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Metal Detecting News / Treasure hunters race for £5m haul lost on ship 350 years ago
« Last post by Tascio on August 29, 2017, 03:31:18 PM »
Treasure hunters race for £5m haul lost on ship 350 years ago

TREASURE hunters in Germany are looking for a £5 million fortune in silver that went down with a royal cargo boat more than 350 years ago.

The treasure was the property of Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria, and was lost when the vessel sank in the River Inn in May 1648.

Several new expeditions have been launched this month to try to find it after newspaper articles about the sinking stoked fresh interest in it.

Cornelia Ostler is the woman perhaps best equipped to claim it – but she is not yet part of the scramble. Her father Reinhold was a professional treasure hunter who travelled the world living off his finds and the books he wrote about them.

But he died of cancer in 2010 with the royal treasure of Maximilian I still undiscovered.

It is one of the most precious imperial treasures in Germany that has never been found
Cornelia Ostler

It was loaded aboard carts in Munich as Bavaria was threatened by Swedish and French forces at the close of the 30 Years War and the ruler wanted to get the valuables to safety.

The treasure was transferred in 40 crates to several boats on the Inn at Wasserburg to be transported to an imperial residence in Austria. But somewhere near Mühldorf, one of the boats was lost after colliding with a bridge pier and capsizing.

History records that several of Maximilian's men died – both in the accident and in diving down to the wreck in a bid to rescue the plates, cutlery, bowls, chalices and ornamental tableware sculptures were lost.
Ring returned to owner after being lost on Cape Cod 47 years ago

In 1970, Patrick O’Hagan lost the class ring that marked his graduation a year prior from Manhattan College.

DENNIS PORT — James “Jim” Wirth was in ankle-deep water at low tide on a Dennis Port beach when he found something Patrick O’Hagan thought was gone forever.

In 1970, O’Hagan lost the class ring that marked his graduation a year prior from Manhattan College. The ring was a gift from Christine Kehl O’Hagan, who was now his wife — the couple had traveled from New York to Dennis Port for their honeymoon.

O’Hagan was swimming in the surf, which was particularly rough, while his wife basked in the sun on the beach.

“He jumped out of the waves and he put his hand up and said, ‘I lost my ring,’” Kehl O’Hagan said.

At the end of July, Wirth found it.

Earlier this month, O’Hagan and his ring were reunited after it had spent nearly five decades in the sands of Cape Cod.

Driven by the thrill of the hunt, Wirth has found a few rings in his decades using a metal detector to search the sands for what other people had left behind. And as was the case with O’Hagan’s, reuniting bands with their long-lost owners often requires Wirth to turn his digging attention from the beach to books, alumni records and phone directories.

“This ring has been lost for 47 years and we’ve hit that particular beach (with metal detectors) many, many times over the years,” he said. “That’s what makes it such a great hobby — you never know what a particular day is going to bring.”

This case was an unusual one because O’Hagan’s full name was inscribed in the ring, as was an “E” indicating he had studied engineering. With those facts, O’Hagan, who lives in California and spends his summers in South Yarmouth, simply turned to Google.
Metal detectors hunt for and find Long Island’s lost treasures

Michael McMeekin enjoys digging up the past. In fact, he’s spent more than 40 years doing so.

McMeekin does his digging at Long Island beaches and parks, often for the benefit of others. The 65-year-old Hicksville resident is a member of the Atlantic Treasure Club, a metal-detecting organization that was formed in 1973. It is believed to be the oldest such club in the tristate area. Now in its 44th year, the group is starting to see a steady increase among its active members — a trend it hopes will continue.

“It’s not what you find. It’s not knowing what the next find is going to be that makes it exciting,” McMeekin says.

The 60 or so active members — who range in age from teenagers to a 92-year-old — meet monthly at Wantagh Congressional Church. But they treasure hunt year-round.

Each year, members recite an oath, vowing to take every measure to return anything of value that they find from detecting — a task made easier with the emergence of social media. In the past 40 years, that has led them to return engagement, wedding and class rings, war memorabilia, keys and family heirlooms.

“It’s a niche sport. I don’t think it’s dying,” says club member Gary Wargo, 68, of Floral Park. “We’re getting some young people in it now.”

