Greg Brooks of Sub Sea Research poses alongside the salvage ship Sea Hunter in Boston Harbor. Brooks will use the Sea Hunter to salvage the cargo of 71 tons of platinum now worth about $3 billion from the British merchant ship Port Nicholson which was sunk by a German U-boat in 1942.
By Doug Fraser
Treasure hunter Greg Brooks has burned through at least $8 million of investor money in his hunt for a supposed fortune in platinum, gold and jewels on a sunken World War II freighter 50 miles northeast of Provincetown.
But now he is considering ending his hunt and selling off expedition assets, including the main salvage vessel.
According to his own records and status reports filed with the court, Brooks spent less than 80 days at sea in his first five years attempting to salvage treasure from the S.S. Port Nicholson, which sank after being torpedoed by a German submarine. He gained wide publicity but now appears to be quietly giving up, despite insisting there are billions on board the ship, according to documents filed in a court case contesting ownership of the freighter's contents.
By Chuck Brittain
A former Westmoreland County man who made national headlines claiming to have found lost treasure off the Florida coast was found dead Tuesday in Ligonier Township after suffering a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
The Westmoreland County Coroner's office identified the victim as Jay E. Miscovich, 54, of Key West, Fla.
Deputy Coroner Joshua Zappone said Miscovich was found in the yard of an unoccupied house owned by Dr. Donald Ray of Greensburg.
Zappone described Miscovich as a “drifter” who once lived in the house. Coroner Ken Bacha pronounced him dead at the scene at 5:15 p.m. Miscovich shot himself with a 12-gauge shotgun.
Miscovich, a self-proclaimed “thrill seeker,” claimed that he discovered 154 pounds of emeralds worth untold millions in the Gulf of Mexico, about 40 miles off Key West, Fla., in 2010, according to court documents.
Miscovich, a Latrobe native, his partner and their company, JTR Enterprises, were awaiting a court decision from a federal judge in Florida after they were sued for fraud by rivals for the shipwrecked treasure.
TAMPA, FL - A Florida based treasure hunting firm has discovered a 450-year-old ship that wrecked off the Dominican coast. Among its valuable cargo -- the single largest cache of 16th century pewter tableware ever discovered. The ship was also carrying extremely rare Spanish silver coins from the late 1400's through the mid 1500's and several gold artifacts. This unprecedented find of 16th century pewter will re-write history books, as many of the maker's marks stamped into the fine pewter have never been seen before. While the value of the gold and silver recovered is easily determined, surprisingly, experts place the value of this four and a half century old pewter collection into the millions. The collection includes plates, platters, porringers, salts and flagons in an array of sizes and styles.
Divers from Anchor Research and Salvage (a Global Marine Exploration, Inc. company) working with the Punta Cana Foundation painstakingly excavated the wreck site under contract with the Underwater Cultural Heritage division of the Dominican Minister of Culture.
Anchor Research and Salvage has recently completed surveying operations on their southwestern coastal lease area off the Dominican Republic, revealing numerous previously undiscovered shipwrecks. Noted shipwreck archaeologist and author Sir Robert F. Marx estimates that there is several billion dollars of submerged treasures in the southern coastal area alone, and ten times that amount waiting in Global Marine Exploration's future target areas. Investigation and recovery operations in the Dominican Republic continue.
CEO Robert Pritchett said, "Sample artifacts from these newly discovered wreck sites indicate that we may have found an entire fleet of early Galleons that wrecked on their way back to Spain carrying the riches of the new world." Pritchett also mentions that negotiations are well underway for GME and its companies to provide artifact rescue and excavation services in other countries as well. "GME's unique business model opens up a new age for cost-effective and archaeologically sensitive shipwreck exploration. Other countries are seeing how well we document and record the archaeological evidence in the Dominican Republic, and we are in talks with other nations in the Caribbean and beyond," said Pritchett.
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By Desiree Stennett, Orlando Sentinel
Most treasure hunters go a lifetime and never take home a single piece of silver. But one Sanford family is now among the divers who struck gold — and a lot of it.
The treasure-hunting Schmitt family uncovered this weekend what could be $300,000 worth of gold chains and coins off the coast of Fort Pierce.
"This is like the end of a dream," said Rick Schmitt, who owns Booty Salvage.
The discovery came about 150 yards offshore and only 15 feet down. Schmitt's family — along with diver and friend, Dale Zeak — said they found 64 feet of thin gold chain that weighed in at more than three pounds, five gold coins and a gold ring.
Brent Brisben, co-founder of 1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels LLC, the company that owns the rights to dive on the wreckage site, came up with what he called a conservative estimated value of the haul.
"To be the first person to touch an artifact in 300 years, is indescribable," Brisben said Monday. "They were there 150 years before the Civil War. It's truly remarkable to be able to bring that back."
Fishermen in the central province of Quang Ngai have found another old sunken boat near the shore, the third old shipwreck spotted in the waters recently and only 100 meters from the second one found last September.
Though it was near midnight on Thursday, around 30 fishing boats had rushed over for a treasure hunt upon hearing of the discovery, which happened around 100 meters off Chau Thuan Bien Village of Binh Son District, and around 1.5 meters under water.
They were jostling around above the boat’s location, around 100 meters to the west of one that was salvaged last July, when more than 4,000 intact antiques were recovered and some were believed to come from the 13th century.
Boats also dredged the sea bed around the area in hopes it would stir up some antiques.
