The sea yields up more gold. Civil War shipwreck, SS Republic, gives up its Golden Secret

SS RepublicA Tampa Company, Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. has searched the depths of the ocean 100 miles east of Savannah for over 10 years, seeking an old wreck from the Civil War days, this ship SS Republic, was carrying a cargo which included gold coins.

The Company's diligence at last rewarded, divers recently have uncovered 80 gold coins, and at least, two wooden crates of gold coins, from the sediment at the site of a Civil War shipwreck.

It is believed this latest treasure extracted from the ocean floor came from the position where the side wheeler SS Republic went down in 1865, during a hurricane. Contemporary newspapers reports put the passenger list between 59-81, with up to 17 people dying in this disaster.

Rudder of ship believed to be SS Republic, sunk off Savannah in an 1865 hurricane.
Rudder of ship believed to be SS Republic, sunk off Savannah in an 1855 hurricane.
Discussion about the value of this gold shipment carried in this old Civil War era vessel, have indicated it may be worth up to US $180 Million. Should this valuation be correct, I have no doubt, that the lure of its recovery means we have not yet read the final chapter on but one more gold saga from the bottom of the sea, this time, off the American coast at Savannah.

As we oft times read "Watch this space!"


See the National Georgraphic Article, "Sunken Republic Treasure May Be Most Valuable" Another National Geographic Article dates 1 December 2003 "Shipwreck Gold Found off U.S.—Worth $180,000,000?"  See also "Famous Wrecks Worldwide"


Paddle wheel of SS Republic, 500 metres down, off Savannah.
Paddle wheel of SS Republic, 500 metres down, off Savannah.
The ship was launched in 1853 at Baltimore, as a 210 feet long ship with 2 masts, sails and a steam engine. A single piston over 6 feet wide turned side wheels 28 feet across. The ship could accommodate up to 100 passengers. In all its years at sea, Republic reinvented itself several times as it changed hands, a commercial ferry to Central America, a blockade runner for the Confederacy, a warship for the Union, and then a link to New Orleans post the Civil War.





Update on Civil War Wreck SS Republic. 15th. January 2004.

Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. have signed an agreement with Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company ( the Insurers who became the subrogated owner of both the hull of this ship and her cargoes. ) This agreement transfers any and all ownership rights Atlantic has or will have to Odyssey for the sum of $1,600,000. In addition, Atlantic will pass over to Odyssey copies of all research and data in their possession about SS Republic. Odyssey's CEO, John Morris indicated that this is the first agreement of  its kind.

SS Republic en route from New York to New Orleans in 1865, sank after fighting a hurricane over two days, at that time, records show she carried " $400,000 in specie." She lays some 1,700 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean about 100 miles off the coast of Georgia.

Amongst the coins recovered already are numerous gold eagles, gold double eagles, and silver half dollars, nearly all dating between the early 1850's and 1865. The Numismatic Conservation Services have conserved  recovered coins and these have been graded by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, this particular collection may already include several finest known examples of US gold and silver coins from this period.

Although several thousands of coins have been uncovered in this current excavation, it is still too early to predict what the total value  of the shipwreck and its cargo may be. But it would appear, Oddysey are sufficiently confident of the final realisation value from SS Republic, to punt the considerable amount of $1,600,000 to secure the end prize.


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