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Divers Find $4.5 Million in Gold Coins In Shallow Waters Just Off The Florida Coast

Divers of the 1715 Fleet in Florida hit it big while treasure hunting.

In two days of treasure hunting, the crew recovered 350 gold coins worth $4.5 million.

Nine of the coins found are called Royals and are appraised at $300,000 each. They were made in the early 1700s for King Philip V of Spain.

"People love treasure stories. It resonates with everybody — every demographic, young and old, rich and poor," Brent Brisben, the founder of the 1715 Fleet said. "People freak out that we're literally 10-15 feet off the beach in 2-3 feet of water."

“It’s been magical,” Brisben said. "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.”

On July 31, 1715, 11 ships traveling from Havana, Cuba, to Spain to deliver “the queen’s jewels” were shipwrecked when a hurricane hit. Roughly 1,000 people died at sea while 1,500 people were able to swim to shore.

The ships were carrying an estimated $400 million worth of jewelry and gold. The gold belongs to the U.S. District Court of Florida, reported USA Today.

“For a treasure diver such as myself, a find like this is the equivalent of winning an Olympic gold medal," said William Bartlett, who recovered the coins, in an email

“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."

The state will appraise it and take 20 percent of the treasure to display in local museums, RT reported. The Schmitt family of Sanford, Florida, are subcontractors for Brisben, and will split the remaining 80 percent with the 1715 Fleet.

The 1715 Fleet’s announcement comes less than a month after the Schmitts announced they had found $1 million worth of treasure, also in shallow waters.

Only $180 million of the $400 million lost in the shipwreck has been recovered so far, but don’t pack your bags for Florida just yet.

Brisben’s company, 1715 Fleet — Queens Jewels LLC, owns the exclusive salvage rights to the treasure and it is illegal to enter the waters without a permit from his organization.

Sources: USA Today, RT / Photo credit: 1715 Fleet/Facebook, Jeremy Schultz/Flickr,


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