How a Diamond Rush Led to an Ancient, Underwater Secret
By Colin Hancock and Tom Page, for CNN
Updated 7:49 AM ET, Wed May 11, 2016
In 1908, a German prospector found a diamond in the Namibian Desert. The area came to be known as the Sperrgebiet, or "forbidden territory," and was soon overrun by Germans on the hunt for the precious stone (they annexed 10,000 square miles of the desert for themselves). Today, DeBeers and the Namibian government still run a joint operation in the area.
But on April 1, 2008 a worker discovered something far more valuable. He'd been searching for diamonds but struck on gold -- only this gold had been missing for nearly half a millennia. ...
"It just looked like a disturbed beach, but lying on it were bits and pieces," he recalls. He uncovered a 500-year-old musket and elephant tusks.
"I thought 'Oh, no no, this is definitely a shipwreck.'"
After scrutinizing the find, archaeologists now think it might be one of the most significant shipwrecks ever found.
Though they are unable to unequivocally prove it, overwhelming evidence suggests the vessel is The Bom Jesus ("The Good Jesus"), a Portuguese ship on its way to India that never made its way beyond the Southern Atlantic.
Loaded with thousands of mint condition, pure gold coins from Spain and Portugal, historians are able to date the ship to between 1525 and 1538, whilst the cargo matches that on The Bom Jesus, as detailed in a rare sixteenth century book "Memorias Das Armadas", which lists the vessel as lost....
(article has 2 good videos embedded that cannot be linked here)
Ancient Shipwreck Bom Jesus Found Laden with Gold and Buried in Sands of Namib Desert
By Mary Papenfuss
The long-ago mystery of a missing Portuguese ship laden with gold has been solved, with the discovery of 500-year-old coins and pieces of The Bom Jesus buried in the desert coastline of Namibia according to reports on Monday (23 May).
It's the oldest shipwreck ever found in sub-Saharan Africa. The first hints of the discovery were found in 2008 by miners bulldozing for diamonds in the sands of the Namib Desert.
Instead they found pieces of wood and metal that pricked the curiosity of Dieter Noli, chief archaeologist of the Southern Africa Institute of Maritime Archaeology, who was certain they had stumbled upon evidence of a shipwreck.
A massive treasure chest of 2,000 mint-condition gold coins were eventually unearthed and dated from 1525 to 1538 and helped to identify the exact name of the ship that they had discovered.
Because of the dates and the coins' perfect condition, the ship had to have set sail at the time dated on the currency. The money, and the other artifacts, fit the profile of The Bom Jesus, which set sail for India in 1533 before vanishing. The 16th century book, Memorias Das Armadas, lists the ship as lost...
500 Year-Old Shipwreck Loaded with Gold Found in Namibian Desert
By Walt Bonner
Published June 07, 2016
Diamond miners recently discovered a ship that went down 500 years ago after draining a man-made lagoon on Namibia’s coast. While shipwrecks are often found along Africa’s Skeleton Coast, this one just so happened to be loaded with $13,000,000 worth of gold coins....
Upon his arrival to the site, Noli realized pretty quickly this new find would be the oldest one yet.
“Once [there], the copper half-spheres had me flummoxed,” he said. “But then I saw the wooden stock of a matchlock musket lying at my feet. Picking it up, I saw that the style of the stock – made to fit against the cheek, rather than against the shoulder – indicated that it was from the early century, matching the age of the cannons. Right then I knew that we had a ship from the early 16th century and that there would be a lot to find in very good nick, because if the stock of a musket survived, a LOT of other stuff would have done so as well.”...
“As luck would have it, we found the treasure chest on day six. Academic arguments are all very well, but once you have literally filled your hat with an 25.5 lb mixture of Spanish and Portuguese gold coins (there were indeed swords as well), the value of the site is no longer in doubt.”
