Items recovered from the 1857 sinking of the S.S. Central America will be auctioned Dec. 3 in Reno
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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," the S.S. Central America, online and at the Reno, Nevada Convention Center.

RENO, Nev. - eMusicWire -- 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.

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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.

Men's and women's 1850s clothing items are also offered from the recovered trunk of maritime provisions supplier Ansel Easton of San Francisco.

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"Ansel and Adeline Easton were San Francisco 'royalty' on their honeymoon trip to New York. She survived in a lifeboat; he clung to debris in the water for hours after the ship sank until he was rescued by the crew from another ship," explained Holabird.

Holabird Western Americana Collections has prepared an extensive, limited edition 280-page catalog with dozens of previously unpublished illustrations of the S.S. Central America recovery operations, some reproduced in 3-D as shot during the discovery missions with a remote-controlled submersible nicknamed "Nemo." Copies of the catalog are available while supplies last for $100 each with the price refundable with any purchase from the auction. Auction lots can also be viewed online.

For additional information, visit Holabird Western Americana Collections at, call 775-851-1859, or email

Fred Holabird

Source: Holabird Western Americana Collections
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