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November 27, 2020


Vital rare coin & paper money industry updates

Never Before Offered S.S. Central America Treasure In Goldberg’s September 2020 Auction

Donn Pearlman · Jul 21, 2020
Press Release Auctions U.S. Coins

Tied for finest known 1856-S dime, rare 1856-S/s quarter, miner’s gold dust and coins from fabled ship’s safe among highlights

This elusive variety 1856 large S over small s mint mark quarter dollar, graded PCGS XF45, is one of the sunken treasure items from the fabled S.S. Central America in the Goldberg’s September 2020 auction. (Images courtesy of Professional Coin Grading Service.)

(Los Angeles, CA) July 21, 2020 – Historic sunken treasure from the California Gold Rush recovered from the fabled S.S. Central America which sank in 1857 will be offered to the public for the first time in an auction to be conducted in September in Los Angeles, California and online by Ira & Larry Goldberg Auctioneers (

“One of the important highlights is a major numismatic discovery from the legendary ship: an extremely rare 1856 San Francisco Mint Liberty Seated No Motto quarter-dollar with a large S mint mark punched over a small s. It was discovered in a canvas bag in the purser’s sealed iron box in the ship’s safe on the seabed more than 7,000 feet below the Atlantic Ocean’s surface,” said Dwight Manley, Managing Partner of the California Gold Marketing Group (CGMG).

The 1856-S/s silver quarter now is graded PCGS XF45.

A rare 1856-S Liberty Seated dime recovered from the legendary S.S. Central America, graded PCGS MS65 CAC and tied for finest known, will be offered for the first time in the September 2020 auction by Ira and Larry Goldberg. (Photo credit: Professional Coin Grading Service.)

CGMG owns that coin and the other S.S. Central America treasure now being offered for the first time in the Goldberg’s September 13 and 14, 2020 auction.

“With a total mintage of only 286,000, ‘normal’ 1856-S quarter-dollars are scarce even in low, circulated grades, and extremely scarce in Mint State grade. The auction will include a recovered treasure 1856-S quarter graded PCGS MS63 CAC,” explained Larry Goldberg, auction house co-owner with his cousin Ira Goldberg.

“Another major highlight is an 1856-S Liberty Seated silver dime graded PCGS MS65 CAC and tied for the finest known,” said Manley. “Only 70,000 dimes – just $7,000 face value -- were minted in San Francisco in 1856 and a just handful are known today in uncirculated condition. This one’s a miracle survival coin, still pristine with full luster. It was displayed at the American Numismatic Association 2019 Chicago World’s Fair of Money.”

Also recovered from the ship and in the Goldberg’s September auction is a scarce 1854-O Liberty Seated Arrows at Date silver quarter-dollar Huge Mint Mark variety. It is graded PCGS AU55 CAC and among the finest known of its kind.

Recovered from the S.S. Central America and among the finest known of its kind, this scarce 1854-O Liberty Seated Arrows at Date silver quarter-dollar Huge Mint Mark variety, graded PCGS AU55 CAC, is in the Goldberg’s September 2020 auction. (Photo credit: Lyle Engleson/Goldberg Auctions.)

All the PCGS-certified treasure coins in the auction are housed in special encapsulation holders that include a pinch of miner’s gold dust also retrieved during the last recovery mission to the ship in 2014.

“This gold dust was originally discovered by 49ers during the heydays of the California Gold Rush and untouched in the miners’ gold field packets for more than 160 years,” explained Manley. “When it was recovered from the S.S. Central America the gold dust was still sealed in the miners’ original pokes, the satchels and pouches made of buckskin, canvas or leather.”

The sale also will include five ounces of recovered gold dust now housed in one of the 88 hand-numbered elegant, large-format holders specially prepared by PCGS. The insert label on the 5½ by 9 inches holder is personally signed by the esteemed Q. David Bowers, author of two books about the Gold Rush and the SS Central America, and by Bob Evans, the chief scientist on the Ship of Gold sunken treasure recovery missions.

For additional information about the auction, visit Ira & Larry Goldberg Auctioneers online at or call 310-551-2646. The email address is


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Donn Pearlman

A former award-winning Chicago broadcaster and journalist, Donn Pearlman is a public relations executive and recipient of the 2015 ANA Farran Zerbe Award and the 2018 Professional Numismatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.

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