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The Hedge Fund Kid and the Treasure Ship

An Odyssey Marine Exploration recovery operation at a North Atlantic shipwreck site in 2012
An Odyssey Marine Exploration recovery operation at a North Atlantic shipwreck site in 2012 Photograph by Odyssey Marine Exploration via Bloomberg

On Monday, a deep-water exploration ship lingered 160 miles off the coast of Charleston, S.C. The vessel is operated by Odyssey Marine Exploration, a company with a unique business model: It recovers treasure from shipwrecked vessels.

Odyssey Marine hopes to retrieve an estimated $86 million in gold from the SS Central America, a steamship sunk during a hurricane in 1857 while it carried large amounts of gold from California. The publicly traded, Tampa-based company is entitled to a substantial percentage of the riches. Naturally, Odyssey Marine is promoting the possibility of a big score on its website.