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NCS Conserves Coins Recovered from the Steamship New York

1844-O $5 and 1845-D $2.50 Gold recovered from the SS New YorkNumismatic Conservation Services (NCS) has been selected to conserve the coins recovered from the SS New York shipwreck. The coins comprise a diverse cross section of coins in circulation at the first part of the 19th Century, including an important group of exceptional quality southern mint gold coins. Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) has been chosen to certify the coins following their conservation.

The SS New York operated a light cargo and passenger service between New Orleans and Galveston including military and post office contract passage until it foundered during a hurricane on September 7, 1846. Seventeen of the 53 crew and passengers were lost, along with “thirty to forty thousand dollars in gold, silver, and bank notes,” according to contemporary reports. Special Insert Label from NGC for the SS New YorkThe ship was first discovered in 1990 by an amateur diver and Louisiana oilfield worker who relied on reports of snags from local shrimp fisherman to pinpoint the wreck. After completion of archeological survey conducted by the Minerals Management Service, and gaining legal title to the wreck, the original discoverers returned to recover the ship’s coins in 2006.

While primarily “treasure seekers,” they were also concerned about the historic value and preservation of the artifacts they salvaged. “We chose NCS to handle the post-recovery process because of their unique capabilities and expertise in working with shipwreck coins. Their process maintains the historical pedigree that was important to us and also renders the most beautiful artifacts,” comments Craig DeRouen of the recovery operation. NCS also conserved all coins recovered from the historic shipwreck SS Republic.

“Together NCS and NGC offer the only professional services to conserve shipwreck coins and then certify them, preserving the integrity and history of these coins. The coins from the SS New York demonstrate this with their wonderful quality and rich diversity, both markers of their considerable importance,” relates NGC Chairman Mark Salzberg, who oversaw the certification of the coins from the SS New York.

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  1. Walter Storch | Feb 13, 2009 | Reply

    I have just received a long ms from a contributor of considerable experience and veracity, concerning the alleged “wreck of the SS New York” and coins she might have been carrying. He alleges that there was no such ship, no such storm and no such sinking. He said the story had been invented out of whole cloth, baed on ‘Issac’s Storm” book on the devastating 1900 Galveston hurricane and the finding of the SS Central America, to explain the appearance of coins now being minted in China. He says that these coins are: Morgan silver dollars of every year and mint, gold U.S. Indian head $2.50, $5.00 and $10 denominations and, of course, the coins purported to have been fished up from the Gulf of Mexico. His contention is that the Chinese government makes these coins for the American gullible coin trade and that by doing so, they are counterfeiting American coinage. He did an article for us some time ago on the alleged ‘Elmali horde” or “rare Greek conis’ all of which had been struck in the Bulgarian state mint in Sofia as a means of raising dollar currency for their version of the KGB. I checked this out with the British Museum people (who have a wonderful collection of such original coins) and was told the story was correct. I must assume, given our contributor’s notations, that this story must be essentially true. My website reaches many viewers, both in the United States and in Europe and as coin collecting, especially gold coin collecting, has gained momentum given the recent economic disasters, I feel this story might be very important indeed. Might I have your comments on this subject? I am by no means an expert on coins but I have uncovered frauds in other spheres, bzw the fake Rodin and Remington bronzes which I exposed some years ago. Note, that the Chinese do not make their forgeries from the same caret of gold or silver as the originals. Therefore, a fake rare U.S. gold coin or a relatively common Morgan silver dollar will weigh less than the original. This is now I nailed the fake Rodin and Remington pieces; cooling metal shrinks and a copy of an original piece, nearly perfect in every other detail, was 5% smaller due to the aforesaid shrinkage. This obviated the hysterical responses from “experts” and major art houses that I was not an expert and that their multi-titled academic art experts were all in agreement that I was wrong. Given the obvious lack of credentials on my part, nevertheless, the recent foundry marks on the pieces coupled with the smaller size defeated them entirely. Again, I would welcome your professional comments on this subject.


    Walter Storch

  2. CoinLink | Feb 13, 2009 | Reply

    Dear Mr Storch:

    For the sake of clarity, let me just address the issue of the SS New York and the “claim” that the whole story is in some way a hoax to cover up the current activity of Chinese counterfeiters.

    Any contention that there never was a ship named the SS New York, or that she did not sink during a hurricane in 1846 is simply fantasy that ignores the overwhelming historical documentation and evidence available.

    There are news accounts from the time of the loss of the ship, shipping building records, shipping schedules and illustrations of the ship, all dated before 1846, so unless your source is contending that the Chinese have counterfeited these items as well, the assertion is absurd and simply ignores the facts.

    May I suggest that you have your “source” read a copy of Q David Bowers New Book, The Treasure Ship S.S.New York – Her Story 1837-1846, Published 2008 by Stacks ISBN-0-9821742-0-9

    It is true that fake US coins are being made in China, and several sources, including CoinLink have published stories about this activity and the responses by both numismatic organizations and the grading services to alert the numismatic community and educate them as to what to look for.

    To date, virtually all of the fake coins from China are obvious counterfeits, generally of low quality. I am not aware of ANY high quality fakes that have been detected, nor of any counterfeit gold coming from these sources that could in any way resemble the coins recovered from the SS New York.

    If your source has specific knowledge of pre 1846 branch mint gold coins attributed to the SS New York, and or any of the coins sold at auction from the ship wreak that are indeed counterfeit, or suspected of being so, I’d ask that you or he identify these coins.

    Scott Purvis
    Editor – CoinLink

  3. Walter Storch | Mar 9, 2009 | Reply

    The United States Secret Service is not as interested in non-circulation coins as they are in current paper counterfeiting but Federal law states that counterfeit American currency, be it gold, silver or paper is liable to confiscation and its manufacture and sale prohibited by law. The issue here is whether the SS New York, a ship filled with rare coins from Southern mints was sunk in a hurricane. Aside from the fact that there was no hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico at the time often stated, the question arises as to why newly minted gold coins would be moved from the new Texas port of Galveston to New Orleans? Herewith more information:
    The Chinese laser cut their fake coin dies, making visual identification nearly impossible. The weights, however, give the fakes away but most collectors and investors do not bother to weigh their purchases. They should do so and ought to immediately weigh other allegedly rare American coins, both gold and silver. It is known, and widely known, that the $2.50, $5.00 and $10.00 Indian head gold coins are being faked and, to the eye, are perfect in every respect. Weighing them, on the other hand, shows their falseness.
    The Chinese have, to a certainty, copied many valuable American coins, as well as more common ones.
    · Specifically they have copied the 1844 O 45.00 gold coin and the 1845 D $2.50 gold coin.
    We also learn that they have counterfeited the following $20 gold coins:
    · The Liberty Head series the 1879-O, the 1881, the 1882, and the 1885 have been copied.
    · The St. Gaudens series one of the rarest dates copied has been the so-called 1907 High Relief. It is worth approximately $6000 in circulated grades. Other rare dates manufactured today include 1920-S, 1921, 1927-D, 1927-S, 1929 and 1933.

  4. CoinLink | Mar 9, 2009 | Reply

    Mr Storch:

    Again, putting aside the modern Chinese coin forgeries, which indeed do exist although the extent, type and quality is a different matter, the fact remains that the basic premise of your “source” is just simply wrong.

    Your “source’s” opinion was that there was no ship, no storm and no sinking. Yet you responded to our post that the “issue here is whether the SS New York, a ship filled with rare coins from Southern mints was sunk in a hurricane”

    So do you accept the fact that there was indeed an SS New York, which made regular scheduled trips between Galveston and New Orleans? If So, then your “sources” assertion would seem to be false on its face.

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