A 1859 O Half Dollar Seated Liberty Silver Coin from SS Republic Shipwreck

The SS Republic was a Civil War-era sidewheel steamship that sank in 1865 while carrying a large cargo of silver and gold coins and a stunning variety of everyday wares essential to life in mid-19th century America. Over 51,000 U.S. gold and silver coins were recovered from the wreck site, as well as over 14,000 artifacts – a fascinating assortment of 19th century goods in use during the Civil War years.

​En route from New York to New Orleans with passengers and commercial cargo, the Republic was lost in a violent hurricane on October 25, 1865. The passengers and crew escaped from the sinking ship, yet a fortune in coins and much needed cargo to help rebuild New Orleans’ post-Civil War economy sank to the bottom of the Atlantic seabed 518 meters deep.

Nearly 140 years later, Odyssey Marine Exploration discovered the shipwreck of the Republic approximately 100 miles off the Georgia coast. The archaeological excavation was accomplished using advanced robotics and cutting-edge technologies. This was the first of its kind ever performed at such depths. ​In addition to the wealth of knowledge gained from the Republic shipwreck project, the success of the archaeological excavation has set a precedent for achieving the highest archaeological standards essential to the emerging field of deep-water shipwreck exploration and recovery.

 

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