- Bargaineering - http://www.bargaineering.com/articles -

Heist of the Century: Mel Fisher Maritime Museum Gold Bar Stolen

Up until August 18th, if you’ve ever wanted to touch a 16.5-karat gold bar, you could make short visit to the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West. The treasure hunter Mel Fisher, after which the museum is named, found the bar in 1980 from the wreck of the Santa Margarita located 25 miles west of Key West. The Santa Margarita, and it’s much larger and more famous sister the galleon Atocha, were Spanish treasure ships and they were on their way back to Spain loaded with gold and silver (and other precious items). A hurricane pummeled the entire convoy and the Santa Margarita was spread out across the ocean [3]… and this gold bar came from Mel Fisher’s discovery of a portion of the loot.

History lesson aside, the 16.5-karat, 74.85 ounce gold bar was in the museum and any visitor could touch it. 74.85 ounces of gold has a market value of around $92,589 (at ~$1,237 an ounce) but it’s “uniqueness” and history puts the value at over half a million bucks. I’m surprised that the case was designed in such a way that someone could remove the bar. It seems like it wouldn’t be too difficult to build a case that would make this impossible… then again it sat undisturbed for twenty-five years.

I really hope the thieves don’t melt it down.

No arrests yet in theft of gold bar from museum [4] [CNN]

(Photo: meltmatter [5])