NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A steamship that sank off the Louisiana coast during an 1846 storm has produced a trove of rare gold coins, including some produced at two largely forgotten U.S. Mints in the South, coin experts say.
Last year, four Louisiana residents salvaged hundreds of gold coins and thousands of silver coins from the wreckage of the SS New York in about 60 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico, said David Bowers, co-chairman of New York-based Stack's Rare Coins.
"Some of these are in uncirculated or mint condition," Bowers said, predicting the best could bring $50,000 to $100,000 apiece at auction.
Of particular interest to coin experts are gold pieces known as quarter eagles and half eagles, which carried face values of $2.50 and $5 in the days before the United States printed paper currency.
Those coins were struck at Mints in New Orleans; Charlotte, N.C.; and Dahlonega, Ga. The Charlotte and Dahlonega Mints operated from 1838, when the first significant U.S. gold deposits were found in those areas, until the start of the Civil War in 1861, said Douglas Mudd, curator of the American Numismatic Association's Money Museum in Denver. Neither reopened.
The Dahlonega Mint produced 1.38 million gold coins, while 1.2 million were minted in Charlotte. Tens of millions of gold coins were . . .
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