Civil war treasures found

Civil war treasures found DEFAULT

A Harrisburg attorney said Thursday that a state appeals court has just given him the next clue toward hopefully solving the mystery of whether the FBI dug up a cache of lost Civil War gold worth about $400 million from a remote Pennsylvania forest nearly three years ago.

That clue, William J. Cluck said, is the name of the federal magistrate judge who ordered all records of the March 2018 excavation in the Dent’s Run area of Elk County to be sealed from public view.

Cluck said he can use that information, secured through his latest Right-to-Know Law appeal to Commonwealth Court, to petition that U.S. judge to unseal the records in the case.

“I got what I wanted,” Cluck said.

This is an intriguing case, which Cluck is pursuing on behalf of his clients, Finders Keepers LLC, a treasure hunting company he said pointed the feds to the site the excavators hit. Federal authorities are refusing to tell Finders Keepers or anyone else what, if anything, they found. If gold was indeed at the bottom of that hole, then his clients should be entitled to a cut, Cluck contends.

The mystery at the center of all this dates to the time of the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863.

According to legend, the Union Army shipped a consignment of gold, 26 or 52 bars weighing 50 pounds each, from Wheeling, W. Va., to Philadelphia. The gold never reached its destination and was lost or stolen, so the legend goes. The story has fascinated treasure hunters for 157 years.

Cluck and his clients are deeply skeptical about the FBI’s claim that it found nothing during the Dent’s Run dig. Cluck said the fact that the FBI’s Art Crimes Division was involved in the probe and the veil of secrecy the feds tossed over the matter just adds to their suspicions.

He said the feds sealed the documents in the case under a claim it is an ongoing criminal investigation.

Cluck has said his clients were told by the feds that a ground-penetrating survey commissioned by the FBI before the dig began indicated something big, maybe even gold, was buried in the Dent’s Run area.

“They had 50 agents there…We have witnesses that they were there all night with armored cars. So, what are we supposed to believe?” Cluck said. “We are convinced that they found gold.”

Sours: https://www.pennlive.com/news/2021/01/did-the-fbi-find-400m-in-civil-war-gold-in-a-pa-forest-harrisburg-lawyer-says-he-has-new-clue-in-the-case.html

A recently unsealed document in the bizarre case of an alleged cache of Civil War treasures in Elk County, Pa., shows how everyone caught gold fever, including an unnamed staff member for the state legislature who offered to obtain dig permits for three gold bars.

The FBI in Philadelphia spent several frigid days in March 2018 digging for gold at Dents Run and has long said nothing was found in the excavation. The treasure hunters who had been studying the site for decades had always thought the agency was lying.

A March 2018 application for a warrant to seize property, unsealed on behalf of The Inquirer and the Associated Press, reveals the FBI had done its homework on the gold, even if the story turned out to be a fairy tale.

“I have probable cause to believe that a significant cache of gold is secreted away in the underground cave located at Dents Run,” Agent Jacob Archer of the FBI’s art crime team wrote in the 2018 warrant application.

The legend of the Elk County gold dates back to the summer of 1863, when a special Union detachment was tasked with transporting 26 gold bars, each weighing 50 pounds, from West Virginia to the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. That detachment, as the story goes, was ambushed, the gold lost and supposedly buried.

Archer, according to the warrant application, consulted with father-and-son treasure hunters Dennis and Kem Parada, as well as Warren Getler, a journalist who has written extensively about Civil War gold, but Archer also dug deeper into the history, going through U.S. Mint and other national archives as well as reaching out to a variety of experts.

The FBI went to the site several months before the dig to scan the area and then hired a private contractor to scan as well. The findings looked promising.

“They didn’t just take our word for it, they did their own investigation,” Bill Cluck, an attorney for the Paradas, said Thursday.

Since the gold, possibly one ton or more, was heading to the Mint, Archer wrote that it all belonged to the U.S. government.

The gold, if there, was on state land, and Archer was concerned that Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources could revoke the FBI’s access to the site and claim the gold was “abandoned property” and keep it. According to the application for the warrant, a camera at the site captured an excavating machine working at the site in 2015, and Archer said it was believed to be the DCNR.

A DCNR spokesperson said the agency declined to comment “on this ongoing matter.”

The warrant application also added a bizarre twist, alleging that in August and September of 2013, an unnamed staff member for the Pennsylvania legislature approached the Paradas, claiming he was acting on behalf of individuals who control DCNR money and work in the governor’s office. This person, according to the warrant application, met with the Paradas, and “corruptly” offered to obtain a permit to dig at Dents Run in exchange for three bars of gold or 10% of the total haul.

“I was present and aware and reported it to the FBI,” Cluck saidwhen asked Thursday about the man. “I told this person that what they were offering was illegal and never to contact us again.”

Cluck declined to identify the individual.

The application also asked for 24-hour security at the dig site, permission to cross any private property, and an assortment of tools and equipment. Cluck noted that the FBI has not filed paperwork that explicitly states that nothing was found.

