Florida treasure hunters found a collection of US$4.5 million worth of rare Spanish gold coins 300 years after the fleet of ships sank in a hurricane while en route to Cuba.
On July 30, 2015, off the coast of Vero Beach, Brent Brisben, the captain of the boat S/V Capitana discovered 350 coins, including nine rare pieces, known as royal eight escudos. These nine coins were specially made for King of Spain Phillip V in the early 1700s, reported USA TODAY. Each of the nine coins are valued at US$300,000 per piece.
“People love treasure stories. It resonates with everybody—every demographic, young and old, rich and poor,” Brisben told USA TODAY. “People freak out that we’re literally 10–15 feet off the beach in 2–3 feet of water.”
According to Brisben, the King’s company, 1715 Fleet—Queens Jewels, owns the rights to the 1715 wreckage. Brisben also added that there were only 20 such coins that existed prior to this discovery of the nine rare pieces.
The crew chose the Vero Beach, Florida, for treasure hunting since it was very close to the previous discovery that was made.
Eleven treasure-filled Spanish galleons were tossed into the waters off the Florida East Coast in 1715, which eventually sank into the ocean. Today, that wreckage is scattered over a larger area—the coins recovered by the crew are part of the scattered treasure.
William Bartlett, the diver who recovered the coins from the ocean bottom, said that the whole operation took five days to complete and the crew made use of the boat’s propeller to make a hole in the ocean floor in order to reach 2.4 meters down, reported MailOnline.
“It’s been magical. What’s amazing about this is we found it on the actual anniversary. We found 230 gold coins on the 30th, and the hurricane started on the evening of the 30th (in 1715),” Brisben said in an interview with CBS This Morning, reported USA TODAY.
As per the law, the recovered gold belongs to the U.S. District Court of Florida; the state is entitled to 20 percent of the entire haul, while the rest of the share would be split among the crew members.
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Photo Credit: Facebook | 1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels, LLC.