1857-S Liberty Head Double Eagle. Bold S. MS-67 (PCGS). CAC. Both sides of this beautiful Superb Gem display frosty orange-gold luster enhanced by wisps of pale reddish-rose here and there around the borders. Fully struck with virtually pristine surfaces, this coin would do justice to the finest gold type set or specialized cabinet of Liberty Head double eagles.The year 1857 saw two major events occur that had long lasting effects on the United States economy. Throughout the early 1850s, the railroads began a rapid expansion throughout the nation in an effort to unite the major commercial centers and eventually the East Coast with the West Coast. In the process, railroad companies embarked on an overly ambitious construction spree which required considerable financing, which banks were eager to provide. It became apparent that many of these railroad companies were built on empty promises and no assets. The bubble in railroad stocks burst in the summer of 1857. beginning a bear market that accelerated rapidly after several major companies failed. On August 24, the dam broke when the Ohio Life Insurance & Trust Company collapsed entirely. That failure precipitated a massive run on the banks that when the dust settled left in ruin thousands of banks, businesses reliant on those banks, and the people reliant on those businesses.While this financial disaster, the Panic of 1857 unfolded across the nation, another tragedy exacerbated the economic failures and claimed hundreds of lives. On September 3, the S.S. <em>Central America</em>, a side-wheel steamer operated by the United States Mail Steamship Company, left the Panamanian port city of Colón with 101 crew members and 477 passengers headed to New York via Havana. On the 9th, the <em>Central America</em> encountered an Atlantic hurricane off the coast of North Carolina and tried to ride out the storm. Despite valiant efforts by Captain William Herndon and the passengers and crew to keep the ship from sinking, it was to no avail. On the 12th when two small vessels were spotted, Captain Herndon gave the order to abandon ship, deployed lifeboats and tried to rescue as many people as possible, with women and children first. That evening, the <em>Central America </em>slipped beneath the waves with Captain Herndon maintaining his position on the wheel box until the very end. Captain Herndon was celebrated across the nation for his bravery and heroism and his name lives on today in the form of memorials, ships, and the town of Herndon, Virginia. Also on board the <em>Central America</em> was a staggering 15 tons of gold in the form of assayer ingots, gold dust, and coins worth $8 million at the time, or roughly half a billion dollars in todays accounting. The ship was lost over a particularly deep part of the Atlantic that made recovery an impossibility for generations. In the 1980s a group of treasure hunters and explorers believed they had located where the ship and its gold had come to rest on the ocean bottom. After years of exploration and searching with side-scan sonar and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), the wreck was located in 1988, and over the next several years, several tons of gold assayer ingots, gold dust, and gold coins were recovered. Over the next several years the disposition of the treasure was litigated until it was determined that the discovery team was entitled to 92% of the recovered treasure. Exploration still continues by Odyssey Marine Exploration. Among this fantastic treasure were approximately 5,400 freshly struck 1857-S double eagles. Gold coins struck at the San Francisco Mint entered the regions commercial channels and remained there. Before the recovery of the <em>Central America</em> coins, the best example of a Type I double eagle struck at the San Francisco Mint would be in the AU range. Thanks to the recovery of this treasure ship and others, numismatists can now acquire not only a Mint State example, but even a Gem. The majority of the double eagles recovered from the S.S. <em>Central America</em> are at the Choice to Gem Mint State level of preservation. Above those grades the numbers thin out and Superb Gems such as this are much more difficult to find. Due to careful conservation under the eye of scientist and discoverer Bob Evans, the surfaces of these coins appear as sparkling as the day they left the San Francisco Mint. The Superb Gem from the Pogue Collection will attract considerable attention from double eagle specialists, as well as enthusiasts of Gold Rush history and shipwreck lore.This lot includes the original Certificate of Authenticity, case and box as issued by Blanchard. <em>The supporting materials are available to the winning bidder upon request to Stacks Bowers Galleries at the close of the auction</em>. From the D. Brent Pogue Collection. Ex S.S. <em>Central America</em>.