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Silver Bars Discovered at WWII Shipwreck Worth Millions

August 07, 2012661 view(s)
After 71 years at the floor of the ocean off the coast of Ireland, a British WWII vessel named SS Gairsoppa yielded a haul of over 1,200 silver bars to tenacious oceanic explorers. According to various reports, the haul weighed more than 48 tons, and thanks to excellent silver prices, those 1.4 million troy ounces of silver are worth a staggering $38 million. Experts have said this is not just the deepest recovery of precious metals ever made, but may also be the heaviest; another ship, the SS Mantola, lies sunken in a nearby part of the North Atlantic sea floor. If Odyssey Marine Exploration is successful in bringing up all of the treasure they have discovered in the area, the total haul is estimated to be somewhere close to 240 tons.

The SS Gairsoppa & Stability of Silver Investments

What makes this story of particular interest to investors is the fact that it shows just what a consistent and stable investment precious metals are. In 1941, when the SS Gairsoppa was sunk by the torpedo of a Nazi German U-boat, the silver bars on board would have been worth about 35 cents per ounce. Now, seven decades later, silver prices stand at around $27 an ounce. This means that for doing nothing more than lying at the bottom of the ocean and resisting corrosion, the silver grew to more than 77 times its original value. This startling fact is exactly what interests investors in silver. With prices predicted to rise dramatically in coming years, silver continues to look like a very attractive addition to a portfolio. The chief executive officer of Odyssey Marine Exploration had this to say to reporters:
"With the shipwreck lying approximately three miles below the surface of the North Atlantic, this was a complex operation. Our capacity to conduct precision cuts and successfully complete the surgical removal of bullion from secure areas on the ship demonstrates our capabilities to undertake complicated tasks in the very deep ocean."
The durability of silver helps it keep its value, but another factor for those who love shipwrecks is the history involved. World War II was an intense global conflict that radically altered the history of contemporary civilization. This silver bullion is a part of that remarkable history which remains so vivid and interesting to people today. It is likely that some of these silver bars will end up seeing their way to auction where they may be collected as genuine relics of WWII. This is especially likely given the incredible story behind them and how they came to be retrieved beneath three miles of water. It is fascinating to note the rise in value of the cargo on board, the amount of dedication put forth by the aquatic exploration company and the sheer volume of this shipwrecked treasure haul. While it is highly unlikely that most investors will ever have their own holdings lost at sea, it is certainly heartening to see that while the metal is precious, it is in no sense too delicate to hold up remarkably well against the forces of underwater corrosion.
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