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BERMUDA SHIPWRECKS CONSTELLATION GOLD PROOF

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Denomination: $3.00
Weight: 31.489 gms
Diameter: 35 mm
Alloy: .999 Fine Gold
Issue Limit: 750
Price: $1,800


The Constellation was a four masted, wooden hulled schooner, which was owned by Intercontinental Steamship Lines Inc. of New York and served as a cargo vessel in World War II. On 19 July 1943 she set sail from New York Harbour headed for Venezuela under the command of Captain Neavers. She was carrying a cargo which included Johnny Walker whiskey, drums of alkali, Argo oil (for salad dressing), antique furniture, plates, phonograph records, cement, cosmetics, religious articles, and pharmaceuticals. On 22 July the ship developed a leak and, despite the use of hand pumps, the situation grew worse and the decision was made to head for Bermuda. The Captain was unfamiliar with Bermuda’s waters and headed for the focal point of Gibbs Hill Light but, unfortunately, the ship struck the reefs at 2.10 p.m. Tug boats from Bermuda were sent out to the ship and all of the crew were safely rescued. The United States Navy salvaged some of the cargo, mainly bottles of whiskey, but despite the reduction in weight, the ship remained grounded and was considered a total loss by 7 August, 1943. After this initial rescue operation, the site was subsequently salvaged by modern divers. Archaeologists from the Maritime Museum and divers from the Maritime Archaeological and Historical Society recorded the site in the early 1990s. The pharmaceuticals in the wreckage included small ampules of morphine and this now infamous cargo is credited with being the inspiration for Peter Benchley’s book ’The Deep’.
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