Amazing Treasures Found by Accident

Amazing Treasures Found by Accident

August 28, 2019 100 By Luis Garrison


– [Narrator] Treasures
are found all the time, from ancient artifacts
to modern masterpieces. But most of the time they’re
only discovered after extensive research and exploration, by people specifically
trying to track them down. Occasionally though,
treasures can be found completely by accident, and in some cases, these are some of the greatest finds that are ever uncovered. Here are the stories of the top 10 most amazing treasures
to be found by accident. (playful music) Number 10, the world’s largest pearl. We’ve all stored objects
under our beds at some point, but for one fisherman
from the Philippines, there was more than just pocket change beneath his furniture. In 2006 he was out in his boat when his anchor got
caught on a giant clam. He had to swim down to release it, and in a great twist of fate,
he found a giant pearl inside. Thinking it was an omen of good luck, he kept it under his bed and
didn’t think any more of it. That was until he needed to
move houses 10 years later, and gave the pearl to his aunt. She asked if she could offer it to the mayor of the town to put it on display, and that’s when the extreme value of this find came to light. The pearl is one foot wide, 2.2 feet long, and weighs a staggering 75 pounds. Further tests are needed, but if the pearl was indeed formed inside a giant clam, it’s thought to be worth
almost $100 million. Number nine, Uncle Sam diamond. The Crater of Diamonds
State Park in Arkansas attracts visitors from all
around the world for one reason. If you’re lucky, you might
just find yourself a diamond. The unique geography of
the area combined with sporadic rainfall means
that they quite often rise to the surface for anyone to find. The area is one of the only
diamond sites in the world that is open to the public. And if you find one, it’s
yours to do with as you wish. In total, more than 75,000
diamonds are thought to have been found in the park since 1906. And the most impressive one of all became known as the Uncle Sam diamond. It was found by W.O. Basham in 1924, and at a weight of 40.23 carats, remains the largest to ever
be found in the United States. In 1971 the cut diamond sold
for the equivalent of $880,000. So with many more out there to be found, it’s probably time to visit Arkansas. Number eight, Atari Games landfill. Nowadays Atari is not
at the top of the list when you think of important
video game developers. But back in the 80s they
were at the cutting edge of the industry. Games like Asteroids and
Centipede sold in their masses. But there was an urban legend that Atari ended up dumping a large
number of cartridges, most notably copies of the ET video game, which after only 34 days of development is often referred to as
being the worst video game in history, and a contributing
factor to Atari’s downfall. Collectors will now pay a lot
of money for these cartridges. In 2014 Joe Lewandowski, the
owner of the refuse company that disposed of the cartridges in a New Mexico landfill site, came across some old records
of where the games were buried. To prove the legend to be true, he invested more than
$50,000 into the retrieval, and subsequently was able to sell them around the world for almost $108,000. Number seven, the Dead Sea scrolls. There are so many unexplored
places in the world that you can never be sure quite when the next amazing find will be made. One of the most important discoveries ever took place in 1946, near the Dead Sea. Fragments of writing had previously been found all around the area, but in November of that year, a group of Bedouin shepherds
stumbled across a cave that contained seven scrolls inside jars. Further investigation led
to a network of caves, each of which contained similar artifacts that have since become known
as the Dead Sea scrolls. It’s still not clear who
made or stored the writings, with the leading theory suggesting they were from a sect of
Jews called the Essenes, who lived a nearby Qumran. They’re all religious texts, and had been dated to
more than 2000 years old, and are written in four
different languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Nabataean. Most significantly,
they’re by far the oldest Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible
that have ever been found, and there’s a suspicion that there are many more still waiting to be unearthed. Number six, valuable artworks. Next time you look
through a storage locker, it’s worth keeping an eye
out for anything unusual, because you may just be
holding onto something that’s worth far more than
you could possibly imagine. Forgotten artworks are
often found in this way, and have the potential
to change your life. In 2016, a French family was carrying out renovation works to their leaky roof. While moving objects out of their attack, they found a Caravaggio painting, thought to be worth $150 million. This was called Judith
Beheading Holofernes. It was one of the artist’s
most important works, and the discovery was described
as a momentous occasion in European art history. Elsewhere, in 1999, the
Museum of Fine Arts in Houston paid $1.25 million for
Magnolias on Gold Velvet Cloth by Martin Johnson Heade,
a 19th Century artist. This particular painting had been used to cover a hole in a contractor’s home, and he only realized it might be valuable when playing the board game Masterpiece, that featured an image of it. After making inquiries,
the sale was soon made, and he was able to finally cover up the hole in the wall properly. Number five, the Rosetta Stone. The Rosetta Stone is one
