RSS Feed
  1. Where To Now?

    April 20, 2014 by Melissa Shallcross




    Well, since this is my last “passion” post relating to all things treasure, I figure I should leave you with a few television shows that will continue to show you the great thrill of the hunt. Of course there are so many out there on History Channel and Discovery Channel that I love to watch. It’s amazing to see the kinds of things that people can find all over the country, where they find them, and especially how they came across them. I’ll give you a little synopsis of a few I’ve watched many times.

    Auction Hunters

    Auction Hunters

    – Auction Hunters – This show gives “treasure hunting” a different perspective. The stars of the show, Allen and Ton, travel around the country in search for storage unit auctions. When a person with a storage unit doesn’t pay their rent for a set amount of time, their unit can go up for auction to the public. The trick to these auctions, though, is that they don’t always know what’s actually in the unit, what they’re bidding on. Usually the auctioneer will give the crowd a few minutes for everyone to get a look at the unit. However, they aren’t allowed to touch anything. So behind that gigantic dirty old couch could be pirate’s treasure chest – or nothing. Allen and Ton are experienced and use clues of the objects they can see and judge what else the person could have hid inside the unit. You’d be surprised what some people have!


    American Pickers

    – American Pickers – Mike and Frank are a duo of “pickers” who travel the country and love to get down and dirty looking for valuable antiques and collectibles in people’s own collections and junk yards. While they find so many great treasures on the show and make a pretty good profit, one of my favorite things about this show is the people they run into on the show. Usually the people they find have such unique stories of how they got involved in “picking” and their personalities are almost always just as unique. The people can be seen as treasures themselves.


    Antiques Roadshow

    – The Antiques Roadshow – I grew up with The Antiques Roadshow on PBS, so obviously it’s my favorite. The Antique Roadshow is a traveling group of antique appraisers who travel the United States and who welcome anyone to bring their antique belongings to be analyzed by professionals. I don’t know if there’s a permanent group of appraisers that travel the country or not, but I do know they have appraisers who specialize in certain areas of cultures and arts in different areas they travel to. Whether the guest has an idea of what their item is worth – or even an idea of what their item is – or not, the appraisers on The Antique Roadshow always seem to figure out just how much it’s worth and explain the history of each.


    I’ve seen just about everything on the collection of antique and collectibles shows I watch. It’s amazing what people find and how something can be worth millions of dollars and was just found in the closet. So, I hope this little list will open you up to a world of antiques and treasures that will continue my stories of the thrill of treasure hunting. Enjoy!


    Works Cited:

  2. Good or Bad?

    April 11, 2014 by Melissa Shallcross

    I would like to continue with the belief that some people share that multiculturalism is indeed more harmful than helpful. Many people, especially in the U.S., seem to believe that multiculturalism is a good way to make everybody equal and feel included in the community. However, there are those who believe that making everyone feel equal to each other is in fact threatening our way of life. One article I have found, written in 2012 by Clifford D May, a journalist for the National Review Online, analyzes the negative side of multiculturalism.

    May begins his article by recalling an event years ago when he was a newspaper columnist. A local group approached he and the paper he worked for asking for support in their editorial section for a program they ran that supported the celebration of multiculturalism. Seemingly, this is where his opinions on the issue began to form. He and the paper denied the group’s request, not understanding why they would want to celebrate multiculturalism. He recalls thinking, “Would it not be better to celebrate all the things we have in common, all the things that unite Americans of whatever ethnic or religious backgrounds?”

    Afterwards, he realized the group’s idea of multiculturalism had been merely to spread the appreciation of different cultural arts and food. However, as he thought more about the idea, he realized there were deeper results and consequences that encouraging multiculturalism meant. Specifically, he realized beneath the superficial ideas of learning about diverse cultures and accepting them for who they are, the U.S.’s own culture and ideologies were being threatened.

    How so? Well, May explains that multiculturalism hinders assimilation and integration. Well, that’s what multiculturalism is, isn’t it? Or is it not supposed to be people refusing to integrate and adjust to their new home, but rather just recognizing and spreading the appreciation? His opinions on the issue, as you will see, stem from his perception that multiculturalism is actually about completely preserving your heritage and lifestyle. This perception is different than mine, and makes me question if a big issue of multiculturalism actually stems from the perceptions and expectations of everyone involved. Think about it as I continue to explain May’s ideas.

