Items Recovered from The 1857 Sinking of The S.S. Central America will be Auctioned Dec. 3 in Reno



Holabird Western Americana Collections will offer a time capsule of Gold Rush life with important items recovered from the 1857 sinking of the legendary “Ship of Gold".

Press Release

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Reno, NV, USA, November 25, 2022 — Decades after unique California Gold Rush sunken treasure artifacts were retrieved from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, the exquisite gold jewelry, vintage clothing, Wells Fargo treasure shipment box and other historic items from the 1857 sinking of the fabled “Ship of Gold,” the S.S. Central America, will be available for the first time in a public auction on December 3, 2022.

“Some collectors have been waiting for these extraordinary items to come on the market since the legendary, submerged ship was located in 1988 and Life magazine proclaimed it America’s greatest treasure ever found,” said Fred Holabird, President of Holabird Western Americana Collections.

Nearly 300 never-before-offered 1850s-era artifacts will be in the auction that will be conducted at the Reno, Nevada Convention Center and online by Holabird Western Americana Collections ( on Saturday, December 3. A second auction of hundreds of additional one-of-a-kind artifacts retrieved from the famous shipwreck will be offered in February 2023.

Clothing items include the important discovery of what is described as “the million-dollar jeans:” the oldest known Gold Rush-era heavy-duty work pants jeans with a button fly that may have been made by or for Levi Strauss in his early years in business. The pants and early Brooks Brothers undershirts with the company’s famous emblem that will also be in the auction were in the first-class passenger trunk of merchant and Mexican-American War military veteran John Dement of Oregon.

For additional information about the recovered artifacts auctions planned for December 2022 and February 2023 and to obtain a printed catalog, visit Holabird Western Americana Collections of Reno, Nevada at, call 775-851-1859, or email [email protected]