Saturday, July 26 2014 6:44 AM EDT2014-07-26 10:44:31 GMT
The Ohio State marching band is moving forward without its director; a day after he was fired they're performing with the Columbus Symphony in what's often considered the band's unofficial season kickoff.More >>
Having forced out a beloved football coach and watched its president retire after a series of verbal gaffes, Ohio State University again finds itself grabbing headlines with the firing of a celebrated marching band...More >>
Saturday, July 26 2014 6:44 AM EDT2014-07-26 10:44:13 GMT
A federal judge has dismissed a Wyoming man's lawsuit claiming a group secretly found the missing airplane of aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart in the South Pacific but kept it quiet so it could continue to raise...More >>
A federal judge on Friday dismissed a Wyoming man's claims that an aircraft recovery group secretly found wreckage of aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart's missing airplane in the South Pacific but kept it quiet so it...More >>
Saturday, July 26 2014 2:02 AM EDT2014-07-26 06:02:47 GMT
Police are searching for two men who carjacked an SUV and plowed into a group of children and adults selling fruit at a Philadelphia street corner, killing three kids and seriously injuring two women.More >>
Police were searching for two men who carjacked an SUV and plowed into a group of children and adults selling fruit to raise money for their church, killing three kids and critically injuring their mother and the...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 11:56 PM EDT2014-07-26 03:56:40 GMT
Police have arrested the foster parent of a 10-month-old girl who died after being left inside a hot car in Wichita, Kansas.More >>
A 10-month-old Kansas girl died after being strapped for more than two hours inside a sweltering car, and police arrested a foster parent who said he'd forgotten about her until something on TV jogged his memory, an...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 10:33 PM EDT2014-07-26 02:33:36 GMT
U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake was attending a ceremony for a judicial colleague when he received an urgent - and unusual - request: Lawyers for a condemned inmate wanted him to stop an execution that didn't...More >>
U.S. Sen. John McCain says the execution of an Arizona inmate that lasted two hours was torture.More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 9:35 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:35:42 GMT
A large family that lives at the shore and suffered losses during Superstorm Sandy will share a $20 million lottery jackpot that one of the 17 siblings said will be "a great pick-me-up."More >>
A lottery-playing tradition started by the matriarch of a large New Jersey shore family paid off for her 17 children this week when the group won a $20 million jackpot that will partly be used to help family members...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 9:32 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:32:57 GMT
An 80-year-old man who came home to find two burglars said he shot and killed one of them despite her pleas that she was pregnant, but it's the woman's alleged accomplice who has been arrested on suspicion...More >>
Prosecutors Friday were waiting for the results of a police investigation into the killing of a burglar by an 80-year-old California homeowner who says he shot the woman in the back as she fled his home and ran down an...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 9:15 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:15:50 GMT
A federal appeals court is upholding a Florida law that restricts what doctors can discuss about guns with their patients.More >>
A Florida law restricting what doctors can tell patients about gun ownership was deemed to be constitutional Friday by a federal appeals court, which said it legitimately regulates professional conduct and doesn't...More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 9:05 PM EDT2014-07-26 01:05:50 GMT
It's been called a David vs. Goliath story, a "Tale of Two Arthurs" and even the "ultimate Greek tragedy," but the characters in this drama are not Biblical or literary figures.More >>
It's been called a David vs. Goliath story, a "Tale of Two Arthurs" and even the "ultimate Greek tragedy," but the characters in this drama are not Biblical or literary figures. They're grocery store owners.More >>
Friday, July 25 2014 8:44 PM EDT2014-07-26 00:44:45 GMT
Two men forced a woman into the backseat of her vehicle at gunpoint, drove off but later lost control and plowed into a group of people on a corner near a fruit stand in Philadelphia on Friday, police said. Two...More >>
Two men carjacked a woman at gunpoint but soon sped out of control, killing three children Friday as they plowed into a group selling fruit to raise money for their church, Philadelphia police said.More >>
Unaccompanied minors enroll in US schools, presenting opportunities and extra costsMore >>
Unaccompanied minors enroll in US schools, presenting opportunities and extra costsMore >>
By AMANDA LEE MYERS Associated Press
CINCINNATI (AP) - Deep-sea explorers recovered millions of dollars in gold and silver and a slew of personal items that are a virtual time capsule of the California Gold Rush, according to newly unsealed court documents obtained by The Associated Press that provide the first detailed inventory of a treasure trove being resurrected from an 1857 shipwreck at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
The recovery effort at the SS Central America shipwreck, about 200 miles off the South Carolina coast, began in April and is expected to continue throughout the summer.
