Top Ten Lost Treasures of the World

Among the most intriguing historic mysteries on Earth are those that involve lost treasures. Not only are the stories behind the loss typically compelling, there is the tantalizing possibility that someone will one day uncover these treasures. A person could be made wealthy in a matter of seconds if they were to find even one of the greatest lost treasures of all time.  Check out what we feel are the top ten lost treasures of the world!


lost treasures

A 1931 hand colored photograph of the original amber room.

The Amber Room is or was quite what it sounds like, but also much more. It was highly ornate and decked out in precious and semi-precious jewels. It was 11 feet by 11 feet of glistening treasure that would be worth almost $200 million if anyone knew where it was. Nazi Germany stole it from the Soviet Union during World War II. They had it for a few years and then it disappeared.


lost treasures

The Treasure of Lima

The Treasure of Lima was sent off aboard a ship by the Spanish occupiers of Peru in 1823. It was en route to Mexico and safety when the captain of the ship — William Thompson — killed the men sent with him by the Spanish to guard the treasure. Thompson was later captured and brought to Cocos Island off the coast of Costa Rica, where he said he buried the treasure. Instead of finding the treasure, authorities lost their prisoner. No one ever saw either again.


lost treasures

Weaver’s Needle at Superstition Mountain

Perhaps the most popular story of lost treasure in North America is that of the Dutchman Mine. Superstition Mountain outside of Phoenix, Arizona is the supposed location for this lost treasure. Several men or teams of men went to Superstition Mountain and either came back with gold or sent gold home to their families. Nearly all of them met with violent ends or simply disappeared. This is likely because the Apache in the area were hostile about people searching for gold on the mountain. There was almost certainly a mine there, but no one has come back with gold since the late 1800’s.


lost treasures

King John’s Jewels

The story of King John’s Lost Jewels comes from contemporary writers. They say that in 1216, the unpopular king was traveling when he became ill. He decided to take the safe roads to home and send his belongings through the Wash. This area was only traversable during low tide. His men and the wealth with which he was traveling were unable to cross the Wash in time to miss high tide. The jewels were lost and have yet to be seen again.


lost treasures

Photograph of the crown jewels taken in 1925. Image:

The Romanovs were the last royal family of the Russian Empire. They were overthrown during the Russian Civil War and eventually murdered, right down to their young son Alexei. Most of their possessions were taken, catalogued and secured, some never to be seen again. However, the Romanovs tried desperately to hide their valuables up until the day of their executions and they definitely succeeded in hiding a great deal of them as evidenced by some of them turning up after the fact. No one knows where they hid the rest of their wealth.


lost treasure

The Imperial Faberge Easter Eggs are considered some of the amazing works of art. Image: Forbes collection.

Yet another Romanov mystery on this list is that of the Imperial Faberge Eggs. The Romanovs loved Faberge and purchased two large eggs from him every year. Eight are missing out of a total of 50. Some Imperial Faberge Eggs sell for around 9 million dollars. A lost Faberge Egg would likely draw more. That means just one of these missing eggs could make a person very rich.


lost treasures

Flor De La Mar

The Flor de la Mar was a 400-ton Portuguese carrack. It sank in the Straight of Malacca in 1511 with one of the largest sunken treasures of maritime history. Most sunken treasures sound a bit like legend, but this could not be further from the truth in this case. The treasure aboard the Flor de la Mar was well documented and it has yet to be found.


lost treasures

Genghis Khan was born and raised near the Onon River.  Image credit: Fan111

Genghis Khan was the first and most infamous ruler of the Mongol Empire. His burial was surrounded by mystery. After he died in 1227, he was placed in a hidden tomb. Legend has it that those who erected the tomb and interred the emperor were killed so its location would remain secret. Thought it is uncertain, it is assumed that he was buried with significant riches.



lost treasure

Lake Toplitz

In 1945, a group of Nazis demanded transport from locals near Lake Toplitz. They were taken to the lake and seen dumping heavy boxes into the lake. These were presumably filled with more than 100 million dollars worth of counterfeit pound sterling notes. It would seem easy to find them. However, the bottom half of the lake does not contain oxygen. There is a layer of logs floating just above that level, making it very difficult to dive for the treasure.


The Crown Jewels of Ireland

lost treasures

Dublin police announcement regarding the theft of the crown jewels.

While not the most valuable of the treasures on this list, the so-called Crown Jewels of Ireland indeed when missing in one of the most interesting ways. They were kept by the Order of St. Patrick, from which they were stolen right under the nose of the guard in 1907.

These are just a few of the many known and potentially many unknown lost treasures of the world, but anyone would be luck to find any of them. More than just the fact that any of these would make one rich and famous, there is the historic significance to consider. The Faberge Eggs represent a lost era in Russian history. The tomb of Genghis Khan contains a man who is believed to have fathered most of the world. It has the potential to change history as we know it.


King John’s Lost Treasure, retrieved 7/5/12.
Briton given permission to look for legendary treasure of Lima, retrieved 7/5/12.
Hidden Nazi Gold, retrieved 7/5/12.
 The Dispersal of Romanov Valuables in Tobolsk, retrieved 7/5/12.

Shelly Barclay writes on a variety of topics from animal facts to mysteries in history. Her main focus is military and political history. She is a writer for the Boston History Examiner, Military History Examiner and the Boston American Revolution History Examiner. She also writes for a local historical society newsletter. Shelly was a professional cook for 10 years and still has a passion for food. She cooks and writes about cooking nearly every day. She produces a wide variety of content, on top of her niches. Shelly is a stepmother, a former military, current veteran wife, sister of four and aunt of seven (so far).

  • Drew

    Victorio Peak!