There is no estimatein the application of how much the FBI spent during the investigation and the ensuing dig. An FBI spokesperson declined to comment Thursday.

Nothing in the document says the FBI intended to give any found gold to the Paradas, who had spent decades searching.

Had the FBI found gold, Cluck said, Dennis Parada deserved a cut and the vindication.

“First of all, he wanted verification that he was right,” Cluck said of Parada. “They would have made us sue them to get it. "

    Jason Nark

    I write stories about rural and exurban areas, the places where development meets farmland and farms meet the great outdoors.

Sours: https://www.inquirer.com/news/gold-elk-county-fbi-civil-war-parada-art-crimes-20210624.html
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Stolen treasures still waiting to be found

Precious artworks and other valuable treasures still missing

Courtesy Metropolitan Police

Stolen treasures worth billions are still hiding around the world; some have been missing for centuries, others are more recent crimes. And thefts of rare items sadly continue regularly, from historic artefacts to very valuable diamonds. Click or scroll through some of the most major thefts still waiting to be solved.

Ark of the Covenant

Jewish Museum/Public domain

Deemed to be one of the most sacred objects mentioned in the Bible, the Ark of Covenant is the definition of a long-lost treasure. It’s estimated that it was built around 3,000 years ago by the Israelites and is linked to many miracles in the Old Testament. The gold-covered chest can be spied in a lot of biblical artwork, such as The Ark Passes Over the Jordan, which was painted by James Tissot in 1902.

Ark of the Covenant

Chris Bradley/Zuma Press/PA Images

Nobody knows exactly what happened to the Ark of the Covenant, and while those searching for it hope that it has just been well-hidden for all these years, it’s also possible that it was stolen or destroyed. There are whisperings that the chest could be concealed in St Mary of Zion cathedral in Ethiopia (pictured), although this has never been seen or verified by experts.

Blackbeard's treasure

Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

Pirate Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, terrorised the Caribbean in his flagship the Queen Anne's Revenge for years during the early 18th century, looting ship after ship, and collecting many treasures, from gold bars to fine jewellery worth millions of dollars in today's money. The buccaneer allegedly buried the bulk of it on islands around the Caribbean and parts of North Carolina.

Blackbeard's treasure

While some of Blackbeard's booty was found with his shipwreck in 1996, including a wine glass stem decorated with diamonds and tiny gold crowns, treasure hunters believe most of the riches are still out there somewhere. If they really exist they are most likely to be buried on one or more of Blackbeard's stomping grounds. They could include Blackbeard's Castle on the US Virgin Island of St. Thomas, and Plum Point in North Carolina.

Discover who were the richest pirates of all time

Mosby's Stolen Civil War Treasure

Luiji de Guzman/Flickr CC

During the American Civil War countless treasures said to be worth millions of dollars were stolen and remain lost today. One of the culprits, Confederate ranger John Singleton Mosby and his men, launched an audacious night raid on the Fairfax County Courthouse, Virginia in 1863. Searching the building, they came across a sack thought to have contained gold, silver and jewels belonging to Fairfax County's most prominent families worth $6 million (£4.7m) in today's money.

Mosby's Stolen Civil War Treasure

Berean Hunter/Wikimedia Commons

On their way back to Confederate lines, Mosby (pictured) decided to bury the treasure in the woods as he was worried that he and his men would be captured by Union soldiers and lose the booty. A few months later the ranger sent some of his men back to unearth the treasure only for the men to be captured by Union soldiers and hanged. Mosby never made it back to Fairfax, and the stash remains buried there to this day.

Looted Civil War Confederate Gold

Another lost Civil War treasure, a boxcar filled with gold bullions worth upwards of $140 million (£109m) is believed to be sitting somewhere at the bottom of northern Lake Michigan. The gold was stolen in 1865 by Union soldiers from Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who had been captured in Georgia and imprisoned in Virginia, according to a History Channel documentary following two treasure hunters.

Looted Civil War Confederate Gold

The two treasure enthusiasts, Kevin Dykstra and Frederick J. Monroe, based their search on the deathbed confession of a local lighthouse keeper from 1921, who claimed that the bullions had been packed onto a train boxcar and smuggled north towards Lake Michigan. There it was loaded on a ferry but thrown overboard for a mysterious reason. Dykstra and Monroe thought that they may have found one of the gold bars, but so far their trove hasn't been confirmed and the hunt continues.

Jesse James' gold

Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

Notorious for a series of high-profile robberies in the 19th-century Wild West, outlaw Jesse James is said to have buried a huge amount of his gold somewhere in Canada, allegedly worth a whopping $3 million (£2.3m). The story goes that the criminal and his accomplices had been on the run from the US police after looting a Wells Fargo train in 1870 and headed north with the booty.