    One negative effect of multiculturalism that May explains is the idea that “by emphasizing collective identities and group rights, and by pushing for equality of results rather than equality of opportunity, multiculturalism undermines individual freedom and devalues the Western cultures that have nurtured and defended it.” This is interesting to me. Do you think that multiculturalism, in whatever stage it is in throughout different regions of the U.S., that celebrating and recognizing other cultures and ethnicities devalues Western culture? I feel like this opinion can be looked at in different ways. Does this mean U.S. citizens’ values and ideas are being slowly pushed down by the increasing number of immigrants and cultures flooding in? And overall, do the majority of immigrants who do come to America truly want to preserve their cultural identity like we seem to assume they do? Do no immigrants come to America and want to assimilate into our culture? I feel like this is an issue within the issue that may need a little more attention.

    Another negative effect May points to about multiculturalism, and that many other people have pointed to since September 1, 2001, is the fear of terrorists. Since the fateful day about thirteen years ago, our culture seems to have picked up a generally negative connotation with people from the Middle East. I cannot imagine how hard it must be for many immigrants from the Middle East who are truly trying to live peacefully and undisturbed in the U.S. However, this brings me to the issue May points to, that increasing U.S. citizens’ tolerance of multiculturalism increases the chance of terrorists taking advantage of this tolerance and infiltrating the U.S. on malignant terms. I do believe this could be a problem, but I feel for those innocent ones who suffer from prejudice against Middle Easterners. This is obviously an issue, both the problem of creating a society more vulnerable to terrorist attacks and the problem of innocent immigrants being judged because of their cultural background, which is what multiculturalism is against.

    Obviously there is much debate out there about the idea of multiculturalism, not only in the U.S., but around the world. What do you think, what does a society centered around multiculturalism truly mean? And do the negative effects outweigh the positive ones?


    Works Cited:

  3. To Europe!

    April 10, 2014 by Melissa Shallcross

    One thing about Europe that I am very jealous of is its age. Castles and ruins and old churches, from the middle ages to the Roman era and beyond. You can’t find any of that in the United States, which was only settled a few hundred years ago. The U.S. is like a baby compared to its older brother Europe.

    Greater age means older relics – and more relics – to find. Sure, every once in a while in America someone will stumble upon some impressive discovery of a stash of coins from the eighteen hundreds or old wartime relics buried in battlefields. But Europe’s rich history over thousands of years of occupancy has created so much culture and so many diverse stories, all waiting to be told through a relic lifted from the ground. Not just two hundred-year old coins and old belt buckles from the U.S. Civil War, but things like ancient Roman coins and relics from biblical times!

    Imagine living on a piece of land that has been occupied for thousands of years! For all you know, if you live in Europe, your house could be sitting on an ancient burial ground from the Black Death or the site of an old Renaissance era house that burned down. Here in the U.S., I’d be happy finding an old wartime souvenir or a coin from the 1800’s, because I know the U.S. hasn’t had all that much time to gather enough history to provide a ton artifacts than those few hundred years. (Granted, I know there’s history from the Native Americans, but in the long run, I believe Europe still provides a more diverse and historic treasure trove.)

    Let’s look at some of the things people have found in the last several decades in the old land of Europe.


    <—- Anglo-Saxon gold, from war items to crosses and a strip of engraved gold with a biblical inscription on it (pictured at left) were all found by a metal detector hobbyist in Staffordshire, England. In 2009, this man, Terry Herbert, went metal detecting in a field and found and excavated over 500 artifacts before contacting professionals, who then excavated another 800 pieces. This is said to be one of the best archaeological Anglo-Saxon finds ever, with its contents dating all the way from the 7th century. Go find that in America.




    Talk about luck! At only 3 years old, James Hyatt dug up an amazing treasure in Hockley, Essex, ——-> England. After only a few minutes of holding the metal detector in the field, as James recalls, “I was holding the detector and it went beep, beep, beep. Then we dug into the mud. There was gold there. We didn’t have a map – only pirates have treasure maps.” How insanely adorable is this equally insanely lucky kid? It is believed that what they found is a reliquary (a locket holding a religious relic) dating back to the 16th century, around the time of Henry VIII.


