From lost Nazi treasure sunk at the bottom of an Austrian lake, to one of the most expensive brain teasers in history, the Beale ciphers, in this video we are going to dive into or in other cases dig into ten hidden treasures that are still up for grabs.
King John’s Crown Jewels
King John of England had a fancy for stealing anything of value and that sparkled in the light. In 1216, King John travelled to Bishops Lynn in Norfolk where he arrived on October 9th of that year. At the time, this area was referred to as ‘The Wash,’ due to the fact that it was once nothing more than a huge expanse of marshes and dangerous mud flats which served as an inconvenience and danger to any traveler. It was here that King John fell ill with dysentery and decided to return to Newark Castle. Making a wise decision, he took the safer route around ‘The Wash,’ while some of his soldiers and carts loaded with his riches – even the crown jewels which he had inherited from his grandmother, the empress of Germany – took the more direct route through the marshes. Trapped by the tides, many men lost their lives and the treasure carts were never recovered. Any man who is lucky enough to have a rainbow lead him to the sight of King John’s crown jewels will inherit a great fortune of approximately 70 million dollars.
Pure Gold Statues in Coco’s Island Cave
In 1820, the revolt of Peru against Spain was a near certainty. The Governor and clergy in the city of Lima, the countries capital, entrusted its treasures to Captain William Thompson of the ‘Mary Dear,’ which was to set sail to Mexico for delivery. Over 60 million dollars worth of various keepsakes of the city were transported. Among the most expensive of all treasures were two life-sized statues of the Blessed Virgin holding her son, Jesus, cast entirely of pure gold. The temptation was too much to handle; out of greed, Thompson had his passengers killed, and headed for Cocos Island, which is approximately 342 miles or 550 kilometers off of Costa Rica. There he buried all he could fit in a cave for safe keeping. Thompson would join forces with a pirate crew and narrowly escape capture. Never again did he return to the spot where he buried the treasure before passing. To this day, only 6 gold coins have been found.
The Lost City Of Paititi
For many of you the story of El Dorado may sound familiar, maybe even some picture a city littered with gold lost somewhere in South America’s vast expanse of rain forests. It is now known that this legend about a Muisca Chieftain -the Golden One – who would cover himself with gold dust before religious ceremonies. Although there is some skepticism behind this, the real city of gold is Paititi. From what we know, the Spanish had been at war with the Incas of Peru for nearly forty years and forced the tribe to retreat to Vilcabamba Valley where they held strong until 1572. When they were finally overrun, the Spanish found the city largely deserted. It appeared that the Incas had retreated into the rainforests of southern Brazil, and with them taken an estimated 10 billion dollars worth of gold artifacts. Despite being considered a myth, in 2009, satellite images showed clearing in the Boco do Acre region of Brazil; this shows that at one time there were settlements here and has led some skeptics to rethink their stance. Is it possible that somewhere hidden under the canopies of the Amazon Rainforest is a treasure trove of lost Inca gold?
Treasure Fleet of 1715
In 1712, Spain amassed one of the largest treasure fleets to sail the seas up until that period. I guess the saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” wasn’t popular in those times because for some reason or other they overloaded eleven ships with precious metals and jewels. Today they would be sold for a grand total of approximately 2 billion dollars. In 1715, after making a stop in Cuba, the galleon set sail just days before hurricane season, hoping to decrease the chances of running into pirate ships and privateers. Seven days later, the vessels were reduced to splinters. Around 1,000 sailors perished as a result, and for four years after, the Spanish successfully salvaged about half of the treasure, but were forced to retreat as the spot became a prime location for pirates looking to get in on the action. Seven of the eleven ships have been located primarily due to the efforts of Kip Wagner, a marine treasure hunter; fortunately much of the treasure remains for a few lucky souls to stumble across.
The 100 Year Old Lost Dimes
In 1907, a wagon train left the Denver Mint carrying six large barrels of brand new ‘Barber’ dimes, named after the coins designer, Charles Barber. The coins were to be delivered to Phoenix, Arizona some 820 miles or 1,319 kilometers away. Over one hundred years later, there has yet to be any sign of the shipment. There are two leading theories as to what may have happened to those 5,000 some dimes. It is quite possible that the wagon train was attacked by armed bandits looking for some easy cash or that the party may have plummeted to the bottom of Colorado’s Black Canyon while navigating perilous mountain trails. What makes these dimes so sought after is a single one in excellent condition fetches somewhere in the ballpark of $600. Multiply that by 5,000 and you have a good $3,000,000 unaccounted for.
