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S.S. Gairsoppa Silver Bars
S.S. Gairsoppa Shipwreck Silver Bars
Silver.com is proud to offer a genuine piece of World War II history with these 10 oz S.S. Gairsoppa Silver Bars, which were created out of silver salvaged from the S.S. Gairsoppa three miles beneath the Atlantic Ocean. That’s right, in addition to its historical significance and modern investment value, with these bars you can have your very own piece of sunken treasure.
The Life and Death of the S.S. Gairsoppa
Named after the Jog Falls in Karnataka, India, the S.S. Gairsoppa served as a civilian transport steamer for over twenty years before enlisting in the British army in December, 1940. She sailed with several convoys before reaching Calcutta, where she was loaded with tea, pig iron, and 7,000,000 ounces of silver. This incredible figure makes the S.S. Gairsoppa’s cargo one of the richest ever lost.
Thus heavily laden, the S.S. Gairsoppa joined Convoy SL 64, which was en route to Liverpool. However, the convoy hit bad weather and the escort of warships they expected never came. Unable to keep up with the rest of the convoy due to low coal supply, which powered the ship, the captain decided to change course and make for Galway, Ireland.
Without the protection of the convoy, the S.S. Gairsoppa was easy prey for a German U-Boat, which sank her with a torpedo 300 miles from her destination. Although the crew deployed life rafts, only one of eighty-five men survived and, until 2011, the treasure was lost.
Recovery and Restoration
In 2010, the British government entered into a partnership with Odyssey Exploration to recover the S.S. Gairsoppa’s silver cargo. According to this deal, Odyssey would bear the cost of the search then keep 80% of their findings after defraying their expenses. The British treasury would keep only 20%. Odyssey Explorations successfully recovered nearly 110 tons of silver.
Who Makes the Bars
After being saved from watery obscurity, the silver was sent to Sunshine Mint, Inc (SMI).
Founded in 1979, Sunshine Mint takes pride in the full service minting it provides. It’s known for the high quality of its work and is generally considered a world-wide industry leader in both silver and gold minting. Although SMI is a global business, its corporate headquarters is in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, which is also the location of its flagship minting facility.
With the world’s gaze upon it, SMI turned the sunken treasure recovered from the S.S. Gairsoppa into these elegant 10 troy oz .999 silver bars.
Size and Purity
As stated above, these silver bars are 10 troy ounces. However, it is important to note that a troy ounce is not the same unit of measure that you would find in a cookbook (that would be an avoirdupois ounce).
A troy ounce is a unit of measurement used exclusively for precious metals. One pound equals 14.58 troy ounces, which means they are slightly bigger than avoirdupois ounces which require 16 ounces to form a pound.
The S.S. Gairsoppa Silver Bars are 99.9% pure silver. This makes them significantly purer than most jewelry, which is usually sterling silver. Sterling silver is mixed with other metals so that it isn’t damaged by use. However, this practicality comes at the cost of purity. Sterling silver is generally no more than 92.5% pure silver.
At present, there are two designs for the 10 oz S.S. Gairsoppa Silver Bar.
As the name indicates, this was the first version released. One side is stamped with a picture of the Gairsoppa, while the other side bears a certification stamp that shows it is genuine Gairsoppa silver. The side with the certification stamp also indicates the weight and purity of the bar.
Version 2 is almost identical to version 1. However, version 2 features the date that the S.S. Gairsoppa sank (February 17, 1941) beneath an image of the ship. The back still bears the certification stamp, weight, and purity.
Both version 1 and 2 are no longer being made. This means that when retailers run out of them that’s it, their stock won’t be replenished. It also means that these rare silver bars are a great investment and are about to become even better as their supply dwindles.
Although some have speculated about a version 3 being released, the prospect remains unconfirmed.
Sunshine Mint Packaging
Sunshine Mint is known for its high quality packaging. The S.S. Gairsoppa Silver Bars come wrapped in plastic to protect them from damage. Sturdier plastic cases, leatherette boxes, and Lucite easels are also available for display purposes.