33 Missing Treasures Experts Say Are Real
X marks the spot!
To most people, the search for missing treasure seems like little more than a convenient plot device in your standard summer blockbusters. However, it’s not just action heroes who find themselves neck-deep in gold upon occasion—around the globe, there are countless missing treasures just waiting to be found.
From stashes of diamonds and gold lost at sea to intentionally-hidden millions, we’ve compiled 33 missing treasures experts say are real—and all that’s left for you to do is start looking. And for more shocking secrets, discover America’s 30 Most Fascinating Unsolved Mysteries.
The Scepter of Dagobert
One piece of the French crown jewels, the Scepter of Dagobert, has been missing for 223 years. The 22-inch gold scepter—originally created for Dagobert I, king of Austrasia, Neustria, and the Franks—was fashioned by Saint Eligius, the patron saint of goldsmiths, in the seventh century. It was stolen by an unknown party in 1795 and has yet to be recovered. And for more shocking facts, discover these 30 Crazy Facts That Will Change Your View of History.
The Florentine Diamond
Move over, Hope Diamond: The Florentine Diamond is not only bigger but it’s also still up for grabs.
This yellow-green Indian diamond, which has been missing since the early part of the 20th century, weighs in at a massive 137.27 carats. While the diamond’s origin story is heavily disputed—some say it belonged to the Duke of Burgundy, others claim it was once the property of an Indian king—one thing is for certain: it’s huge, it’s worth a fortune, and it’s still out there.
The story of Tucker’s Cross is a veritable whodunit—and better yet, the treasure is still up for grabs.
Originally discovered by explorer Teddy Tucker in 1955, the emerald-adorned 22-karat gold cross is believed to be part of the bounty that went down with the Spanish ship San Pedro in 1594. After selling it to the Bermudan government in 1959, the cross was put on display in a local museum. Though prior to a scheduled visit from Queen Elizabeth II in 1975, the cross was discovered to have been stolen and replaced with a fake. And for more wild history, check out The Craziest Fact About Every U.S. State.
The Patiala Necklace
Created in 1928 for Bhupinder Singh, Maharaja of British Indian princely state Patiala, the Patiala Necklace disappeared just 20 years later from the Patiala Royal Treasury.
Crafted by House of Cartier, the necklace had 2,930 diamonds in it, including one 234.65 carat diamond and numerous rubies from Burma. While a section of the necklace was found at a thrift store in London in 1998 and subsequently repaired, the remainder has never been found.
The Crown Jewels of Ireland
The Irish Crown Jewels, stolen from Dublin Castle over a century ago, are still out there for treasure-seekers to find today. The 1907 theft included the removal of a diamond star, pendant, and the collars of five knights of the Order. According to reports, the total bounty would be worth more than $1.36 million today.
The Fenn Treasure
When art dealer Forrest Fenn was diagnosed with cancer, he decided that, since he couldn’t take his fortune with him, he’d hide some of it for others to find.
In 2010, Fenn decided to bury over a million dollars’ worth of treasure in the Rocky Mountains. And while four people have died trying to find the mysterious treasure, Fenn insists that treasure-hunters have gotten within 200 feet of its location.
The Amber Room
Originally created during the 1700s in Prussia, the Amber Room—a room bedecked with amber, gold, and mirrors—was originally installed in the Berlin City Palace. Crafted by sculptor Andreas Schlüter and amber craftsman Gottfried Wolfram, the room was later moved to Russia, where it was expanded upon, packed with more than 13,000 pounds of amber upon completion.
However, during World War II, the Amber Room was pillaged by Nazis. While it’s been recreated, the original elements have never been found. And if you think that’s wild, you’ll be shocked to discover these 20 U.S. Government Secrets They Don’t Want You to Know.
The Amaro Pargo Treasure
Amaro Pargo, also known as Amaro Rodríguez Felipe y Tejera Machado, was an 18th century pirate who left information regarding an as-of-yet-undiscovered treasure in his will. According to Pargo, he left behind a chest holding jewelry, precious stones, pearls, silver, gold, paintings, fabric, and Chinese porcelain, among other items. Many have searched for his treasure, but its location remains a mystery to this day.
The Flor do Mar
The Flor do Mar, a 16th century Portuguese sailing ship, was loaded with treasure following a Malaysian conquest when it disappeared. Alfonso de Albuquerque, the nobleman who had collected the treasure, was saved, but the boat and its bounty sank off the coast of Sumatra on November 20th, 1511, and hasn’t been seen since.
The Ivory Coast Crown Jewels
In one of the more recent—and shocking—heists in current years, the Ivory Coast was robbed of its crown jewels in 2011. More than 70 items were stolen from the country’s largest museum, with more than $6 million in gold jewelry, religious artifacts, masks, and statues—some dating back more than 500 years—still missing.
The Graff Diamonds
British jeweler Graff Diamonds has been robbed numerous times, but the multinational chain’s biggest robbery—thought to be the biggest in U.K. history—took place just nine years ago.
In 2009, the New Bond Street location of Graff Diamonds was robbed of an estimated $65 million in jewelry and watches. Ten people have been arrested or jailed for their role in the robbery, but the jewels have never been found.
The Tomb of Tu Duc
While visitors can visit the Tomb of Tu Duc in Hue, Vietnam, the actual burial location of the Nguyen leader has never been discovered. When the Emperor died in 1883, he and his treasure were buried in a location so secret that everyone involved in its creation was beheaded afterward.
The Dead Sea Scrolls Treasure
The most unique of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Copper Scroll, also has one of the most curious messages. According to historians, the scroll bears information on 63 hidden treasures, though what exactly those treasures contain is hotly debated. Most can agree on one thing, however: they’re still out there.
