50 Greatest Treasure Hunts in History

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Photo: The S.S. Garthsnaid by Alexander Harper, 1920.

February 8, 2015
Article and Infographic (Below)
Courtesy of Mads Phikamphon

Treasure hunts are not just something that happens in the movies and adventure novels. Throughout history, there have been a number of remarkable treasure discoveries, some of which seems to defy reality. It’s actually these real-life events that fuel the legends (and childhood games).

This infographic lists the top fifty of the biggest treasure finds and legends in modern history. It states the kind of treasure found or not found, the location and the total estimated value.



Many of the treasures listed in the infographic, quite unsurprisingly, have lots of gold coins, ships and exotic locations. There actually were treasure hunters who literally found piles of gold in the middle of nowhere.

Many treasures also include ancient artifacts, which have both great financial and historical value. Some treasures are quirky, like a wrecked ship full of champagne bottles worth three million U.S. dollars. Some treasures everyone knows about by now, like the Titanic wreck dives that unearthed diamonds worth millions.

It’s surprising that some of the treasures shown in the graphic are not at all what people think treasure to be like. These are worth beyond any monetary value, like the Dead Sea scrolls found in a south Indian state. Though these 900 scrolls were valued at 100 million U.S. dollars, they were donated to a venerated temple.

Another is an early edition of the Magna Carta, the “great charter” listing human rights, discovered in a rural British county by historians. Though valued at 15 million US dollars, the actual worth of the documents far surpasses any financial estimate.