A glowing treasure chest
Unsplash | Ashin K Suresh

Treasures Hidden Around America That Still Haven't Been Found

There are treasures all around us. Oftentimes, they're hidden in plain sight. But these treasures are usually unknown until they actually get found.

The big-time treasures are the ones that we know exist...but just can't seem to find, despite our best efforts. Even though these treasures have eluded detection so far, don't lose hope. The odds of finding one have to be better than the odds of winning a lottery jackpot.

1. The Battle of Little Bighorn treasure

Little Bighorn cemetery overview
Wikimedia Commons | Jeremykemp

The Battle of Little Bighorn, or Custer's Last Stand, is a watershed moment in U.S. history, generally seen as the most significant action of the Great Sioux War of 1876. As it turns out, it also created a lost treasure.

Custer's army was decimated.

Battle of Little Bighorn by White Swan
Wikimedia Commons | White Swan

Crucially, the soldiers who were killed likely had a significant amount of backpay — around $25,000, which would be well north of half a million dollars today. Because soldiers were often paid in gold and silver at the time, it's believed that much of this wealth was stripped from their bodies after they were killed.

2. The treasure that got buried along the San Saba River.

San Saba River near Sloan, San Saba County, Texas
Wikimedia Commons | William L. Farr

Much of the early expansion into the American West by settlers was driven by the promise of gold and other precious metals. Rumors persisted that the Spanish had found a silver mine near the San Saba River in Texas, but it had been destroyed by the Comanche tribe.

No one could find it.

San Saba Canyon
Wikimedia Commons | Gerd Eichmann

The Bowie expedition sought to track down the lost silver, but they became locked in a battle with the Tahuacanos tribe. After both sides suffered large losses of life, the search for the silver was put on hold.

3. Leon Trabuco never told anyone where his gold was.

Pile of gold bars
Unsplash | Zlaťáky.cz

A more recent example of lost treasure concerns the 16 tons of gold hidden by Mexican millionaire Leon Trabuco back in the 1930s. The plan was for Trabuco and his partners to smuggle the gold from Mexico into the United States, in the hopes that gold prices would go up.

They encountered some problems.

Treasure hunting supplies
Unsplash | Suhash Villuri

After the passing of an executive order, private ownership of gold was banned. Unable to find a buyer for his treasure, Trabuco hid the gold somewhere. He kept trying to sell it until his death, never finding a buyer and never revealing where it was hidden.

4. Captain Kidd's buried his treasure off Connecticut.

Pirate captain William Kidd
Wikimedia Commons | Anonymous

Scottish pirate William Kidd chose an interesting spot for his buried treasure: Charles Island off the Connecticut coast. The island was allegedly the site of a treasure buried by Spanish explorers in the early 1500s, and Kidd decided to bury his own treasure on the same island about two centuries later.

No one has found either treasure.

Charles Island, Connecticut
Wikimedia Commons | Randal J. (RJFerret)

Kidd was captured shortly after burying his treasure, ensuring he'd be unable to ever go back and collect it. While the island is a popular spot for tourists and bird watchers, no one has found a trace of either of the treasures that are supposedly buried there.

5. John S. Mosby's Confederate gold is missing.

Col. John S. Mosby
Wikimedia Commons | Louisiana Digital Library

Mosby, a Confederate army cavalry battalion commander in the American Civil War, led a successful raid on the Fairfax County Courthouse one night, seizing valuable supplies and no small amount of treasure — made up of precious metals as well as jewelry.

They hurriedly buried the treasure.

X mark on a tree
Unsplash | David Paschke

As Mosby's battalion fled the scene, they got word that Union troops were nearby. To protect what they had, they quickly buried the treasure and marked the spot with an X. Nobody from the battalion ever got around to returning to the scene, and the site of the treasure is unknown to this day.

6. The treasure cave of the conquistadors lies somewhere in Missouri.

Juan de Salcedo, Spanish conquistador
Wikimedia Commons | Unknown author

Conquistadors operated not just in Central America, but also in the modern-day United States. About four centuries ago, a group of them were raiding Native American villages in middle America when they were caught in a fierce snowstorm and sought refuge in a cave.

They were attacked and slaughtered.

Inside a cave
Unsplash | Daniel Burka

Nearby tribes saw evidence of the plundering Spanish in the cave, so they massacred the Conquistadors, leaving just one survivor. This survivor drew a map showing where in the cave they'd buried the treasure — but 400 years later, the treasure remains undiscovered.

7. The valuable San Miguel treasure lies on the ocean floor.

Reception of the Manila Galleon by the Chamorro in the Ladrones Islands, ca. 1590
Wikimedia Commons | Boxer Codex (1590) - Unknown Spanish Author/Compiler

There's untold wealth scattered on the ocean floor from shipwrecks that have taken place over the centuries. One example is the wreck of the San Miguela Spanish treasure ship that sank in an Atlantic hurricane in 1715.

The whole fleet went down.

Amelia Island Sunrise
Wikimedia Commons | Patty O'Hearn Kickham

Some of the treasure could be recovered, but because the San Miguel left before the others — and was carrying the most treasure — none could be found. It's believed the ship went down off Amelia Island, Florida, but the exact location isn't known. Some estimates peg the value of the treasure at $2 billion.

8. The Cahuenga Pass treasure might be cursed.

Pile of gold coins
Unsplash | Ash _ Ismail

Mexican president Benito Juarez hatched a scheme in the 1860s to purchase $200,000 of weapons (over $7 million in 2020s money) in the Bay Area. After finding that the area was unsafe, they buried their treasure and left the scene. Little did they know that a local shepherd saw them bury the riches and dug them up for himself.

The treasure wound up near Los Angeles.

Cahuenga Pass, Hollywood, 1892
Wikimedia Commons | Unknown author

The shepherd allegedly had a bad dream about the treasure and felt compelled to bury it near the Cahuenga Pass. He died soon after. Efforts to recover the treasure were met with either failure or death and bad luck, and it eludes capture to this day.

9. The Beale Treasure wants to be found.

Cover of the Beale Papers cipher
Wikimedia Commons | Unknown author

Thomas J. Beale accumulated a lot of silver and gold in the 19th century. He buried it...somewhere and wrote a complex cipher to reveal its exact location. He died before he could dig up his gold.

No one can figure out the cipher.

A glowing treasure chest
Unsplash | Ashin K Suresh

Beale's cipher — three pages of numbers — hasn't been cracked. One part of it has been decoded, revealing the contents of the vast treasure, but the crucial part — the part that shows where the treasure is located — has not been solved.

10. The Lost Dutchman's Mine treasure seems pretty cursed.

Lost Dutchman Mine in Arizona
Wikimedia Commons | Latin Heart Reader

The Lost Dutchman's Mine, located in Arizona's Superstition Mountains, was a hot spot for gold in the mid-1500s. Conquistadors flocked to the area for close to two centuries in the hopes of striking it rich.

The area is pure bad luck.

Superstition Mountains from Lost Dutchman State Park
Wikimedia Commons | Beyond My Ken

When the Peralta family moved to the area in the mid-1700s, they found a good amount of ore and gold. But after they were killed in an Apache ambush, most of the treasure went missing. Intrepid hikers can find bits and pieces of gold in the area to this day, however.