Sunday, November 23, 2008

Recent "Big Money" Treasure Finds

(Encrusted gold chalice from the wreck of the Santa Margarita.)

The past few years, including 2008, have been good times for many treasure hunters throughout the world. Here are just a few of their more spectacular, "big money" finds:

Golden Chalice Found off the Florida Keys

In the early summer of 2008, a diver working for Blue Water Ventures on the wreck site of the Spanish galleon Santa Margarita, recovered a golden chalice buried in 12 inches of sand at a depth of 18 feet off the Florida Keys. The chalice, made of solid gold and ornately inscribed, is expected to bring more than $1,000,000 at auction.

Metal Detectors

Amateur Treasure Hunter Hits it Big

A trove of over 100 silver and gold coins minted in the 1st Century, B.C. has been found by a metal detector hobbyist in the Netherlands near Maastricht. This lucky soul found 11 coins himself and then other hunters and archaeologists were able to recover the rest of the trove dating from Roman times after the finder notified city authorities of his discovery (note: here's a case where keeping your mouth shut can be important. However, the finder is obviously value-driven and understands the historic value of his find). The total value of the coin hoard is about $225,000.

Spectacular Mexican Placer Nugget Found

In a series of dry arroyos and canyons just 70 miles south of the Arizona border, a Mexican nugget hunter armed with a metal detector has been recovering small placer gold nuggets for years. A few years back he finally hit the "big one." Working a new area he had previously gridded out, he began carefully covering the ground with his Radio Shack detector (so much for Minelabs, Gold Bug IIs, and Goldmasters right?).

A huge signal filled his earphones and suspecting trash, our Mexican treasure hunter instead unearthed a spectacular placer gold nugget shaped like a boot and weighing a whopping 389.4 troy ounces (32.4 troy pounds). The newly named "Boot of Cortez" nugget is the largest surviving placer gold nugget in the Western Hemisphere. It's value? $1,324,000 at a recent auction.


Louisiana Steamship Treasure

Long hours of research and hard work has paid off for a small group of Louisiana treasure hunters who located the site of the sunken steamship S.S. New York in 60 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico. A growing treasure trove of mint or uncirculated condition gold and silver U.S. coins, many of them from private mints, has been recovered thus far. The estimated value of the treasure trove is incalculable at this point, since the rarity and condition of individual coins may bring $50,000-$100,000 each. Wow! That's big money all right.

Detectorist Hits the Jackpot in England

A small-scale treasure hunter and detectorist near Nottinghamshire, England hit the jackpot when his machine sounded off on a solid gold Anglo-Saxon cross from the 7th Century. The hand-made piece of religious jewelry also contains red semi-precious stones. The estimated value of the cross is around $35,000, but its value may soar due to its unique historical importance.

There you have it. If you ever doubted that lost treasures exist out there, now you know better.

Good hunting to all.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Legends of Lost Gold: Pegleg's Gold Found? (Part 1)"

(c) J.R. 2008

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