Florida treasure hunters find gold coins on 1715 shipwreck

Captain Eric Schmitt and his family say they found 52 gold coins, including one worth $500,000 on in the Atlantic Ocean off Fort Pierce, Fla..

WFTS, Tampa
Rare gold coins found by the Schmitt family off Fort Pierce, Fla.

A family of treasure hunters has found more than $1 million worth of gold artifacts off the coast of Florida.

Multiple media outlets reported Monday that boat captain Eric Schmitt and his family made the find June 17 about 15 feet deep in the Atlantic Ocean off Fort Pierce.

The Orlando Sentinel reports:

The star of the haul was an extremely rare coin known as a "Tricentennial Royal" minted in 1715. It had been underwater since a fleet of Spanish ships foundered during a hurricane along Florida's Treasure Coast 300 years ago, Schmitt said.

"These things were known as presentation pieces not meant to be circulated as currency," Schmitt said.

That coin alone is worth about $500,000, according to Schmitt.

For the past two summers, the Schmitts have made national news thanks to their discoveries from the fleet of Spanish ships that wrecked in July 1715.

 In 2013, the family found several pieces of a solid gold chain — more than 60 feet in all — and last year Schmitt found the back portion of a handcrafted gold-filigree pyx, a vessel used to hold the Eucharist during the Christian observance of Holy Communion.

Brent Brisben is the co-founder of 1715 Fleet - Queens Jewels LLC, the company that owns the rights to the wreckage where the family found the gold. Brisben says the artifacts date from a 1715 maritime tragedy in which 11 Spain-bound galleons were lost during a hurricane.

He says the items recovered include 52 gold coins and 40 feet of ornate gold chain. The rare coin, Tricentennial Royal, was destined for the king of Spain.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.