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Odyssey Marine Finds 13,500 Gold/Silver Coins in Shipwreck

Zacks Equity Research

Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (OMEX), a leader in the field of deep-ocean exploration, has recovered over 13,500 gold and silver coins from the site of a famous 1857 SS Central American shipwreck, off the South Carolina coast.

The find is believed to be valued at tens of millions of dollars in treasure from the Californian Gold-Rush era, according to experts. The inventories include gold bars, nuggets, dust and a varied assortment of gold coins ranging from $20 double eagles to $10, $5, $2.50 and $1 gold coins, as well as California fractional gold, territorials and a wide range of foreign gold. Moreover, noteworthy artifacts of cultural heritage have been identified and await recovery.

Rights to the Treasure

The wreck of the SS Central America — and the gold that it carried — had attracted many treasure-hunters. In 1988, Tommy Thompson conducted a salvage operation funded by a group of Ohio investors, which unearthed about $50 million in gold and silver.

After a decades-long court battle concerning the rights to the treasure, the group of Ohio investors gained legal approval to perform recovery operations. The new salvage operation, carried out by Odyssey, showed that the shipwreck site was just as Thompson had left it in 1991.

Odyssey began exploring the site in April, under contract to Ira Owen Kane, the receiver for Recovery Limited Partnership (:RLP). RLP is the court-appointed salvor-in-possession of the SS Central America shipwreck.

1857 SS Central America Shipwreck

The Central American ship was a California Gold Rush vessel that was trapped in a hurricane in 1857. The New York-bound steamship sank about 160 miles off South Carolina, sending tons of gold to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The loss of the gold cargo was so massive that it shook the global economic confidence, contributing to Panic of 1857. Only about 5% of the site has been explored to date.

The iconic American shipwreck holds a huge diversity of coins dating from 1823 — 1857. While the 1988 exploration had extracted majority of the gold from the ship, Odyssey reportedly unearthed a remarkable quantity of treasure in the debris field adjoining the wreck.

Certain areas of the 7,300 feet-underwater shipwreck are still inaccessible, and Odyssey is set to do significant work in the coming 3-4 months.

Odyssey Marine currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other better-ranked stocks in the business services industry include ExamWorks Group, Inc. (EXAM), Avis Budget Group, Inc. (CAR) and Liberty Tax, Inc. (TAX). While ExamWorks sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Avis and Liberty holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) each.

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