Wargo, who joined the treasure hunting group eight years ago, counts the collar brass of an enlisted soldier and a partial dog tag among his most valuable finds. He recovered both items on separate occasions at Custer Park in Garden City. Despite their condition, Wargo was able to trace the items back to World War I. And while unable to return either one to their rightful owner, Wargo determined the collar brass belonged to an enlisted soldier from the 13th Infantry Regiment.

A retired Army veteran, Wargo says these types of returns are sentimental and invaluable.

“Those are the finds I find I am most proud of,” says Wargo, who retired from his career in insurance sales several years ago.

And they’re the type that keep him searching.
Treasure hunting pair unearthed nearly 2000 Roman coins in a field in Cornwall

A pair of metal detecting enthusiasts have spoken of their disbelief and joy after they unearthed nearly 2,000 Roman coins in a farmer’s field in Cornwall.

Mixed up with the money was the remains of a pure tin container, with a handle and lead stopper, which it is believed had once contained the coins. In total there were 1,965 coins found inside a stone-lined pit and they date from 253AD to 274AD.

The hoard was discovered by Kyle Neil, 18, from Scorrier, and Darren Troon, 45, from Redruth. They are members of the metal detecting club Kernow Search and Recovery and had been working together to sweep a recently ploughed farmer’s field near Hayle.

Mr Troon said: “We arrived at this field, which had just been ploughed, and off we went in one direction. I then found a Roman coin and within 10 minutes we had over 10 more.

“I knew then they we were on to something. They were all in a little area so I cordoned it off and we carried on. Five minutes later – it was like, ‘bingo’.

“We just kept getting a signal. We rolled back the earth and four or five inches down we were looking at bunch of coins. They were dirty but you could clearly see a lot of them looked like the day they were cast. We were buzzing with excitement.”
Treasure hunters rush to Istanbul's Kemerburgaz after rumors of 150 kg of gold

Rumors of 150 kilograms of ancient gold under the ground near the metro project in Istanbul's Kemerburgaz district have led many treasure hunters to carry out illegal excavations in the region, disturbing those living in the neighborhood, a report by the Habertürk Daily said Wednesday.

According to the report, the rumors started spreading about three months ago, when construction workers started digging as part of the metro project connecting the district with other parts of the city.

Rumors claimed that the construction workers carrying out the excavation around the area discovered 150 kilograms of gold and were caught red handed after a dispute about how to share the gold.

Upon hearing this, treasure hunters reportedly rushed to the area and started digging under the ancient aqueducts to claim the gold.

Gürkan Yılmaz, who is the headmen of Mithatpaşa neighborhood, where the excavations are taking place, told Hasan Örnekoğlu from Habertürk that the rumors are completely unfounded.

"Someone spread rumors that there is gold under an old church, some 500 meters near the metro excavation" Yılmaz said, adding that treasure hunters who heard the rumors rushed to the scene to get a hold of the ancient treasure.
Metal Detecting News / The Metal Detector Guy: Always in search of buried treasure
« Last post by Tascio on August 23, 2017, 01:44:54 PM »
The Metal Detector Guy: Always in search of buried treasure

By Rob Passons

Como Park is an old neighborhood with old houses and old yards. For a guy with a metal detector, it’s Valhalla.

For Nick Torok, the community was a playground when he was growing up: a world to explore. “I was born and raised here,” he said. “My grandpa helped build a lot of the houses around here.”

It wasn’t until his mid-30s that Torok delved into the dirt beneath his feet to find out what lay beneath the surface. That’s when he got into metal detecting. “I saw a YouTube video and I was hooked,” he said.

Torok’s passion soon outgrew his own yard and the public spaces around Como Park, and he and his metal detector became something of a fixture in the neighborhood. “People were always asking me if I was ‘the metal detector guy,’ so my wife set up a Facebook account called ‘The Metal Detector Guy,’ ” Torok said. “That’s how most people contact me.”
WWII bomb exploded on Scottish beach after treasure hunters stumbled across it

A bomb dating back to World War II has been exploded on a Scottish beach after a pair of treasure hunters stumbled across it.

They began digging to uncover the rusty bomb in the sands of Culbin, Moray, and continued to do so until the explosive was completely unearthed.

Safety experts have now issued guidance stating that any bombs discovered should be left well alone, and “not moved at all”.

After excavating it from its resting place of more than 70 years, the treasure hunters called police to report the device at about 2.20pm on Sunday.