Jesse James' gold

Michael/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Legend has it that the treasure lies hidden near Mulmur (pictured), Ontario, around two hours away from Princeton, where it was rumoured that James had built a home. In 1958 an Englishman named Tom Vickers went to the property, where he believed the stash was buried, and said: "If the boys [James’ gang] were ever here and wanted a place to hide the gold, this spot is just about perfect." It's not known if any gold was ever found.

Flagstaff dead outlaws' loot

On 10 May 1881, a stagecoach loaded with silver and gold bars and coins worth over $3 million (£2.3m) in today's money was looted in the mountains near Flagstaff, Arizona. Legend has it that the group of thieves was tipped off by a crooked insider of the Wells Fargo bank, which was transporting the valuables to a branch in San Francisco. With local sheriffs and army cavalry in hot pursuit, the bandits were tracked to a remote cabin in the mountains, where a frenzied shootout followed.

Flagstaff dead outlaws' loot

Netfalls/Remy Musser/Shutterstock

When the pursuers stormed the cabin, all robbers were killed. However, despite numerous searches of the cabin and the surrounding area there was no sign of the gold and silver. The owner of the cabin is said to have spent 30 years searching for the treasure. In 1913, a local character called Short Jimmy McGuire claimed he'd found several gold coins but dropped dead of a heart attack before he could share its location, meaning the treasure is most likely still out there somewhere.

Crown Jewels of Ireland

Bernabe/Blanco Shutterstock

Although they were constantly guarded by soldiers and policemen, the Irish Crown Jewels were stolen from a safe in Dublin Castle in July 1907. There are many theories about the potential thieves but until today the treasure, which is valued at $20 million (£15.7m), has never been located.

Crown Jewels of Ireland

Dublin Police/Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

The jewels, which consist of a star decorated with diamonds, emerald and ruby, a diamond badge of the Order of St Patrick and five gold jewel-encrusted collars, are thought to be buried somewhere in the Wicklow Mountains. Police have searched several sites with metal detectors but without success. The crime remains one of Ireland's biggest mysteries.

Imperial Fabergé eggs

Boasson and Eggler St. Petersburg Nevsky 24/Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

During the late 19th and early 20th century, the House of Fabergé crafted more than 50 bejewelled eggs for the Russian Imperial family (pictured here is Tsar Nicholas II with his family). However, in the chaos of the October Revolution in 1917 seven eggs were confiscated by Bolshevik revolutionaries and went astray.

Imperial Fabergé eggs

Unknown author/Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

The only egg recovered, the Third Imperial Egg, surfaced in 2012 at a scrap metal dealership in the American Midwest of all places. Still lost are the 1888 Cherub with Chariot, the Nécessaire from 1889 and the 1903 Royal Danish (pictured), among others, each of which is worth up to $30 million (£23.4m).

Read the incredible story behind the world's most luxurious eggs

Van Eyck's The Just Judges Panel

Jan van Eyck/Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

Described as the "most stolen artwork of all time", Hubert and Jan van Eyck's 15th-century altarpiece Adoration of the Mystic Lamb has disappeared several times over the centuries. First it was nearly burned by Calvinists, then robbed by Napoleon, and stolen during the First World War. One of its 12 panels, which depicts the so-called Just Judges, was taken from the Saint Bavo Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium in April 1934 and is still missing today.

Van Eyck's The Just Judges Panel

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images

The remaining 11 panels, stolen again during World War II, have returned to the cathedral (pictured) and are now protected by a €30 million ($37m/£26m) bulletproof glass case, but the whereabouts of the 12th panel remains a mystery. Authorities decided not to pay a ransom demand for one million Belgian francs, and the suspected thief refused to reveal where he had hidden the artwork when he confessed to the heist on his deathbed. Most recently, experts believed they had found the location of the stolen piece – below a major square in Ghent – but investigators have been reluctant to dig up the paving stones. Should they change their minds, the artwork could finally be complete again.

Jean Metzinger's En Canot

Jean Metzinger/Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

Deemed "degenerate" by the Nazis, En Canot by Jean Metzinger (pictured) was confiscated by the Third Reich and put on display in the Degenerate Art Exhibition in Munich in 1936. Hitler abhorred modern artworks such as the Cubist painting and had many of them destroyed or sold on.

Jean Metzinger's En Canot

Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

Metzinger's Cubist artwork, which represents an elegantly-dressed woman holding an umbrella while she sits in a small boat, caused a sensation when it was first exhibited in Paris in 1913, and was later acquired by Berlin's National Gallery. After it was shown in Munich, the Degenerate Art Exhibition was also displayed in other cities. That's when En Canot disappeared.

Gustav Klimt's Portrait of Trude Steiner

Anton Josef Trčka/Wikimedia Commons

Later known for his gold leaf paintings, Austrian artist Gustav Klimt (pictured) painted several portraits for the wives of the largely Jewish Viennese bourgeoisie around the year 1900. Although his work was never labelled "degenerate" by the Nazis, some of his canvases were confiscated by the Third Reich.

