SPAIN ALLOWS A PEEK AT SHIP TREASURE
Spanish cultural officials allowed a first peek recently at some of the 16 tons of shipwreck treasure worth an estimated $500 million that a U.S. salvage company gave up this year after a five-year ownership dispute. Only a tiny portion of the haul from the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, a galleon that sank off Portugal’s Atlantic coast near the straits of Gibraltar in 1804, was shown to the media. Authorities said it will be transferred later this year from Madrid to the National Museum of Underwater Archaeology in the Mediterranean city of Cartagena.
From The AP, submitted by Pomera M. Fronce, Salt Lake City, UT.
AUSTRALIAN AMATEUR PROSPECTOR FINDS MASSIVE GOLD NUGGET
An amateur prospector in the Australian state of Victoria has astonished experts by unearthing a gold nugget weighing 177 ounces.
The unidentified man, using a handheld metal detector, found the nugget recently lying 60 cm underground near the town of Ballarat.
Its value has been estimated at more than $315,000.
Local gold experts say gold has been prospected in the area for decades, but no such discovery had been made before.
“I have been a prospector and dealer for two decades, and cannot remember the last time a nugget over 100 ounces has been found locally,” said Cordell Kent, owner of the Ballarat Mining Exchange Gold Shop.
“It’s extremely significant as a mineral specimen. We are 162 years into a gold rush and Ballarat is still producing nuggets— it’s unheard of.”
A video of the Y-shaped nugget was posted on YouTube by user TroyAurum.
He wrote that the man who found it had said it “sounded like the bonnet of a car through the headphones.
“It was lying flat (broad side up) and he carefully dug it up.”
Gold currently trades in Australia at about A$1,600 per ounce, meaning the discovery would be worth about A$283,200, but its rarity and the fact it weighs more than a kilogram would add a premium, said Mr. Kent.
He told Australian media the prospector had been using a state-of-the-art metal detector, which meant he was able to find the gold relatively deep underground in an area which had been searched many times in the past.
The man had only made small finds before, he said, but was a “person that really deserved it.”
“A finding like this gives people hope. It’s my dream to find something like that, and I’ve been prospecting for more than two decades,” the Ballarat Courier quoted him as saying.
“I’ve got no doubt there will be a lot of people who will be very enthusiastic about the goldfields again, it gives people hope,” said Mr. Kent.
“There’s nothing like digging up money, it’s good fun.”
From the BBC, submitted by Mike A. Mazur, Ben Myers, Warren Saltz, and many others.
FEDS CONFISCATE 11 GOLD BARS
U.S. authorities in Puerto Rico have confiscated 11 gold bars sent by mail from Curacao, officials said recently, without saying whether the suspected contraband came from a recent heist on the Dutch Caribbean island.
The gold bars were found in several courier packages at an airport in the Puerto Rican town of Aguadilla, said Jeffrey Quinones, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The bars weighed nearly 77 pounds and have an estimated value of $1.7 million.
Inspectors noted that the packages that arrived were “unusually heavy,” and flagged them for inspection before confiscating the bars as suspected contraband, Quinones said in a statement.
From the Daytona News-Journal, submitted by Zoueva Grossmann, Palm Coast, FL.