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25th  Edition

December 2003

Old Ship Found!

Marion Goble
(239) 768-1449

1st Vice President
Jim Dunn
(858) 566-1745

2nd Vice President
L. E (Rusty) Draper
(361) 364-1917

Kay Goble
(239) 768-1449

Membership Chairman
Tom Britt
(858) 578-8926

Marvin Watson
(402) 421-8957

Bill Martin
(281) 427-6828

Newsletter Editor
John Worman
(505) 437-9872

The Rolling Stone is a Quarterly publication of the USS Whetstone LSD-27
Association, INC. The
Association is a non profit, historical and educational    organization dedicated to promoting fraternal, civic, patriotic and historical memories of those who served aboard.

Coin collectors delighted

TAMPA, Fla --Dec. 22, 2003--Tens of thousands of gold and silver United States coins are being recovered from the shipwreck of the SS Republic in what could prove to be the most valuable coin collection ever to come to market. Archaeological excavation of the Republic is currently being conducted by Odyssey Marine Exploration (AMEX:OMR) of Tampa, Florida. Numismatic Conservation Services (NCS) and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) have been awarded an exclusive contract to perform conservation, grading and encapsulation of these coins for the numismatic market.

The SS Republic was a sidewheel steamship that foundered in a hurricane while enroute from New York to New Orleans in 1865. Reportedly carrying $400,000 in gold specie when she sank off the coast of Georgia to a depth of 1700 feet, Republic is being carefully excavated under the direction of Odyssey's project archaeologist, Neil Cunningham Dobson. The coins are receiving exceptionally gentle treatment, each piece being lifted from the sea bed with a specially designed, soft silicone limpet to preserve their delicate surfaces.

Among the coins already retrieved are numerous gold eagles, gold double eagles and silver half dollars, nearly all dating between the early 1850s and 1865. Unlike other recently salvaged shipwrecks, a wide variety of dates and mints have been noted in this find. Based on the pieces recovered thus far that have been professionally conserved by Numismatic Conservation Services (NCS) and graded and encapsulated by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), this collection may already include several finest-known examples of United States gold and silver coins from the period.


"NGC and NCS are extremely pleased and proud to have been chosen as the exclusive conservation and grading service by Odyssey Marine Exploration," stated NGC Chairman and CEO Mark Salzberg. "This find is a numismatic treasure of extreme historical importance. The SS Republic was bringing assistance and commerce to the war-torn South immediately following the Civil War. The cache of coins being retrieved from this site is already revealing classic rarities as well as condition-census or finest-known items. As the official conservation and grading services of the American Numismatic Association, we look forward to providing the finest services available not only to Odyssey Marine Exploration but to all collectors who will enjoy these treasures for generations to come."

NCS has already conserved a number of the coins from SS Republic, which has initially revealed a mix of dates and conditions. "This is truly a remarkable find. This collection of coins, after conservation, will offer something for everyone," says David Camire, NCS Director of Operations. "So far our conservation has revealed a mix of dates for both $10 and $20 gold pieces and Seated Halves. The variety and condition of the coins is astounding. We have already discovered what we believe to be a previously unknown misplaced date variety."

It's estimated that it may take several months to complete the recovery of SS Republic's numismatic treasure, with both NCS and NGC devoting their combined resources to the conservation and certification of these coins. From the beginning of the recovery expedition, National Geographic Television & Film has been documenting Odyssey's archaeological excavation of the SS Republic in association with JWM Productions, LLC. This footage is being prepared for broadcast on a special Dateline NBC and for "National Geographic Ultimate Explorer" on MSNBC in 2004, with additional coverage later in 2004 in a National Geographic Special on PBS.

(Continued on page 5)

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