Coastguard crews raced to the scene and placed the affected area of the beach on lockdown until a bomb squad arrived to safely detonate it.
Metal Detecting Finds / Treasure dating back more than 700 years found in Carlisle
« Last post by Tascio on August 23, 2017, 01:35:23 PM »
Treasure dating back more than 700 years found in Carlisle

Treasure in the form of seven hammered silver coins has been found in the Carlisle area.

The collections of pennies, which date back to 1280 - 1307 during the reign of King Edward I, were found by metal detecting enthusiast Ian Hughes.

The 64-year-old of Belle Vue, Carlisle, has been metal detecting for more than 30 years.
Treasure, ghosts, and the legacy of Blackbeard in the Cape Fear

WILMINGTON — Three-hundred years ago, Edward Thatch (or Teach), aka Blackbeard the pirate, was finally brought to justice on the Carolina Coast. In honor of this “tricentennial anniversary,” and to commemorate the state’s rich maritime history, the North Carolina Division of Cultural Resources is hosting a year-long celebration of the pirate.

Although once feared across the high seas from New York to the Caribbean, Blackbeard has become a sort of mascot for the Tar Heel State.

According to the NCDCR, Blackbeard resided for extended periods in the Town of Bath, spending much of his marauding years looting merchant ships along the coast.

According to the Queen Anne’s Revenge Project, a division of the DCR dedicated to recovering Blackbeard’s ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, in 1718, after blockading the Port of Charleston for nearly a week, Blackbeard and his fleet of pirates attempted to return home to North Carolina.

For better or worse, Blackbeard’s fleet ran aground, on the shoals surrounding what is now Beaufort Inlet.

According to Chris Rackley, local history buff and President of Lewis Realty in Surf City, the pirate is thought to have gone undertaken a sort of “corporate restructuring.” In an effort to shrink his crew, and secure more of his treasure for himself, he intentionally ran his ship aground off the Carolina Coast.

According to the NCDCR, six months later, Blackbeard was killed in a battle with the Royal Navy’s Lt. Robert Maynard, who beheaded the pirate, hanging his severed head from his ships bowsprit.

After the discovery of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, in Beaufort Inlet 1996, the remains of the vessel became the property of the people of North Carolina. But one thing was never recovered: his treasure.

Blackbeard and the Cape Fear

According to Rackley, local legend tells that Blackbeard once frequented the area around the Cape Fear area, even taking pirate Stede Bonnet, aka “The Gentleman Pirate,” who had some knowledge of local waters, under his wing.

Rackley says that it is rumored the pirates would stop over in Topsail Island between their trips to the Caribbean, to pillage and plunder passing ships in the busy colonial trade routes.

The name Topsail, it is said, comes from the “top sails,” of pirate ships that merchant vessels would watch for when passing by the island.

“Legend says that merchant ships would come by, and look for the sails hidden behind the dunes,” Rackley said. “Then the pirates ships would cruise out, do their thing, pillage, plunder, and go home. That’s how the island got its name.”

Although Rackley says that the name actually comes from the area around Beaufort Inlet, which was historically called Topsail Inlet, it’s fitting for the history of pirate activity in the Cape Fear.

Many locals believe Blackbeard hid his remaining treasure somewhere on the south end of the island, in an area called, “the gold hole.” While it may just be rumors, plenty of artifacts have been located in the Cape Fear region dating to the time of Blackbeard, giving hope to North Carolina treasure hunters.

“As a child in the 80s, I would get spanked for going to the gold hole,” Rackley said laughing. “They’d tell me, ‘if you fall in there, you’ll never come back out!'”

The hole was rumored to be bottomless, making a “perfect hiding place” for a pirate, like Blackbeard, looking to stash his loot.

Could there be some truth to this Blackbeard legend? Rackley says that in the mid-1900s, a New York treasure hunting group came to the gold hole, in search of the lost loot.

“These treasure hunters came down, and identified the ‘gold hole’ as the site of Blackbeard’s treasure,” Rackley said. “They spent weeks digging, working late into the night. But then one day, they were gone. They randomly packed up and left without a trace.”

Rackley says that although no one knows if anything was found, and some say the gold hole is no more, many still believe the treasure to be somewhere on the island.

While Rackley says he can’t confirm the validity of these rumors, there is one legend he has seen with his own eyes.

“There’s an old fisherman’s tale that speaks of ghost ships just south of Topsail, in Rich’s Inlet,” Rackley says. “My father was a fisherman, so I never really believed him. But when I was 12 or 13 I saw it with my own eyes.”

