Shipwreck Silver and Gold.
There is plenty of gold and silver at the bottom of the ocean.
Is it cost effective to retrieve it?
Update: 500 year-old shipwreck loaded with gold found in Namibian desert
Throughout history, until the mid 20th century virtually all trans-Atlantic treasure was transported via sea vessels. Ships carrying gold and silver would sometime sink due to storms or attacks on the vessels, taking the crew, passengers and treasure down with them.
There is an estimated $4.6 -$60 billion in sunken treasure on the floors of the oceans and seas across the globe. Much of that treasure is in the form of gold and silver. This is not counting the estimated 20 million tons of gold in the ocean water itself.
Sunken gold and silver can be retrieved in near perfect condition. Because gold is inert, it will not corrode even after centuries under water. Silver may tarnish but remains in virtually the same condition after decades at the bottom of the sea.
Any paper currency that might have gone down with ships centuries ago would have also disintegrated long ago. Even if bills were found in a water-tight safe that did not corrode, the paper bills would most likely have no more than collector’s value as their issuer would have ceased to exist long ago and the bills would no longer be exchangeable for goods and services anywhere in the world.
In contrast, gold and silver retrieved from shipwrecks can be weighed and assayed for purity, recast and sold like any other gold and silver.
Indeed, you can buy coins made from shipwrecked silver*. The Gairsoppa was a British ship carrying over 200 tons of silver that was sunk on February 17, 1941 by German torpedoes during World War II. In 2010, the British Government partnered with a private enterprise, the Odyssey Marine Exploration Company, to attempt to retrieve the silver stash at the bottom of the Atlantic. In 2013, about 50 tons were retrieved from the wreck. The British Government’s agreement with Odyssey entitled them to 80% of the silver recovered.
The British Royal Mint has used some of the silver recovered from the Gairsoppa to mint one ounce silver rounds and ten ounce silver bars commemorating the Gairsoppa. These silver products feature a depiction of the Gairsoppa and an inscription of the date of her sinking.
Click to see the one ounce silver Gairsoppa round*
Click to see the ten ounce silver Gairsoppa bar*
The silver products above are now sold out. There are “Britannia Rounds” still available minted from silver recovered from the Gairsoppa. You can see and buy them by clicking here.
Click here to see a short video of silver being recovered from the Gairsoppa
There are billions of dollars worth of gold and silver at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
Mining for Gold and Silver at the Bottom of the Sea
In recent years technology has made it more possible and economically feasible to mine sunken gold and silver from the bottom of the ocean. Sea-bed mining robots can now excavate the ocean floor in search of gold, silver and other minerals. Click here to see a photo of one of these seabed mining robots.
As global demand for gold and silver increase with population and investment and industrial requirements, new sources apart from traditional dry land mining will be needed. In addition to asteriod mineral mining, which is in developmental stages, investment in sea-bed mining and sunken treasure retrieval projects will likely increase.
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