.3852D; Fr-387e; KM-736.1, PCGS MS-62;

  • Costa Rica 1855 JB 1/2 Escudo, Fr-10; KM-97, PCGS MS-63;

  • France 1855-A Napoleon III 20 Francs, Fr-573; KM-781.1, PCGS MS-61;

  • Netherlands 1840 (Utrecht) King Willem I 10 Gulden, Fr-327; KM-56, PCGS MS=63+; and

  • Spain King Ferdinand VII 1809 (Seville) Draped Bust 2 Escudos, Fr-304a; KM-456.1, PCGS AU=50, the oldest-dated gold piece recovered from the famous ship.

Each of the PCGS-certified world coins is encapsulated in a specially-produced and labeled holder that contains a pinch of recovered S.S. Central America gold dust in a separate compartment.

Special PCGS SSCA holder
The 76 world gold coins recovered from the famous S.S. Central America offered in the June 13-16, 2021 auction by Goldberg Coins & Collectibles are each housed in special PCGS holders with a pinch of recovered California Gold Rush-era gold dust. Photo credit: Lyle Engelson/ Goldberg Coins & Collectibles

The insert labels include a statement of authenticity hand-signed by Bob Evans, the chief scientist on the 1988-1991 missions that first located and recovered portions of the fabulous treasure and assisted with the 2014 recovery. Evans wrote the introduction to the auction catalog’s section on these coins.

"The S.S. Central America treasure is a remarkable time capsule of economic practices in 1857, representing a specific, important moment in United States and world history: the outflow of wealth from Gold Rush California along the commercial artery that was the Panama Route … The treasure illustrates that world gold coins were an integral part of California and international trade during this exciting decade of burgeoning commerce in the 1850s," explained Evans.

The S.S. Central America was a 280-foot long, three-masted side-wheel steamship carrying tons of California gold that had been shipped from San Francisco to Panama when she sank on September 12, 1857 hurricane during the final leg of a voyage from Aspinwall (now Colón), Panama to New York City. The tragedy took the lives of 420 of the ship’s 578 passengers and crew members, and the loss of the gold cargo was a major factor in the economically devastating financial panic of 1857 in the United States.

The treasure was recovered from the seafloor of the Atlantic, 7200 feet down about 150 miles off the North Carolina coast.

For additional information about the auction, contact Goldberg Coins and Collectibles by phone at (310) 551-2646, by email at and online at

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Kaiser Wilhelm

This is akin to the malarkey about Area 51. Hurricane? Don’t believe it. Anyone in the know will tell you this ship was sunk courtesy of a torpedo from an Imperial German submarine.

Last edited 4 months ago by Kaiser Wilhelm
Seth Riesling

More saltwater, environmentally-damaged, cleaned coin dregs from a shipwreck! (And the P.T. Barnum of shipwreck numismatics, Dwight “I Sell Cleaned Coins recovered from the organic muck from the bottom of the ocean” Manley (a shill for NGC/NCS is behind this unseemly/deceptive practice!) Can you say “Class Action Lawsuit waiting to happen”??!! Caveat Emptor – Buyer Beware!
Just remember, NGC was sued by the government successfully for there deceptive “First Strikes” coin slab labels & fined heavily years ago & were forced to cease & desist from issuing more of those labels in coin slabs.


Kaiser Wilhelm

Aha, the plot once again thickens as the stew cooks longer. Are these coins in fact being retrieved from Ringo’s beloved Octopus’s Garden far beneath the frothy brine? And by the way, thanks for clearing up Caveat Emptor; I’d always imagined him to be a late era Caesar with a proclivity for adding small print codicils to his imperial proclamations.

Last edited 4 months ago by Kaiser Wilhelm
Kaiser Wilhelm

On a slightly different note, if this shipment of all that gold had been made just twelve years later it could instead have made its journey on the newly finished Transcontinental Railroad. The jeopardy there would have come from the likely easier to confront issues of either a derailment or a train robbery rather than the much more dire possibilities of a catastrophic loss thanks to the completely unpredictable dangers of the open sea.

Last edited 4 months ago by Kaiser Wilhelm