The wreckage of a fleet of Spanish ships that sunk off the coast of Florida in 1715 has yielded treasure for the second time this summer, as a diver found $4.5 million in gold coins just yards from the shore.
A crew from 1715 Fleet–Queens Jewels, which has exclusive rights to the wrecks, found 350 coins buried in the sand just 10–15 feet from the shore in Vero Beach, Fla. The find included nine rare coins called Royals that are valued at $300,000 each, Brent Brisben, owner of the company, told USA Today. Prior to this find, only 20 of the Royals were known to be in existence.
The state of Florida is entitled to 20 percent of the find and may put in requests for specific items to transfer to museums.
“For a treasure diver such as myself, a find like this is the equivalent of winning an Olympic gold medal,” said William Bartlett, a diver from the discovery crew, in an email to USA Today. “This is what we (treasure hunters of the 1715 Fleet) all come here to do. For four months out of the year we eat, sleep, and live treasure. When we’re not actually treasure hunting, we’re usually talking about treasure hunting. We hang out with other treasure hunters.”
Diver Eric Schmitt, who had a contract with 1715 Fleet to dive in the area, found $1 million in gold coins at the same location in June.