Gustav Klimt's Portrait of Trude Steiner

Among them was this painting depicting the daughter of Jewish collector Jenny Steiner, who fled Austria in 1938 just after the Nazis invaded Vienna. The portrait was seized by the troops, ostensibly in lieu of tax payments, though it is unlikely the Steiners owed anything. The last time the artwork was publicly seen was in 1941, when it was sold at auction to an unknown bidder.

Raphael's Portrait of a Young Man

Raphael/Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

This Renaissance masterpiece is widely regarded as the most important painting missing since World War II. Raphael's 1513-14 Portrait of a Young Man was taken by the Nazis from the Czartoryski Museum in Krakow, Poland in 1939. The Third Reich plundered an estimated 20% of European art during World War II, much of which is still missing today.

Raphael's Portrait of a Young Man

Bundesarchiv Bild/Wikimedia Commons

The oil painting, which is said to be worth at least $100 million (£77.5m) in today's money, was seized to decorate Hitler's Berlin residence and appropriated by Gestapo official Hans Frank (pictured), the then Nazi Governor-General of Poland, for his villa in Neuhaus, Germany. It disappeared somewhere on the way between Poland and Germany and has not been seen since 1945.

The Amber Room

Alexandra Lande/Shutterstock

Worth $303 million (£235.2m), the splendid Amber Room is one of the most valuable treasures the Nazis plundered during the Second World War. Made of exquisite amber panels backed with gold leaf and ornate mirrors, it was the star attraction of the Catherine Palace in St Petersburg, Russia from the early 18th century until it was removed and stolen in 1941. The room was taken to Königsberg Castle in Kaliningrad, then part of Prussia, which was destroyed in 1945.

The Amber Room

Alexandra Lande/Shutterstock

While it is widely thought that the room didn't survive the destruction of the castle, some experts believe it was saved and stashed away somewhere in Poland. Theories abound as to its whereabouts – most recently three German treasure hunters claimed it was hidden in a cave in eastern Germany – but so far it hasn't been unearthed. Luckily nowadays a replica can be seen in Catherine Palace.

Nazi Gold Train

Chmee2/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

The Amber Room might also be hidden in a complex of tunnels near Walbrzych in Poland. Rumour has it that the Nazis loaded a train with tonnes of pillaged valuables, possibly also including the stolen room, and buried it during Project Riese in January 1945, when the Second World War was coming to an end. If the stash really exists, it would be worth billions of dollars today.

Nazi Gold Train

Natalia Dobryszycka/AFP/Getty Images

The legend has inspired numerous searches, and a group of enthusiasts even began constructing a full-size replica designed to become a tourist attraction. But the whereabouts, and even the very existence, of the gold train remain a mystery, while hunts for the treasure continue.

Rembrandt's An Angel with Titus’ Features

Rembrandt van Rijn/PD-1923

Another artwork robbed by the Nazis, An Angel with Titus’ Features by Rembrandt, which depicts the Dutch master's son, was kept in a chateau in the French countryside. During the German invasion in 1943 the Nazis took it with them to Paris, where it was set aside to be installed in Hitler's Führermuseum.

Rembrandt's An Angel with Titus’ Features

Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1990-073-26 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Hitler, a failed artist who fancied himself as a critic and collector, was planning to create a major art gallery in Linz, Austria, which would have displayed about 300 treasures stolen by the Third Reich (the design was based on the House of German Art, pictured here, which he did have built in Munich). More than 160 of the pieces have been recovered since, but Rembrandt's portrait remains missing with no trace of its whereabouts.

Botticelli's Portrait of a Man

Over the decades, several artworks stolen by the Nazis during the Second World War have been recovered, or returned to descendants. This painting by Early Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli, however, is still waiting to be found. The priceless portrait is another piece that features on the Monuments Men Foundation's most wanted list and it was the most treasured object in the Filangieri Museum in Naples, Italy, until Hitler's troops got their hands on it.

Botticelli's Portrait of a Man

Bundesarchiv Bild/Wikimedia Commons

On 30 September 1943, the Nazis discovered the painting in Villa San Paolo di Belsito in Naples, where it was being hidden, and decided to take it to Germany. En route it vanished and was never seen again.

Michelangelo's Head of a Faun

Dating from around 1489, the Head of a Faun was the first known sculpture of great Renaissance master Michelangelo. The painter of the world-famous ceiling of the Sistine Chapel crafted the marble artwork when he was only 15 or 16, it is believed, winning him the patronage of the powerful Florentine leader Lorenzo de' Medici.

Michelangelo's Head of a Faun

Simona Bottone/Shutterstock

Until 1944 the priceless sculpture was displayed in the Bargello Museum (pictured) in Florence, Italy. In August that year, however, the Nazis looted the Michelangelo and loaded it onto a truck along with other treasures. Some experts have suggested the sculpture may have eventually found its way to the Soviet Union, but to this day it remains lost.

