Valuable Shipwrecks from Recent Past
San Jose Shipwreck, from $4 Billion to $15 Billion Estimated
Shipwreck from 1708 off Columbia, was a Spanish Galleon sunk by British Ships with an estimated onboard treasure including gold silver and emeralds. The wreck is now being exploited under agreement with the Columbian government by a “private anonymous” funder.
Ship of Gold $100-150 million (SS Central America)
Atocha Motherlode $450 million (the Mel Fisher Wreck)
Antikythera Treasures $120-160 million
The Antikythera shipwreck prompted the world’s first ever major underwater archaeological expedition. This was in 1900. After divers discovered the shipwreck the Archaeological Service of Greece launched the expedition. However, they were unsuccessful in recovering the most significant part of the cargo, and it wasn’t until 1976 that another team recovered the Antikythera mechanism. This “mechanism” is believed to be the world’s oldest analog computer. Though the ship carried many treasures, this piece has received so much attention from the media that few are aware of Antikythera’s other wondrous treasures, which include pottery, glassware, jewelry, statues, coins and copper couch beds. The Statue of Youth is one of the ship’s most remarkable recovered statues. The classical bronze statue dates back to sometime between 340 and 330 B.C. and is on display, along with the rest of the artifacts, at the Archaeological Museum in Greece.
Treasure of the S.S. Republic $120-180 million
Diamond Shipwreck (Still being valued)
This shipwreck didn’t require scuba gear of any kind whatsoever. It was uncovered on a beach, buried deep in the sand. Geologists working for De Beers were the lucky ones to stumble upon this magnanimous site. Obviously, they were quite stunned to come across such a thing, and many have described it as “the find of a lifetime.” The Diamond shipwreck is the oldest shipwreck ever uncovered on Africa’s coast. Not only did they find the remains of this ancient ship but the treasures it held were mind-blowing. More than 22 ingots were found along with 6 cannons, swords, more than 50 elephant tusks, and thousands of gold coins (traceable to King Joao III). Investigations led to the conclusion that the ship was a Portuguese ship, the Bom Jesus, which had sailed in 1533.
British Treasury Ship $200 million
After it was torpedoed by a German U-boat the S.S. Garisoppa sunk in 1941. The cargo it carried was enormous. It was loaded with approximately 7 million ounces of silver. The total weight makes the S.S. Garisoppa the biggest known metal cargo ever found at sea. So, who lays claim to this prize? The Odyssey Marine Exploration. It was in 2012 that they won the contract for exclusive salvage of the wreckage. Under the contract the Odyssey assumes all risk during excavation, and will receive 80 percent of the cargo, the other portion to go to the U.K. Government Department of Transport. What a deal!
Whydah Gally $400 million
The Whydah Gally is one of the coolest ships ever discovered. Not only is it the only pirate ship ever discovered, but it belonged the richest pirate: Captain “Black Sam” Bellamy. The story goes that the Wydah was once a slave ship, upon capturing it and its bounty Bellamy let the survivors have one of his older vessels and be on their way, retaining the ship as his flagship. The ship was discovered in 1984 by Barry Clifford, and by no accident either. Clifford had searched for years for this infamous pirate ship. Its treasures are endless and are still being recovered today. So far, more than 200,000 artifacts including gold jewelry, coins, cannons, and even the ship’s bell have been surfaced. The artifacts now travel the world in an exhibition sponsored by The National Geographic Society. The exhibition has been aptly named “Real Pirates.” It is incredibly popular.
The Black Swan Project $500 million
Salcombe Shipwreck (Still being valued)
It was between 1200 and 900 B.C. that a ship sank off the coast of Devon in England. At this time the Hanging Gardens had yet to be built, Babylon was still thriving, and Buddha would not arrive on the scene for centuries. In 2010 its discovery was announced. It was found by amateur archaeologists and so far over 300 artifacts have been uncovered, weighing in at over 185 lbs. The loot consists of weapons, jewelry, and tin and copper ingots. Though it only barely makes the list due to its small quantity of treasures aboard, what it lacks in volume it makes up for in significance. The age of the artifacts is impressive, and their existence proves a definite trade network during the Bronze Age existed between Europe and Britain. Investigations are still seeking the exact location of its origins, however, this feat is incredibly difficult as none of the ships parts are still intact.