Andrew Curry: The first of what archaeologist Barbara Deppert-Lippitz calls the “most sensational finds of the last century” surfaced not in a museum but at Christie’s in New York. Among more than a hundred pieces of ancient jewelry for sale on December 8, 1999, was Lot 26, a spiraling, snake-shaped gold bracelet that the auction house identified as a “massive Greek or Thracian gold armband.”
Christie’s estimated it would sell for as much as $100,000. When the bidding stalled at $65,000, the sale was called off—and the bracelet and its owner disappeared back into the shadowy underworld of ancient artifacts.
It took years for archaeologists and law enforcement officials in Romania to connect the armband to reports of looting in the country’s central mountains. Though it has never been recovered, Lot 26 set off an international search to recover the lost heirlooms of Dacia, an empire that was once a mighty rival to ancient Rome…Continue (National Geographic)
Gold rush! Prospector Mick Brown unearths 87 oz nugget, worth $135,000, buried in the bush but he won¹t tell his mates where he found it The nugget earned the name ‘Fair Dinkum’ after shocking prospectors with its size. He says the exact location the nugget was uncovered will remain a secret
The seemingly endless collapse of the world’s pre-eminent cryptocurrency continues, as bitcoin punched through $200 today. (As of this posting -$208.90 –click here for current quote)
The continued drop in value made the currency one of the absolute worst things to own in 2014. It remains so. Over the last 12 months bitcoin’s dollar value has fallen roughly 76%, outpacing the decline in both the beleaguered ruble (down a bit more than 70%) and Brent crude oil, which has fallen roughly 58% over the same period…MORE (qz.com)
Gold, silver, platinum and palladium are spiking after the Swiss National Bank surprisingly announced it’s scrapping its currency floor and lowering its already negative interest rate. The news hit the tape shortly before 4:40 a.m. New York time, sending gold up roughly $35 to $1261 a troy ounce.
“Gold is much stronger as the “safety” of the Swiss Fran vanishes,” commented Dave Lutz of JonesTrading…MORE (WSJ.com)
Daggers were used by the ancient Egyptians from predynastic times onwards, though examples dating from the Old Kingdom are exceedingly rare. During the Middle Kingdom and the New Kingdom they were generally made of copper or bronze; gold, apart from its use for purposes of embellishment, was probably reserved for royalty. Queen Ahhotpe, mother of Ahmosis I, the founder of the Eighteenth Dynasty, had, in her funerary equipment, a solid gold dagger and sheath, both of which are now in the Cairo Museum. Tutankhamun’s mummy was provided with two daggers encased in gold sheaths, one with an iron blade and the other with a blade of hardened gold. It is the latter specimen which is shown here.
As an illustration of the goldsmith’s artistic ability and technical skill, this dagger, and particularly its sheath, are among the outstanding pieces of the collection. On the top of the pommel are the king’s cartouches in applied embossed gold and a wreath of lily-palmettes in cloisonne work. On the underside are two figures of falcons holding in each claw the hieroglyphic symbol for ‘eternity’ (shen)…MORE (TourEgypt.net)
Metal detector enthusiasts in Buckinghamshire have uncovered what is thought to be one of biggest hoards of ancient coins ever found in Britain.
Paul Coleman from the Weekend Wanderers Detecting Club discovered more than 5,000 coins buried inside a lead bucket two feet under a field near Aylesbury.
The hoard contains specimens dating back to the 11th Century – the late Anglo Saxon, early Norman period.
The coins will now be examined by the British Museum…MORE (BBC.com)
MELBOURNE, Fla. — Years ago, underwater archaeologists lived by the motto “finders keepers” when they struck gold. Today is a different story, but that doesn’t stop them from searching.
Robert Marx of Indialantic is one such underwater archaeologist — dare not call him a treasure hunter — who enjoys sharing tales of the deep ocean blue and the world’s rich maritime history.
The author of 64 books is scheduled to lecture here next week about a 1715 Spanish shipwreck off Florida’s Sebastian Inlet.
“The 300th-year anniversary is coming up for the loss of that wreck and the whole fleet,” he said. “I want to make sure people know about it.”
That wreck has been the subject of numerous books, articles, documentaries and blogs. Capitan-General Don Juan Esteban de Ubilla and his flagship, the Capitana, contained quite the cargo: more than 3.5 million pesos in priceless treasure, specifically, the queen of Spain’s jewels. En route from Havana to Spain, 12 ships sank and their crews perished during a hurricane on July 30…MORE (FloridaToday)
John Stepek: It was the last stand of the gold bugs. And now it’s over.
On Sunday, the Swiss held a referendum on returning to the gold standard.
The ‘Save our Swiss Gold’ plan would have forced the Swiss National Bank – the central bank – to hold 20% of its reserves in gold. If that had happened, demand for gold would have surged, simply to meet the needs of the Swiss.
But in the end, 77% voted against the plan. So is it time to ditch your gold?
Not at all. It might not like being told what to do with its reserves, but like most other central banks around the world, the Swiss Central Bank still holds some gold. And you should too…MORE (moneyweek.com)