DALLAS -- The NRA's big annual convention is this weekend in Dallas, but it's not all about guns.. just mostly. This year offers the opportunity to see and purchase gold dust, coins, and bars recovered from a ship that sank in 1857!
"The greatest lost treasure in United States history," is how Bob Evans refers to the bounty recovered from the S.S. Central America, which was transporting gold mined during the California Gold Rush to New York City when it was doomed by a hurricane off the coast of South Carolina. Evans was the chief scientist on the expedition that first found the shipwreck in 1988 and led the process of cleaning more gold salvaged after a second mission in 2014. The gold from that second recovery went on public display earlier this year, and that display is what's coming to Dallas.
Evans says the gold's origin is what makes it special.
"The discovery of gold in California was unlike any other event in our nation's financial history in the way that it propelled us from being kind of a backwards, third-world former colony of Great Britain to a world financial power," Evans said.
To that point, Evans says the loss of the gold, which was destined for banks and businesses, caused a temporary economic depression.
Everything on display will be for sale, but even a literal pinch of gold dust will cost you a pretty penny... around $100. Thanks, inflation!
"The pinch of gold we're selling here represents a 50-cent gold piece that would have been used in 1857," says Michael Fuljenz, president of UniversalCoin.com which is managing the sale. "Back during the California Gold Rush you could go into a saloon and get a drink for a pinch of gold."
If you're a high roller, larger gold items like coins that were originally worth $20 will be sold for anywhere from $7,000 to $50,000 (all products are also available online if you'd prefer to skip the convention). Or, you can just enjoy the display and take pictures for free (it will be at booth No. 9741).
At least that way you won't sink your bank account!