1849 $10 Liberty NGC AU58 SS Republic Shipwreck Gold Eagle
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1849 $10 Liberty NGC AU58
SS Republic Shipwreck Gold Eagle
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The SS Republic®* was a Civil War-era sidewheel steamship that sank in 1865 while carrying a large cargo of silver and gold coins and a stunning variety of everyday wares essential to life in mid-19th century America. The SS Republic, sank in a hurricane off the coast of Georgia with a reported $400,000 in gold and silver coins on board. Lost to history for 138 years, It was discovered by Odyssey Marine Exploration in 2003.
En route from New York to New Orleans with passengers and commercial cargo, the SS Republic was lost in a violent hurricane on October 25, 1865. The passengers and crew escaped from the sinking ship, yet a fortune in coins and much needed cargo to help rebuild New Orleans’ post-Civil War economy sank to the bottom of the Atlantic seabed 1,700 feet (518 meters) deep. Nearly 140 years later, Odyssey discovered the shipwreck of the Republic approximately 100 miles off the Georgia coast. The archaeological excavation conducted during the 2003-2004 excavation seasons was accomplished entirely through the use of advanced robotics and cutting-edge technologies and was the first of its kind ever performed at such depths.
Over 51,000 U.S. gold and silver coins were recovered from the Republic wreck site, as well as over 14,000 artifacts – a fascinating assortment of 19th century goods in use during the Civil War years. In addition to the wealth of knowledge gained from the Republic shipwreck project, the success of the archaeological excavation has set a precedent for achieving the highest archaeological standards essential to the emerging field of deep-water shipwreck exploration and recovery. The shipwreck has yielded some of the finest US Pre-Civil War and Civil War dated gold the world has ever seen.
The quality of the coins recovered cannot be overstated. You see, during and just after the Civil War, in both the North and especially the South, gold and silver coins were a valued but extremely scarce commodity. Rampant inflation, caused by both sides financing their huge war costs through the near-nonstop printing of paper currency, resulted in the widespread hoarding of “hard money.” At the end of the war, the South, for all practical purposes, was broke…its paper money was worthless, its hard money virtually gone. The years following the Civil War saw wild fluctuations in the value of gold and silver. As a result of these fluctuations, many of the coins of this era were melted or saw heavy circulation.