It seems like everyday there are new discoveries about the ancient world being made. Old treasures and long lost artworks might seem like a distant pipe dream for most of us. But, there are still quite a few lost treasures out there waiting to be found. These famous missing treasures have yet to be discovered and are shrouded in mystery!
7) The Lost Paintings of Norman Rockwell
Over the course of 6 years, the Coca-Cola Company contracted Norma Rockwell to create 6 paintings for their ad campaigns. These finished works were sent off to the printers to be reproduced, but only one painting was returned to the company at the time.
Since the paintings were first discovered to be missing Coca Cola has recovered two more paintings, but that means that somewhere out there are three more lost works of Normal Rockwell! They were made famous by their reproduction in countless magazines, but today are unsolved mysteries.
6) Stolen: The Concert by Vermeer
As one of the most expensive missing works of art known at the moment, this beautiful painting by Johannes Vermeer was stolen in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art heist of 1990 in Boston. Many works were stolen that night, including paintings by Degas, Manet, and Rembrandt. The Concert by Vermeer is estimated to have a value of around $200 million!
5) The Lake Toplitz Treasure
During the chaos of World War II, despite an agreement between France, Germany, and Italy on the preservation of artworks, Nazi commanders hoarded art. They did the same with counterfeit British currency and other treasures, some of which have been found in Lake Toplitz in Austria.
But, the real find (if the stories aren’t fictional) would be the last of the Nazi gold – rumored to have been thrown in the lake towards the end of the World War II. At least 7 people have died over the years diving for this loot in Lake Toplitz, where no diving is actually allowed. All in all Hitler claimed to have stashed about $50 billion worth of gold and art around Europe.
4) Blackbeard’s Pirate Treasure
Blackbeard has been called one of the baddest pirates of all time. After he ran the Queen Anne’s Revenge aground near Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina, Blackbeard was shot in those same waters. While his ship was found in the 1990s, his treasure has not been found yet, save for the ounce of gold dust among the cannon and barnacles in the shipwreck of the Queen Anne’s Revenge.
People have been searching for 300 years for Blackbeard’s treasure and there no end to the theories as to where it might be stashed.
3) The Sunken Treasure of Cortés
Off the coast of Mexico lie the remains of ships either burned or “scuttled” by explorer Hernando Cortés in 1519 to prevent his men from fleeing after a mutiny threatened his master plan. The ruthless Cortés would lose more loot a year later when a native rebellion against Montezuma caused mayhem in the area around what is now Mexico City, though there is little evidence of that treasure today.
Scientists are mounting an exploratory dredging mission to find out if there really is a pile of Cortés’ gold at the bottom of the ocean.
2) The Lost Cargo of Nuestra Señora de Atocha & Fleet
A fleet of nine Spanish galleon ships was traversing the waters around the Florida keys in 1622, bound for Spain, when a hurricane came upon the ships, sending them to the bottom of the sea. Hundreds of people lost their lives in the ordeal and the treasures that were sunk remain mostly untouched.
In 1985 a treasure hunter named Mel Fisher found part of the loot about 35 miles from the shore, but there is speculated to be quite a bit more just waiting to be discovered. Gold, copper, gems, and jewelry from the New World could still be scattered among the coral and fish. Soon after the ships sank, parts of the cargo were retrieved by the Spanish government, but much was left on the ocean floor due to another hurricane.
U.S. law mandates that wreckage found within 3 miles of the shore are property of the state, while shipwrecks and treasures found further afield can be claimed by companies or individuals.
The most famous (and loaded) ships in the fleet were the Nuestra Señora de Atocha and the Margarita.
1) The Ransomed Just Judges by Jan Van Eyck
Ever since it was stolen (and a ransom requested but never fulfilled) in 1934, this timeless painting has been replaced by a reproduction on the alter of Ghent at the Saint Bavo Cathedral in Flanders, Belgium. But, there are hopes to one day find the original, especially since a local believes he knows where the painting is being held at the property of an old family from the area. So far, questionings of the family members has not been fruitful.