Silver lining: SS Gairsoppa WWII shipwreck may be about to yield its bullion


2015-06-26 12:34:40


Silver lining: SS Gairsoppa WWII shipwreck may be about to yield its bullion

Sailing from Britain to Calcutta, the sunken vessel was carrying vast stores of silver, iron and tea

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We've commented before on the particular draw that collectibles returned from the ocean can have, and it seems that once more an opportunity for at least some collectors has arisen.

Odyssey Marine Exploration (OMEX), a company which specialises in recovering shipwrecks, has announced that it has discovered the wreck of the SS Gairsoppa off the coast of Ireland. The ship was sunk during WWII, with the loss of 84 out of its 85 crew.

So far, the investigation of what is actually on board is in its early stages, but the Gairsoppa reportedly sank with 7,000 tons of cargo including 200 tons of silver bullion alongside iron and tea.

Naturally the company will be keen to find as much of the silver as possible, (the tea is probably not worth salvaging after all), and will receive 80% of its worth as part of the terms of the contract it has agreed with the government.

Whilst gold and silver bars are normally valuable because of what they're made of and little else, there are exceptions to the general principle.

For example, a gold ingot from a vessel known as the Ship of Gold was sold at Heritage in 2010 for a mammoth $253,000. The Kellogg & Humbert Gold Assayer's Ingot rescued from the ship properly named the SS Central America.

The ship's gold was so relied upon that the sinking of that ship caused an economic panic across America in 1857, making the ingot part of history. In this cause the silver is joined to the history of war and German U-boats.

We'll bring you more on this story as it comes, but in the meantime, why not take a look at our Top Five Sea-rescued Collectibles on our blog.

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