14. THE TAKEN TUCKER CROSS
Acclaimed diver and explorer Teddy Tucker, whose treasure-hunting exploits were known the world over, made his “most treasured discovery” in 1955. In the shallow waters off the coast of the Florida, Tucker’s perseverance paid off when he uncovered a 22-karat gold and emerald cross from the shipwreck of the San Pedro, a galleon ship that sunk in 1594. He sold his finds to the Bermuda Museum of Art where the cross was proudly displayed for 20 years.
The cross was stolen in 1975 and the thief (or thieves) left a cheap plastic replica in its place; to this day no one knows who took it or where it is. One suggestion is that the cross was melted down and the emeralds taken to be sold on the black market but some say it is in the private collection of a jewel collector. Brian Lam, in a 2011 article for The Scuttlefish remarked that, “It was considered to be the most valuable single object ever found in a shipwreck”. And perhaps it still is. It was worth $250 million.