Collector pays over $2 million for 62-pound ‘Johnny Carson’ gold bar


With a quarter dollar on it for size comparison, this massive 62-pound gold bar salvaged from SS Central America and later dubbed “The Carson Bar” was sold by Rare Collectibles TV for over $2 million at a collector.

Scientist Bob Evans watches Johnny Carson lift the 62-pound California Gold Rush ingot on The Tonight Show on May 10, 1991. It has now been sold by Rare Collectibles TV for over $2 million to a collector .

Jack McNamara, co-founder of Rare Collectibles TV, poses with the large 62-pound California Gold Rush bar recovered from the legendary “Ship of Gold”, the SS Central America which sank in 1857.

Seen on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and now being sold by Rare Collectibles TV, this is one of the biggest gold bars of the ‘Old West’.

The Anonymous Buyer is a collector who specializes in rare and historically significant U.S. coins, with an emphasis on the California Gold Rush.

— Jack McNamara, co-founder of Rare Collectibles TV

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Sept. 13, 2022 / — California Gold Rush Artifact Collector Paid Over $2 Million for Gold Bar historic 62-pounder salvaged from the sinking in 1857 of the legendary “Ship of Gold”, the SS Central America.

The nearly foot-long ingot was nicknamed the “Carson Bar” after late-night TV host Johnny Carson carefully picked it up during a 1991 segment of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson , according to the seller of the huge gold bar, Rare Collectibles TV of Los Angeles, California ( through their Private Advisory Coin Team concierge service.

“The Anonymous Buyer is a collector who specializes in rare and historically significant U.S. coins, with a focus on the California Gold Rush,” said Jack McNamara, co-founder of Rare. TV Collectibles.

“This massive gold bar measures eleven inches long, three and a half inches wide and just over two inches high and is one of the largest surviving gold bars from the Wild West. It is a treasure which is one of the most important American artifacts of the California Gold Rush,” McNamara said.

Bob Evans, the chief scientist for the Discovery and Recovery Missions in Central America, brought the huge gold bar to a live interview segment on May 10, 1991 with Carson who was impressed with the recovered sunken treasure and briefly lifted him up.

“Because the ingot weighed over 50 pounds, two NBC-TV stagehands had to carry it on set, but during the unrehearsed segment on air, Carson grabbed it by himself with both hands,” remembers Evans. “The king of late night wrestled with the king of gold bars. As he held the chunk of yellow metal, I saw concern cross Johnny’s face. Gold, mind you, is about 50% heavier than lead, which is generally considered very heavy.Sitting just five or six feet away, I saw Johnny’s body tense and the veins in his neck bulge. It became a brief competition between man and mass.

Discovered in 1988 on the seabed approximately 7,200 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of North Carolina, the bullion was made during the gold rush by prominent San Francisco assayers Justh & Hunter. It weighs 754.95 troy ounces (just over 62 troy pounds) and was valued at the time of its creation a century and a half ago at $14,045.54.

“The SS Central America was carrying approximately 30,000 pounds of gold bullion and gold coins when it sank in a hurricane in September 1857 while on a voyage to New York. The loss of gold was detrimental to the American economy and one of the factors that led to the financial panic of 1857,” McNamara explained.

About Rare Collectibles TV

Rare Collectibles TV was founded in 2014 by numismatic experts and coin collectors Jack McNamara and Rick Tomaska. The company’s mission is to work with collectors to curate their personal dream numismatic collection with the most attractive coins available. Jack and Rick believe in the historical value of a coin and approach each numismatic collection as a learning experience. Through Jack and Rick’s Private Advisory Coin team, coin specialists provide clients with as much important information as possible about the background and history of this coin. Each collection weaves a unique story and RCTV is dedicated to educating collectors about the history and stories the coins tell.

Kendra Elliot
Rare Collectibles TV
+1 424-327-6941
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