The Victorio Peak Treasure
In southern New Mexico, there’s a load of treasure waiting to be found. Victorio Peak in the San Andres Mountains is reportedly home to a wealth of gold.
The Heirloom Seal of the Realm
The Heirloom Seal of the Realm, a 2239-year-old Chinese seal, has been missing for over 1000 years. The jade seal was carved from the He Shi Bi, a famous jade disc, and was passed down from dynasty to dynasty, until it went missing between 907 and 960 C.E.
The Nuestra Señora de Atocha Treasure
The Nuestra Señora de Atocha, a Spanish sailing vessel carrying large amounts of gems, gold, silver, and copper, among other treasures, was shipwrecked in 1622 after getting caught in a hurricane off the Florida Keys. While much of the treasure has been recovered, including an emerald ring valued at $500,000—which was found in 2011—much of the treasure likely remains in the sea.
The Honjō Masamune, a famous Japanese sword created by master swordsmith Gorō Nyūdō Masamune, was widely regarded as one of the most expertly-crafted swords ever made, becoming a Japanese National Treasure in 1939. However, after being turned over to the police during World War II, the sword went missing and still remains unrecovered.
The Just Judges
The Just Judges is a missing panel from the polyptych Ghent Altarpiece, a 15-century altarpiece housed in St. Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium. The rest of the Altarpiece remains intact, but the Just Judges panel was removed on April 10th, 1934, with a note left in its place claiming it had stolen by Germans.
The Awa Maru
When Japanese ocean liner Awa Maru was torpedoed in 1945, many people believed that a vast load of treasure went down with her. The boat was allegedly carrying upwards of $7.25 million in goods, including gold bullion.
The Antwerp Diamonds
In February 2003, one of the largest diamond heists of all time took place in Antwerp, Belgium. Thieves robbed a vault containing diamonds, gold, and jewelry with a combined worth of $100 million. Though there are many theories about who took the jewels and for what purpose, the bounty is still at large.
The Second Temple Menorah
The menorah from Jerusalem’s Second Temple initially went missing in 70 BC after the temple was ransacked by Romans, who installed it in their own Temple of Peace. However, the Temple of Peace was destroyed in a fire in the year 191, and the menorah hasn’t been seen since.
The Peking Man
The Peking Man is a partial fossilized Homo erectus skeleton excavated in the 1920s in Beijing. When being transported to New York City’s American Museum of Natural History in 1941, the remains mysteriously vanished; the search is ongoing.
The Elysian Park Treasure
In Los Angeles’ Elysian Park, there’s treasure to be found. In the mid-19th century, locals were said to hide their valuables in the park to keep them safe, and more recent research suggests that’s more than just a tall tale.
In 1994, a group of experts descended on the park and discovered that there may be a hidden tunnel running underneath the park with metal—possibly missing jewelry or coins—inside of it.
The Tsar’s Treasure
The Tsar’s treasure, a collection of $3 million worth of American double eagle coins, went missing in 1909. The fortune was aboard the ocean liner RMS Republic, which crashed into the SS Florida and sank off the coast of Nantucket.
The Tomb of Qin Shi Huang
The Tomb of Qin Shi Huang is a 2,226-year-old mausoleum located in China’s Shaanxi province. The location of the tomb is known to historians and archeologists, but it has yet to be excavated, meaning the treasure buried along with Emperor Qin Shi Huang is still waiting to be found.
The Imperial Fabergé Eggs
In the late 19th century, Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II commissioned a series of 50 Fabergé eggs to present to their wives and mothers as Easter and anniversary gifts. But over the intervening years, seven of the highly-valuable eggs have been lost, their whereabouts still unknown.
The Royal Casket
Built in 1800, the Royal Casket was a wooden casket created for Princess Izabela Dorota Czartoryska, a Polish noblewoman and founder of Krakow’s Czartoryski Museum. The casket, which contained gold, ivory, silver, and portraits of notable royals, was stolen by Nazis in 1939 and neither it nor its contents have been recovered.
The Dutch Schultz Treasure
Mobster Dutch Schultz, eager to avoid more charges and keep his enemies away from the fortune he’d amassed, decided to bury the loot he’d collected over the years. Schultz had an airtight, waterproof safe created to house $7 million in cash and bonds, which he hid in upstate New York. The money has never been recovered, but there are annual searches for the safe, with treasure hunters still determined to make his fortune their own.
The Treasure at Little Bighorn
Riverboat captain Grant Marsh was trying to do local miners a favor when he agreed to transport their gold aboard his ship to keep it safe—about $350,000 worth in total. However, it’s said that Marsh, concerned about the weight of his boat and impending attacks, decided to keep the gold safe by stashing it along the shores of the Little Bighorn River, where it remains to this day.
The Barber Dimes
In Colorado’s Black Canyon, there’s a huge stash of treasure just waiting to be found. A wagon carrying $3 million worth of Barber dimes was said to have crashed in the Canyon in 1907, and despite ample searches, the treasure is presumed lost to the canyon’s treacherous terrain.
The Lake Toplitz Treasure
Look below the surface of Austria’s Lake Toplitz and you might just find treasure. The lake is said to be full of boxes of intentionally-sunk Nazi treasure, which many believe to be stuck under logs at the bottom of the lake.
The Treasure of the Esperanza
In 1816, the Esperanza, a Peruvian ship, was charting a course toward the West Indies when it sank. However, one survivor revealed the location of the ship, which was reportedly transporting millions in pesos, gold, and silver. The treasure has never been found.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Art
In 1990, $500 million in art was stolen from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Among the missing pieces? Vermeer’s The Concert, Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, and works by Manet and Degas, in addition to some antiquities. Police have some suspicions about who orchestrated the heist, but the art has never been recovered. And for more awesome facts that are sure to shock you, check out the 30 Craziest Facts About Planet Earth You Never Knew.
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