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Spain hails the end of contract to exploit the galleon San Jose Email

Friday, 02 October 2015 09:40

PANAMA - The National Institute of Culture (INAC) has decided not to extend its contract with Marine Research del Istmo SA, for the recovery of treasures from the galleon San Jose, which sank in the archipelago of Las Perlas in the seventeenth century.

The contract between the Government and the commercial firm Marine Research was signed in 2003 and expired on August 28, 2015, although one of its clauses establishing an extension to continue the recovery of treasures.

However, INAC officials reported anomalies that led to the end of the marina concession were detected. In fact, the agency has withheld hundreds of coins that were confiscated from one of the company representatives.

The managing director of INAC, Juan Francisco Guerrero said they have all the information they need to manage this legal issue. "It will act in the law accordingly," he said.

Read more: Spain hails the end of contract to exploit the galleon San Jose

'Nazi Gold' Treasure Hunters Could Face Charges Email

Saturday, 26 September 2015 10:53

By Tova Dvorin


Two men who claimed last month that they discovered a Nazi-era train laden with gold may face prosecution, Polish media revealed late Thursday - over a paperwork issue.

Last month, the two men sparked a gold rush by claiming they had found a tunnel in Walbrzych that contains a Nazi train that could be carrying valuables.

But the treasure-hunters - Piotr Koper, a Pole, and German national Andreas Richter - did not apply to government offices for permission to use the equipment in making the find, i.e. a ground-penetrating radar (GPR).

Lower Silesia's Conservator of Monuments Barbara Nowak-Obelinda has filed charges against the two to the District Prosecutor's Office in the city of Wałbrzych, Radio Poland reports, alleging the two were required under law to gain approval to use GPR prior to the find.

Just weeks ago, the treasure-hunters applied to the same office asking for 10% of the profits from the "Nazi gold" train. But it is unclear whether the find is real or not; Poland pledged it would deploy the military to look for the train that has sparked global fascination.

The outcome of the case - both whether the train is real and whether its discoverers will be charged for it - could set a precedent for future treasure-hunters.

Two weeks ago, another Polish explorer claimed to have found a network of tunnels also used by the Nazi regime - this time, part of the "Riese" (giant) system of railway tunnels, corridors and shelters that the Nazis were building during World War II in the mountains around the city of Walbrzych, which were used to protect thousands of people.


Courtesy: Israel National News

‘Yamashita treasure’ 70 years after Email

Sunday, 20 September 2015 14:46

By: Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon 

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines—For P50, a visitor is treated to a tale of adventure and nail-biting suspense at a little known museum in the summer capital.

The best part of this story is that “it’s all true,” said Henry Roxas, 47, son of the late treasure hunter Rogelio Roxas.

Henry runs the Roxas Museum near the tourist-drawing Lourdes Grotto, which offers an interesting collection of World War II relics, war helmets, rifle bayonets and a fortune in old coins.

He is always ready to narrate the discovery of the “Golden Buddha,” which his father supposedly discovered, and then lost, to the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

Some of the relics were dug up as Rogelio searched for the “Yamashita treasure,” referring to loot collected throughout Southeast Asia by invading Japanese forces, which were supposedly buried in the Philippines toward the end of World War II.

Read more: ‘Yamashita treasure’ 70 years after

“Research Vessel” Possibly Hunting For Treasure Off Iceland’s Coast Email

Monday, 07 September 2015 11:05

By Paul Fontaine

ICELAND: A foreign ship conducting unauthorized undersea investigations may have been looking for treasure, possibly within sunken ships and submarines from World War 2.

 Vísir reports that the ship in question is registered in Togo, but belongs to an American company. Called Endeavour, it was caught conducting unauthorized undersea research sixty nautical miles northwest of the Ísafjarðardjúp fjord by the Icelandic Coast Guard and ordered to shore.

 Endeavour’s captain admitted the ship had deep sea imaging equipment on board, which they were using to search for wreckage at the ocean’s bottom. There is indeed a great deal of such wreckage around Iceland from World War 2, as Germany and other countries were fairly active around the coast at that time.

 Auðunn Kristinsson, a project manager for the Icelandic Coast Guard, told reporters that there are long-standing rumors of treasure on board some of the ships and submarines lying at the bottom of the Icelandic sea, but that Endeavour’s captain has not made any statements to that effect.