Many people used axes and crowbars to take the antiques quickly, only to break many pottery plates and bowls.
Nguyen Van Thinh, a more gentle hunter, said: “There are many antiques in the boat, but people fought so much for them, smashing them… What a waste!”
By Robert Nolin, Sun Sentinel
Veiled in myth, it's said to be forged of Incan gold by Peru's Spanish overlords nearly 400 years ago: a life-size statue of the Madonna and Christ child.
And the fabled Golden Madonna lies just off the Palm Beach County coast, at the site of a Spanish shipwreck from 1659.
That's what Robert Bouchlas, treasure hunter and leader of a West Palm Beach church, believes.
But experts strongly doubt the solid gold statue is real. And Bouchlas' federal claim for salvage rights to the wreck has drawn attention from Florida and Spanish officials.
"Does the Golden Madonna exist? It's a story which has circulated for some period of time," said Terry Armstrong, a treasure hunter from Merritt Island who publishes books on shipwrecks. "I don't put any credence into it whatsoever."
Bouchlas, 82, declined to discuss the statue upon the advice of lawyers. But he authorized longtime associate Anne Mary Vesey to speak about his "quest for the impossible dream."
"He's not really after money, he's really after this religious relic," Vesey said. "His plans are to place it in the Vatican."
Treasure hunters familiar with the legend can't pinpoint its origin. But according to Bouchlas, the Golden Madonna was created in 1655 when Spain's King Phillip IV ordered an unknown Peruvian artist to cast a life-size gold statue of the Madonna and child, each with double crowns encrusted with gems.
The king ordered it shipped home via a Spanish treasure armada. It was supposedly secured in an 8-foot locked iron box, crown jewels wrapped in lambswool.
"No one is to know of the gold casting or the cargo but those appointed by my hand," Bouchlas quoted from a "secret order" of Phillip IV. "Let the imbeciles who cast the statue be destroyed forever."
By Zoe Forsey, Senior Reporter
UK - The man who found 159 Roman coins in Sandridge had been using a metal detector for the first time when he made the discovery.
Wesley Carrington found the hoard, which is believed to be one of the biggest of its kind ever found in the UK, in October last year.
In total 159 coins were found in private woodland in Sandridge.
The coins, which show mints representing a number of parts of the empire including Rome, Milan, Trier and Thessalon Opolis, were found in private woodland in Sandridge.
They feature at least five emperors including Honorius, Arcadius and Theodosius.
Mr Carrington found the first 55 on a trip out with his new metal detector during his first ever attempt to find buried treasure.
He said: “I’d never done it before.
“I bought the cheapest [metal detector] that the closest shop did and this was the closest area of woodland to where I live.
UK - SHOW a metal detectorist someone who thinks history’s dull and they’ll show you someone who’s never held pieces of it in their hands.
It’s all very well reading about Romans or Saxons or the Civil War, but for a detectorist there’s nothing to beat, say, unearthing a coin and knowing that the last person to hold it was the Roman who lost it, and that he probably swore in Latin when he got to the tavern or the bath house and reached into his toga for some cash.
The same goes for uncovering a brooch last worn some time before the birth of Christ, or a musket ball flattened as it struck bone on its way through some unfortunate Cavalier or Roundhead.
Next month, members of Swin-don’s 40-strong Wyvern Historical and Detecting Society will explore sites in Aldbourne which were home to the American 110st Airborne as they prepared for the Normandy landings.
The society was invited by local historian Terry Gilligan to go in and search for artifacts of the ‘Band of Brothers’ and their comrades ahead of planned alterations to a local sports field.
Authorities are searching for Tommy Thompson, left, and Alison Antekeier.
COLUMBUS, OHIO - A Franklin County judge has appointed a receiver to take over the companies of salvager Tommy Thompson and has directed the receiver to bring up more treasure from the SS Central America shipwreck if that’s possible.
Thompson and his crew recovered several tons of gold from the shipwreck in the late 1980s using $12.7 million from investors, most of them from central Ohio. Although the gold was sold for an estimated $52 million in 2000, investors received nothing.
That sparked lawsuits, including the eight-year legal fight that Common Pleas Judge Patrick E. Sheeran has presided over. Thompson and a group of investors are on one side, and two investors — The Dispatch Printing Company, which owns The Dispatch, and the late Donald Fanta — are on the other.
Fanta and Dispatch Printing sued in 2005, arguing that Thompson’s Columbus Exploration and Recovery Limited companies were dysfunctional and had not issued financial reports for years. Plans to recover more treasure from the shipwreck, which could have provided returns for investors, never materialized, the lawsuit said, and Thompson had become elusive and secretive.
Reported by: Brent Hunsaker
KEY WEST, Florida (ABC 4 News) - Cross Marine Projects of American Fork likes to get its feet wet. The company has gained a global reputation for finding things in lakes and oceans - things that other people have lost.
Cross is perhaps on the verge of it's biggest find to date. It's a find that could change history and make some people very rich.
A Cross team was recently in Key West, Florida. They used the tourist Mecca to stage an exploration of sea floor about 10 miles South. Their objective: a Spanish ship that sank nearly four centuries ago.
They believe the ship might have been part of a fleet heading to Spain in 1622 with New World treasure. Off the Florida Keys the fleet ran headlong into a hurricane.
The most famous of that fleet, Nuestra Senora de Atocha and Santa Margarita, were discovered in the mid 1980's by treasure hunter Mel Fisher. The gold and silver he brought up was worth an estimated $450 million.
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