Here’s a list of lost treasure around the world just waiting to be found! From a priceless samurai sword that’s considered the finest ever made to a treasure map inside the Dead Sea Scrolls, we count 5 lost treasures that could still be found today.
5. The Amber Room
The Amber Room is a lost treasure some refer to as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’. It was masterfully crafted, once adorned with hand carved amber, gold leaf, gemstones, gilded walls and mirrors.
It began construction in 1701 and was a feature room in the Catherine Palace of Tsarskoye Selo near Saint Petersburg.
Mysteriously, during World War 2 when Nazi Germany invaded Russia, the room completely vanished.
As German forces descended upon the palace, local art curators attempted to disguise the room with mundane wallpaper to avoid the room being looted. However, a special German task force known as Army Group North found and disassembled the valuable room in under 36 hours, moving it to Königsberg in Prussia, what is now modern day Kaliningrad, Russia.
This would become the last known location of the Amber Room.
Since then many theories have sprung up as to its whereabouts. Some say the room and its contents were packed up and loaded onto the Wilhelm Gustloff, a military transport ship that was sunk by a Soviet torpedo in the middle of the Baltic Sea. Others say it was split up and moved to various parts of the world. One pair of journalists claim it was destroyed during heavy bombing of Königsberg Castle conducted by the Royal Air Force in 1944.
Whatever the case may be, the exact location of the Amber Room still remains a mystery today. Experts have noted that if one were to find the room today, it would be worth up to US$500 million.
The room was considered so culturally significant that a replica was created over a 24 year period and can now be visited in Catherine Palace, St Petersburg.
4. Honjo Masamune
This legendary katana blade has earned mythical status as it’s been passed down from family to family, owned by great samurai and fierce shoguns – it’s considered one of the finest swords ever made, and its current whereabouts it unknown.
Known as the Honjo Masamune, it was tempered by legendary swordsmith Goro Nyudo Masamune, in the Kamakura Period in Japan around the turn of the 13th century. It was a time where samurai ruled the lands, fending off Mongol invasions, aided by their immaculately crafted swords.
Goro Nyudo Masamune is widely recognised as one of the greatest swordsmiths to have ever lived. He created swords and daggers for various samurai and shoguns in Japan. His blades were honoured for their superior quality in a time when tempered steel was often full of impurities. In 1939 Honjo Masmune was made a National Treasure of Japan.
The origin of the name of the sword is shrouded in myth and legend. It’s thought to have earned the prefix ‘Honjo’ from the samurai Honjō Shigenaga who claimed the blade in battle. In the 16th century, Shigenaga came up against a fierce opponent named Umanosuke, who swung at him with the legendary sword. It split Shigenaga’s helmet clean in two but he managed to survive and overcome his attacker, claiming the sword for himself.
Over the centuries Honjo Masamune would serve its masters deftly. Fending off invaders, aiding mighty shoguns in battle. It was passed from family to family, bringing honour to whoever owned it. Eventually, it fell into the hands of the Tokugawa family, who ruled Japan for over 250 years.
Nearing the end of World War 2, US officials declared that all Japanese families must relinquish their weapons. As a sign of good faith, a member of the Tokugawa family handed over the legendary sword to the US military – this is the last time it would be ever seen again.
Reports say that Honjo Masamune and 14 other swords were given to a police station in Tokyo in December 1945. Here a mysterious figure known only as ‘Sgt. Coldy Bimore’, confiscated the weapons and disappeared.
Author Josh Gates investigated the sword and found that there was no record of a ‘Sgt. Coldy Bimore’ whatsoever. There’s no documents referencing him taking the swords, nor does it seem he even existed. Yet the 15 swords, all mysteriously vanished from Japan.
There are no current leads and the trail to the famous blade has gone cold. Some historians speculate that it could be sitting in a dusty garage in the US, unbeknownst to its owner, the legendary Honjo Masamune lies sheathed and waiting, begging to be discovered once more.
The value of the sword is said to be priceless.
3. Oak Island
This would have to be some of the most mysterious and tantalising lost treasure in the world. The legend of Oak Island and its alleged buried fortune has inspired treasure hunters for over 200 years.
It all began in 1795, when teenager Daniel McGinnis, discovered a circular depression on Oak Island in Nova Scotia, Canada. He had heard tales of pirates burying their treasure on the island and so recruited some friends to start an expedition. They dug and dug, unearthing some very strange evidence. Layers of stone covered the pit at several feet. Oak logs were found placed side by side, along with putty and coconut fibres all at various depths, hinting at something below. However, as they dug deeper, it seemed they triggered a booby trap, as the excavated pit suddenly filled with water. It was as though a very deliberate structure had been built beneath the ground, perhaps protecting untold treasures.
Legends say that a member of Captain Kidd’s crew buried loot worth up to £2 million on the island. Some claim that lost jewels belonging to Marie Antoinette are hidden deep underground, others say Shakespeare’s original manuscripts are to be found along with significant religious artifacts.
Over the span of 200 years, various crews and companies have explored the island looking for the lost treasure.
At some point in the late 19th century one expedition claims to have found a square stone deep underground that had unusual markings – no one could understand their meaning. Many scholars attempted to decipher the strange characters with most failing, however one unnamed expert claimed to have translated the markings, saying it read: ‘Ten feet below are two million pounds buried’.
This tantalising find put fire in the belly of dozens explorers determined to find the Oak Island lost treasure.
Over the years many people have tried and failed to decipher the Oak Island enigma. Men have died, fortunes have been lost, clues have been unearthed but still the mystery remains. Is there a mountain of treasure just waiting to be found deep underground or have the findings been blown out of proportion by fortune hungry adventurers?
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