Who hasn’t dreamed of living the life of Indiana Jones or Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean series of films? Maybe you’ve even thought of quitting your boring job, getting yourself a compass and a cool hat, and becoming a real-life treasure hunter?
It’s a tough profession to break into, mostly due to the fact that it’s pretty damn hard to find hidden treasure. But, that doesn’t mean it’s completely impossible.
In fact, there are some extremely valuable, extremely real hidden treasures that are out there and waiting to be found. So, it might be time to tell your boss to stick it where the sun don’t shine and take up a life of treasure hunting after all!
It may surprise you to know that there is actually a fairly large community of people out there who have taken up treasure hunting themselves, whether as a hobby or as a full-time career. Take the time to check out one of the many treasure hunting forums across the internet and you may find out about a hidden treasure that’s only a short drive from your house.
There are people out there right now scavenging shipwrecks, digging through abandoned mines, or even just walking across the beach with a metal detector. Nonetheless, these are real-life treasure hunters searching for real hidden treasures. Why shouldn’t that be you, too?
You may be wondering where to start on your treasure hunting adventure. You surely shouldn’t just start digging up your wife’s garden in hopes of finding a treasure chest. So, to help you get started, here is a list of six real hidden treasures that are still out there and are waiting to be found. Many of these treasures could be worth multiple millions of dollars, so get hunting!
The Honjo Masamune Sword
Many consider Goro Nyudo Masamune, who lived from 1264 to 1343 to have been the greatest swordmaker in the history of Japan. His swords were renowned for their astonishing beauty and exceptional quality, which is especially impressive when you consider that most of the steel that would have been available to him in his time period would have been impure.
The Honjo Masamune sword is probably the most famous sword ever forged by the blacksmith and has become a symbol of the Tokugawa shogunate (the famous sword came into the possession of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of Japan).
The sword remained in the Tokugawa family until World War II when it was confiscated by United States soldiers who feared that it would be used against their troops. Since then, no one knows where the Honjo Masamune sword is. Some estimate that the sword could be worth as much as $600,000 if it were ever found and sold.
The Crown Jewels of Ireland
It may be difficult to imagine a collection of diamond-encrusted jewelry being stashed somewhere as low-security as a library, but that’s exactly what happened with the Crown Jewels of Ireland. And, big surprise, they got stolen.
They were discovered missing on July 6, 1907 from Dublin Castle just before they were to be used for the swearing-in of a man named Lord Castletown into the Order of Saint Patrick.
These pieces of jewelry (a star, a diamond badge, and five diamond-studded collars) were not connected to the English Crown, as the name might imply. They were actually the property of an illustrious, aristocratic order known as the Order of Saint Patrick.
No one has seen the jewels since that fateful day. However, a man by the name of Francis Shackleton is rumored to have been the one who stole them. The Crown Jewels of Ireland are said to be worth several millions of dollars.
The Lost Poems of Sappho
Typically, we think of hidden treasure as gold or diamonds or some other shiny thing. It’s hard to imagine that old pieces of paper could be amazingly valuable. However, some of the yet-to-be-discovered poems of 7th-century Greek lyric poet Sappho could fetch prices in the millions. Regarded during her time as one of the greatest poets in Greece, Sappho enjoyed a celebrity-like status during her lifetime.
Unfortunately, many of Sappho’s poems have not survived to modern times. However, two sections of her poems were recently found by a University of Oxford papyrologist. The pieces of paper on which they were written had been used to wrap mummies. So, there could very well be some more of Sappho’s verses wrapped around a mummy right now.
The Florentine Diamond
Now, when you think about hidden treasure, a giant diamond is probably the very first thing that comes to mind. And the Florentine Diamond was, in fact, giant. Rumored to have been 133 carats and the largest pink gem of its kind in the world. For reference, the average diamond that you might find in an engagement ring is a little over one carat.
The Florentine Diamond was in possession of the Habsburg family, the rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until the end of World War I. Once the family was deposed after losing the war, they planned to sell off the diamond as well as other royal treasures.
The Florentine Diamond was entrusted to a lawyer named Bruno Steiner, who was meant to put it into a Swiss bank vault. However, the diamond went missing and Steiner was arrested, but he was later acquitted and the diamond was never found.
The Sarcophagus of Menkaure
The pyramid of Egyptian pharaoh Menkaure is the smallest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis (where the Great Pyramid of Giza is located). The pyramid, which was built over 4,500 years ago, was explored by British military officer Howard Vyse in the 1830s and he discovered (after using explosives and destroying many parts of the pyramid) a very well-decorated sarcophagus.
Vyse attempted to send the sarcophagus back to England by putting it aboard a merchant ship named Beatrice. Unfortunately for Vyse and his other thieving compatriots, the Beatrice sank in 1838 in the Bay of Biscay to the north of Spain. The sarcophagus sank along with the boat and its location, along with the rest of the shipwreck, is unknown to this day.
The Fossils of Peking Man
The first fossils of “Peking Man,” a subspecies of Homo erectus from the Middle Pleistocene, was discovered in the Zhoukoudian Cave near Beijing (which used to be called Peking) in 1921.
The first fossil was of a tooth and, since then, the Zhoukoudian Cave has become the most fruitful site for Homo erectus discoveries in the world. These fossil discoveries were extremely important to anthropologists as they supported the hypothesis that modern humans first emerged in Asia.
The fossils of Peking Man, as well as many other Homo erectus individuals, were placed into several wooden crates to be safeguarded during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The crates were to be transported by the United States Marine Corps and transported on the SS President Harrison to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
However, SS President Harrison was attacked by a Japanese warship during transit and forced to go to land. Since then, no one has been able to locate the crates and no one has seen the fossils of Peking Man since.