- In September of 1857, the S.S. Central America went below the waves during a hurricane. In the late 1980s, a team led by Tommy Thompson and Bob Evans found the remains of the ship and the largest American treasure ever to be recovered. Included in that treasure were some 5,000 top-grade double eagles, and the 1856-S was one of the dates represented.
Prior to the sale of the Central America treasure, the 1856-S – like other San Francisco double eagles of the period – was an available date but almost exclusively in circulated grades. It was never going to be a scarce date, boasting the first mintage of over one million pieces in the history of double eagle production at San Francisco. In upper grades, however, there are very few available double eagle dates from a branch mint for the 1850s through the 1880s.Read the entire article