The ship was identified as The Bom Jesus, or “The Good Jesus”, a Portuguese ship that went missing 500 years ago while en route to India. The ship was loaded down with gold, tin, ivory tusks, and 44,000 pounds of copper ingots when it apparently went to its watery grave. In fact, it was the copper ingots that ended up playing a key role in the wreck’s preservation....
So who gets the gold?
“The Namibian government – every single coin,” he said. “That is the normal procedure when a ship is found on a beach. The only exception is when it is a ship of state – then the country under whose flag the ship was sailing gets it and all its contents. And in this case the ship belonged to the King of Portugal, making it a ship of state – with the ship and its entire contents belonging to Portugal. The Portuguese government, however, very generously waived that right, allowing Namibia to keep the lot.”
Massive 145-Ounce (132-troy ounce) Gold Nugget found with GPZ 7000
25 Aug 2016
The ‘Friday’s Joy’ gold nugget is expected to bring more than $250,000 AUD. It was discovered in a worked-over area at the far southern edge of Central Victoria’s Golden Triangle on a recent Friday morning by a seasoned prospector wishing to remain anonymous. After discovering a 9-ounce tennis ball-shaped gold nugget more than two feet deep with his Minelab GPZ 7000 the previous day, he went back for more.
“I thought it was rubbish at first, maybe an old horseshoe,” said the prospector. “About 12 inches below the ground, I could just barely make out the top of something. As I began to scrape away the clay and dig deeper, I really couldn’t believe my eyes - this wasn’t an old piece of steel in front of me. I had just unearthed a colossal gold nugget - a once in a lifetime find! I was in total disbelief as I didn't think nuggets of this size were still around.”
...After alerting his cohorts and having a few celebratory beers, the next order of business was to decide what to do with the nugget. “It’s like catching a big fish and not knowing what to do with it! Where do we put it? I washed it in water, covered it in aluminium foil and kept it in my oven on the first night.”
A bit life changing, but it doesn’t mean he’s going to quit his job and retire. Rather, he plans to purchase a van and travel Australia when time allows, mixing travel and sightseeing with his love of detecting and prospecting. As for the nugget, which is now sitting in a bank vault, a replica is currently being constructed and auction plans are in the works.
... This is a historic find on par with a nugget like ‘Cindy’s Pride’ and eclipsing Mick Brown’s recent ‘Fair Dinkum’ nugget,” said Fraser Kendall, Minelab’s regional sales and marketing director. “He was prospecting in an area that others had clearly worked over and this just goes to show that there’s plenty of gold still coming out of Victoria.”
Just last year, Australian gold prospector Mick Brown discovered an 87-ounce gold nugget with his Minelab detector during a prospecting trip near Wedderburn, a town located less than 140 miles from Melbourne. That buried treasure, the ‘Fair Dinkum’ nugget, was auctioned for 5,000 AUD.
4.1 kg gold nugget found in Victoria
A MASSIVE 4.1KG gold nugget has been unearthed in central Victoria’s Golden Triangle, a historical region that once inspired Australia’s first Gold Rush period in the 1850s. ...
The find has been christened as ‘Friday’s Joy’, commemorating the day it was discovered.
Victoria's famous Golden Triangle, in which the nugget was found, is more of golden pentagon, an area bordered by Ballarat on the south, Wedderburn in the north, Tarnagulla on the east and Ararat in the west. The Golden Triangle was the historical site of the early Gold Rush period in the 1850s and it wasn’t until the 1980s that Western Australia overtook Victoria in gold production.
However the Golden Triangle still continues to inspire gold fever in hopeful prospectors. And the region keeps on giving – just last year a 3.5 kg nugget was found.
‘Friday’s Joy’ is far from the biggest gold nugget ever found in Australia. That record belongs to ‘The Welcome Stranger’ found near Moliagul, Victoria in 1869, weighing in at a staggering 72kg (2300 ounces). ...
...Dermot Henry, acting head of sciences at Museum Victoria explained that historically Victorian goldfields had the greatest concentration of gold nuggets and have produced more large nuggets than any other field in the world.
Shouldn't there be another word for "nuggets" over a certain size?
