Treasure of the SS Islander

Treasure of the SS Islander

The SS Islander was a steamship owned and operated by the Canadian-Pacific Navigation Company during the Yukon-Klondike gold rush. It offered luxurious accommodations for bankers, tycoons, wealthy business owners, and others. The steamer weighed 1,519 tons, measured 240 feet in length, and was made of steel. It frequently made the trip along the inside passage to Alaska, serving the needs of those headed for the Klondike gold fields. The ship left Skagway, Alaska, on August 14, 1901, carrying 168 people and a reported $6 million in gold. The next day, south of Juneau, it struck an iceberg, took on water, and sank. The treasure and forty lives were lost. Salvage efforts soon began, continuing off and on until recent years.
The most successful recovery of treasure from the SS Islander took place in the last five years, with more than 1,000 ounces of gold being recovered. You can see gold and three full gold pokes – the small leather bags used to hold and transport loose gold flakes and nuggets – that were recovered from the shipwreck in Gold! Riches and Ruin. This is the first time these artifacts have been publicly exhibited, and pieces of their original seals are still intact.
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Canadian Pacific Navigation Company Ship 
S.S. Islander, ca. 1900
Photographer: Major James Skitt Matthews
Image courtesy of City of Vancouver Archives
AM54-S4-: Bo N215
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15 Days’ Clean Up by the Gold Run (Klondyke) Mining Co., 1886–1913
Image courtesy of the Alaska State Library, Wickersham State Historic Site Photos, 1882–1930s; ASL-P277-001-166


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