Reclusive antiques collector Hamilton White, and his long-time friend, millionaire property developer Carl Cookson, are ready to give a rare insider’s look at the treasure-hunting game in the five-episode reality series Lost Relics Of The Knights Templar. They’ll be focussing specifically on the legends of the Knights Templar. And Cambridge University-educated historian and author Dan Jones, who penned the non-fiction book The Templars: The Rise And Spectacular Fall Of God’s Holy Warriors, will be along for the ride.

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Templar Treasure

Hamilton has been a treasure hunter for 30 years, and he claims that his hoard, containing artefacts and antiquities dating back to the 1200s, is currently worth over £100 million (over R2.25 billion). His particular obsession has been with the Knights Templar, and over the past 10 years he claims to have collected around 100 of their original treasures, including an obsidian chalice, a sword and a helmet. Each episode in this series will focus on one of his five most spectacular acquisitions. He believes all the items originate from one Templar base in Portugal, and were sold off to collectors over the years following their discovery in the 1960s. Now in Lost Relics Of The Knights Templar, Hamilton will be giving viewers a rare glimpse into his secret stash for the first time.

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What makes a treasure hunter?

Hamilton has been collecting since he was a child, making small pocket money purchases of antiques and curiosities and trading up. He still has the first antique he ever bought, at the age of eight: a coin from the reign of Edward The First (which would be around 700 years old). “That’s what started it all. It just naturally morphed into an obsession,” he shrugs. “I think it’s genetic. I probably have whatever the OCD is that people like us have. It was there, I was born with it, and the older you get and the more money you have to spend, or the more time you’ve got, it just becomes extreme.”

A glimpse inside one of his sheds during the show reveals him to be a sort of historically inclined pack rat. He casually swishes the cloth covering from a set of Mammoth tusks that he claims come from one of his past trips to Russia. One of those old wire shopping baskets holds “a few bits off the Mary Rose” (the famous shipwreck), there’s a bit of an aeroplane on the floor, a “trench mallet” on the bench along with some sword sticks, while goodness knows what is in an old laundry bag… possibly it could even be laundry, gathering dust and becoming more valuable by the day.

Lost Relics Of The Knights Templar S1 starts on Wednesday, 6 May on History (186)at 20:15


TV treasure chest

Treasure hunting is a popular TV genre, whether you’re in it for the adventure or just the facts, ma’am. If you loved Lost Relics Of The Knights Templar, dig up some of these series, doccies and movies:

Doccies and reality:

  • National Treasures Found documentary special on CCTV4 (447) on Wednesday 6 May at 21:30, and Thursday 7 May at 07:00
  • Expedition Unknown S3 on DStv Catch Up
  • Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail S4 on DStv Catch Up
  • Treasures Decoded S4 on History (186) on Saturdays at 06:00
  • Treasure Quest: Snake Island S2 on Travel Channel (179) on Mondays at 21:10, Tuesdays at 23:45 and Saturdays at 13:30
  • Treasures Of Ancient Egypt S1 on BBC World News (400) on Thursdays at 13:30 and Fridays at 11:30
  • Buried Secrets Of WWII S1 on National Geographic (181) on Tuesdays 20:50 and Wednesdays at 02:00
  • The Curse Of Oak Island on History (186) on Fridays at 20:15, Saturdays at 02:10 and 19:20, as well as Mondays at 09:55 and 15:40
  • Gold Rush: Dave Turin’s Lost Mine S2 on Discovery (121) on Tuesdays at 01:55
  • Rob Riggle: Global Investigator S1 on Discovery (121) on Tuesdays at 20:00 and Wednesdays at 01:10.

For the Kids

  • Treasure Planet movie on DStv Catch Up
  • Treasure Hounds movie on DStv Catch Up
  • Dora And The Lost City Of Gold movie on M-Net (101) on Saturday, 9 May at 15:15 and 16:15, and on M-Net Movie Premiere (104) on Friday, 15 May at 11:05

Grown up movie 

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