 It is uncertain if the captain and crew will be facing criminal charges, but for the time being, nothing is legally preventing the ship from leaving port and setting sail again.


Courtesy: Reykjavik Grapevine

Poland takes Nazi loot train claim from treasure hunters Email

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 12:07

The nation is almost certain a subterranean radar signal is that of a highly-armored Nazi vehicle, which were typically used to transport weapons and precious cargo during World War II.

Two anonymous treasure seekers staked a claim to the discovery along a four kilometer stretch of track between Wroclaw and Walkbrzych in the country’s south west earlier this month.

Poland has taken the claim that the treasure hunters, after years of searching, say they learnt of through a deathbed confession from a former Nazi soldier.

The site has generated an enormous buzz mainly because of previous ‘loot train’ finds.

American soldiers in 1945 captured a heavily armored 24-carriage train that was filled with $250 million worth of goods including jewelry and stolen artwork from Jewish families.

“We do not know what is inside the train. Probably military equipment but also possibly jewelry, works of art and archive documents,” Poland’s deputy culture Minister Piotr Zuchowski said.

Poland has also deployed local police and railway protection service officers to the site near a collapsed tunnel.

However, it’s not the only nation that has taken interest in what could prove to be a rich discovery.

Russian historian Andrei Swietienko has told local media that Moscow would expect any of its property to be returned as well as a cut of “war reparations”. The World Jewish Congress has also expressed similar sentiment.

Mr Swietienko also referred to the 1945 Potsdam Conference of 1945, which stipulates loot discovery rights between multiple nations.

Firefighters are also on site managing a nearby forest fire.



Florida Treasure Hunters Discover $4.5 Million in Spanish Gold Coins Email

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 11:27

Florida treasure hunters found a trove of $4.5 million worth of Spanish gold coins 300 years to the day after a fleet of ships sunk in a hurricane while en route from Havana to Spain, the salvage owner said Wednesday.

The 350 coins found on July 30 include nine rare pieces, known as royal eight escudos, which were being transported to the King of Spain, according to Brent Brisben. His company, 1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels, owns the rights to the wreckage. 


Only 20 such coins were known to exist prior to the recovery of the nine royals, Brisben said. 

"The gold looks like it fell into the water yesterday," said William Bartlett, 51, the diver who spotted the haul. 

Bartlett was part of a three-man crew aboard Brisben' boat S/V Capitana when it found coins in shallow waters off Vero Beach, Florida. The search site was picked because it was close to a previous discovery. 

On the same day in 1715, a hurricane tossed 11 treasure-laden Spanish galleons on to reefs off Florida' East Coast, sinking them in the early hours the following morning. Today, the wreckage is scattered over a wide area. 

The coins found by Bartlett are part of the now-scattered treasure transported by the galleons, which have since broken up. 

Bartlett said the crew used the boat propeller to blow a hole in the sandy ocean floor to reach bedrock eight feet (2.4 meters) down. The salvage operation lasted five days. 

Like many Florida treasure hunters, Bartlett, a Pompano Beach kitchen and bathroom re-modeler, dives as a hobby. 

He said he did not hunt treasure for the money, and declined to say how much he would receive under contract with 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels. 

"I'm just a guy on a boat living the dream," Bartlett said. 

Hunters like Bartlett typically work under contract with the company, which grants them a percentage of their find after the state of Florida exercises its right to 20 percent of the haul.  

The company acquired legal custodianship of the sunken fleet from the heirs of world-renowned treasure hunter Mel Fisher.


Tuesday, 04 August 2015 11:59


PANAMA CITY, PANAMA: Although Panama ratified a 2003 convention against the commercial exploitation and looting of wrecks, the plundering of a sunken Spanish galleon continues. 

The National Institute of Culture (INAC) Heritage Director Wilhelm Franqueza has reported that an official Investigation of Marinas del Istmo, S.A., a company exploring The San Jose, was found in a mall with a suitcase full of coins from the vessel. He said that although the company has a valid concession, it must inform the authorities when it removes any treasure. "There are regulations that must be followed" he said.

The authorities have seized some 3000 colonial coins and they are in the custody of the National Customs National Authority while an investigation is underway.


Treasure Hunters find $1M in gold off Florida's coast Email

Wednesday, 29 July 2015 10:46


When Eric Schmitt's metal detector got a hit about 15 feet below the ocean's surface, he didn't think much of it.

