Shipwreck's gold info released.
Byline: Aamanda Lee Myers
CINCINNATI -- Deep-sea explorers recovered millions of dollars in gold and silver and a slew of personal items that are a virtual time capsule of the California Gold Rush, according to newly unsealed court documents that provide the first detailed inventory of a treasure trove being resurrected from an 1857 shipwreck at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
The recovery effort at the SS Central America shipwreck, about 200 miles off the South Carolina coast, began in April and is expected to continue throughout the summer.
The operation is being directed by a court-appointed receiver of an Ohio company that had been led by a treasure hunter-turned-fugitive named Tommy Thompson, who first found the Central America in 1988, a monumental achievement funded by a group of central Ohio investors.
Immediately after finding the ship and recovering a fraction of its garden of gold, Thompson became embroiled in a decades-long legal battle over who had rights to the treasure and how it was being dispersed. None of the investors ever saw a return, despite the gold selling for about $50 million, though Thompson's supporters say the vast majority went toward legal fees and loans.
In August 2012, after he failed to show up for several court hearings, a warrant was issued for Thompson's arrest. He has been a federal fugitive ever since.
The inventories, unsealed by a federal judge in Virginia late Wednesday, show that Odyssey Marine has brought up 43 solid gold bars, 1,300 $20 double eagle gold coins, and thousands more gold and silver coins.