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Explorers find 7 shipwrecks off Carolinas, all believed to hold gold coins and jewelry

Divers video themselves discovering gold from shipwreck off NC coast

A stash of gold coins found Monday is being called the latest bit of proof that a shipwreck 40-plus miles off the North Carolina coast is that of the steamship Pulaski, which took half its wealthy passengers to the bottom of the Atlantic in 1838.
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A stash of gold coins found Monday is being called the latest bit of proof that a shipwreck 40-plus miles off the North Carolina coast is that of the steamship Pulaski, which took half its wealthy passengers to the bottom of the Atlantic in 1838.

The same team of sea explorers that found hundreds of gold and silver coins on North Carolina’s S.S. Pulaski shipwreck says it has located seven more potentially valuable shipwrecks off the coast of North and South Carolina.

Blue Water Ventures International said this week that its divers conducted extensive site surveys in hopes of finding as many as 12 shipwrecks believed to hold valuable coins or relics. Sonar was also used, the company said.

The suspected identities of the seven shipwrecks found were not released.

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Exposed beams on one of the shipwrecks Blue Water Ventures found off the Carolinas. The company is working to positively identify the shipwreck. Blue Water Ventures International Photo

Keith Webb, CEO of Blue Water Ventures International, posted photos from some of the wrecks on Facebook, showing piles of timbers, exposed beams, twisted pipes from steamship engines and resin that Webb says can be used to date the sites.

“It’s always a thrill to find X marks the spot,” Webb said in a news release. “Everyone is excited to be back on the water.”

Divers recovered “material” from the seven wrecks, which is being studied to prove when the ships sank, Webb said in the release. “Further research of historical data detailing certain shipwrecks will commence in order to better identify these sites.”

Florida-based Blue Water Ventures International says survey operations on the sites will continue through the 2019 diving season.

The company will also continue pulling valuables off Steamship Pulaski and Steamship North Carolina, both of which are on the sea floor off the Carolinas. Among the spots remaining to be explored is an area near the wreck where the passengers’ trunks are believed to have settled on the sea floor.

Webb told The Charlotte Observer earlier this year that teams working the Pulaski have found hundreds of gold and silver coins that predate the explosion of the steamship in 1838. The first 502 coins were sold this year, but the prices fetched were not released.

The oldest was a 1750s British Gold Guinea, said Micah Eldred of Endurance Exploration Group, a partner in the recovery project.

Webb said he believes more than 100,000 gold and silver coins are still waiting to be found on the Pulaski, along with jewelry, The Observer reported in February.

The S.S. North Carolina was sailing from Wilmington to Charleston when it collided with the Steamship Governor Dudley in July 1840, according to the North Carolina Shipwrecks Blog.

Webb says records indicate it may hold treasure similar to the Pulaski.

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