Most of the time, the metal detectors uncover beer cans and lead fishing weights. But this time was different. This time, the treasure-hunter from Sanford struck gold, and a lot of it.

Schmitt and his family found 52 gold coins worth more than $1 million. The star of the haul was an extremely rare coin known as a "Tricentennial Royal" minted in 1715. It had been underwater since a fleet of Spanish ships foundered during a hurricane along Florida's Treasure Coast 300 years ago, Schmitt said.

"These things were known as presentation pieces not meant to be circulated as currency," Schmitt said.

That coin alone is worth about $500,000, according to Schmitt.

And according to Brent Brisben, co-founder of 1715 Fleet — Queens Jewels LLC, the company that owns the rights to dive at the wreckage site where the gold was found, the coin's value comes from the fact that it is in nearly perfect condition and is a rarity.

Read more: Treasure Hunters find $1M in gold off Florida's coast

Salvor claims to have found Middle Keys shipwreck Email

Monday, 20 July 2015 10:40


A shipwreck salvor has claimed to have found a wrecked sailing vessel somewhere off the Middle Keys, but as is usual with such cases, specifics about what treasures it may hold and from what year in history it hails remains shrouded in secrecy.

A company called EPW Salvage, Inc., owned by Edward Peter Worthington Jr., filed paperwork in federal court Wednesday asking U.S. District Court Judge Jose E. Martinez to grant him sole title to the unidentified vessel. 

Martinez had not responded as of Friday. 

Worthington is a commercial fisherman, said his lawyer, Hugh Morgan of Key West. 

Morgan declined to say what has been recovered thus far from the wreck, but added the water is shallow enough to be searched by scuba divers. Morgan did not know what year the vessel wrecked, he said. Latitude and longitude coordinates included on court records indicate the wreck is somewhere off Duck Key in Florida state waters. 

“A portion of the wreck is currently protruding the sea floor in such a manner that it presents a hazard to navigation endangering the life and property of vessels navigating over the surface of the site,” court records state. EPW Salvage,  

Should EPW Salvage make a substantial find, that location could prove to be a legal conundrum for the company. The state of Florida could fight the company for a percentage of the loot. Other government organizations such as the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary could argue salvage would disrupt the ecosystem and try to stop salvage operations. 

But those two points remain speculative. Thus far, no other group or government has challenged EPW Salvage, Inc. on the wreck. 

“Since the time of the discovery, the plaintiff has not disturbed the wreck site and shall not do so unless and until it receives license by the state,” according to court records. 

EPW Salvage, Inc. also stated that it “will diligently seek state of Florida’s consent to salvage the vessel for the purpose of removing the said obstruction to navigation and relics in an archaeologically proper manner and to preserve the same accordingly.”

Meanwhile in a separate, unrelated case, U.S. Senior Judge James Lawrence King granted the rights in October to Kahar, LLC after the company told the court that no one else had come forward to lay claim to a mystery wreck of an unidentified vessel discovered in 2012 in international waters off Key West, according to court records. 

A relic recovered from the ship indicates that the ship is “an ancient sailing vessel,” according to court documents. 

Morgan is the attorney in that case as well. He reported no recent news on that wreck. 

“The salvage continues,” Morgan said. 



Courtesy: Keys News

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Treasure Hunter Finds Nazi Gold Hoard Email

Thursday, 16 July 2015 09:50

The dream of every treasure-hunter came true for Florian Bautsch last October when he found 217 Nazi-era gold coins in Lüneburg, the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reported on Tuesday.


Bausch – a certified metal detectorist – was exploring old burial mounds in the town south of Hamburg when he stumbled across the first gold piece.

After a further search under the foliage uncovered nine more coins, Bautsch did a survey of the area and got in touch with local archaeologists.

A two-week long excavation followed, unearthing a further 207 gold coins – with a material worth estimated at around $50,000.

Archaeologists also found remnants of pasteboard with two seals bearing the swastika, imperial eagle and the stamp: "Reichsbank Berlin 244".

The find was exhibited in Lüneburg Museum on Tuesday – and caused considerable excitement among experts, according to Lüneburg archaeologist Edgar Ring.

Despite the value of the coins coming to $50,000, Bautsch is only set to receive the relatively small sum of $3,000 as his finder's reward – but explained his honesty by saying that the most important thing for him was furthering scientific knowledge.

Read more: Treasure Hunter Finds Nazi Gold Hoard