The Beale Ciphers
According to legend, a man by the name of Thomas Beale and several others came across a large sum of gold and silver while mining in the Rocky Mountains in 1816. So many precious metals were supposedly found that it is estimated to be worth around 66 million dollars by today’s standards. Apparently, the group kept a cool head and decided that they could never make good use of it all. Should they perish, their surviving kin was to inherit a portion of the treasure. As a way to ensure that such wealth wouldn’t make it into the wrong hands, Beale wrote three separate ciphers and gave them to a Virginia innkeeper who was told to wait no less than ten years before opening the box containing the papers. When no one returned to retrieve the box and no key was sent to open it, the innkeeper, Robert Morriss did the honors. For years he and a friend tried to decode the papers, but to their despair, they could only manage to crack the second ones code. The second one lists the content of treasure, while the first is said to describe its location and the third lists the names of the treasures owners and their family members. Doubts of its existence have not deterred many treasure hunters who risk being arrested for unauthorized digging and trespassing.
200 Million Off The Coast Of Florida
In 1622, the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha, was on its way back to Spain from trading ports in modern day Colombia, Panama and Cuba when it was caught in a tragic hurricane off the coast of Key West, Florida. Many ships were steered off course by the winds and soon sunk beneath the waves, along with an estimated 700 million dollars worth of valuables including: gold, silver, jewels, indigo and even fine tobacco. In 1985, American treasure hunter, Mel Fisher and his team discovered the mother lode – the Atocha. Experts are determined that there is still approximately $200 worth of riches up for grabs. According to the captain’s log, seventeen tons of silver bars, 128,000 coins of differing values, 59 pounds or 27 kilograms of emeralds and 35 boxes of miscellaneous gold are somewhere hidden in a watery grave just waiting for someone to strike it rich!
Nazi Treasure in Lake Toplitz
As the Second World War came to a close, Nazi soldiers sunk containers and various other objects into the depths of Lake Toplitz near Salzburg in western Austria. Several have since been recovered; upon opening them, millions of dollars’ worth of fake currencies from Allied nations were found. This is believed to have been directly linked to ‘Operation Bernhard.’ Its goal was to inflate said economies, which was quite an ingenious plan. Along with a very minute number of the believed wealth of sunken containers being found were Nazi-era rockets and missiles that had landed in Lake Toplitz. Unfortunately, this body of water is littered with sunken logs near the supposed location of a portion of the treasure stolen from those sent to concentration camps, but has not stopped divers from investigating. Those who have made it down claim to have seen a sunken plane, yet the possibility of millions worth of gold and maybe even the legendary Amber Room panels have eluded those on the hunt.
The Ultimate “Money Pit”
Oak Island is located just off the shores of Nova Scotia and is the site of one of the most long lasting treasure hunts in North American history. What has become known as ‘the money pit’, was found in the year 1795 by a young man named Daniel McGinnis, who reported seeing mysterious lights coming from the area. Upon investigation, he discovered a circular hole which he and some friends began digging into. After several trips to the pit, little more than a pickaxe and wooden platforms were found. As the legend spread, others made their way to the site to try their luck. They were continuously edged on by exciting signs of treasure such as coconut shells not native to the region and even a cryptic stone some 90 feet or 24 meters under the earth’s surface. This finding sent many more flocking to the area with dreams of unimaginable wealth on their minds. At one point, even President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave the dig a try in the late 1920’s. The suspected pirates treasure has yet to be found and its existence is based almost solely on circumstantial evidence.
Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Hunt
In 1988, a wealthy art dealer by the name of Forrest Fenn was diagnosed with cancer. Fearing the worst, Fenn devised a plan to create a sturdy bronze chest which would be filled with riches. It is believed that everything from gold nuggets and coins to a jar containing his personal autobiography is stored in the vault. Somehow, Fenn survived the illness and waited until 2010 to finally hide the chest. In March 2013, he revealed that it was hidden in the Rocky Mountains, north of Santa Fe, New Mexico and is 5,000 feet or 1,500 meters above sea level. Several more unique clues were released by Fenn in the years that followed, the most recent in January of 2015. Fenn has published two books on the subject, both containing valuable bits of information regarding the treasures location. An estimated 1 to 3 million remains up for grabs despite numerous search attempts.