SS Central America ingot up 4.6% on estimate at Bonhams

A gold ingot that was salvaged from the SS Central America has returned to California after selling as top lot in Bonhams' Coins & Medals auction on September 2.

SS Central America Gold Ingot
Sold for $146,900 - a larger ingot from the wreck made $8m in 2001

The ingot was recovered from the wreckage of the famed 280 foot sidewheel steamer, which was sunk by a hurricane in 1857. At the time of sinking the "Ship of Gold" was weighed down with 10 tonnes of gold prospected during the California gold rush.

The 40.56 ounce bar, which is stamped: "No.648 Kellogg & Humbert Assayers 40.56oz 8.87 Fine", sold for $146,900. The sale saw the bar achieve a 4.6% increase on its high estimate of $140,000.

Since being located in 1987, and following an intense legal battle for ownership, the treasures of the wreck have been achieving outstanding results at auction. Another, larger ingot sold for $891,250 at the 2012 ANA World's Fair of Money on August 9.

An 80 pound ex-SS Central America ingot was once recognised as the most valuable piece of currency in the world after selling for $8m in 2001.

A $50 round coin minted in celebration of the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition brought the auction's second highest bids.

Both octagonal and round examples of the commemorative coin were produced by the US Mint, with the round example standing as the rarer of the two - just 483 examples are known to have survived. In choice uncirculated to gem uncirculated condition, the piece sold for $69,030.

An octagonal example of the coin, which had been mounted in a custom screw-top bezel with gold chain attached, sold for $40,950.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has some stunning rare gold coins available. Leading our collection is a spectacular 16th century Italian double ducat, which is one of just five extant examples and one of only three available to private collectors.

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