    Well, I’ve run out of room… but if you want to see more insane treasures found by ordinary people in Europe (… well it seems I’ve focused on Britain) then check out this article which talks about another discovery of ancient Celtic silver coins found in England and has a list of several other significant finds!


    Works Cited:

  4. Saddle Ridge Hoard

    April 4, 2014 by Melissa Shallcross

    Hunting for world coins in antique shops and just collecting them on my travels is definitely exciting to me, but the idea of going out and searching for old coins on a dive or out on old land with a metal detector sounds like so much more fun!  Although my dad used to go scuba diving on old wrecks all the time years ago and I would love to learn how, I really don’t think scuba diving is fit for me. I’d be too afraid of there being an accident and the ocean isn’t a very forgiving place. Plus, I don’t live that close to the shore, so scuba diving for coins doesn’t seem to be an option for me.

    Diving for treasure

    Diving for Treasure

    Metal detecting for coins on a place rich with history, like near a battlefield or on an old settlement, would be super exciting! I have a metal detector and we’ve used it before on the beach. Found a Kentucky state quarter – not quite what I was hoping for. Once again, I don’t live near any place of such historical importance to be able to just go out and find something really old. So I’ll stick to the metal detecting the few times in the summer I do end up on the beach.

    But do you really need to be near the ocean or an old battlefield to find something really cool? Apparently not! About a month ago, the media caught wind of the story of a couple in California who stumbled on the find of a lifetime. Last February, while walking their dog on their property in Northern California, the middle-aged couple, who have asked to remain anonymous, noticed an old can sticking out of the ground. Curious, they dug it out, and seven others like it.

    What they found in those eight cans is considered by the couple’s representative, veteran numismatist Don Kagin, to be one of the

    Saddle Ridge Hoard

    Saddle Ridge Hoard

    largest coin discoveries of the kind in the U.S. What makes the Saddle Ridge Hoard such an amazing find is the near mint condition of the 1,427 gold coins dated from the 1840s and 1850s. With a face value of about $27,000, this load of coins is estimated to be worth over $10 million because of the rarity of its age and condition. Some are so rare they’re valued at about one million dollars a piece. Why are these coins so rare? Well, until the 1880s, California had banned the use of paper money, so coins from before then were usually well worn and few were intentionally preserved. Check this article and video here to hear more about the treasure.

    Graded Saddle Ridge Coin

    Graded Saddle Ridge Coin

    No one knows the real story behind these coins, why they were taken freshly-minted stored in cans buried in the ground. One theory is that in the 1850s or so, the person who buried these coins did so because they mistrusted banks at the time and buried them as their own security measure.

    Whatever may be the true story behind the coins, the point is, an ordinary couple in California found a huge treasure in their own backyard. They didn’t need scuba gear or metal detectors (initially at least), all they needed was an observant eye and a curious mind. We don’t have to be insane treasure hunters like Indiana Jones, we can just be ordinary – maybe with a little more luck than most people, but ordinary overall.

    P.S. – Did I mention the finders are planning on selling most of the coins on Amazon?





    Works Cited:

  5. Britain Multiculturalism

    March 28, 2014 by Melissa Shallcross

    Most of my posts about multiculturalism have focused either on the US specifically or on multiculturalism in general – different types of metaphors fitting for the US and how our country and our education system has been increasingly encouraging of students to gain a global perspective on life. However, I began wondering about the multicultural societies of countries besides the US. Usually we think of how the US is the classic “melting pot” (whether we still agree with that metaphor or not). Immigrants from different regions coming to America during certain time periods – British, Japanese, Mexican – usually involving some conflict with assimilation between the natives and newcomers.

    But I have not thought much about multiculturalism when it comes to other countries? Are there other countries that have issues with multiculturalism in their society, school systems, or cultural combinations in general? So, I’ve decided to expand my focus and search through some other countries and see if there are any similarities or differences that maybe we can learn from each other on – how different countries cope with different issues and just to see what different views there are out there on similar subjects.

