1865-S $20 PCGS AU58 CAC
Brother Jonanthan 951
SS Brother Jonathan
All shipwreck gold tells tales of tragic endings, heroism, and adventure, but the $20 Liberty Type I Double Eagles recovered from the S.S. Brother Jonathan shipwreck has a numismatic story all its own. These tangible reminders of America’s colorful past were originally intended for purchase and payment for all commercial uses. With a golden luster and classic design, they are true national treasures, desired by collectors for their pristine beauty and rarity. Now you can proudly display these unforgettable relics from a time when “real” money and authentic adventure were core to the American experience. These coins were struck from the gold dust or nuggets mined or found in the hills, streams, and rivers of California.
On July 30, 1865, the S.S. Brother Jonathan — dangerously overloaded with livestock, heavy equipment, and even a fire engine — crashed into an uncharted reef in the midst of a terrible storm. Perhaps in response to terrified passengers or to just a reasonable fear of storm surge, the captain had turned the ship around, intending to return to safety. However, the impact of the reef dealt a mortal blow, and Brother Jonathan sank quickly. Only 19 survived, making it the deadliest passenger shipwreck of the West Coast to date, and prompting the building of St. George Reef Lighthouse, the costliest and most remote lighthouse in U.S. history.
The newly minted $20 Liberty gold coins aboard the S.S. Brother Jonathan had been minted just a few months prior at the San Francisco Mint. A total of 1,207 coins, mostly Type I Double Eagles, were recovered from the shipwreck in the 1990s, but crates of gold still remain hidden and undisturbed on the ocean floor.
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