CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 4, 1991 |
Some people spend their lives seeking El Dorado. Chuck Kenworthy is a professional treasure hunter who says he has found it at least once, and maybe twice, only to have it snatched away. The 60-year-old Tarzana resident thinks that the third time may be the charm. He believes that he is close to uncovering what early Spanish records describe as "the richest gold mine on this continent."
August 9, 2010 |
When Paul Brachfeld took over as inspector general of the National Archives, guardian of the country's most beloved treasures, he discovered the American people were being stolen blind. The Wright brothers' 1903 Flying Machine patent application? Gone. A copy of the Dec. 8, 1941, "Day of Infamy" speech autographed by Franklin D. Roosevelt and tied with a purple ribbon? Gone. Target maps of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, war telegrams written by Abraham Lincoln, and a scabbard and belt given to Harry S. Truman?
May 3, 1987 |
The answer that has eluded so many for so long lies 400 feet down below, in the bowels of a rocky peak littered with creosote trees, rattlesnakes and bullet-pocked military targets. On top, rusted steel bars bolted to weathered timbers guard the four-foot-square opening to the secret of Victorio Peak. Underneath, buried by time and temptation, lies either 100 tons of gold bars worth perhaps $1.2 billion, or one of the wildest hoaxes of the Wild West.
November 29, 1998 |
Richard Steinmetz knew exactly what the federal marshals wanted when they pounded on his door: his nicotine-stained shipwreck treasure, the Alabama bell. For years the bell, a relic of the Confederate raider the CSS Alabama, sat in his antiques store in New York. In 1990, strapped for cash and facing heart surgery, Steinmetz put it up for auction. Then the feds came calling. "They accused me of stealing government property," Steinmetz says, wheezing in indignation when he recalls the scene.
August 10, 1987 |
When the gold-laden steamboat Central America sank 160 miles off the South Carolina coast in a hurricane in 1857, it seemed like a tragic ending to a tale of greed and hubris. More than 400 men drowned, most of them prospectors dragged 8,000 feet to the Atlantic floor by the bounty they could not or would not let go of.
October 25, 1992 |
High-tech devices brought treasure hunters very close, but without luck and a sea gull's unwelcome visit, they might not have found two Spanish ships that had been sunk and lost for two centuries. Divers led by Ruben Collado were searching the shallow, rocky River Plate estuary in 1985 for the wreck of the Nuestra Senora de Loreto when the gull relieved itself on one of the divers' boats.
August 24, 1989 |
South Coast Auction in Santa Ana on a Wednesday night is no place for children. "There's a lot of pushing and shoving," cautions auctioneer Billy Humphries. "It's action-packed. Leave the kids at home." Humphries sounds as if he could be talking about mud wrestling, but the reason for his advice soon becomes evident. As 6 p.m. approaches, more than 500 treasure hunters are jamming the three warehouse-size auction rooms at 2202 Main St.
May 19, 2007 |
Deep-sea treasure hunters said Friday that they had recovered what could be a record haul of gold and silver coins from a colonial-era shipwreck -- but their failure to provide many details has set off a galleon-sized controversy over their claims. The hunters from Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc., a Tampa, Fla.-based company, said their haul had so far totaled about 17 tons of coins, more than 500,000 in all.
November 14, 1999 |
Pushing on the throttle, the pilot guides his single-engine plane toward the icefall, nose aimed straight for the mountain. For a moment, everything swirls in a sea of white--the clouds, the ice, the snow. He doesn't think about what happened 51 years ago. He doesn't think about his reason for being here. Flying in near-whiteout conditions, he thinks only about maneuvering his little red-and-white Super Cub safely out of the canyon.
July 15, 1990
Re "Will the Good Times Always Roll?" by Nina J. Easton, July 8: Writers! Just 'cause they know what a gerund is, they think they oughta be paid millions for it! What a racket! I'm glad youse guys in da media changed your ways. When da actors and directors and producer guys was gettin' paid all them millions, you guys put 'em on the "Lifestyles of da Rich 'n' Famous," but since them no-account writers start gettin' paid like that, youse guys tell it like it is.