Van Gogh's The Painter on his Way to Work

Vincent Van Gogh/Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

This self-portrait by Dutch master Vincent Van Gogh, which was painted in 1888, hasn't been seen since 1945. It is widely believed to have been destroyed in an air raid on Germany in the Second World War. However, there might still be hope. There are sources indicating the oil painting survived the blaze. 

Van Gogh's The Painter on his Way to Work

US National Archives and Records Administration/Wikimedia Commons

The masterpiece was taken from the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum in Magdeburg, Germany by the Nazis in the early part of the Second World War and hidden in their secret salt mines art repository in Stassfurt before the fire. Today it features on the Monuments Men Foundation's most wanted list, which is dedicated to recovering stolen art.

The Patiala Necklace

Unknown author/Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

Made of platinum and boasting almost 3,000 diamonds, Parisian jeweller Cartier spent almost three years crafting the so-called Patiala Necklace from 1928, a necklace for the-then Maharaja of the Indian state Patiala, Bhupinder Singh of Patiala (pictured). The opulent piece of jewellery, which has been valued at $30 million (£23.3m) in today's money, also contained a number of Burmese rubies as well as a yellow 428-carat De Beers diamond, the seventh largest in the world.

The Patiala Necklace

Shaun Curry/AFP/Getty Images

In 1948 the opulent piece of jewellery mysteriously disappeared from the royal treasury of Patiala. Decades later, in 1982, the De Beers diamond reappeared at auction in Geneva, Switzerland. Another 16 years later a Cartier representative stumbled upon the platinum chains of the necklace in a second-hand jewellery store in London but with the biggest diamonds and the rubies gone. While Cartier was able to recreate the necklace, the whereabouts of the original gemstones are still a mystery.

Caravaggio's Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio/Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

For more than three centuries this 1609 painting by Italian Baroque master Caravaggio hung above the altar of the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo, Italy. But on a stormy night in October 1969 the Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence, which has been valued at $20 million (£15.5m), was cut out of its frame, allegedly by the Sicilian Mafia, and went missing.

Caravaggio's Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence

Amrita/Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

One of the FBI's most wanted stolen artworks, the painting still hasn't been recovered. In 2015 a replica was commissioned to fill the empty frame in the church (pictured), while detectives continue to try to track down the valuable original. Most recently the Guardian revealed that the Mafia sliced off a piece of the painting's canvas to convince the Catholic Church to make a deal for its return, according to the testimony of a priest. The Mafia is also said to have been in touch with an art dealer in Switzerland, which police are currently investigating.

Van Gogh's Poppy Flowers

Vincent Van Gogh/Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

This 1887 oil painting of yellow and red poppies by Dutch master Vincent Van Gogh has been stolen twice. Recovered in Kuwait 10 years after it was nabbed from Cairo's Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum in 1977, the second theft is yet to be resolved. Valued at a hefty $55 million (£43m), the artwork disappeared again from the same museum in 2010.

Van Gogh's Poppy Flowers

Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images

After the second theft 11 culture ministry employees were found guilty of negligence of their duties and sentenced to jail but freed on bail. Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris (pictured) has offered a reward of $175,000 (£137k) for information leading to its recovery, which he hopes will lead to witnesses to coming forward.

Russborough House hoard

Known simply as “The General” in Ireland’s underground criminal world, Martin Cahill was responsible for orchestrating a heist at Russborough House (pictured) in Ireland, including the theft of a Vermeer, a Vestier and two Venetian scenes by Guardi. While eight of the stolen paintings were discovered in rented cars in 1993, the Guardi scenes remain hidden.

Russborough House hoard

Chris Bacon/PA Archive/PA Images

The robbery eventually led to Cahill’s murder in 1994, and he is said to have taken details of the paintings’ hiding spot to the grave. Many of his stolen goods have been recovered though, such as this Pietro de Francesco Degli Orioli painting, which was auctioned off in 1999. There are suspicions that Guardi’s scenes are buried somewhere in the Dublin Woods, near Killakee, and the investigation is still ongoing, with art detectives set on unravelling the mystery…

Georges Braque’s Still Life

Courtesy Arthur Brand/Twitter

Over to Sweden, where the theft of George Braque’s La nappe blanche (or Still Life) from Modern Museum in Sweden in 1993 has left authorities perplexed to this day as to its whereabouts. The 1928 painting was one in a haul of artwork stolen that night, which had a total value of $52 million (£40.1m) and included works by Picasso.

Georges Braque’s Still Life

NIKLAS HALLE'N/Contributor/Getty Images

The so-called “Indiana Jones of the artworld” Arthur Brand (pictured) has teamed up with journalist Arvid Hallberg to find the painting. Brand was responsible for recovering Picasso’s Dora Maar, which was stolen along with La nappe blanche nearly 30 years ago. The art-sleuthing pair suspect the Braque is currently “in the possession of a northern European” somewhere in Spain…

Vermeer's The Concert

Johannes Vermeer/Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

Worth a whopping $200 million (£156m), Johannes Vermeer's The Concert is thought to be the most valuable stolen object ever. The painting was cut from its frame, alongside Rembrandt's The Storm on the Sea of Galilee and 10 other important works of art, at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in March 1990.

