We have all imagined ourselves finding treasures of inestimable richness – that’s why we participate in lotteries, after all. We obviously think that all the past treasures must have been discovered, don’t we? However, this is not true! There are many treasures, whose loot constitutes considerable sums of money, that are just waiting for the right adventurer to find them and transform them into a retirement plan for the next ten generations of their family. Grab your pickaxe, shovel and diving equipment, and get to work to find the treasure of your dreams.
1. The Forrest Fenn treasure
In 1988, Forrest Fenn, a Vietnam War veteran and treasure hunter, received heartbreaking news. He was diagnosed with cancer and the prognosis was not good. He, therefore, prepared to die by taking a small chest and filling it with his most precious possessions. According to Vox, the man planned to go into the mountains and die with his treasure. However, he overcame his cancer. In 2010, he decided to bury it somewhere in the Rockies by publishing nine clues in the form of a 24-line poem, promising anyone who found his treasure a loot worth millions.
It is not surprising that a ton of people searched for the treasure, and Fenn estimates that about 65,000 people travelled to the wilderness of the Rockies, with a theory that must be the right one. Although Fenn keeps reminding people that the treasure is hidden in a place accessible even to an 80-year-old person, many people have died in this quest. The Telegraph issued a warning issued by local police services that found the remains of the unfortunate treasure hunters.
2. The Captain Kidd treasure
Captain William Kidd was one of the most notorious pirates of the Indian Ocean, and when he was executed in London in 1701, he took his secrets to the grave. This includes the location of his flagship vessel and the treasure he has amassed over the course of his career. If you want to go in search of his boat Adventure, it is located somewhere around Madagascar and the island affectionately called the Island of Pirates, Sainte Marie. Legend has it that Kidd set Adventure on fire and buried it in a water pit, transferring the loot he could carry to a new ship. But the legend relayed by the Washington Post says that he is buried either off Madagascar, in New York, or in the Caribbean.
In 2015, Barry Clifford stated that he had found the wreck of Adventure and that he had a 110-pound silver ingot as proof. But don’t worry, dear treasure hunters, UNESCO said that it was not a treasure at all, just a piece of lead ballast. UNESCO – and historians – condemned the botched excavations at Clifford and the lack of documentation, and confirmed that Captain Kidd’s treasure is still to be discovered.
3. The Amber Room
It was so impressive that it was called the Eighth Wonder of the World, and just as they ruined the swastika, the Nazis ruined this room. According to the Smithsonian, the Nazis looted the Amber Room of the Catherine Palace in St. Petersburg, packed it in 27 boxes and sent it to what is now Kaliningrad. It was reassembled there for two years as part of a castle museum. In 1943, the Amber Chamber was again divided into pieces and hidden from the approaching Allied forces. And that’s, unfortunately, all we know. There are many theories about its final fate, including the possibility that it may have been destroyed by bombing. But other theories say that the pieces are still scattered, perhaps at the bottom of the Baltic Sea or in private collections. One of the panels of the Amber Room was found in Bremen in 1997, but it was sold by the son of a soldier who had no other information. There is even a theory that says that the Amber Chamber that the Germans stole was false and that the real one has been missing for much longer than we think. Anyway, if you’re wondering how six tons of amber disappeared, you’re not alone!
4. Nuestra Señora de Atocha’s treasure
Atocha’s ship was found and saved in 1985 from what the press called “The Sinking of the Century”. However, the most valuable part – the rear castle that housed the captain’s cabin and the ship’s most valuable cargo – has not yet been found.
The Nuestra Señora de Atocha was part of a Spanish fleet of 20 ships bound for Spain in September 1622. Ships carried an incredibly large amount of precious metals and valuable goods. The day after their departure, a hurricane sank eight of the 20 ships, including the Atocha, which served as the fleet’s rearguard. The ship was a heavily armed galleon and held one of the largest treasure caches in the entire fleet. As the ship sank in only 55 feet of water, an attempt was made quickly to retrieve the loot, but the Spanish rescue teams were unable to open the hatches. A month later, another hurricane washed the wreck away, leaving it lost for more than 400 years.
The treasure that has been recovered consists of nearly $500 million worth of precious metals and artifacts, but the elusive captain’s cabin has yet to be found. Any rescue expert or real adventurer who finds and recovers it will be very rich!
5. The jewels of the Irish Crown
Many things were different in 1907, and the ideas of safety were very different. When the jewels of the Irish Crown disappeared, they were under the not so vigilant eye of Sir Arthur Vicars, who kept them in the library of the Bedford Tower of Dublin Castle. They were only kept there because no one had measured the door when they were building the vault room where they had to go. The jewelry safe couldn’t hold, so they decided to leave them in the library and, probably, have a drink.
It was a member of the cleaning team who told the vicars that the keys to the library door were not in their place on the morning of July 6. It was only in the afternoon that he took the trouble to check the jewellery and noticed that it was missing. The locks had been unlocked, the doors had been opened and no alarms had been triggered, suggesting that this was an internal job. The main suspect is not Vicar, but his second, Francis (Ernest’s brother) Shackleton. He finally disappeared without a trace after serving a prison sentence for bank fraud. Other suspects have been named, but the jewellery is still missing.
