Stolen Historic Treasures: Peking Man fossils, Jules Rimet Trophy, Irish Crown Jewels, Florentine Diamond

Fareeha Arshad
Photo by Ashin K Suresh on Unsplash

Several discoveries of historical treasures have been made throughout history that are counted as some of the most significant achievements. On the flip side, there were times in the past when humanity lost something treasured and invaluable and never found it again. Let’s look at some of the long lost treasures in history.

1. The Peking Man fossils

First discovered in the early 1900s in China, the Peking Man fossils were known to be one of the largest Homo erectus collections ever recorded. These were estimated to be over 230,000 to 770,000 years old and were so precious that China declared the fossils the country’s national treasure.

In 1941, the fossils were decided to be transferred to the US from the Union Medical College in Peking. However, it never made it to the port and was lost immediately after leaving its first home. It was never found again.

In 2010, an eighty-year-old war veteran claimed that the Peking fossils lay buried near the Manchurian border. When his claims were further investigated, they were somewhat accurate. However, with several industries set up in the area and perhaps above the very spot the fossils remained deep under the ground, digging out the remains is impossible.

Regardless, if the original fossils were to be rediscovered, they would surely add an incredible value to the development of science.

2. The Jules Rimet Trophy

The Jules Rimet Trophy was one of the most important trophies awarded to the winners of the Football World Cup that was held every four years. The first time the trophy as stolen was in England in 1966, but it was found soon with the help of a dog and was quickly returned to the authorities.

When Brazil won the World Cup in 1970, their win count reached three, and they were given the honour of keeping the trophy. The Brazilian Football Confederation kept the trophy safe in a glass display box for over a decade.

In 1983, the trophy was stolen from the Federation and was never to be seen again. The authorities issued a nationwide appeal to return the award, but their efforts were in vain. Many believe that the trophy was melted and sold as solid gold.

3. The Irish Crown Jewels

On the morning of the 6th of July 1907, the Royal safe door in the Dublin Castle was open with keys hanging on the lock. The inside of the safe, where the Crown Jewels of Ireland were supposed to be, was empty.

The sudden, unexpected theft of the country’s most precious treasures came as a huge shock. What was worse was that King Edward VII was to visit the Irish International Exhibition that was to be held a few days later. The loss of twenty million dollars worth of treasure came as a blow for the Irish authorities and infuriated the King over the lax security around the Jewels.

According to some, though the Jewels were strictly guarded round the clock, the security guard in charge of the keys to the safe was drunk on duty and had willingly handed the keys to their thieved. Regardless, the Crown Jewels have not been seen since then.

4. The Florentine Diamond
Wikimedia Commons

The first time the Florentine Diamond was seen was in India. There are many theories on how it was first discovered. Soon after its discovery, the 137-carat sparkling yellow diamond became one of the most desired crystals worldwide. According to some, the diamond was initially present in Goa in India, from where it was stolen and sold to Florence’s Medici family.

The diamond stayed within the Medici family for a long time until it was transferred to Vienna, where it was displayed at the Hofburg Palace. It remained there until the first world war.

After the defeat of Austria in the first world war, the diamond was taken out from the Palace and was ‘lost’ during its shipment. According to many, the diamond was brought to the United States, where it was cut into smaller pieces and was sold to the black market and thus was never seen again.

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I am a scientist by profession and a historian by passion. I write about current affairs, history, science, and lifestyle.

Texas State

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