Rackley says that as you pass the inlet, keep a keen eye on your radar. You may pick up a mark that’s invisible to the naked eye.

“It was broad daylight, and there was nothing there, but the radar sure said there was,” he said.

Allegedly, the blip will slowly turn out of the inlet, falling behind your boat as you continue on, before suddenly disappearing off the radar. Could this be an anomaly, or could it be the ghost of one of Blackbeard’s ships, guarding his long lost treasure, ready to loot passing vessels?

Rackley says he isn’t sure, but he knows his history, and what he saw that day.

For more information on the Blackbeard’s tricentennial anniversary, visit For more information on the QAR Project, and for more on Blackbeard, visit
Metal Detecting News / He found what? After 63 years, she gets her class ring back
« Last post by Tascio on August 20, 2017, 01:40:05 PM »
He found what? After 63 years, she gets her class ring back

Again and again, Carol Bates-Smith and her friends dove into the depths of Shell Lake in northern Wisconsin hoping to catch a glimmer of the high school class ring that had slipped off her finger in the summer of 1954. Their efforts turned up nothing and they gave up.

The years ticked by and Bates-Smith eventually forgot about the ring. Then the phone rang earlier this month.

Bates-Smith listened in disbelief to a message from a stranger named Van Kinnunen, calling from Grand View, Wisconsin.

He'd found a gold ring, and he was pretty sure it was hers. After a quick phone call and email with a photo, it was confirmed.

“She told me that the first miracle was that I’d found the ring and the second miracle was that she was still alive to enjoy it,” Kinnunen said.

Bates-Smith, 82, lost the ring two years after she graduated from Storm Lake High School, in Storm Lake, Iowa.

“I just wrote the ring off,” said the former synchronized swimmer and lifeguard. “That lake has a very sandy bottom and I just figured it had been enveloped in sand.”

Kinnunen, 44, has used a metal detector for about six years and decided a year ago to become a certified scuba diver and combine his two new loves. He and his buddy, Mike Kirkland, spend nearly every weekend diving with underwater cameras.

“I’ve always been interested in metal detecting and I’m fascinated about treasure hunting and the idea of finding lost treasures below the waves,” he said.

Kinnunen has found plenty of coins, jewelry and junk over the last year, but this is the first time he’s found something that he could trace back to its owner. But that took some work, too.

Finding, tracing

On July 30, Kinnunen headed to Shell Lake about an hour from his home and met up with Kirkland. They’d had good luck there in the past, especially near some old anchor barrels once used to hold down diving platforms.

A few minutes after finding a penny from the 1930s, Kinnunen said his metal detector let out a mid-level tone, which could mean gold, a lead sinker or a pull tab from a soda can.

But just an inch or two below the sand, Kinnunen found a slightly tarnished class ring with a blue stone inscribed with “1952” and the initials C and J.

When he first read the ring, he thought it said Stone Lake — a nearby community — but quickly realized there wasn’t a high school there in 1952. He looked closer and saw the ring actually said Storm Lake, and had a tornado mascot.

After time on the internet and some phone calls, Kinnunen connected the dots. Storm Lake, Iowa, Storm Lake High School, Storm Lake Alumni Association, Carol Johnson and, finally, Carol Bates-Smith, Green Valley, Arizona.

After their phone conversation, Kinnunen cleaned up the ring and shipped it to Bates-Smith with a thank you note.

Yes, he thanked her, Bates-Smith said with a laugh.

“I thanked her for letting me be a part of the story,” Kinnunen said. “I’m sure that ring is going to be a family heirloom one day, it’s going to be passed down and it’s just so great to be a part of that story.”

As for Bates-Smith, she, too, sent a thank you note along with a little “token of appreciation” that she prefers remain private.

For the past 60-plus years, Bates-Smith said she’s been getting together with 10 high school girlfriends almost annually. She can’t wait to share the story at their next reunion in Wichita, Kansas, next month.

Prior to her trip, she said she’ll be reaching out to the ring’s maker, Jostens. Thanks to arthritis, the ring doesn’t fit anymore, but she wants to see what they can do about that.

She’s already posted the story on Facebook and everyone has shared her amazement.

“I just feel this is like one of those extraordinary stories that’s interesting to tell,” she said. “I think Van’s pretty special. I’ve told him thank you a thousand times.”

Kim Smith | 547-9740
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