    I have begun my search with Britain, our arguably closest relatives. I stumbled upon a recent article of a political figure in Britain expressing his thoughts on multiculturalism; apparently it is a controversial issue outside of the US, too. First, I’d like to state that I am unfamiliar with British politics and general societal standards, so I will relying on the information I take from this article (found here).

    In this article, shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve, a political figure in Britain, portrays the downside of what seems to be a British leniency towards assimilating cultures. This struck me a little. Usually, as we discuss multiculturalism here in the US, it is usually our society and school systems encouraging the mix of cultures and teaching our new generations about heritages and traditions. Usually, the US views multiculturalism in a positive light. However, here I found an argument against it.

    Grieves expresses his concern that Britain’s apparent openness to allowing new immigrants to settle in their country has created a sort of “cultural despair” within the country. He argues that British natives and new immigrants with such different cultural backgrounds trying to live harmoniously together, or next door, or in the same area, creates a type of rift in the portrayed values of the country. What are the values of a country whose inhabitants are increasingly being made up of completely different values? Do the values of the natives remain? Or do you adjust the set values as the population changes? What even are the “set values”?

    What made me truly ponder the possible positive vs. negative views of multiculturalism was Grieves’ view on changing these values: “In the name of trying to prepare people for some new multicultural society we’ve encouraged people, particularly the sort of long-term inhabitants, to say ‘well your cultural background isn’t really very important’.”

    This started me thinking about how each party of a conflicting society views not only their new neighbor’s values, but also their own. The people who support multiculturalism, how do they feel about the possibility of downplaying their own culture in order to make room for another? What about those who do not support multiculturalism? Does one culture actually get harmed from the attempted mixing or interspersing of cultural values?

    One other issue Grieves raised in the article was the apparent issue of multiculturalism in Britain not being successful on account of the citizens themselves, both the natives and the immigrants. Although admitting that multiculturalism is a goodhearted try to make everyone feel welcome, he uses the metaphor of the ideal “melting pot” to explain how it tends to fail: “The idea behind it was [to] create the melting pot. But the melting pot needs the ingredients of people’s confidence in themselves as they come together. And if it isn’t there I think we’ve done ourselves huge damage.” This is very interesting. Do you think multiculturalism in America is failing or succeeding? And how are the citizens’ attitudes towards it creating this outcome?

    As you can see, hearing the opinions of people from different countries on similar topics can truly conjure up different thoughts you may not have considered before, whether that be about multiculturalism or anything else entirely. These were just a few things this article got me thinking about. I am interested to see the other opinions from people with different backgrounds and cultural values as I continue searching next time.


  6. Shark Tooth Hunting

    March 28, 2014 by Melissa Shallcross

    Let me tell you about something I think is an interesting and unique kind of treasure hunt: shark tooth hunting. Sounds funny! What do you do? Go to a shark infested part of a beach and look for teeth scattered along the shore like you’d normally find shells? Well, I guess you could find some place like that, but there’s at least one place I know of where you don’t have to be afraid for your life when you wade into the water – well, sort of, but I’ll get to that later.

    So, where can you find shark teeth besides at the ocean, you ask? How about a bay? Oh trust me, bays are full of sharks. We love to sit out and watch the not so little dorsal fins break the water in Delaware where we go camping. But most of the shark teeth I’m talking about aren’t from the little fins you see swimming out in the water.

    When I was in elementary school, my family took a vacation out to a place called Calvet Cliffs State Park in Maryland, right off the

    Chesapeake Bay. The park is open for anyone to enjoy, with miles of hiking trails, great fishing spots, and sandy beaches – everything set up for a nice weekend trip. But the one unique aspect of the park that makes it unlike any you can find in, say, Pennsylvania, is its supply of fossils lying in the shallow water and in the sand, waiting for anyone to stumble upon.

    According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website, over 600 species of fossils have been identified at Calvet Cliffs State Park. Most of these fossils are anywhere between ten to twenty million years old, stored there during the Miocene era. Last week I mentioned my treasured coin from 1821. That doesn’t nearly compare to picking something out of the dirt that has never been seen by any other human or just about any type of living being for millions of years!

