California Gold Rush Sunken Treasure from ‘Ship of Gold’ that Sank in 1857 will be Displayed in Reno



Historic items from the S.S. Central America going on public display in Reno July 28-31 include a Wells Fargo treasure box lid, gold jewelry, jeans that may have been made by Levi Strauss, vintage ornate bottles and a "Mona Lisa of the Deep" photo.

Press Release

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Reno, NV, USA, July 24, 2022 — After a century and a half on the ocean floor, nearly 1,000 historic California Gold Rush-era sunken treasure items from the 1857 sinking of the fabled “Ship of Gold,” the S.S. Central America, have been brought together again and are in northern Nevada. Many of the important artifacts will be publicly exhibited for the first time during the National Antique Bottle Convention (, July 28 through 31, at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno.

“Among the notable, recovered items are the lid to the oldest known Wells Fargo treasure shipment box; 1857 clothing including a pair of the earliest known Gold Rush-era canvas work pants jeans with a button fly that may have been made by Levi Strauss in his early years in business; photographs; jewelry made from California Gold Rush ‘mother lode’ native gold in quartz as gemstones; and, of course, bottles,” said Fred Holabird, president Holabird Western Americana Collections, LLC ( of Reno, Nevada.

“There is even a key to the ship’s wine storage room and an S.S. Central America brass name tag attached to a set of keys that belonged to the ship’s purser. We believe these were for the locked room where the gold treasure cargo was kept,” he explained.

One of the important, recovered jewelry items is a large 18-karat gold quartz engraved brooch that prominent San Francisco businessman Samuel Brannan was sending to his son in Geneva, Switzerland, as a gift to the son’s teacher.

For additional information about the recovered artifacts and auctions planned for October and November, visit Holabird Western Americana Collections of Reno, Nevada at, call 775-851-1859, or email [email protected]