From the time that Europeans started arriving in the New World during the 16th and 17th centuries, shipwrecks began piling up along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean Sea.
A company based in Jacksonville, Florida that specializes in recovering treasure from these sunken ships believes it may have made a major discovery in the waters near North Carolina.
In the summer of 1838, the steamship Pulaski was sailing from Savannah, Georgia for its destination in Baltimore, Maryland.
It was not a commercial trip: the steamer was primarily carrying passengers—many of whom were rather wealthy.
Just before midnight on June 14th, one of the ship's boilers exploded. It quickly sank and 128 people perished in the accident.
Perhaps more surprisingly, there were actually 59 survivors.
The ship met its demise about 40 miles off the coast of North Carolina while en route to Baltimore.
Until now, however, historians had not been sure precisely where the wreck had occurred.
Early in 2018, the Jacksonville firm Blue Waters Ventures International believed it had discovered the remains of the Pulaski.
BWVI has extensive experience in recovering treasure from long-forgotten undersea wreckage. Its team was also searching in the right area, known to be a hotbed of shipwreck activity.
Tens of millions of dollars worth of gold and other treasure from sunken vessels has been found along America's Atlantic coast in the past several decades.
The crew of BWVI estimates that the remains of the S.S. Pulaski could yield as much as $25 million in treasure.
When all of the pearls, gold, silver, and other valuables are tallied up, the team has already brought roughly $11 million of bounty to the surface.
These recovery efforts have also turned up some antique coins, worth a total of perhaps $200,000.
Included in this haul were a number of "Classic Head" design U.S. gold coins, an 1818 silver quarter, a large silver peso coin from Mexico, as well as some smaller dime and half-dime coins.
One would expect more valuable loot to be discovered soon, given the high social status of those on board.
By some estimates, there's actually more gold residing at the bottom of the ocean than there is in circulation around the world! This possibility is mind-boggling if true.
Beyond the material riches this discovery provides, it also adds to our historical understanding of the time period.
The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product or service.
Everett has been the head content writer and market analyst at Gainesville Coins since 2013. He has a background in History and is deeply interested in how gold and silver have historically fit into the financial system.