After years of trying, a family of treasure hunters finally struck gold when they found $1 million worth of artefacts off the coast of Florida.
Rick and Lisa Schmitt, along with their two children and daughter-in-law, have used their salvage vessel ‘Aarrr Booty’ (best boat name ever?) to scour the ocean for treasure for the past two summers.
And, in June, the family got lucky when they discovered the gold artefacts in the wreckage of the Capitana, the flagship of a Spanish treasure fleet which sank in 1715.
The haul includes 51 gold coins, 40 ft. of ornate gold chain and a Tricentennial Royal, an extremely rare Spanish coin valued at over $500,000 (£321,000) – only six of the pieces are known to exist.
Speaking to the Orlando Sentinel, Eric Scmitt said:
These things were known as presentation pieces not meant to be circulated as currency.
The Schmitt family are subcontractors for treasure hunting company 1715 Fleet–Queens Jewels LLC, and firm owner Brent Brisben who owns the rights to the wreckage said he decided to make their findings public to coincide with Friday’s 300th anniversary of the sinking of the 11 galleons.
The Capitana reportedly carried an enormous fortune in Spanish jewels when it sunk in a hurricane in July 1715 – the convoy’s manifests suggest it carried goods worth around $400 million (£256m). Since just $175 million (£112m) of that has been recovered, there could be yet more gold to find!
Under federal and state law, Florida will take possession of up to 20% of the find for display in a state museum, while Brisben’s company and the Schmitt family will split the rest.
This incredible haul kind of puts those nobheads trawling beaches with metal detectors every summer to shame, doesn’t it?