This Man Found Lost Treasure and Disappeared Into History
Uncover the incredible story behind the SS Central America’s sinking and eventual salvage of its 9.1-ton cargo of gold worth millions of dollars.
Find out why the treasure hunter, who discovered the ship in 1988, is now in jail after selling some of its treasures for a whopping $50 million.
Gold Rush to the Rescue: The Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company Crisis
On 24 August 1857, the US financial industry was rocked when the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company announced that its New York offices had stopped payments.
Fearing a domino effect and potential run on the banks, a group of financial institutions launched an unprecedented mission to bring Californian gold from Panama to New York. This daring move was the only way to safeguard the US financial system. Thanks to their valiant efforts, the crisis was averted and the US economy was spared.
The SS Central America's Risky Journey with a Golden Payload
On 3 September 1857, SS Central America set sail from Panama, bearing a precious cargo of 9.1 tons of gold. The gold was needed to restore confidence in banks and investors, who had been shaken by the economic turmoil of the time.
With a staggering value of $2 million, the precious cargo was worth hundreds of millions in today’s money. The journey was a risky one, but the SS Central America and her 477 passengers and 101 crew members bravely set sail in search of a brighter tomorrow.
A Voyage Full of Unexpected Surprises
Captain William Lewis Herndon had a special mission to accomplish as he set sail on the massive paddlewheel steamer. All went well and they arrived in Havana, Cuba without any incident.
But the calm waters gave way to an unexpected surprise when strong winds began to pick up and the sea turned choppy. The captain and his crew had to brave the raging waters and navigate the ship to safety. Despite the obstacles, the captain remained determined and eventually, the vessel arrived at its destination unscathed.
The Tragic Sinking of the SS Central America
On the 9th of September, 1857, a sailor’s worst fear was realized as the SS Central America met its fate in the face of a powerful Category 2 hurricane off the coast of the Carolinas.
For two days, the ship was battered by the relentless storm, its hull and sails taking a severe beating as the waves crashed against it. On the 11th of September, the ship could no longer withstand the onslaught and sank beneath the waves, taking with it its precious cargo and hundreds of lives.
Miracle At Sea: The Rescue of the SS Central America
The SS Central America was facing certain doom. Its sails were shredded and the bow was rapidly taking in water. As the crew desperately attempted to repair the boiler during the hurricane, their efforts were futile. The ship began to list and the following day a rescue mission was attempted, but the atrocious weather conditions made it impossible.
However, several lifeboats were successfully launched and eventually the SS Central America sank into the depths of the sea at 8 pm. While the tragedy of the ship sinking was unavoidable, the brave rescue mission was a miracle at sea.
The Worst Disaster at Sea in American History: 53 Survivors of the 425 Lost
On September 11th 1857, the SS Central America sank in the waters of the Atlantic, taking with it the lives of 425 people. Despite the magnitude of the tragedy, 53 individuals survived, three of whom were rescued from a lifeboat a week after the sinking.
It was the deadliest maritime disaster in American history, with a toll that still captures the imagination of the world. Yet, through the sorrow, there is a sense of hope and resilience, as the story of 53 survivors serves as a reminder of human strength and courage.
The Financial Crisis of 1857: A Tragic Consequence of the Sinking of the SS Central America
The loss of life from the sinking of the SS Central America in 1857 was an immense tragedy. However, that was only the beginning of the devastation. This dreaded event set off a chain of events that led to the Panic of 1857, the first-ever global financial crisis.
The precious cargo on the ship was intended to prevent the crisis, but it’s sinking created a run on the banks, resulting in a severe economic downturn felt around the world. The Panic of 1857 and its far-reaching consequences showed us a glimpse of the fragility of the global economy.
The Hunt for the S.S. Central America - An Unprecedented Gold Rush
Tommy Gregory Thompson, a shipwreck-crazy treasure hunter from Ohio, was certain that he had worked out the exact whereabouts of the ill-fated S.S. Central America, a 28-meter sidewheel steamer that sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in 1857.
He had become obsessed with finding the ship and its lost gold, and after years of analysis and technological development, he was ready to take on the challenge. In 1988, Thompson and his team received a $12.5 million investment to finance an extensive search and salvage operation. It was the beginning of an unprecedented hunt for the lost ship and its gold!
Making History: Tommy Gregory Thompson Discovers the SS Central America
After years of hard work and dedication, Tommy Gregory Thompson accomplished his mission. On September 11th 1988, he was the first to discover the wreck of the SS Central America, resting at a depth of 7,200 feet, off the coast of South Carolina. Thompson used Nemo, a vessel operated by his Columbus-America Discovery Group, to make the historic find.
Thompson’s discovery marked a major milestone in the history of underwater exploration. He had uncovered a lost treasure, which would be later retrieved and shared with the world. It was a remarkable achievement, honoring the memory of the brave souls who had gone down with the ship in 1857.