Like "Boulder" or something. ;-)
Sand, gravel, rocks, boulders
Dust, flakes, grains, nuggets, ???
(hey, it's getting late ;-)
Archeologists Find 1st-Century Gold Coin with Nero’s Image in Jerusalem
By DANIEL K. EISENBUD
A rare, well-preserved gold coin struck in 56-57 CE, bearing the image of Roman Emperor Nero, was found by archeologists from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte during a recent excavation on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion, just outside the Old City, it was announced Wednesday.
Described as an “emperor, theater actor, poet,” Nero, a flamboyant ruler who took the throne at age 17, was perhaps best known for killing his mother, who married his great uncle Claudius.
He was also notable for persecuting Christians, before taking his own life during a Roman revolt.
The last of the Julio-Claudian line, Nero was emperor for 14 years (54-68 CE). He had a reputation for being a tyrant, and some believed he was responsible for the devastating fire of 64 CE that resulted in the burning of much of Rome.
“The coin is exceptional because this is the first time that a coin of this kind has turned up in Jerusalem in a scientific dig,” said Dr. Shimon Gibson, who co-directed the excavation with Dr. James Tabor and Dr. Rafael Lewis.
“Coins of this type are usually found only in private collections, where we don’t have clear evidence as to place of origin.”
Gibson said the team believes the large houses may have belonged to wealthy members of the priestly caste.
“This mansion and others like it were utterly destroyed by Titus and the Roman legions, when Jerusalem was razed to the ground,” he said. “It is likely – owing to the intrinsic value of the gold coin – [that] it was hidden away ahead of the destruction of the city, and was missed by the marauding and looting Roman soldiers.”
The image of Nero is significant in that it shows the presence of the Roman occupation and provides a clear date for the occupation of the residences, he said.
While there is no historical evidence that Nero ever visited Jerusalem, Tabor said the coin is dated “to the same year of Saint Paul’s last visit to Jerusalem, which resulted in his arrest (on the charge of taking Gentiles into the Temple) and incarceration in Caesarea.”
“It’s a valuable piece of personal property, and wouldn’t have been cast away like rubbish or casually dropped,” he said. “It’s conceivable that it ended up outside these structures in the chaos that happened as this area was destroyed.”
And now for something completely different...
Maurizio Cattelan: “America”
Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s bold, irreverent work skewers social complacencies and reimagines cultural icons. ...
For “America”Cattelan replaced the toilet in this restroom with a fully functional replica cast in 18-karat gold, making available to the public an extravagant luxury product seemingly intended for the 1 percent. Its participatory nature, in which viewers are invited to make use of the fixture individually and privately, allows for an experience of unprecedented intimacy with a work of art. Cattelan’s toilet offers a wink to the excesses of the art market but also evokes the American dream of opportunity for all—its utility ultimately reminding us of the inescapable physical realities of our shared humanity.
Prospecting in Oroville starts about 1 minute in
How to Become an International Gold Smuggler
Harold Vilches, a 23-year-old Chilean, exported $80 million in contraband gold. It all started with a Google search.
by Michael Smith and Jonathan Franklin
March 9, 2017
...In the past decade and a half, global gold consumption has risen by almost 1,000 tons a year, to about 4,300 tons, according to the World Gold Council, a London-based industry group. Legal mining operations haven’t kept up with demand, so illegal mines controlled by criminal gangs, from the Amazon to central Africa, help cover the deficit, according to Verité, a nonprofit group in Amherst, Mass., that’s researched the illegal gold trade. A 2016 Verité study found that five countries in Latin America shipped 40 tons of gold from illegal mines to the U.S. in one year, almost twice the legal exports from those countries. South America’s illegal gold mines, most of them in the Amazon basin, are toxic pits in which mobs of laborers use fire hoses and mercury to extract nearly pure gold nuggets from the red earth. According to a finding by the United Nations, the industry thrives on child labor, devastates the environment, and enables prostitution at ramshackle camps around the mines. The gold moves from smuggler to smuggler, then into a network of refiners and traders, all feeding the world’s voracious demand....