The operation is being directed by a court-appointed receiver of an Ohio company that had been led by a treasure hunter-turned-fugitive named Tommy Thompson, who first found the Central America in 1988 - a monumental achievement funded by a group of central Ohio investors who never saw a penny.
Immediately after finding the ship and recovering a fraction of its garden of gold, Thompson became embroiled in a decades-long legal battle over who had rights to the treasure and how it was being dispersed. None of the investors ever saw a return, despite the gold selling for about $50 million, though Thompson's supporters say the vast majority went toward legal fees and loans.
In August 2012, after he failed to show up for several court hearings, a warrant was issued for Thompson's arrest. He has been a federal fugitive ever since.
Meanwhile, the Central America and its gold sat untouched since 1991, the last time Thompson and his team were at the site.
The new recovery operation was made possible after the court-appointed receiver awarded a contract to Tampa, Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration to conduct the recovery in hopes of bringing up more treasure and paying back investors.
The inventories, unsealed by a federal judge in Virginia late Wednesday, show that Odyssey Marine has brought up 43 solid gold bars, 1,300 $20 double eagle gold coins, and thousands more gold and silver coins.
Bob Evans, an Ohio scientist who was on both the original and current expeditions, said in a statement "the variety and quality of the coins being recovered is just astonishing."
He said the double eagles are just as "spectacular" as the ones recovered more than 25 years ago, but that the most recent recovery has resulted in a wider variety of coins.
"I have seen what I believe are several of the finest known examples," Evans said. "The coins date from 1823 to 1857 and represent a wonderful diversity of denominations and mints, a time capsule of virtually all the coins that were used in 1857."
It's unclear how much more gold is left in the Central America and estimates have varied wildly, with some saying there could have been up to 21 tons on the ship when it sank.
Odyssey Marine could not immediately provide an estimate of what the gold that has been recovered so far is worth, but it's easily in the millions, based on past sales of such items.
For instance, thousands of $10 and $20 gold coins sold by Odyssey Marine from the SS Republic, which sank off the southeastern U.S. in 1865, sold for an average of about $6,700 a coin.
That would mean the $10 and $20 gold coins recovered from the Central America so far could sell for up to $9 million, potentially more.
Gold bars vary in value depending on myriad factors. In 2000, Sotheby's estimated that gold bars recovered from the Central America between 1988 and 1991, which weighed up to 54 pounds, were worth between $8,000 and $250,000 each.
The passenger items recovered from the Central America so far provide a window into the world of a California Gold Rush miner and other Americans who were on their way from The Golden State to New York when their ship sunk. Among them was a safe that contained two cotton pieces of clothing wrapped tightly around gold coins, nuggets, and dust, a pouch with 134 gold double eagles, a leather saddlebag with more nuggets, and a small packet filled with paper and sealed with twine.
Other items include wire-rimmed glasses, a gold puzzle ring, and the photographs of at least 60 passengers. The photos are called ambrotypes, a short-lived type of photography that used glass plates, and were left at the bottom of the ocean until Odyssey Marine can figure out how to safely recover them.
"Photographs of any mid-19th century Gold Rush miners are rare, and these ambrotypes are the only examples found on any 19th-century shipwreck worldwide," according to a court report by Odyssey Marine.
The inventories document what Odyssey Marine recovered at the shipwreck from the beginning of the operation on April 15 through June 15. An inventory of operations from the past month should be filed soon.
The SS Central America was in operation for four years during the California Gold Rush. It sailed into a hurricane in 1857 and sank in one of the worst maritime disasters in American history; 425 people were killed and thousands of pounds of gold sank with it, contributing to an economic panic.
Follow Amanda Lee Myers on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaLeeAP
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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