Vermeer's The Concert

Federal Bureau of Investigation/Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

One of the biggest art heists in history, the crime became infamous because the Gardner Museum didn't have insurance for its holdings at the time. In the early 2000s an organised crime syndicate tried to sell the expensive Vermeer in Philadelphia but the FBI was unable to locate it. Most recently allegations that the artwork was eventually shipped to the IRA by Boston's Winter Hill gang have surfaced.

Cézanne's View of Auvers-sur-Oise

Paul Cézanne/Public domain/wikimedia Commons

While the world celebrated the new millennium with fireworks, a thief broke into the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England, and stole the View of Auvers-sur-Oise by Paul Cézanne. The landscape painting, which is valued at $3.9 million (£3m), has not been found.

Cézanne's View of Auvers-sur-Oise

Patchamol Jensatienwong/Shutterstock

The burglar was a professional. Detectives reported that he cut a hole in the roof of the Ashmolean Museum (pictured), under the cover of the noise of the midnight fireworks, and descended into the art gallery by rope ladder. He then created a smokescreen with a canister and fan to foil security cameras and escaped with the painting the way he came in. The robbery took just 10 minutes. A few weeks after the heist, investigators thought they had found the artwork in a Central England pub but it turned out to be a copy. 

Picasso's Le Pigeon aux Petits-Pois

Pablo Picasso/Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

Dubbed by police as "art heist of the century", Le Pigeon aux Petits-Pois by Pablo Picasso was stolen from the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris alongside four other paintings, including a Matisse and another Braque, altogether worth $123 million (£95m). 

Picasso's Le Pigeon aux Petits-Pois

BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images

The canvases were discovered missing from the museum when it opened its doors in May 2010. When the culprit was arrested in 2011, he stated he threw the artworks in a rubbish container after panicking. Police doubt that assertion, however, not giving up hope that the valuable paintings might still be out there somewhere. 

Diamonds swopped for pebbles

Courtesy Metropolitan Police

In 2016 a thief swopped £4.2 million ($5.9m)-worth of diamonds for pebbles at London jewellery store Boodles. Posing as a gemologist, Lulu Lakatos managed to swop seven precious gems with pebbles (pictured) using "sleight of hand". Lakatos examined the diamonds and then placed them in a bag, but when the bag was opened again it was found to be filled with pebbles instead. CCTV later showed that Lakatos replaced the bag taken from her handbag. Lakatos then left the UK for France.

Diamonds swopped for pebbles

Courtesy Metropolitan Police

After being extradited from France in September 2020, Lakatos (pictured) has now been convicted of conspiracy to steal in what prosecutors described as the highest-value theft of this kind ever seen in the UK. Romanian-born French Lakatos had three previous convictions for theft in France. However, while the thief has been found, the diamonds have never been recovered, including one which was worth £2.2 million ($3m) alone.

220-pound 'Big Maple Leaf' gold coin

MARCEL METTELSIEFEN/DPA/AFP via Getty Images

In the early hours of 27 March 2017 a giant Canadian gold coin called the "Big Maple Leaf", worth $4 million (£3.1m), disappeared from the Bode Museum in Berlin, Germany. And it was quite a heist: three thieves broke in through a window, wheeled the 220-pound coin, which is about the size of a car tyre, through the museum on a roller board, then used a rope and wheelbarrow to transport it across rail tracks and through a park to a getaway car.

220-pound 'Big Maple Leaf' gold coin

ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images

A few months after the heist German police arrested three men from a family linked to organised crime, along with one employee of the museum who allegedly advised the thieves about safety measures. While the suspects have recently been on trial in Berlin (pictured), there's evidence the rare coin might have disappeared forever. Investigators found gold dust on clothing and a car of the suspected robbers, indicating they may have melted the treasure down. 

From the Elgin Marbles to the Rosetta Stones: stolen treasures countries want back

The gold toilet America

Here's arguably 2019's most headline-grabbing theft, a solid gold working toilet, created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan for an installation called America, which was taken by thieves from England's Blenheim Palace in September just days after it had been unveiled to the public. At first some suspected the theft was an elaborate prank concocted by the artist who is famous for his crazy stunts. A reward of £100k ($129k) has been put up for the toilet's safe return.

The gold toilet America

Despite seven people being arrested – all of whom have been released under investigation – the toilet has still not been recovered. As the toilet was plumbed in and fully working, the robbery also caused a significant amount of flooding and damage to the stately home.