Gold seized in 2014 from Vilches’s couriers. They were trying to bring 48 kilos to Santiago.
Source: National Customs Office Chile
Mining at a government-designated site in the indigenous San Jacinto community in the Madre de Dios region of Peru.
Photographer: Tomas Munita/The New York Times/Redux
Researchers say there may be $140M worth of Confederate gold at the bottom of Lake Michigan
Mar 13th 2017
A group of history buffs out of Muskegon say there's more than $140 million worth of gold and silver sitting at the bottom of Lake Michigan somewhere. They believe the treasure came from the Confederacy during the Civil War and somehow made its way to Muskegon.
The group of men first heard about the treasure from a man on his death bed in 2010. After years of research, they believe they tracked the gold down to a group of Union officers and their friend, Charles Hackley....
It was a story where $2 million worth of gold and silver fell off a box car into Lake Michigan. That amount in 2017 is now worth more than $140 million.
"There were 60 kegs of silver and 100 boxes of gold," said Kevin Dykstra, a history buff and facilities director at Calvary Christian Schools....
The pair began their research, tracking six wagons of gold leaving Irwinville, Georgia. The gold was travelling with Confederacy President Jefferson Davis.
"Basil Duke recorded that he had loaded six wagons full of gold off from the train with Jefferson Davis that was heading down south, so we know from Duke's records that there were six wagons full of gold and silver," said Dykstra. "23 hours earlier, it's recorded that there's 14 wagons. At six o'clock in the morning, these men are captured and inventory is done and there's only eight wagons, but there's 25 to 30 mules recorded. That tells me there's six wagons hidden in the woods."
Dykstra and Richards believe a few Union officers hid the fortune, leaving it alone until they could safely transport it north. The amateur historians say the gold eventually made its way to Muskegon and into the hands of Charles Hackley. Hackley in turn spent millions of dollars on the City of Muskegon, building schools, hospitals and Hackley Park, where the story takes us to now....
Hi Ruffian - Yes, I guess that was me. I forgot about those posts. Just like a lot of people I primarily lurk and watch the markets. Lately things have even been a bit slow even in treasure hunting!
UK Authorities Seek Owner of Gold Trove Stashed Inside Piano
LONDON (AP) — British officials are trying to trace the owner of a trove of gold coins worth a “life-changing” amount of money found stashed inside a piano.
A coroner investigating the find on Thursday urged anyone with information to come forward.
When the piano’s owners took it to be tuned last year in Shropshire, central England, it was found to contain a hoard of gold sovereigns minted between the mid-19th and early 20th centuries.
Investigators have determined that the piano was built in London in 1906 and sold to a pair of piano teachers in Saffron Walden, eastern England. They are seeking information on its ownership before 1983.
Anyone wanting to make a claim has until April 20, when coroner John Ellery will conclude his inquest.
If the gold’s owner or heirs cannot be traced, it will be declared treasure, and the piano’s current owners will reap the reward.
Officials have not disclosed how much the coins are worth. Peter Reavill, who assesses finds for the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme, said “it’s a hoard of objects which is potentially life-changing for somebody to receive.”
Well we discovered some real fiat. The wife decided to clean out some old drawers that have been tucked away for many years. She noticed some cash sticking out of an old book. A hidden treasure of $400 and you know, I got less than half of the find.
I received a call from my widowed sister last week. She was notified by her bank that her safety deposit box fee was in arrears. Her husband died about 4 years ago and she couldn't remember having a safe deposit box. She found the key and went to the bank to empty the box and close the account. Well, she found that the box contained a BUNCH of 1 oz Krugerrands.
Now she tells me she wants to sell the coins. I've always been a buyer, not a seller. So I was wondering if someone on this forum could point me in the right direction to help my sister sell these coins. She lives in the greater Los Angeles area.