    Walking along the shore is certainly a way to stumble upon fossils, anywhere from Miocene era oyster shells to shark teeth, but if you really want to hunt for this treasure, you’ll want to grab a sieve and shovel and wade out into the shallow murky waters of the bay. There, with a few little scoops, you’re destined to find tons of shark teeth, anywhere from a half inch long to over four inches long!

    As I mentioned before, though, you do need to be careful when you’re out hunting, at least at Calvet Cliff State Park. Visitors aren’t allowed to hunt under the cliffs to the side of the beach because of the danger of landslides. Of course, my personal bad experience there wasn’t from falling rocks, but rather jellyfish… SO, just remember you’re sharing the water, just being a guest in the bay creatures’ home! As you may think, our trip to the state park was cut short, but I have plans to go back this summer! If you love the thrill of the hunt and are nearby in Maryland, stop by Calvert Cliff State Park and find yourself some multimillion-year-old shark teeth!


    Works Cited:

  7. Coins Galore

    March 21, 2014 by Melissa Shallcross

    Find me in an antique store, and I’ll probably stay there til I’m an antique myself. There’s just something about walking around, searching through piles of treasures, from paintings to old toys and classic soda machines, that gets me so entranced. No doubt this hobby of going to antique stores stemmed from my grandfather and his garage that I talked about before. And my parents love to go through antique stores, too. My absolute favorite things to hunt for in an antique store, though, are coins. World coins, to be exact.

    I get a thrill from finding a box full of world coins sitting in a glass cabinet at an antique store. My favorite shop I go to over in Lancaster, PA has boxes and boxes full of world coins, starting at fifty cents a piece. Now, honestly, I don’t go hunting through these coins like an expert or anything. I’m not researching the years and mint date of coins from tons of different countries. I’m not really looking to find a jackpot of a coin, something worth hundreds of dollars, although that can be nice sometimes. What I look for in those old wooden, dirty boxes labeled $.50 is beauty and history.

    The feeling I get from picking up a coin from another country, another century, is completely indescribable. The idea that I can hold a piece of history and culture that survived both the World Wars, or kept itself in pristine condition after a century and a half, or depicts someone once infamous or not fully remembered, is amazing to me. My sister shares my passion for collecting world coins, and I can tell she thinks I’m crazy for picking out old, dented coins with holes drilled into them and the wording and etchings barely readable. But the thing is, I feel myself holding so much personal history in those coins. How did it get to be like this? Who drilled into the coin? Were they making a necklace? Was this a prized possession of theirs?

    Of course, I don’t just love those worn out coins. As with all of my world coins, I love to think about how they could have gotten to be where they are now, sitting in my hand at an old antique shop in the middle of PA. One of my favorite coins is one of the oldest I own, from 1821. It’s almost 2 centuries old! And it’s from South America! How could this old coin have possibly survived this long and how did it get here? I love to think about all of that.

    However, one of my favorite things about world coins is the culture you can see. Different etchings of royal seals and national animals and so many different languages and styles and calendars. Different thicknesses and edges, various symbols and materials. I could sit and stare at my coin collection forever. Researching my coins is so intriguing, finding out the political and historical background of when the coin was born.

    Even though most of my coins probably don’t cost any more than what I paid for them, they’re still valuable treasures to me.  And hey, you never know, one day I might stumble upon a coin in the $.50 box that’s worth hundreds and hundreds of dollars! You never know, and that’s just one aspect of the thrill of the hunt!

  8. Global Minds

    March 7, 2014 by Melissa Shallcross

    At what point in our lives, if any, are we pushed to explore multiculturalism? Obviously it depends on where a person grows up; whether they have Latino or Italian parents, but live in America, or live in a family all born and raised in America. In general, though, when does our society push for students to expand their knowledge of their world outside of their school, hometown, and even country? In this day and age, I believe kids are always being exposed to the many cultures of the world.

    In elementary school, we begin to learn about cultures in social studies and special event days. I know Girl Scouts teaches girls about other cultures through badge workshops and thinking days. Nowadays, a lot of elementary schools in America are teaching Spanish! As students get older, in middle and high school, they are required to take classes that go further in depth about cultures and the world growing around us. My school offered classes like Global Cultures and Human Geography. Furthermore, it’s becoming a requirement for students now to take several years of a language in order to advance on into colleges and universities.