6. The Santissima Concepcion treasure
The Santissima Concepcion – then known as El Grande – was a huge Spanish galleon commanded by Admiral Manuel Ortiz Aosemena when it sank in 1683. The El Grande was carrying a treasure to Spain when it struck the hurricane that sank it and killed 496 people on board. Only four men arrived on the shores of St. Augustine, Florida, but the ship and its treasure were never found.
The El Grande is said to have carried silver ingots, spices, 1,500 pounds of gold, 77 chests of pearls, 217 chests of other goods, and 49 chests of emeralds. Legend has it that only one chest full of clothes and 1,500 pesos washed up in Florida – it was believed to belong to the wreck, but nothing has ever been found since. Recovery efforts continued until about 1701, but the location of the wreckage is currently unknown. It can be somewhere in the waters of Key Biscaïene or anywhere between the Florida coast and the Bahamas.
7. The San Miguel treasure
Much of the treasures lost at sea in the early years of the 18th century is due to two things: the War of Succession in Spain, and a whole series of hurricanes. In 1715, a small fleet of treasure ships gathered to travel from the New World to Spain. Spain desperately needed funds after the war, so it was common for ships carrying treasures to return to Europe in peacetime to help the Empire build its coffers.
The flotilla organized in 1715 was another such mission, and they decided to delay their trip before the beginning of the hurricane season, the idea being that the prevalence of hurricanes could keep pirates at bay during their trip. The bet paid off, in that they did not have to deal with the pirates, but the hurricane pursued them and sank all the ships in the fleet.
Since the sinking of the fleet, many efforts have been made to recover the treasure. Only a small fraction of the treasure was found, but six of the seven vessels were located. The San Miguel was a small Carrack class ship, lighter than a galleon and therefore faster. For this reason, the San Miguel was full of treasures, one of the richest that can be found at the bottom of the sea, in fact. Of course, it’s the only ship in the fleet that no one has found.
8. The jewels of the crown and the treasure of King John
The King of England, King John, was unlucky. He is immortalized as the king who gave the power of the monarchy when he signed the Magna Carta, and he is the villain in every Robin Hood movie that ever existed. He also managed to lose not only the Crown jewels of the country, but also many treasures.
This happened about a year after he signed the Magna Carta, and according to The Daily Beast, he and his men were on their way from King’s Lynn to Lincoln when something happened. There are some different versions of the story, in fact, men were going to or had just tried to control one of the many rebellions that have emerged across the country. The suite’s baggage train got stuck in the swamps near Long Sutton. The area was flooded, killing countless men and taking away the Crown jewels and other treasures they were carrying.
The search for John’s jewellery is not finished, and the BBC says that recent technological advances have allowed archaeologists to map the evolution of the landscape over the centuries and, hopefully, to learn a little more about the events of that day.
9. The Genghis Kahn treasure
It may surprise you to learn that the final resting place of the most prosperous emperor in history, who commanded the largest contiguous empire in history, is unknown. Genghis Khan’s tomb is a secret lost for nearly a millennium – wherever it is located, it is likely that the untold riches of the Mongolian Empire are also hidden there.
According to legend, Genghis Khan wanted his burial place to be kept secret, so 40 of his men took his body and buried it somewhere. They were then killed by Khan’s guards, who in turn killed themselves, leaving no one alive to tell where the grave was located. It is also said that “40 girls – adorned with precious clothes, gold and beautiful jewellery – were killed and buried with him, to join his spirit in the afterlife”. It doesn’t matter if this story is true or not. The location of Khan’s last burial place has been a mystery since his death, and people have been looking for his remains ever since.
Many believe that Khan lies somewhere around Lake Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan, but that’s all we know. The Soviets took this legend so seriously that they financed an expensive expedition in the 1970s to search for the grave, but found nothing. There are also those who think that he may have been buried at the top of Mount Burkhan Khaldun in Mongolia, as this would have been one of the highest points of the empire, and therefore the symbolic place to bury his leader.
10. The Lima treasure
It is one of the most fundamental truths of life: most people simply cannot be trusted not to steal a treasure when they are hired to transport it for another person. This is exactly what happened in 1820, when Captain William Thompson was entrusted with the custody of a hold full of recovered pirate treasures, including 1,000 diamonds, 200 chests full of jewellery and 113 gold statues. Thompson was a British trader hired to transport the treasure from Peru to Mexico. Instead, as expected, he took it for himself. We think he headed for Cocos Island in the Pacific, stashed the treasure, then left. Unfortunately for Thompson, he met the Spaniard, who executed all the crew except Thompson and his mate. They negotiated with their captors, promising to lead them to the treasure. We already know that Thompson’s word was not worth much, so it’s not surprising that he escaped into the Cocos’ jungle when they returned.
No one really knows what happened to them after that, but we think they were saved without the treasure. Thompson is not the only one who buried treasure there. A British sailor reportedly left 350 tons of gold there, as well as the ill-gotten gains of pirate Benito Bonito. No one could really do much research on a large scale, because the treasure hunt was banned by Costa Rica on behalf of UNESCO, the party’s marauders.
Cover photo: Grunge.com