Goldfinder: The True Story of $100 Million In Lost Russian Gold -- and One Man's Lifelong Quest to Recover It

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9780471407331: Goldfinder: The True Story of $100 Million In Lost Russian Gold -- and One Man's Lifelong Quest to Recover It

The True Story of $100 Million in Lost Russian Gold -and One Man's Lifelong Quest to Recover It
Keith Jessop and Neil Hanson

"Outstanding, inspiring, and beautifully told. No true tale of the sea makes better reading."-Clive Cussler

Here is the true tale of a small-time salvage diver, the crushing depths of the sea, and the richest prize ever found-$100 million in pure gold. Follow salvage diver Keith Jessop as he battles nature, governments, traitors, salvage monopolies, and, of course, lawyers to claim the grand prize of wrecks-the HMS Edinburgh. Filled with ten tons of Russian gold, the ship had been sought by many, but never found. Through unyielding determination, extraordinary physical prowess, and keen intelligence, Keith Jessop risks all to reach his final destination, and keeps readers on the edge of their seats.

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Review:

As a young boy, Keith Jessop dreamed of leaving the Yorkshire, England, mill town of Keighley behind to sail the seas in search of treasure. Four decades later, he found his chest of gold: 431 gold bars, to be exact, from the HMS Edinburgh, 800 feet down in the Arctic Sea. Jessop tells his rags-to-riches story in Goldfinder.

From his first snorkel dives as a Royal Marine commando and his first scuba dive--when he could very easily have died--Jessop was hooked. He began collecting equipment and spending every nonworking moment either in the water or heading to and from it. He quit his job--much to the consternation of his long-suffering wife, Mildred--and began working as a salvage diver going after nonferrous metal fittings from shipwrecks. Working his first wreck, the SS. Pollux II, "brought back memories of my childhood fantasies to me, but this was the real thing, almost as good as diving on a galleon full of pieces of eight." Later, he and his partners recovered over 200 tons of copper from the Johanna Thorden, earning themselves the nickname "The Copper Kings" in the process. Between wrecks Jessop turned to saturation diving (where divers stay in a pressurized environment for days on end) on offshore oil platforms.

Time not spent in the water was spent doing research, using both alcohol ("the research often involved nothing more than buying the local lobstermen a pint. They'd point out sites where they'd lost lobster pots, a good indicator of something unusual on the sea-bed") and archives. His research revealed plenty of surprises--such as the day he was left alone in a room with what turned out to be the cargo manifest of the Lusitania. Despite the claims of the British government, the document indicated that the Lusitania was indeed carrying a large cargo of armaments. "I was unsure if I was being leaked a story the official wished to see published or being tested on my ability to keep a secret.... I've kept my silence until now."

Having gained decades of experience, Jessop assembled the team to go after the Edinburgh, which was sunk in 1942 while carrying 10 tons of Soviet gold. Miles of red tape later, on September 16, 1981, his dreams came true. "I cradled the bar in my hands, holding it as tenderly as a baby--a very heavy one." Recovering the gold was just the beginning, however, and Jessop recounts his later troubles in (sometimes tedious) detail. Co-written by Neil Hanson (whose book The Custom of the Sea was a 2000 Amazon.com Editor's Choice), Goldfinder makes great reading for divers and dreamers alike. --Sunny Delaney

From the Back Cover:

"[An] energetic rags to riches saga. . . . enjoyable."
–Publishers Weekly

Born a penniless Yorkshire lad seemingly destined for the mills, Keith Jessop instead became a salvage diver, becoming the world’s most successful treasure finder through unyielding determination, extraordinary physical prowess, and keen intelligence. Now, with Neil Hanson, the critically acclaimed author of The Custom of the Sea, Jessop tells his marvelous rags-to-riches story and the tremendous saga at its center: his lifelong quest for the warship HMS Edinburgh, sunk in the Arctic Sea with ten tons of Russian gold.

FOLLOW THE JOURNEY: "The gold on that wreck is further away than the surface of the moon. It took the American astronauts two and a quarter days to travel back from the moon; it’ll take seven days in decompression to bring you back just eight hundred feet from the floor of the ocean."

SHARE THE DANGER: "We won’t even be able to go back for the gold if you don’t take maximum care as you work. It’s stored in the bomb room, the most secure part of the ship. . . . If the gold is still there, it’ll be surrounded by unexploded shells, bombs, and ammunition."

DISCOVER THE STAKES: "Like everyone else on the ship, they were working on standard terms of business for treasure divers: ‘No Cure, No Pay.’ They stood to gain tens of thousands of pounds each if we found the gold; if we didn’t, they wouldn’t get a penny."

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Keith Jessop; Neil Jessop
Editorial: Wiley (2001)
ISBN 10: 047140733X ISBN 13: 9780471407331
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Jessop, Keith, Jessop, Neil
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Keith Jessop, Neil Hanson, Neil Jessop
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Jessop, Keith; Jessop, Neil
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