'Ship of Gold' bell and recovered treasure to go on display at World's Fair of Money in Rosemont
The 268-pound bell from the fabled "Ship of Gold," the SS Central America that sank in 1857 while carrying tons of California Gold Rush-era treasure, will be displayed publicly for the first time in the Chicago area and rung daily. Some of the recovered sunken treasure also will be exhibited.
The display will be at the American Numismatic Association's 2021 Chicago World's Fair of Money (www.WorldsFairofMoney.com) in Rosemont, Aug. 10-14. The event is open to the public.
"The SS Central America represents the greatest American treasure ever found and its story is important to our history. This priceless treasure will be rung twice each day in remembrance of the 425 passengers and crew members who perished when the legendary ship sank 164 years ago," said Dwight Manley, managing partner of California Gold Marketing Group which owns the bell and recovered sunken treasure.
Manley is a former agent for NBA stars Dennis Rodman, Karl Malone, and others.
"The treasures of the SS Central America are a time capsule of the California Gold Rush, and the sound of the bell draws you into the time capsule. This is what the passengers and crew heard on their journey. It's an absolutely glorious tribute," said Bob Evans, a scientist and historian who was a key member on each of the recovery expeditions starting in the late 1980s.
The nearly two-feet tall bronze bell was created in 1853 by Morgan Iron Works in New York.
The SS Central America sank 7,200 feet under the surface of the Atlantic Ocean 150 miles off the North Carolina coast during a hurricane on Sept. 12, 1857. She was on a voyage from Panama to New York carrying tons of California Gold Rush coins, ingots, and gold dust from the San Francisco and Northern California area.
The tragedy took the lives of 425 of the ship's 578 passengers and crew members, and the loss of the gold cargo was a major factor in the economically devastating financial panic of 1857 in the United States.
The bell will be rung daily 30 minutes after the convention opens to the public and again at 3 p.m.
The Chicago World's Fair of Money will be held in Hall A of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road, in Rosemont. Public hours are 1 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10; 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, Aug. 11 to 13; and 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14.
Public admission Tuesday through Friday is $10 daily or $25 for a three-day pass. Children 12 or younger are admitted free daily and admission is free for everyone on Saturday.
For information, visit www.WorldsFairofMoney.com.