Van Dyck’s A Soldier on Horseback and two other artworks

Courtesy Christ Church Picture Gallery

On the night of Saturday 14 March 2020, a painting by renowned artist Anthony Van Dyck was stolen from the Christ Church Picture Gallery at Oxford University, England. A Soldier on Horseback, painted in 1616 and valued at $1.2 million (£1m), was stolen along with A Boy Drinking, Annibale Carraci's painting from 1580 and Salvator Rosa's A Rocky Coast, with Soldiers Studying a Plan, from the 1640s.

Van Dyck’s A Soldier on Horseback and two other artworks

Courtesy Christ Church Picture Gallery

Police responded by saying that a “thorough investigation” was underway to find the artworks, with the gallery closing until further notice. They said there would also be an increased police presence in the area and urged any witnesses to get in touch.

 

Van Gogh’s Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring

Pro Shots Photo Agency/SIPA USA/PA Images

March 2020 was a popular month for art theft, as less than two weeks after the Van Dyck went missing, a Van Gogh vanished from the walls of the Singer Laren Museum in the Netherlands. Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring was taken on 30 March – Van Gogh’s birthday – after thieves smashed their way through the glass door to the gallery in the early hours of the morning and vanished by the time police arrived on the scene.

Van Gogh’s Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring

Vincent van Gogh/Public domain

Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring has an estimated value of €6 million ($7m/£5.5m) and was on loan from the Groninger Museum when it was taken. A full police investigation is still under way to find the painting, while art detective Arthur Brand has the valuable artwork high up on his “to-find” list. 

 

Frans Hals' Two Laughing Boys

ILVY NJIOKIKTJIEN/ANP/AFP/Getty

In the early hours of Thursday 27 August last year, police rushed to the Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden museum in Leerdam, Netherlands after being alerted to the theft of a painting by a Dutch Master. Frans Hals' Two Laughing Boys, which depicts two young men laughing with a mug of beer, had previously been stolen from the same museum in 1988 and 2011. After the first theft in 1988, it took three years to track down the painting, while it took six months to find after the second theft. 

Frans Hals' Two Laughing Boys

ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN/ANP/AFP via Getty Images

Estimated to be worth €15 million ($18m/£12.7m) according to an art expert who spoke to Dutch broadcaster RTL Nieuws, the painting, dating back to 1626, is thought to have been pilfered by thieves who broke in through the back door of the small museum. Police used CCTV and appealed to the public for information, but the investigation is ongoing.

Mary Queen of Scots' rosary beads (and other treasures)

Epics / Contributor / Getty Images

On Friday 21 May, at around 10.30pm local time, a set of rosary beads (pictured) that Mary Queen of Scots carried to her execution in 1587, and gold and silver artefacts including Mary's coronation cups, were stolen from Arundel Castle in West Sussex, England. The stolen items were worth as much as £1 million ($1.4m) in total, although a castle spokesperson described the haul taken by the thieves as "priceless".

Mary Queen of Scots' rosary beads (and other treasures)

David Goddard / Contributor / Getty Images

The thieves are yet to be found, but are thought to have entered Arundel Castle (pictured) through a window and smashed a glass cabinet in order to take the treasures. An abandoned vehicle that had been set alight in the nearby town of Barlavington, about 20 minutes' drive away, has been identified by local police as "linked" to the crime.

Now see some stolen treasures that were sensationally recovered

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Sours: https://www.lovemoney.com/gallerylist/89915/stolen-treasures-still-waiting-to-be-found
The Curse of Civil War Gold: New Evidence at the Bottom of Lake Michigan (Season 2) - History

Graphic rendering of Dutch Schultz’s steel box and its contents. Credit: Yap Films Inc.

Attention, treasure hunters!

Dutch Schultz’s buried fortune isn’t the only hidden treasure still up for grabs. From a missing burlap sack worth $300 million in Virginia to lost Civil War gold in Pennsylvania, here are more buried treasures on the East Coast that have yet to be claimed.


Maine: A pirate’s treasure worth millions 

There’s a small town in Maine that could be the home of a pirate’s buried treasure worth millions of dollars in valuables. It’s believed to have belonged to pirate Samuel Bellamy, who was resting up in the area before making another pirate run when he was captured and hanged in Massachusetts for his crimes. Bellamy never made his way back to the treasure he left in Maine.

Want to learn more? Historians believe the valuables are buried somewhere between Renshaw Point and Old Rim Bridge in Machias Port, Maine. 

Photo courtesy of National Library of Denmark

New York: Nazi loot hidden in the Catskills 

If you’re off hunting for Dutch Schultz’s treasure in the Catskills, it might be wise to check out the town of Liberty, New York as well but you won’t need a shovel for this treasure, just your wit. In 1942, German immigrant and aviation aficionado Otto Hillig’s plane was hijacked by two Nazi spies, but ended in a mid-air struggle leaving the German soldiers dead. Hillig then stole the money they had but didn’t want to keep it, so he hid it and left a set of clues for others to find the money via his trusted assistant. The money still hasn’t been found. 

Want to learn more? Here are the clues that were left by Hillig’s assistant to find the hidden coin. 