of the most important artifacts that has ever been found, and was vital in learning how to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs. Towards the end of the
Ancient Egyptian empire, Greek was the language spoken
by the elite in society, and Ptolemy V commissioned the stone as a piece of political propaganda that was written in
both Greek and Egyptian. After the fall of the Egyptians, the stone was buried,
and it was only in 1799 that it was found again as a captain during the Napoleonic Wars
oversaw the restoration of an old fort near the
small town of Rosetta, where it was discovered. At first it was unclear quite
how significant the find was, but scholars began to
study the etchings in 1814, and soon began to unlock the
mysteries of Ancient Egypt. Number four, Chinese bowl. Garage sales are another place that valuable items can be found, and one New York family
hit the jackpot in 2007. They were looking for a bowl
to place on a mantelpiece as a decoration, and paid
three dollars for one with a Chinese design that was just a little over five
inches in diameter. They were curious though,
and consulted with experts about its origin, soon
discovering that it was a 1,000 year old Ding bowl
from the Northern Song Dynasty. The only other known of
which had been on display in the British Museum
for more than 60 years. It had a fine, near-white body,
with an ivory colored glaze. And is a beautiful example of
the pottery from that time. The family took it to an
auction house, Sotheby’s, with an estimate of up to $300,000. But it finally sold for
a massive 2.2 million after a Chinese antiques collector fended off a number of
other interested bidders. Number three, secret stash of comics. In 2011 Michael Roura of
Virginia began the task of clearing out his recently
deceased great aunt’s home. It was a tough time for him,
but as he sifted through her belongings he made a spectacular find, a collection of more than 345 comic books. It was an amazing stash
that had been put together by his great uncle, and included rarities, such as Action Comics number one, which featured the first
appearance of Superman, and Batman number one from 1940. Within the collection were 44 of the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide’s list of the top 100 books from
the golden age of comics, between the late 30s and 40s. As an avid fan, he read through the ones that piqued his interest, and
then put them all up for sale. Most of them sold almost immediately, some for as much as $523,000. And in total, the entire collection raised about $3.5 million. Number two, the terracotta army. Farmers from the small
Xi’an village in China were out one day in 1974, when
they accidentally discovered one of the most important
finds in archeological history. They were attempting to dig a water well, and on the fifth day of their work their excavator pulled out a
life-size terracotta warrior. They thought it was a pottery god, so they kept digging for water, and found further artifacts
like bronze arrows and pieces of more warriors. It was at this time that the discovery was reported to local authorities, and full scale excavations begun. Since then, a total of
three pits have been found as part of a large necropolis. And more than 8,000
soldiers, 130 chariots, and 670 horses are thought to be there, although most remain buried because of the risk of damaging them. They’re believed to have been
made about 2300 years ago, and depict the armies of Qin Shi Huang, who was the first emperor of China. The area is now a World Heritage site, and it’s still not entirely clear how large the collection is, or what the true purpose behind
the life-size statues are. They represent a huge amount of work by more than 700,000 people. Each warrior is unique,
and seemingly based on the actual soldiers of the time. And even the horses are
individual to each other. Some accounts suggest that this was the final resting place of the emperor, where was buried surrounded by vast cities and more than 100 rivers
of flowing mercury. With traces of mercury having been found in the surrounding soil, there could be a much larger discovery just waiting to be found. Number one, Hanuman Dhoka Palace treasure. In 2011, workers began
renovations on Hanuman Dhoka, a former 16th Century
royal palace in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. The dilapidated building urgently
needed restoration works, but no one could have expected
what would be uncovered. The palace covers a space
of more than five acres, and while they were
inspecting the foundations, they found three boxes of treasure hidden within a store room. In total, the treasure
weighed more than 661 pounds, and contained coins and
ornaments in tribute to the gods. The first box was opened
and was found to contain gold and silver, worth about $233,334. The other two were stored
for further investigation. The site is steeped in history, and it’s thought that
there are far more secrets to be unearthed across the site. There are, for example, a
series of treasure houses on the site that have
so far not been opened because of their fragile state. They’re clouded in
mystery, and could contain invaluable treasures once
they’re finally explored. The political troubles in that region have made this process difficult, but they’re hoping to be
able to fully understand what lies there as soon
as their efforts continue. Which discovery did you
think was most amazing? And what’s the best
treasure you’ve ever found? Let me know in the comments section below. Thanks for watching. (melodic music)