|The SS Republic was lost in a hurricane of the coast of Georgia in October 1865 while on its way to New Orleans. The ship was carrying much needed supplies and coinage to New Orleans which was recovering from the Civil War. The wreck of the SS Republic was not discovered until 2003 when Odyssey Marine found the ship and began the recovery of its hoard of coinage. The coins that were recovered from the wreck of the SS Republic were expertly conserved and certified by NGC.
From the NGC website, when the saltwater damage to a coin is so heavy that there is so much metal loss that assigning an accurate grade of the coin’s actual wear prior to saltwater exposure is no longer possible, the coin is given a designation of SHIPWRECK EFFECT with no grade. For coins with only a moderate disturbance to its surface from exposure to saltwater and where a details grade can still be accurately assigned, a designation of SHIPWRECK EFFECT (C) is given along with an estimated grade. If the coin has only light surface disturbance from immersion in saltwater that does not affect the central design elements of the coin, a designation of SHIPWRECK EFFECT (B) can be given along with an estimated grade. Only the very best coins collect from a shipwreck which exhibit minimal surface disturbance from saltwater exposure, and which exhibit superior eye appeal, can be awarded the SHIPWRECK EFFECT (A) designation by NGC along with an estimated grade.
The coin offered here is an 1861-O Seated Liberty Half Dollar which as been certified by NGC as SHIPWRECK EFFECT (C) with UNC details. The coins also certified by NGC as being a Louisiana Issue coin from die pair W-07 meaning that the coin was struck by the New Orleans Mint following Louisiana’s secession from the United States, but before the formation of the Confederate States of America. Although the coin exhibits moderate saltwater damage on the surfaces, the damage is not too severe to preclude the assignment of an uncirculated details grade by NGC. The coin is bright white and untoned with surfaces that show minor corrosion from the many years spent in the ocean. That said, the uncirculated details of the coin remain very strong and the coin is an excellent example of the type. The coin comes with a wooden display box, certificate of authenticity and a DVD movie about the SS Republic and salvage operation by Odyssey Marine. As you can see in the photo, the outside of the wooden box has a couple of minor marks, but remains a nice overall piece. A very neat uncirculated half dollar minted in New Orleans under the authority of the State of Louisiana and ultimately recovered from the SS Republic shipwreck.