Uncovering the Lost Treasure of SS Central America
For three years, Tommy Gregory Thompson searched for treasure on the ocean floor. His mission? To uncover the lost riches of SS Central America – a steamship that sank in 1857 carrying thousands of gold bars, coins, and artifacts.
Filled with determination, Tommy’s efforts paid off. From 1988 to 1991, he recovered an impressive haul worth tens of millions of dollars – a small fraction of the total lost treasure. It was an incredible feat of ocean exploration – one that proved the power of dedication and hard work.
The Unending Battle Over Gold
For 35 insurance companies operating since 1857, the news of the discovery of gold was a cause for celebration. The companies filed a claim and put forward a legal suit in order to gain access to the gold and reap the rewards. Little did they know, the legal battle they had initiated would drag on for an entire 39 years!
The case became highly publicized, as the companies fought for the right to gold. Eventually, in 1996, the dispute was finally put to rest. The unending battle over gold had finally come to an end.
Columbus-America Discovery Group Wins Gold in Historic Court Case
In a historic court case, the Columbus-America Discovery Group emerged victorious. The judge eventually awarded in favour of the organization, granting them 92% of the gold. This was a major win for the group, who had invested a lot of time and money into the operation.
Unfortunately, this victory did not come without controversy. The group’s leader, Thompson, had drawn the ire of his investors, who claimed they hadn’t received a return on the money they had put into the operation. Despite this, the group was still able to come out on top and make history in the process.
Cheating Investors Out of Millions
Tommy Gregory Thompson was a businessman who made a huge fortune in the early 2000s, selling hundreds of gold bars and thousands of coins to the California Gold Marketing Group for a staggering $50 million. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Thompson.
Two investors teamed up to sue him in 2005, joined a year later by members of the crew, who claimed they were cheated out of money too. Rather than dealing with the consequences, Thompson ran away to Florida. Despite his attempts to avoid punishment, Thompson was eventually convicted of fraud in 2016 and sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison.
Catch Me if You Can: The Manhunt for Treasure Hunter Tommy Gregory Thompson
In 2012, Tommy Gregory Thompson was issued a warrant for his arrest and went on the run with his girlfriend Alison Antekeier. After an intense three-year manhunt, the couple was finally discovered in a Boca Raton hotel room with $6,500 in cash and four cell phones.
Antekeier revealed that over a four-year period, she had moved 500 gold coins from California to Jacksonville before Thompson asked her to store them in a self-storage unit in Fort Lauderdale. She testified that she gave the coins, contained in four to five briefcases, to a stranger. The thrilling story of Thompson’s dramatic escape from justice and his eventual capture is a must-read.
The Hunt for the Missing Millions
In 2016, Tommy Gregory Thompson was extradited to Ohio, facing a judge over the mysterious disappearance of 500 gold coins and the proceeds of a $50 million sale. Thompson claimed the coins were held in trust in Belize, but refused to give their exact location.
He further revealed that the $50 million he’d received had been spent on legal fees and loans taken out to finance the salvage operation. As the mystery deepens, the real question is: where did the money go? Join us in the hunt for the missing millions to uncover the truth.
Treasure Hunter Jailed for Refusing to Reveal Location of Buried Gold
Tommy Gregory Thompson’s ill-fated treasure hunt ended in disaster when the judge held him in contempt and threw him in prison. To make matters worse, Thompson is now facing a hefty fine of $1,000 a day for withholding the whereabouts of the buried gold.
On top of that, he has already been slapped with a hefty $250,000 fine for initially refusing to reveal its location. It looks like Thompson will be stuck in jail until he finally reveals the secret of his buried treasure.
Treasure Hunting: Odyssey Marine Exploration Uncovers SS Central America's Surprises
For over 150 years, the SS Central America has been a mystery. Seemingly lost at sea, the ship lay forgetten until 2014 when Odyssey Marine Exploration was awarded the contract to salvage the wreck.
Now, they have been busily scouring the depths, uncovering the secrets of the SS Central America and recovering a wealth of treasure. From gold coins to valuable artifacts, the expedition has proven to be a success, and there’s still more to be found. Join Odyssey Marine Exploration on their journey of discovery, as they uncover the secrets of the SS Central America.
Gold Rush: 16,000 Artifacts and Counting
After the re-discovering of the largest sunken treasure in history, the firm was determined to recover a spectacular haul of precious artifacts from the wreckage. In 2018, their hard work was rewarded when they uncovered an astounding 16,000 artifacts, comprising 3,100 gold coins, 45 gold bars and 80 pounds of gold dust.
All of this was then sold to California Gold Marketing Group, the same company that purchased Tommy Gregory Thompson’s collection in 2000. It was a remarkable feat and a testament to the firm’s dedication and resourcefulness. Who knows what other underwater secrets lie in wait to be discovered?
