List o’ Ten Amazing Treasures Discovered on Sunken Ships

Every kids dream is to find a treasure buried or hidden somewhere, and sunken treasure on an old ship is one of the coolest spots. Imagine coming across an old pirate’s chest of gold, or a historical artifact that has been in the depths just waiting to be discovered. This list presents ten famous finds on sunken ships, far below the ocean, that did happen in real life. Have a look – and imagine…if only…

10. The S.S. Central America

List o' Ten Amazing Treasures Discovered on Sunken Ships-ss_central_america

In 1857 The Side-Wheel Steamer “S.S. Central America” was en route to New York carrying $1.6 million in cargo of two tons of gold dust, nuggets, coins and assayer ingots. The ship sank in a hurricane off the coast of the Carolina’s in 8,000 feet of deep ocean where she lay ed rest for over 100 years before salvage’s discovered the wreckage.

In 1865 eight years after the sinking of the S.S. Central America two more ships were taken by violent storms and hurricanes the S.S. Brother Jonathan sank off the coast of Northern California and the S.S. Republic sank off the coast of the Georgia coast both were carrying significant amounts of gold and silver coins.

With the help of modern technology and recovery methods salavagers located all three shipwrecks in deep waters recovering thousands of gold coin and silver coins, assayer gold ingots, bars and bricks. The gold was sold off in an auction held in New York with one gold ingot (Bar) selling for $51,750, one gold $20 coin sold for $6,900 and one gold slug valued in 1851 at $50 selling in the auction for $21,850. Keep in mind these are all 1851 prices, a fortune at the time.

9. The Atocha

List o' Ten Amazing Treasures Discovered on Sunken Ships-Atocha

In 1622, The Spanish Galleon Ships “Santa Margarita & Atocha” along with a fleet of other ships departed Cuba in route for Spain. During the early part of the course a strong hurricane arose causing the ships to veer towards the Florida reef line where the Santa Margarita ran aground and broke up. In 1985 portions of the Santa Margarita were found along with 20 bronze guns, 46 tons of silver, 40 thousand coins, emeralds and gold bars valued at 4 million dollars. The Atocha treasure discovery listed 25 gold bars, 24 tons of silver bullion, artifacts with jewels embedded, 20 bronze cannons and 1200 pounds of silverware.

8. The Whydah

List o' Ten Amazing Treasures Discovered on Sunken Ships-Whydah

In 1717, pirate Captain Samuel Bellamy Of The Pirate Ship “WHYDAH” sank in a storm near Wellfleet, Massachusetts. The notorious Black Sam Bellamy captained the Whydah, which pirated any ship in sight (sinking an estimated 50 ships), plundered the treasure then sunk the ship along with the crew. Bellamy drowned in the storm that sank the Whydah along with all the treasure and other valuables. In 1984 divers began recovering the Whydah and its treasures of gold, silver and other pirate cargo.

7. La Magdalena

List o' Ten Amazing Treasures Discovered on Sunken Ships-la magdalena

In 1563, the 250 Ton Galleon Ship “La Magdalena” commanded by Captain Cristobel Rodriquez was in route back to Spain from Veracruz, Mexico and Havana when a bad storm tossed the ship upon a shoal leaving only 16 survivors. The galleon ship was carrying over 50 tons of silver bullion and sepci (coins), 170 boxes of worked silver and 1,110 pounds of gold in small ingots and jewelry. The actual wreckage has never been located but two of the ships twenty eight cannons have been found by shrimpers. The shrimpers net snagged one of the bronze cannons and later another bronze cannon was snagged 2 miles from the other cannon also by shrimpers net. Then later a chest of 3,000 Spanish coins dating between 1748 and 1751 was also snagged by shrimper’s net.

6. The Douro

List o' Ten Amazing Treasures Discovered on Sunken Ships-SS Le Douro

In 1882 the passenger cargo steam liner “Douro”, a lavish plush iron screw steamer was the Trans-Atlantic Lines star carrying passengers and picking up precious cargo along the exotic South American trade between Southampton and Buenos Aires.

