July 24, 1985 |
An undersea trail of silver and gold led to the treasure. It had been cradled below since 1622, when a hurricane swamped a Spanish galleon on the frontier waters of the New World. For 3 1/2 centuries, the sea and the sand have clutched each clue as gifts from the wind and held them tight. But this week, Mel Fisher, a one-time Southern California chicken farmer, has begun to recapture a mother lode from the bottom of the Florida Straits.
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?
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.
August 13, 2003 |
In 1981, Phil Greco gave up a traditional business career for a chance at a pot of gold. A self-described "messed-up kid" after a tour of duty in Vietnam, Greco, now 59, managed to pull his life together and launched a string of profitable international ventures involving large liquidations of heavy equipment stocks, such as trucks, tractors and bulldozers.
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.
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.