New Jersey: Head south for a chance to find a pirate’s buried treasure

Pirate Captain William Kidd is believed to have left a few buried treasure chests near Cape May Point in southern New Jersey. According to the Cape May County website, a captain once claimed he saw a few men head ashore near North Wildwood and return to their ship with a treasure chest, believed to be one of many Kidd hid in the area.  

Want to learn more? Your journey can start here where a few locations have been narrowed down. 

Photo courtesy of Pexels’ David Bartus

Pennsylvania: Lost Civil War gold 

Historical documents, the Union army was moving gold bars to Virginia to pay soldiers but along the way, the gold was lost. According to a piece from the New York Times, there were 52 bars (originally thought to be 26), “with each 14-carat bar weighing 50 pounds, making the trove potentially worth millions of dollars.” In 2018, the FBI received permission to do some digging in an unnamed area but according to reports, nothing was found.

Want to learn more? Check out this from the New York Times on the rumors of this lost trove that’s recently given hope to locals in Pennsylvania.

Photo courtesy of Legends of America

Virginia: A burlap sack worth $300 million 

Confederate ranger Colonel John Singleton Mosby and his band of guerrilla raiders “surprised more than 40 Union troops at the Fairfax Courthouse and overcame them without firing a shot,” according to History.com. Mosby snuck off with a burlap sack filled with gold, silver, jewelry and more, all said to be worth more than $350,000 at the time. Even though Mosby told his men to bury the sack of treasure in the woods, when he sent them back to retrieve it, they were captured. Mosby never went back to retrieve the treasure and didn’t tell anyone else the exact location of the burlap sack buried somewhere in the woods of Fairfax County, Virginia.

Want to learn more? Here’s more information on Mosby’s secret treasure. 

Sours: https://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/blog/gangsters-gold-5-infamous-buried-treasures-still-up-for-grabs/

Treasures found war civil

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Newly released documents obtained by the Associated Press add more pieces to the puzzle. But the location of the gold — if there is any — remains a mystery. 

The Paradas had been looking for the lost gold for years. After they detected an underground hunk of metal with the same density as gold in January 2018, they reached out to the FBI for help digging it out. FBI agents descended upon the wooded area in March 2018 to conduct tests of their own before fully excavating the site. 

The agents said they came up empty handed. 

Still, the Paradas are not convinced. Their lawyer successfully sued to gain access to communications between the FBI and the state's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Those records, provided to the AP, reportedly confirm the FBI was looking for gold, but the feds have long insisted nothing was found. 

According to the records, about two weeks after the dig, Audrey Miner, a lawyer for the DNCR, emailed K.T. Newton, an assistant U.S. attorney in Philadelphia, asking for an update on the FBI investigation. The AP detailed their exchange:

In her reply, Newton told Miner: "For your knowledge only ... we have no other scientific evidence, other than what the excavation had been based on, that any gold is hidden in that area."

Miner emailed back: "I guess you can't come right out and state there is no gold to be found at Dent's Run?"

"Unfortunately, we cannot," the prosecutor replied. 

Emails also showed an exchange in which Miner asked Newton why the gold, if found, would belong to the federal government. Newton said a federal affidavit in the case was sealed and instead offered to "discuss this generally with you on the phone."

During the dig, the Paradas said they were confined to their car and unable to watch the excavation. At the end of the second day, agents escorted them to the site where they saw a large, empty hole in the ground.

William Cluck, a Harrisburg attorney representing the Paradas, previously said the FBI told his clients that a survey they commissioned detected something big buried underground. The involvement of the FBI's Art Crimes Division and the sealing of case documents further raised their suspicions that the feds had removed something when they were not present. 

"They had 50 agents there. ... We have witnesses that they were there all night with armored cars. So, what are we supposed to believe?" Cluck told PennLive in late January. "We are convinced that they found gold." 

The FBI has long denied claims that the agents discovered something during the dig.

“The FBI unequivocally rejects any claims or speculation to the contrary,” a spokesperson told the AP last week.

In October 2019, a Commonwealth Court panel ordered DCNR to provide Cluck the communications pertaining to the FBI's dig at Dent's Run, PennLive reported. The state's Office of Open Records and DCNR had originally rejected Cluck's request. 

In the panel's opinion, Judge P. Kevin Brobson wrote that a federal court order "does not provide any conceivable basis" for not releasing the information on the dig.

The Paradas have sought other treasures too. 

Dennis Parada previously told PhillyVoice that he had determined the likely location of a treasure chest buried in Society Hill, as described by a 300-year-old letter stored at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 

The letter claimed the chest was filled with doubloons, pistoles, reales and pieces of eight — coins associated with pirate tales. But Parada said he never went looking for it because he figured the chest likely was uncovered during years of development. 

Sours: https://www.phillyvoice.com/digging-gold-pa-treasure-hunters-fight-answers-missing-gold-case/
I Just Found A Complete Civil War Cavalry Carbine! - Aquachigger

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