Golden Windfall for Investors
Investors were pleasantly surprised when they received a golden windfall of $30 million from California Gold Marketing Group. After years of waiting and wondering if they would ever get a return on their investment, their patience paid off in the form of a lucrative payout.
This unexpected payout was a reward for the investors’ faith, dedication and commitment to their venture. It was a symbol of hope and a reminder that fortunes can be made with the right amount of perseverance.
Unbelievable! 3,129 Gold Coins Sold in Under a Year for an Estimated $50 Million
It was an incredible sight to behold – a vast collection of over 3,000 gold coins, glimmering and twinkling in the Long Beach exhibition in February 2018. Little did anyone know that these pieces of treasure would be sold in the same year, with an expected total of over $50 million!
It’s hard to believe, but the incredible collection of coins was snapped up by buyers before the end of the year, making this one of the most impressive feats of the decade.
Unbelievable Fortune From the Depths of the Sea
Dive into the depths of the sea and you never know what treasures you may find! The SS Central America shipwreck is proof of this, as the sunken vessel continues to yield gold at record-breaking prices.
On January 14th, 2022, Heritage Auctions sold an 866.19-ounce Justh & Hunter ingot for an unbelievable $2.16 million – the largest SS Central America ingot to ever be offered at auction. It’s a true testament to the power and potential of the sea and its hidden riches!
Discovering Hidden Treasures: The Story of SS Central America's Silver Coins
For years, the SS Central America had been shrouded in mystery and fascination due to the immense amount of gold it had on board. Yet, it was only recently that the world was made aware of the hidden treasure lying within its depths – silver coins. From 1796 to 1857, these coins were bought up by Kenny Duncan Sr. from U.S. Coins in Houston.
Finally, in 2019, the coins started to make their way onto the market, creating a stir among collectors and treasure seekers alike. The discovery of these silver coins has certainly added another layer of mystery to the SS Central America’s legacy. Who knows what else lies hidden within its depths?
Discovery of Rare 1856-S Coins Makes History
A remarkable discovery was made in December 2019, when nine coins of the same age as the 1856-S quarter dollar pictured were found in a shipwreck. What makes this discovery even more remarkable is that only 38 examples of this coin were known to exist before this finding.
These coins can be easily identified by the large “s” over a smaller “s” mint mark. Out of the 503 silver dollars found in a small part of the shipwreck, the rarest of the dimes is estimated to be worth up to an astounding $75,000. The discovery of these rare coins is a significant event in history, as it reveals a treasure trove of secrets from the past.
Treasure Hunting Team from Seattle Finally Reap Rewards After 30 Years
After years of waiting, the members of the original treasure hunting group from Seattle finally received their spoils of victory. Composed of engineers, technicians, and owners of sonar equipment, the team of 13 individuals had invested $522,000 in legal fees to get their share of the booty.
After 30 years of hard work, the group was rewarded with $678,000 as compensation. This long-awaited windfall was the fruit of their labour, and a testament to the team’s perseverance in their pursuit of the gold at sea.
Diving Into a Comeback: Odyssey Marine Exploration's Salvage Mission
In 2020, Odyssey Marine Exploration faced a rocky financial situation and was almost delisted from the Nasdaq stock index market. But the deep ocean exploration company has since made a remarkable comeback, thanks to a Paycheck Protection Program loan of $370,400 through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The business is now in the process of developing new technology to home in on the remaining gold from its shipwreck projects, potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Odyssey Marine Exploration is looking to the future with optimism and eager to continue its excavation work in mineral projects and across its various shipwrecks. With luck, the company will soon be swimming in success!
The Mystery of the Lost Gold Coins Deepens - Tommy Gregory Thompson Remains in Prison
The 70-year-old Tommy Gregory Thompson finds himself in a peculiar situation – he has been ordered to remain in prison until he reveals the whereabouts of the lost gold coins. Thompson claims that he doesn’t have the information as the gold is supposedly still in a trust that he doesn’t manage.
Even the testimonies of his ex-girlfriend Alison Antekeier have failed to provide the answers. This has left one of the greatest lost treasures in US history shrouded in mystery. With no end in sight, the mystery of the lost gold coins continues to deepen.
Unseen Treasures from the SS Central America's Wreck: Rediscovered and Ready for Auction
For the first time ever, hundreds of pieces recovered from the SS Central America have gone on display, ready to embark on a US tour beginning in Grass Valley, California. Among the artifacts is a photograph of an unknown woman, which has been dubbed “the Mona Lisa of the Deep”.
After stops in Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, Connecticut and New York, many of the pieces were auctioned off in December 2022 and more are due to go under the hammer in February this year. It remains to be seen if the remaining items from the SS Central America will ever be found again. Don’t miss out on the chance to own a piece of this incredible history!