Monthly Archives: May 2016

“WayBack Wednesday” A Look At One Of Your favorites: May 11, 2016


With summer almost on us in the northern hemisphere, how would you like to go on a vacation – have fun and get rich?

Today’s WayBack Wednesday takes you to a treasure that has still not been found. So, get your suitcase packed, grab a thermos, pick, and a shovel and let’s go look for the Lost Ships of the 1715 Spanish Treasure Fleet (Lost Treasures Part 4).

"Spanish Galleon". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons -

“Spanish Galleon”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons –

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This Piece of Treasure May Be Your Financial “Declaration of Independence.”


gold-coins-201

Many of the “lost treasure” stories are much like what people believe about the Titanic. On a scale of 1 to 10, with ten being the case with the strongest favorable evidence, they rank somewhere around a 2 or 3. But people convince themselves that they are a 10. If someone with some expertise, training, or experience in the field tries to help them they do not want to hear it. And their excuses for why the other person is wrong are even sillier than their own reason for believing.

But today I am going to tell you about one treasure hunt where the treasure is real. Just like in any treasure hunt where the treasure is real, there are no maps where “X” marks the spot. No cryptic riddles left in the spine of a dusty old book in the storage of a library or archive, and no deathbed confessions about where the treasure is hidden. Originally, there were 200. In 1949, there were only 14 of these gems known to exist. Since then an additional 12 have been found, with the last one found in 2009. But I get ahead of myself.

John was a typical printer in his time. He lived and worked in Philadelphia. He was a twenty-nine year old Irish immigrant. It was a hot summer day, a Thursday to be exact. He would be closing up his shop and heading home soon. Until two men came in with a rush job they needed printed that very day. It was a big order, about 200 copies, but he set to work. His printing press used lead letters that had to be set up individually and inked. Then the paper would be set in the press. It was a screw type press that had to be hand operated to transfer the ink to the paper one sheet at a time. It took a while to set the typeset. Then the two customers stayed to inspect the prints as they came off, which led to a few minor changes. Making the changes slowed him down. But they accepted and paid for the ones before the changes they would use them too, so that was good. At least he was paid for all the prints.

When John was finished with the order, the customers rushed from the printing office with the announcements. These copies were to be sent out immediately all over the country, from Georgia in the south to New Hampshire in the north. It is this flyer, this announcement, this broadside that is the treasure. If you happen to be lucky enough to come across one of these broadsides printed by John Dunlap it would be worth several million dollars. These Dunlap broadsides were the first copies on the Declaration of Independence, printed on Thursday July 4, 1776. One easy way to tell if you have a Dunlap broadside or a Goddard broadside (the second official printing printed six months later, 9 copies known to be in existence) is the Dunlap does not list the names of the signers – they had not signed it yet because it had only just been approved. The Goddard broadside lists the names of all the signers except Thomas McKean, who in January 1777 had not had an opportunity to sign it yet.

Of the 200 hundred copies, 26 are known to exist. Many of course have been destroyed over the years, but there is no doubt that of the remaining 174 copies a few are still in existence just waiting to be found. Of the 12 found since 1949 one was found with some papers of Thomas Jefferson. One was found on the back of a framed picture and purchase at a junk shop for $4. One was found being used to wrap other documents to protect them, and one was found in the National Archives of the United Kingdom. I can’t tell you where to look, but I can tell you more will be found, so keep your eyes open and just maybe you’ll get a chance to quit your day job.

 

 

The Dunlap Broadside Printed the night of July 4, 1776.

The Dunlap Broadside
Printed the night of July 4, 1776.

 

Goddard Broadside printed January 1777.

Goddard Broadside printed January 1777.

 

There were many different broadsides authorized by the states after the announcement of the declaration more than 15 that are known of. This broadside was authorized and printed in Massachusetts.

There were many different broadsides authorized by the states after the announcement of the declaration more than 15 that are known of. This broadside was authorized and printed in Massachusetts.

 

 

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“WayBack Wednesday” A Look At One Of Your favorites: May 4, 2016


With summer almost on us in the northern hemisphere, how would you like to go on a vacation – have fun and get rich?

Today’s WayBack Wednesday takes you to a treasure that has still not been found. So, get your suitcase packed, grab a map, a thermos, a passport and let’s go look for The Amber Room (Lost Treasures Part 3).

Photograph of the second Amber Room, now on displayed in the Cathrine Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia. Photo credit, Wikipedia.org, public domain.

Photograph of the second Amber Room, now on displayed in the Cathrine Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Photo credit, Wikipedia.org, public domain.

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The Missing Crown Jewels of Russia.


 After the 1917 revolution, Russia's new rulers debated what to do with the crown jewels. This 1925 photo shows the collection. However, a 1922 album at the U.S. Geological Survey includes photos of four items that are not described in the official 1925 inventory. www.usgs.gov


After the 1917 revolution, Russia’s new rulers debated what to do with the crown jewels. This 1925 photo shows the collection. However, a 1922 album at the U.S. Geological Survey includes photos of four items that are not described in the official 1925 inventory.
http://www.usgs.gov

Well after the communist revolution of course the crown jewels of Russia (known as the Diamond Fund) went missing. Right? Well no actually. There was much debate by the communist after they took over. Many saw the Diamond Fund as symbols of exploitation of the people and wanted them sold. But, the curators at the Kremlin in Moscow were able to convince the leaders of the communist revolution that the Diamond Fund had great historical significance saving the jewels. Some minor pieces of the Diamond fund were sold and auction records of the sales have been kept. There was also an official photographic record made of the Diamond Fund which was published in 1925. The book and records of the Kremlin match. So then there are no missing jewels from the Diamond Fund – right? Not so fast.

About a half dozen years ago Richard Huffine, the director of the US Geological Survey Library was in the rare books section when he came across an odd book. This book had no markings on the cover or spine. When they opened it up the title page was an elaborate hand-drawn page. They had the title translated into English “The Diamond Fund.” Now you are saying “so?” This hand-made book was published in 1922, three years before the official book was and it has photographs of four pieces of jewelry (a brooch, necklace, diadem and bracelet) not in the official 1925 edition.

So the USGS Library called in the experts. They found out that the brooch was sold at an auction in London in 1927. No one knows what happened to the other three pieces. The man who originally acquired the book was George Kunz. He was a mineralogist who worked for Tiffany & Co. and in the 1890’s he traveled extensively in Russia.

Another expert brought in was historian Igor Zimin, (head of the history department at the St. Petersburg State Medical University). He is skeptical of the book though because it was dated in 1922 and the first official photographic inventory of the Diamond Fund was taken in 1925. If you would like to see photographs of the missing pieces and learn more about this remarkable 1922 book you can go to the USGS website.

 

Photo of Russian royal regalia on display in the Kremlin Armoury, Moscow, photograph taken August 2003 by Stan Shebs

Photo of Russian royal regalia on display in the Kremlin Armoury, Moscow, photograph taken August 2003 by Stan Shebs

 

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