I'm pretty confident in the fact that everyone at some point in their lives has dreamed of becoming Nathan Drake. I mean, aside from the constant risk of falling to your death, the threat of dozens of cartels out to kill you 24/7 and the ever-present chance of accidentally killing yourself in a most brutal fashion, it seems like a pretty sweet deal.
Throughout the Uncharted series, Nate has acquired a fair amount of wealth and has seen every corner of the world, from Panama to the Himalayas. He's a modern day Indiana Jones; raiding temples, stealing treasure and generally being a real nuisance to anyone else on the hunt for glory.
Finding and retrieving lost treasures may as well be a day job for Nate, but in the real world, it's not so easy, right? I mean, surely if there was actually treasure lying about like it is in Uncharted, someone would have scooped it up and traded it for a snazzy coat or something? Wrong! It turns out the world is full of undiscovered ancient relics just waiting to be stolen and pawned on the black market for, quite frankly, ridiculous sums of money. Ever wanted to be a treasure plunderer? Here's a little something to start you off.
1. The Fenn Treasure
Where: The Rocky Mountains, USA
How Much: $1m - $3m
This first one isn't particularly ancient, though that doesn't make it not worth your while. As the story goes, Forrest Fenn, a highly successful art collector, was given just a year to live and, because he's a real stand up guy, decided to give away his fortune. However, old Forrest was never one to do things by halves and, being the sort that he is, buried his treasure somewhere in the Rocky Mountains.
But Fenn wasn't totally unreasonable. To help all the wannabe Nathan Drakes along the way, he released a poem that he claims will lead to the location of the treasure. He also periodically releases minor clues on his website, just to keep adventurers from causing too much trouble. So far, no one's cracked it, but a fair number of people have tried. In fact, two people have gone missing while searching for the treasure. This is one of the more popular hunts out there, so if I were you I'd get out there as fast as you can. Just think of all the sparkly coats you could buy...
2. King John's Crown Jewels
Where: East Anglia, England
How Much: ~£70m
King John, lovingly referred to as "The Asshole King" from time to time, was not the most popular ruler of England. As the younger, slightly more pathetic brother of Richard the Lionheart, John was responsible for essentially running the entire country into the ground. He accidentally lost all continental lands England owned in Northern France at the time and also temporarily cut himself and the country off from the Pope, which at the time was a pretty massive deal. He was also an asshole, hence the nickname I totally didn't make up.
As well as being a poor leader and a downright nasty guy, John was also responsible for the loss of the Crown Jewels along with several chests of coin and gems. Despite the fact most historians agree he probably stole it all, John's lost treasure is estimated to be worth around £70 million ($102 million) in today's money, which seems like quite a sweet find. Unfortunately, records state that the treasure was washed into the sea some 800 years ago. So, while it is a very attractive looking prize to some, I get the feeling it may be ever so slightly out of reach these days. Good luck, though!
3. Flor de la Mar
Where: Off the coast of Sumatra
How Much: Over $2.6b
The Flor de la Mar was a Portuguese warship built in the early 1500s. Before being modified for a long haul, it was involved in several battles and became well known within the Portuguese navy. In fact, they loved it so much they decided to load it up with over 54,000 metric tonnes of gold worth around $2.6 billion as a gift for the King of Siam. Unfortunately, the Flor de la Mar didn't survive the journey, snapping in two during a violent storm off the coast of Sumatra.
At $2.6 billion, the Flor de la Mar treasure is considered the most valuable lost treasure of human history. It's also meant to be one of the hardest to reach. The seas around its alleged shipwreck are known to be turbulent and have taken many more lives since. I'm not saying it's impossible, but rather you than me.
4. The Treasure of the Knights Templar
Where: Literally anywhere across Europe and the Middle East
How Much: Several billion dollars
Here's one for the real treasure hunters. The Knights Templar were a secretive order created in 1129 as an organization dedicated to protecting Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land. Just try and imagine a medieval Jedi Order and you're spot on. However, though donations from all across the known world, the Templar became one of the richest independent bodies in human history. Needless to say, it went to their heads a little bit, making them very unpopular with the thousands of people that owed them money. One client in particular, King Philip VI of France, was so determined to dodge the loanshark that he ordered the execution of every Knight of the Templar and demanded their treasure be seized.
But if you've been paying attention, you'll know that's not the end of this story. In the end, although Philip did manage to execute a vast number of Knights, many escaped his clutches, along with almost all of their acquired wealth. These Knights were never found and nor was their treasure, estimated to be worth several tens of billions of dollars. Unfortunately, there's no known map that gives any hint towards its location. In fact, some believe The Vatican found the treasure many centuries ago and has kept it hidden for nearly a millennium. Either way, you may need to allocate a fairly large chunk of your time if you want a chance of finding this one.
5. The Lost Tomb of Tu-Duc
How Much: A buttload
And finally, we reach the tomb of the ancient Emperor Tu-Duc.
Tu-Duc was an ancient Vietnamese Emperor who, believe it or not, was unfathomably rich. A real shocker, right? In life, he surrounded himself in women and lavish foods and in death, asked to be buried in the most middle-finger-to-the-people way you can imagine. Following his death, Tu-Duc had a tomb built that was so big, some parts are still undiscovered. His final resting place is one of these lost sections.
And that's not by accident; the slaves who constructed the tomb were immediately executed following its completion because Tu-Duc was apparently not all that comfortable with the concept of sharing. His actual tomb has never been found, along with all the gold he would never need in death. Due to the secrecy behind the history of the tomb, experts aren't entirely sure how much there is stuffed in there with him, but everyone agrees it would probably be worth getting lost in a potentially endless maze forever. This one's probably out of my league, but hey, who am I to tell you what to do?
Nathan Drake's plundering days may be over following the release of the final Uncharted game, A Thief's End, but that doesn't mean we can't follow in his footsteps. There are still tons of hidden treasures just waiting to be stolen, but try not to get shot too much; I can't afford to lose any readers.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is out now on PS4