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California Gold Rush sunken treasure artifacts auction sets records on December 3rd in Reno, Nevada
The recovered jewelry, mid-1800s clothing, glassware, and other items were retrieved from the legendary "Ship of Gold," the S.S. Central America that sank during a voyage to New York in 1857 and sold by Holabird Western Americana Collections.
By: Holabird Western Americana Collections
"There has never been anything like the scope of these recovered artifacts which represented a time capsule of daily life during the Gold Rush. The auction took over eight hours for only 270 lots because of the exceptionally large number of bids," said Fred Holabird, president of Holabird Western Americana Collections (HolabirdAmericana.com)
Holabird advised there will be only one more opportunity to acquire previously unavailable S.S. Central America artifacts when the last items recovered from the fabled ship are offered in a public auction on February 25, 2023.
Highlights of the December auction included the unique wooden lid to a Wells Fargo & Co. treasure box that that sold for $99,600; the purser's keys to the ship's treasure room where tons of Gold Rush coins and assayers' ingots were stored brought $103,200; and the oldest known pair of miner's heavy-duty work pants sold for $114,000, the highest price ever paid for jeans.
"Those miner's jeans are like the first flag on the moon, a historic moment in history. We can precisely date them because we know the Central America sank during a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean on September 12, 1857. There are no earlier five-button fly jeans in existence," said Dwight Manley, managing partner of the California Gold Marketing Group, consignor of the recovered artifacts.
The auction catalog contained an extensive explanation of why the jeans may have been made by or for Levi Strauss Company. The miner's pants and early Brooks Brothers undershirts with the company's famous emblem were discovered in 1991 in the first-class passenger trunk of merchant and Mexican-American War military veteran John Dement of Oregon.
All prices include a 20 percent buyer's fee added to all winning bids.
For additional information about the auction and the upcoming February 2023 auction of S.S. Central America artifacts, visit Holabird Western Americana Collections of Reno, Nevada at www.HolabirdAmericana.com, call 775-851-1859, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.