Bank note recovered from the Andrea Doria
A Sunken Treasure’s Journey: The Banco di Roma Safe from the Andrea Doria
On August 27, 1981, in the midst of Hurricane Dennis, a daring expedition led by marine explorer and department store heir, Peter Gimble, embarked on a quest that would unravel a piece of maritime history. Their mission: to recover the Banco di Roma (Bank of Rome) safe, which had rested 250 feet beneath the tempestuous Atlantic Ocean for a quarter of a century. The safe’s enigmatic contents were believed to hold the treasures of First Class passengers who had once sailed on the ill-fated Andrea Doria.
The Andrea Doria: A Tragic Tale of Collision and Sinking
The Andrea Doria, an elegant ocean liner, met its tragic fate in 1956 when it collided with another vessel, the MS Stockholm, off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts. The impact resulted in the Andrea Doria’s swift descent into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, where it became an underwater time capsule, preserving the stories and possessions of those who had sailed on it.
The Safe’s Elusive Contents
For decades, the 650-pound Banco di Roma safe had remained a tantalizing mystery. Rumors swirled that it contained the opulent jewelry and valuables of the ship’s elite First Class passengers. However, as the safe was finally brought to the surface and opened during a live television broadcast on August 3, 1984, the truth emerged. Instead of glittering jewels, the safe revealed stacks of U.S. $1 Silver Certificates and Italian banknotes in 50, 100, and 1,000 Lire denominations.
Preservation and Legacy
Peter Gimble and his wife, the actress and diver Elga Andersen, took on the role of custodians of this sunken treasure. They carefully preserved some of the recovered notes in specially-made Lucite holders, ensuring that the legacy of the Andrea Doria would live on for generations to come.
A Glimpse into Maritime History
The recovery of the Banco di Roma safe from the Andrea Doria is a testament to human determination and the enduring allure of maritime mysteries. It offers us a unique glimpse into the lives and stories of those who once embarked on this ill-fated voyage.
Exploring the Depths of the Ocean and History
For divers, historians, and treasure enthusiasts, the Andrea Doria’s legacy continues to beckon. The recovery of the safe and its contents serves as a reminder that beneath the ocean’s surface lies a world of wonder and intrigue, waiting to be explored.