As kids, we dream of finding hidden treasure; the thought of stumbling across a chest filled with gold coins or jewels is the stuff of which dreams are made. Believe it or not, there have been plenty of people who came across extremely rare discoveries worth a fortune.
Many of these found artifacts don’t only have a high monetary value attached to them, but a significant cultural one as well. Whether it’s an array of gold and silver found in a sunken shipwreck, or something rare buried deep in the ground, the worth of these objects below is mind-blowing!
1. Crosby Garrett helmet ($3.6. million): An unemployed college graduate found this helmet in 2009 on the outskirts of Crosby Garrett, a hamlet in England. In 2010, it sold at auction to an anonymous bidder, surpassing all expectations at $3.6 million. It now sits in a display case at the owner’s private estate.
2. Guennel Lioness ($57.2 million): This 8.3-centimeter sculpture of a lioness-woman was found in the early twentieth century by a man named Sir Leonard Wooley near Baghdad, Iraq, and it’s said to be one of the oldest artifacts of Mesopotamia. It’s believed to have been crafted around 3000 B.C. to 2800 B.C.
3. The Hoxne Hoard ($4.3 million): The British Museum in London purchased this collection of the largest amount of fourth-century Roman gold and silver ever found. It was discovered in the village of Suffolk, in England.
4. Santa Margarita gold chalice ($1.3 million): In 2008, a diver named Mike DeMar brought his metal detector with him on a diving expedition in Key Largo, Florida, and found a very old and weathered chalice. After having it appraised, he was in awe to discover it was over 385 years old and valued at $1.3 million!
5. The Boot of Cortez ($1.5 million): In 1989, an amateur treasure hunter from Senora, Mexico, spent a few days searching for treasure with a cheap metal detector, and eventually found this whopping 26.6-pound golden nugget shaped like a boot. Because of its size and shape, it was nicknamed the “Boot of Cortez.”
6. The Watlington Hoard ($1.8 million): A massive collection of Viking silver was discovered in Watlington, England, in 2015 by a metal detectorist named James Mather. The discovery contained over 200 Anglo-Saxon coins and pieces of Viking jewelry. Not only was the find worth a pretty penny, but it also represented the important cultural clash between the English and Vikings.
7. Ringlemere Gold Cup ($520,000): A retired electrician named Cliff Bradshaw found this Bronze Age cup near his home in the English county of Kent in 2001. Even though a plow damaged it, the British Museum still paid over half a million dollars to have it on display.
8. The Cuerdale Hoard ($3.2 million): In 1840, a group of workers in Cuerdale, England, uncovered more than 8,600 pieces of Viking silver dating back to the ninth century. It was the largest collection of Viking silver ever discovered outside of Russia.
9. The Staffordshire Hoard ($3.9 million): In July 2009, buried beneath a farmer’s field in Staffordshire, England, was the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver ever found. Most of the items were warfare related and dated back to the seventh century.
10. Hand of Faith gold nugget ($1.1 million): This 960-ounce gold nugget is the second largest in the world, and the largest to be found using a metal detector. Australian, Kevin Hillier found it in 1980 and it now sits predominately on display at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
11. The Saddle Ridge Hoard ($10 million): A couple taking their dog for a walk near California’s Serra Nevada mountain range in 2013 found eight rusty cans jutting out of the ground filled with coins dating back from 1847. Not a bad day for Fido’s owners.
12. 5th Magna Carta ($15 million): In 2015, an original edition of the Magna Carta, written in 1215 by King John of England, was found in archives kept in Maidstone, England. It’s believed there are only 24 of them in the world.
13. Ty Cobb baseball cards ($1 million): One lucky treasure hunter found eight super rare Ty Cobb baseball cards dating back to 1901 just sitting in his attic. There were apparently only 15 of them total in existence.
14. The Belitung shipwreck ($80 million): Around 830 A.D., an Arabian boat sailing from Africa to China sank off the coast of Indonesia along with millions of dollars worth of crystals, rubies, and sapphires. Indonesian fishermen discovered the boat in 1998. It was the first ever Arabian ship to be found and excavated.
15. SS Central America: In 1857, a ship named the SS Central America carrying 21 tons of California gold sank off the Carolina coast. In 2014, an expedition was launched to explore the lost wreckage, and it found 3,100 gold coins, 10,000 silver coins, and 45 gold bars!
16. The Antikythera treasures ($120-$160 million): Greek sponge divers set off on an underwater expedition in 1900 off the coast of Antikythera to recover treasures from a ship that sank in 65 B.C. Findings included pottery, weapons, bronze statues, and the strange mechanism on the right which is said to be the world’s oldest analog computer.
17. Venus de Milo ($ 1 billion): In 1820, a Milos island farmer was digging in his field to gather stones, and he came across arguably the most famous statue in the world: The Venus de Milo. The statue dates back to 150 B.C. and now sits on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
18. The Dead Sea Scrolls ($1.2 billion): These scrolls, discovered in 1946, serve a tremendous purpose to religion and linguistics. They contain fragments from every book in the Old Testament, as well as an ancient treasure map said to contain the whereabouts of dozens of locations of gold and silver totaling over a billion dollars!
19. San Jose Galleon ($17 billion): The San Jose Galleon was a massive Spanish vessel carrying large amounts of gold, silver, and emerald to Peru. It was destroyed by a British ship during the War of the Spanish Succession, but in 2015, its vast array of treasure was found off the coast of Columbia.
20. Indian Temple Hoard ($22 billion): In 2011, in the vaults beneath a Hindu temple in Trivandrum, India, treasures worth billions of dollars were discovered, including gold coins, jewels, and solid gold statues.
The values of these discoveries are incredible. Who knows? Maybe there’s some hidden treasure right in your own backyard…
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