From gold coins to sunken treasure to ancient tombs, these are the 13 biggest treasures ever discovered.
Back in 2014, a middle aged couple in Northern California accidentally stumbled across 1400 gold coins while walking their dog. The old coins were likely stolen from a coin minting factory back in the Gold Rush era of California and hidden underground for a couple hundred years. The individual coins were auctioned off and ended up raising 11 million dollars. The couple has chosen to stay anonymous and refused to disclose where they found the gold to prevent a false gold rush in their area. Most of their 11 million dollar profit was donated to charity.
The British are constantly sweeping their own land with metal detectors, in hopes of finding ancient treasures and trinkets lost to history. In 2001 one such hobby treasure hunter, a retired electrician, was sweeping a grassy field with his metal detector, hoping to find something valuable in the dirt. He unwittingly uncovered a bona fide treasure - a 3.5 oz cup carved from 20 karat gold. The 3500 year old cup was made around the same time Stonehenge was built and was valued at £270,00 british pounds or roughly $390,000 USD.
The Silverdale Hoard is the name given to one of the largest caches of Viking Silver ever found. This massive find was uncovered in North Yorkshire a few years ago in 2011 and is comprised of 1000 year old silver heirlooms, including 90 silver viking coins with the name of an unknown Viking king minted onto it. This mysterious hoard is still being analyzed to this day with hopes of uncovering more details of Viking history and culture. The continued study of the treasure makes the monetary value unclear, but the Silverdale Hoard is estimated to be worth at least 100,00 British pounds or about 145,000 US dollars.
A sunken ship full of nearly 600,000 gold and silver coins was found at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean by a private treasure hunting company called Odyssey Marine. A priceless hoard of gold coins and hand crafted gold chains were found inside of the ship, which was called the Frigate Mercedes, and became the center of a controversy when Spain claimed ownership over the gold. A legal battle between Spain and Odyssey Marine ensued and lasted half a decade before the Spanish government prevailed. In 2015, Spain finally flew their 17 tons of priceless coins across the Atlantic.
This massive load of treasure was found in 2009 when a farmer in Central England lost a tool in his field and called a friend with a metal detector to scan for it. In search of a farm tool, Terry accidentally uncovered the largest single hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found. As excavators dug up the field they found a total of 3500 pieces of gold, silver, and garnet that would total to 3.285 million british pounds or 4.75 million US dollars, split in half by the man who owned the land and the man who found it.
Amateur divers were exploring an old sunken dock off of the coast of Israel when they discovered 2,000 gold coins hidden in the sea bed. The centuries old currency was miraculously unmarred by age or water damage at the bottom of the ocean. There is no current estimated monetary value of the 20 pounds worth of coins, but they are considered extremely rare and valuable to historians. Even at the time of their minting in 900 AD they were considered a royal sum of cash.
One of the most exciting and largest treasures on this list has come close to being discovered but hasn’t actually been found yet. In 2010 the successful art dealer, hobby treasure hunter, and eccentric millionaire Forrest Fenn had the idea of hiding a huge fortune in a treasure chest and burying it somewhere for someone else to find. Fenn hopes to share the fun and thrill of treasure hunting which he has enjoyed throughout his life with others. If you were to discover Fenn’s Treasure with the set of 9 clues he has put out, you would be looking at a sweet 1 to 3 million US dollar cash out of gold nuggets and precious stones.
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