The strange thing about this whole scenario is for 4 years she never paid the bank for the safe deposit box. She was in arrears for only the one year. I think she was lucky that the whole thing hadn't already been confiscated.
Any help would be appreciated.
Treasure Hunt to Recover £4.5Billion Worth of British Gold Trapped in Merchant Ships Torpedoed by Nazis
18 MARCH 2017
Billions of pounds worth of British gold is hidden in the wrecks of merchant ships sunk during the First and Second World Wars, a team of experts believe.
Four research groups have spent 25 years producing a database tracking the gold shipped by the British Government to pay for munitions and goods during both World Wars.
Of the 7,500 merchant ships sunk, the teams have identified more than 700 which they believe may have been carrying vast quantities of gold and other precious metals.
Organisation Britannia’s Gold has now amassed more than eight million documents which point to the locations of the ships, which may have carried at least £4.5 billion.
Their research also revealed that during the Second World War, many of the merchant ships were specifically attacked because of their precious cargo and German U-boat commanders were told to make them priority targets.
Sinking the boats aimed to reduce Britain’s ability to buy munitions and food and the enemy’s plan was to return and collect the gold after winning the war.
But decades later, the gold has not been recovered and in a few weeks, a £15 million recovery operation is due to launch a few hundred miles west of Ireland.
Britannia’s Gold will launch search and salvage crews which use “state-of-the-art Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles and other robotic tooling systems” to recover the gold and bring it to the surface.
The team are planning to initially target a “cluster” of three ships in one area – two from the First World War and one from the Second World War – which could contain around £750 million.
the team has stressed that the targeted wrecks are not ships such as the war grave SS City of Benares, which was torpedoed in 1940 by the Germans and resulted in the death of 77 evacuated children.
The website says: “All will be treated with respect and those wrecks known to be sensitive and specifically, to have carried evacuee children, will be avoided at all costs.
All British warships sunk since 1914 are classified as both war graves and sovereign territory but most merchant wrecks do not have such protection.
Philip Reid, a former banker with Merrill Lynch and chairman of Britannia’s Gold said the first portion of any recovery will go to the British Government which is the owner of the cargo.
After covering the operation’s costs, the rest will be shared among investors, with a percentage going to merchant marine charities.
The SS City of Benares won't be searched by the team CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
Giant Gold Coin Worth Almost €4 Million Stolen from Berlin Museum in Dawn Heist
27 MARCH 2017 • 5:54PM
Thieves stole a 100kg gold coin with a market value of almost €4 million in a dawn heist at Berlin's Bode Museum on Monday morning.
The unique coin, nicknamed the "Big Maple Leaf", is a commemorative piece which was issued by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2007.
The coin measures 53cm across and is 3cm thick. Like all Canadian coins, it features the portrait of The Queen.
Bode Museum gave the face value of the coin at €920,000, though the market price of 100kg of gold is much higher at around €3.7 million.
The coin has also entered the Guinness Book of Records for its immense purity of 999.99/1000 gold.
German police said on Twitter that the thieves probably used a ladder, which was later found at a nearby rail track, to break into the museum at around 3.30am.
Investigators have not revealed how the burglars managed to avoid setting off alarms and leave the museum unnoticed while carrying the coin, which is likely too heavy for a single person to carry.
...Police spokesman Winfrid Wenzel said: "Based on the information we have so far we believe that the thief, maybe thieves, broke open a window in the back of the museum next to the railway tracks.
"They then managed to enter the building and went to the coin exhibition.
"The coin was secured with bullet-proof glass inside the building. That much I can say.”
...The coin has been on show at the museum since 2010 and was part of the Münzkabinett collection, Berlin's most important archive of coinage, which includes more than 540,000 objects.
The holding includes 102,000 coins from ancient Greece and about 50,000 Roman coins.
However, it is understood that only the “big maple leaf” was stolen.
When asked what the thieves could do with the coin, Mr Wenzel told German newspaper Die Welt: “Either they were hired to do it by someone who wanted to have the coin, but it’s more likely that it will be melted down.”