    I believe America, and many other countries as well, are focused on building a student’s global perspective. We as a society have realized that the most successful people are those who have experience with different cultures. They have first-hand knowledge of interacting with people that hold different values, have various ways of thinking, and unique political and societal situations.

    Since coming to Penn State, I have heard many times phrases like “global minds”, “global perspectives”, “cultural differences”. Striving to learn about cultures by no means ends when a student leaves their high school language and history courses. If anything, colleges and universities, especially Penn State, are where students truly get experience with other cultures.

    I came to Penn State from a rural area of Pennsylvania that didn’t have much variety when it came to how people lived. We were pretty much all the same, typical, American, rural/suburban people. The few exchange students we received every year was the only real chance we got to see and learn about other cultures from someone firsthand. Coming to Penn State and recognizing the global reach it had and the many foreign students here was a bit of a culture shock to me. Not that it surprised me. I’ve learned so much being here just from my interactions with foreign friends.

    Penn State supplies so many opportunities for students to gain a global conscience, and I know other colleges are similar. Penn State’s College of Engineering greatly supports students who are training to become “World Class Engineers”, as they put it. In my first semester course of honors engineering design, our class was teamed up with students in Morocco to collaborate on a project. We learned so much from each other and our different lives, and I’m still in touch with my teammates overseas.

    The College of Engineering also provides a course called “Introduction to Cross-Cultural Communication for Engineers”, which I am currently enrolled in. The goal of the course is to further open engineering students’ minds to cultural differences and how they effect communications and prepare them for interacting with overseas partners during business and/or to prepare them for a study abroad.

    Studying abroad may have the most impact on a student’s true experience and knowledge of other cultures. College and universities everywhere push their students to experience at least one study abroad during their studies, more so now than ever. It used to be that the only students that went on a study abroad were liberal arts students. Now, however, students in the sciences are encouraged more than ever to go abroad, too. The College of Engineering even has its own global programs office!

    As I take full advantage of Penn State’s amazing resources and research into study abroad programs, I find it easily notable that it’s not just America pushing towards a global perspective. After all, other countries have students who need to learn to interact with the different cultures of the world, too. It takes two people to have a conversation, and the world has realized that the students of today need to be trained for the business of tomorrow. And that is one with a global perspective.

  9. From Old Garages to Treasure Hunting

    March 6, 2014 by Melissa Shallcross

    Picture a garage full of miscellaneous items; old gardening tools piled in the corners, a spattering of different state license plates hanging from the ceiling, and a stack of old Life magazines by the tool chest. Piles upon piles of scrap metal and bolts and tools fill the garage, with a wide line of “junk” outlining where the underbelly of a small silver car sits. The only part of the old concrete floor you can see is when the car is gone, where two tire tracks remain.

    This is my grandfather’s garage. Whenever we traveled to my grandparents’ house, my favorite thing to do was go down to the basement or out to the garage and sift through all the rusted treasures. My grandfather’s passion for collecting unique, old items, it seems, has been passed down to me. As the years went by, the thrill of the hunt for something unique in that old garage grew to a passion for collecting coins and gemstones. For this post, I’m going to focus on those vibrant, gleaming gems that every girl loves. But they can be a guy’s best friend, too, when it comes to their value.

    When it comes to finding treasures, gemstone hunting is probably the most accessible to anyone and everyone. My first experience gem stone hunting was back in elementary school. It was at one of those many sites where you bought a bucket of dug up dirt and rocks and sift through little bits at a time and keep what you think looks anything like a valuable gem. And just because you’re not going out into some ditch somewhere and digging up the gravel yourself doesn’t mean you don’t find anything. Believe it or not, the businesses that do this usually don’t search through the gravel before giving them to out to customers. We found loads of gems from that one day, some slightly invaluable, but others worth well enough to pay off the buckets we bought.

    What I’m getting at is that you don’t have to be a world traveler or a trained scuba diver to find treasures. You just have to go to the right places. I’ve seen those gem businesses everywhere from state parks to local hometown attractions.

