BERMUDA SHIPWRECKS MARY CELESTIA 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 Mary Celestia was a 207-ton iron steamer owned by Crenshaw and Company - an Anglo-Confederate business in Bermuda. The ship, which had twin oscillating cylinder steam engines and feathering paddle wheels, was chartered by the Confederacy to be a blockade-runner smuggling weapons, supplies and food to the southern states during the United States Civil War. Bermuda had become an important staging port for trade between Europe and the Confederacy and the Island enjoyed considerable economic prosperity until the last Atlantic Confederate port closed in 1865. On 6 September 1864 the Mary Celestia set out from Bermuda ’for Nassau’ (actually Wilmington, NC), Bahamas carrying a cargo of 125 boxes of bacon and 534 containers of general merchandise on a blockade run. The steamer successfully navigated the eastern channels of the island and travelled west along the south shore. Southeast of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse the Bermudian pilot, John Virgin, brought the ship close to shore to disembark. The steamer struck a reef and sank within eight minutes. The ship was a total loss but some of the merchandise was salvageable and auctioned off on behalf of the owner. The wreck of the Mary Celestia lies in fifty-five feet of water off the south shore where her boilers, part of the bow, her anchor, and both of her paddle wheels are still visible. The Mary Celestia is one of the more visually intriguing of the wrecks which have found their graves in the waters around Bermuda.
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