Teddy Tucker

A world class marine explorer, Bermudian Teddy Tucker is internationally considered one of the most preeminent in his field.

The son of architect Edward Tucker, Mr Tucker’s first job was at the Bermuda Aquarium which started his passion for the ocean. He has been exploring the ocean’s buried treasures since the late 1940’s.

In his decades long career he discovered over 100 historic shipwrecks in Bermuda waters, found numerous sunken treasures, was featured in international films and magazines and served as a consultant worldwide.

World renowned for his treasure hunting, Teddy Tucker has found numerous treasures including; gold bars, silver coins, swivel guns, ancient hand grenades, brass dividers, timing glasses, brass cylinders, bronze mortars, pewter plates, porringers, pottery cruets, and Carib Indian weapons.

The May 9, 1965 issue of an American newspaper [The Herald-Journal] quotes Mr. Tucker as saying he had made close to $500,000 from his finds to that date – which was over forty years ago.

His most famous find is considered one of the most valuable pieces of sunken treasure ever found. The emerald studded 22 karat gold Tucker Cross was discovered by Teddy Tucker in 1955. It is believed to have come from ‘San Pedro’, a Spanish galleon which was lost on the reefs in 1594. He sold it to the Government of Bermuda in 1959 saying “he wanted it to remain on the island forever.

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Tucker Cross with Back

The following is an excerpt from “How I found the Cross” by Teddy Tucker:

“September 1955, and the weather was getting worse. Then on the seventh day, a Sunday, I found the greatest single object of all. Eager to work faster, I took a water hose down to the bottom and turned on the jet to blast sand from the area below the brain coral. After carving a deep hole I turned the jet off. When the debris settled, my eyes fell on a gold cross, lying face down in the sand. I picked it up and turned it over.

Awe struck, I counted the large green emeralds on its face. There were seven of them, each as big as a musket ball. From small rings on the arms of the cross hung tiny gold nails, representing the nails in Christ’s hands, and at the foot was the ring for a third, which had been lost. The ornate carving, while beautiful, was somewhat crude, indicating that Indians had made the cross. It remains my most treasured discovery.”

In 1975, just before an official visit by Queen Elizabeth II to the Maritime Museum to view the treasure, it was discovered that somehow the Tucker Cross had been stolen and a replica left in its place.

Local lore says that due to the “style” of the theft [using a replica rather then "simply" just stealing it] the perpetrator was most likely not a Bermudian, but rather an international art thief.

Despite an investigation which reputedly involved the Bermuda Police, FBI, Scotland Yard and Interpol the original has never been recovered, and the crime remains one of both Bermuda and the marine community’s greatest unsolved mysteries.

Click to enlarge images:


His career highlights include:

  • Found more than one hundred shipwrecks around Bermuda
  • Found the famous gold and emerald “Tucker Cross.”
  • Was a guest of the former Soviet Union at a Marine Symposium [1990]
  • Worked with the National Geographic in the Marshall Islands, Pacific Ocean [1996]
  • Worked with the National Geographic in New Zealand [1997]
  • Founding member of the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute
  • Alongside members of the Smithsonian Institute, he developed the grid system for surveying wreck sites [1957]
  • Discovered the six-gill shark in Bermuda waters in the 1970′s
  • Widely credited with creating the field of study known as underwater archaeology
  • Subject of an hour long PBS documentary “Teddy Tucker, Adventure is My Life” [2006]
  • The inspiration of the film “The Deep”, which he also appeared in
  • Featured in numerous books and magazines worldwide for over fifty years; including Life, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, and hundreds of newspapers and numerous dive magazines

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Below is the cover of the documentary “Teddy Tucker, Adventure is My Life” [scroll to view]

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His awards include

  • 1991 Distinguished Service Award by the Underwater Society of America.
  • 1994 Awarded the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire Medal by the Queen
  • 2000 Lowell Thomas Award for ‘Challenging the Deep’ by the New York Explorers Club

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Courtesy of Look TV, a seven minute e-documentary on Mr. Tucker:

For more see our Teddy Tucker Tag’ for articles referencing Mr. Tucker, a photo gallery of Mr. Tucker on Life Magazine’s website, or his personal website.

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