    But if you want to go for the big bucks, there are specific places here in the U.S. that are hot spots for gem hunters. The Travel Channel has a great list of these places, and I’ve been to a few! If diamonds are what you’re looking for, try the perfectly named Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arizona. Believe it or not, this is the only place in the world where the public can go to search for diamonds and can keep what they find.


    Here’s a quick list of where to go to find other precious gems that fit your taste!

    – Emeralds – Emerald Hollow Mine, North Carolina

    – Opals – Bonanza Opal mine, Nevada (Opals are my favorite!)

    – GOLD – Roaring Camp, California

    – Turquoise – Royston Mine, Nevada


    So, if you’re a treasure enthusiast like me, but don’t have scuba diving training or aren’t an expert in hunting for precious gems, you can always find a place to go. Local or at least within the U.S., there are tons of places to find those precious gems. Good luck and happy hunting!


    Works Cited:

  10. The Atocha

    February 27, 2014 by Melissa Shallcross


    Pirates. Hurricanes. Treasure. Royal fleets. Sounds like a telling of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic, Treasure Island. Although I

    would absolutely love to talk about my love of the old world novel, this story requires us to jump forward a few centuries from the time of Jim Hawkins to the more recent period of Mel Fisher. Have you heard his name before? Maybe you have. He’s a world famous treasure hunter. But unlike most treasure hunters these days, he definitely hit the mother lode.

    Off the coast of the Florida Keys, about 55 feet under water, lies the wreck of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha. If Mel Fisher doesn’t ring any bells, does that? The Atocha was a Spanish Galleon, a huge ship that transported gold, silver, and other pricey royal goods from the new colonies of the Americas back to Spain. Way back in the year 1622, this galleon met with the rest of it 28-vessel Spanish fleet in Havan, Cuba, carrying goods with a total worth of about two million pesos. With several unexpected delays and a report of an enemy Dutch fleet nearby, the Marquis of the fleet was forced to split his fleet into two groups and begin sailing back to Spain with a heightened fear of pirate raids and in the heart of hurricane season.

    Well, you can imagine what happened next. The fleet took a beating by a hurricane soon after leaving port. Twenty of the fleet’s twenty-eight vessels pushed past the hurricane and were thrown out into clear, calm water, where they continued on their way home. The other eight weren’t so lucky, among which was the Atocha. Being thrust into the dangerous reefs of the Florida Keys, the Atocha was ripped apart.

    Over $700 million of treasure was laid to rest in the hull of the Atocha alone. That is, until about 363 years later, when the location of the wreck was found. This brings us to our famous treasure hunter, Mel Fisher. In 1985, after over fifteen years of searching, starting each day with his famous optimistic motto “today’s the day”, Mel’s “Golden Crew” hit the mother lode. His website paints a picture of the discovery: “Thousands of artifacts, silver coins, gold coins, many in near mint condition, period and earlier amazing Spanish objects and wares, exquisite jewelry set with precious stones, gold chains, disks, a variety of armaments and even seeds (which later sprouted!) were recovered.”

    Mel Fisher’s determination and lifelong dreams inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island had finally paid off. With the work he contributed, up to his unfortunate passing in 1998, and the continuing work of his crew and business mainly run by his children, over $400 million of the $700 million has been salvaged and preserved from the Atocha.

    1715 Fleet 8 Reales Silver Coin, Grade 2 with 14K Mount $2,025.00

    1715 Fleet 8 Reales Silver Coin, Grade 2 with 14K Mount

    With that said, over $300 million of the gold awaits to be discovered at the bottom of the sea off the coast of the Florida Keys.

    Spread out over a 50-mile stretch, the treasure can still be salvaged today. If you are an experienced diver and want to take a shot at finding sunken treasure, the Mel Fisher crew offers to take people out on the wreck to help find the treasure yourself! Or, if you’re a little less sea-going, but still love the history, there’s a variety of coins from the wreck for you to purchase online through their website.

    Someday, maybe I’ll get my dad to teach me how to scuba dive. I’m sure the thrill of finding sunken treasure is something to experience!


    Works Cited:

Skip to toolbar