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A Florida family has been rewarded for years of treasure hunting after finding gold artifacts worth at least $1 million from the wreckage of a 1715 Spanish fleet that sank in the Atlantic Ocean. The Spanish convoy’s manifests indicated the ships carried cargo valued today at about $400 million, of which $175 million has been recovered.
Deep sea treasure hunter Eric Schmitt discovered the coins in 15 feet of water off Fort Pierce, roughly 130 miles north of Miami. The find included 51 gold coins of various denominations and 40 feet of ornate gold chain. The gold chains are made of small, handcrafted, two-sided links of six-petaled olive blossoms. They were called money chains and are believed to have been used as a tax-free coinage, according to a news release.
The centerpiece of the amazing find is a perfect specimen of a coin called a royal made for Spain’s King Phillip V and dated 1715. Only a few royals were known to exist.
Under federal and state law, Florida will take possession of up to 20 percent of the find for display in a state museum, while the Schmitt family, which includes 27-year-old Eric, parents Rick and Lisa, a sibling and daughter-in-law, gets to keep the remainder.
Find out more via this New York Daily News video: