Thursday, 15 August 2013

Gold collection of Nevada recluse auctioned

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — The last remnants of a fortune of coins found packed in ammunition boxes in the garage of a recluse who died last summer was auctioned Tuesday for more than $3.1 million

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- The final treasures of a quiet man who collected a fortune in gold coins are going on the auction block Tuesday.

The body of Walter Samaszko Jr. was found in his Carson City home in June 2012. After his death, a cleaning crew hired to tidy his modest, ranch style home where he had lived for four decades came upon a stunning discovery -- boxes and boxes full of gold coins and bullion collected over an unassuming lifetime. It was enough to fill two wheelbarrows. One batch, mostly bullion, was sold at auction in February for $3.5 million. Now, more than 2,600 coins are set to be auctioned in six lots Tuesday at the Carson City courthouse.
http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/auction-set-for-hidden-gold-collection-amassed-by-nevada-recluse-1.1399289#ixzz2bE5Ihf7E

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"A California substitute teacher will inherit over $7 million in gold coins found in her recluse cousin's home after his death.

A Carson City, Nev., judge ruled Tuesday that Arlene Magdanz was Walter Samasko, Jr.'s only cousin and therefore entitled to his fortune, according to the Associated Press.

Samasko, 69, died in May due to heart problems and was not discovered until June when neighbors complained of an odor coming from his house.

When authorities went to clean out his Carson City home, they found boxes of gold coins in his home and garage.

"He was quite a hoarder. He had boxes and boxes and boxes of things," Carson City Clerk Alan Grover told ABCNews.com in September. Grover said there were many containers of food and cans. Grover said the coins were in boxes marked "books." There were also coins wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in ammunition boxes. There were Mexican, British and Austrian coins dating as far back as the 1870s. There was so much gold that Grover used a wheelbarrow to carry the fortune to his truck. The coins were first moved to a bank vault and later moved to armored vehicles. Samasko had no will and no immediate relatives. He was cremated and the remains were flown to Chicago to join his mother who died in 1992. Using the funeral attendance list from Samasko's mother's funeral, Grover tracked down Magdanz, Samasko's first cousin in San Rafael, Calif.
Samasko had only $200 in the bank at the time of his death, according to the Las Vegas Sun, but had stock accounts totaling in $165,000 and had been living off of his investments. Grover said one of his first thoughts upon seeing the thousands of coins was, "What was a guy like this doing with his kind of money in just a regular house?"


http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/calif-teacher-inherits-recluse-cousins-7-million-gold-192002163--abc-news-topstories.html

Friday, 9 August 2013

Strange and Unusual Places

Tufa pinnacles at Mono Lake in Sierra Nevada - Mono Lake is a closed hydrological basin - water flows into it but it doesn't flow out.

The only way for water to leave is through evaporation. Four vertical feet of water can evaporate during the course of a year.
A lightning bolt crashed against the Grand Canyon illuminating the steep canyon walls. The bright blue bolt illuminated the South Rim of the canyon, considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
The elephant rock formation in Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada - A strange natural sandstone rock formation resembling an elephant.
The Great Blue Hole in Belize - A large submarine sinkhole which is over 984 feet across and 407 feet deep. The sinkhole was formed during several episodes of quaternary glaciation when sea levels were much lower.
The Wave in Utah - Carved rock eroded into a wave-like formation made of jurassic-age Navajo sandstone that is approximately 190 million years old.
The sliding stones of Death Valley, California - The movement of the rocks continue to baffle experts, with some rocks sliding across a perfectly flat bed despite weighing up to 700 pounds each.
The Beauty Pool of Yellowstone National Park - The hot spring allows luminous algae and bacteria to flourish creating a vivid array of colors
The Moeraki Boulders of New Zealand - The gigantic boulders started forming on the ocean floor and can now be seen sitting on the coastline thanks to erosion.



Thursday, 8 August 2013

Rare Gemstones III

Jeremejevite is a colorless, sky blue or pale yellow stone, the highest quality of which comes from Namibia. In nature it occurs in small obelisk-shaped crystals and has in the past been mistaken for aquamarine. It was named after Russian mineralogist Pavel Jeremejev who discovered the mineral in 1883.

Australia is the world's main supplier of opals. Almost 95 per cent of all opals come from Australian mines.
Alexandrite undergoes dramatic shifts in color depending on what kind of light it's in. A variety of Chrysoberyl, alexandrite belongs to the same family of gemstones as emerald. It's color-changing properties (and its scarcity relative to diamond) is due to an exceedingly rare combination of minerals that includes titanium, iron and chromium.

Tanzanite is found almost exclusively in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Like alexandrite, tanzanite exhibits dramatic color shifts that are dependent upon both crystal orientation and lighting conditions
Poudretteite - The first traces of poudrette were discovered in the mid 1960s in the Poudrette quarry of Mont Saint Hilaire, Quebec, but it wasn't officially recognized as a new species of mineral until 1987, and wasn't thoroughly described until as recently as 2003.

Jeremejevite was first discovered in Siberia at the end of the 19th century, gem-quality crystals of jeremejevite have since been recovered in limited supplies in Namibia. Pictured is the largest faceted jeremejevite on Earth, just shy of 60 carats (or roughly 12 grams).



Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The Banco Central burglary at Fortaleza

On the weekend of August 6 and August 7, 2005 a gang of burglars, suspected to be either the Gang of the Tattooed or Primeiro Comando da Capital, tunneled into the Banco Central in Fortaleza. They removed five containers of 50-real notes, with an estimated value of 164,755,150 reals (US$69.8 million, £38.6 million, €56 million). The money was uninsured; a bank spokeswoman stated that the risks were too small to justify the insurance premiums. The burglars managed to evade or disable the bank's internal alarms and sensors; the burglary remained undiscovered until the bank opened for business on the morning of Monday, August 8.
Three months earlier, the gang of burglars had rented an empty property in the centre of the city and then tunneled 78 meters (255 ft) beneath two city blocks to a position beneath the bank.
The gang had renovated a house and put up a sign indicating it was a landscaping company selling both natural and artificial grass as well as plants. Neighbours, who estimated that the gang consisted of between six and ten men, described how they had seen van-loads of soil being removed daily, but understood this to be a normal activity of the business. The tunnel, being roughly 70 cm (2.3 ft) square and running 4 meters (13 ft) beneath the surface, was well-constructed: it was lined with wood and plastic and had its own lighting and air conditioning systems.
On the final weekend, the gang broke through 1.1 meters (3.6 ft) of steel-reinforced concrete to enter the bank vault. The bank notes weighed approximately 3,500 kg (approx. 7,700 lbs) and would have required a considerable amount of time and effort to remove.
On October 22, 2005 the body of the suspected mastermind, Luis Fernando Ribeiro, 26, was found on an isolated road near Camanducaia, 200 miles (320 km) west of Rio de Janeiro. He had been shot seven times and had marks on his wrists as if he had been handcuffed.

Five men were arrested September 28 with about $5.4 million of the money and told the police they had helped dig the tunnel. So far, authorities have recovered more than $7 million but $63 million remains unaccounted for.



Saturday, 3 August 2013

The SS Gairsoppa : updated

Odyssey Marine Exploration recovered 61 tons of bullion this month, 1,574 precious bars, from the SS Gairsoppa, a 412ft (126m) British cargo ship that went down in February 1941 about 300 miles off Ireland in international waters.

Odyssey Marine, pioneers in the field of deep water treasure hunting, exploration and salvage, have taken about 99% of the insured silver from the ship. Greg Stemm, Odyssey's chief executive, said the recovery has been an extremely complex operation, adding: "To add to the complications, the remaining insured silver was stored in a small compartment that was very difficult to access."

In total, Odyssey has taken 2,792 silver bars from the ship, including the latest haul of ingots weighing about 1,100 ounces each or almost 1.8 million troy ounces. Last year's payload of 1,218 bars was valued at £25m as silver prices were higher then. In the latest haul, 462 bars were of very high purity silver, .999 silver, and stamped with the brand HM Mint Bombay.

The precious metal - a world record recovery because of the depth and size - was taken ashore in Bristol and sent to a secure location in the UK. It will be analysed and refined before being sold.

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/republic-of-ireland/hoard-of-silver-bars-recovered-29442062.html
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In July 2012 news surfaced of the SS Gairsoppa.


The 412-foot British ship was shipping a cargo of silver when she was sunk by a single German torpedo on February 17, 1941 about 300 miles south-west of Galway, Ireland. The ship had a crew of 85 but only one man survived.

The Gairsoppa rests about 3 miles below the surface, and the operation to retrieve her cargo is said to be the deepest and largest precious metal recovery ever.

The salvage of 48 tons or 1.4 million ounces of silver in 1,203 bars is about 20% of what the Gairsoppa had in her hold. Bad weather halted the recovery effort.

The rest remains 15,420 feet deep in the North Atlantic. Another expedition is planned for mid-2013.