In march of 1882 the Douro departed Lisbon only to find itself in a destructive collision with the Spanish steamship Yrurac Bat at full speed sinking to the depth of 12,000 feet leaving three hundred and thirty three passengers in life rafts and fifty nine drowning in the ocean waters. Salvage of the shipwreck started in 1993 to recover the precious cargo as they had found gold coins spread along the ocean floor.

The treasure discovered during the salvage consisted of several gold bars and a sizable amount of gold Sovereigns. The treasure coins dated back to the reign of Queen Victoria or the Victorian Era of the United Kingdom from 1837 – 1901 which was a time of prosperity for the British Empire.

5. The Nuesra de la Concepcion

List o' Ten Amazing Treasures Discovered on Sunken Ships-nuesra de la concepcion

In 1638 Spanish Galleon The “Nuesra de la Concepcion” encountered bad weather sinking her to the depth of the ocean between Manila in the Philippines and Acapulco spilling chest of precious cargo on the ocean floor.

The main reason for the Concepcion sinking was due to mutiny started by the ships officers lacking faith in there young captain wanting to relieve him from his duties a fight broke out without anyone at the ships helm to navigate the sail buckled backwards snapping the mast and flipping her over into the sea. The loss of the Concepcion was costly to the Spanish crown loosing tens of millions of dollars worth of valuables in today’s market.

The excavation of the Concepcion treasures yielded 1,300 pieces of 22.5-karat gold jewelry – chains, crucifixes, beads, buckles, filigree buttons, rings and broaches with precious set stones embedded and a ships time log of the 17Th century jewelry has proved to be made in the Philippines.

4. The SS New York

List o' Ten Amazing Treasures Discovered on Sunken Ships-ss_new york

After 161 years, the S.S. New York shipwreck was recovered off the Gulf of Mexico. The ship was carrying an incredible treasure hoard of some of the earliest and rarest Gold Coins minted in the U.S. Southern Mints.

The New York was a side-wheel steamer that foundered during a hurricane about 60 miles off the coast of Cameron, Louisiana in 1846. Four New Iberia, Louisiana area residents found the 365-ton wooden hull ship in about 60 feet of water in 2006. This is the most important group of Southern US gold coins ever found on a treasure ship.

3. Wreck at Kapaandu Shatika, Namibia

In August 2011, two years after the discovery of the sunken ship , international archaeologists and conservators have successfully salvaged the wreck believed to be the 16th century Portuguese shipwreck that lay undisturbed for 500 years off Namibia’s Atlantic Coast near Oranjemund.

The sunken ship’s rich treasure includes a total of 2 266 gold and silver coins that were found underneath the planks of the sunken ship. They largely consist of Portuguese and Spanish gold coins, and are in custody at the Bank of Namibia.

2. The HMS Victory


In 1744 The “HMS Victory” was the flagship of the Royal Navy captained by Commander Sir John Balchin (Photo above) she encountered a storm dispersing it from the fleet sinking in the English Channel with an estimated undiscovered 100,000 gold coins equaling 4.167 tons. The ship was returning to Lisbon, Portugal.

The HMS Victory was the largest of the fleet at the time, at 175 ft. long and the most heavily armed vessel of its time carrying 110 brass cannons. To date only 41 of the ship’s cannons have been found, including 8 enormous 42 pounders. The cannons lifted had a distinctive decoration of a dolphin emblem on the upper surface, others had two dolphins with only a few with four dolphins also one cannon that was raised had the monogram George I who ruled from 1714 – 1727. The rest of the treasure – the gold – has not yet been recovered.

1. The Uluburun

The Worlds Oldest known Discovered shipwreck, The “Uluburun”, dates back to 1300 B.C. Discovered in 1982 and excavated eleven different periods in durations of three to four months from 1984 to 1992. Among the 140 recovered artifacts, the most notable are the golden seal of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, glass beads, golden necklaces, precious jewels, a stone hoe, containers for food and hunting items used in ancient times.

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