Family Uncovers $1 Million of Sunken Treasure Near Florida

1715 Treasure Fleet recovered $1 million in gold, including a super rare Tricentennial Royal coin (center).
1715 Treasure Fleet recovered $1 million in gold, including a super rare Tricentennial Royal coin (center).Courtesy 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels LLC

If there's a winning ticket in the adventure lottery, it would be discovering shipwrecked gold. And that's exactly what a family of Florida treasure hunters did when they found 60 gold artifacts at the bottom of the ocean off of Florida's coast, just 15 feet below the water's surface.

The treasure, which was discovered on July 17, include 51 gold coins, 40 feet of gold chains with hand-crafted links, and a single coin given the nickname the "Tricentennial Royal," which was meant to be delivered straight from Cuba to Spanish King Phillip V and alone is worth more than $500,000.

The treasures are remnants of a 300-year-old wreckage site where of a fleet of 11 Spanish ships went down during a hurricane on July 31, 1715 after leaving Cuba. Wreck-salvage company 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels LLC owns the rights to dive at the wreckage site where the gold was ultimately discovered, and the family who unearthed it, the Schmitts, are subcontractors of the company. However, the Schmitts announced on Tuesday that the U.S. government owns 20 percent of the wealth, and the Schmitts and 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels LLC founder Brent Brisben will split the remaining cash from the sale of the treasure.

This isn't the first time the Schmitt family has struck gold at this site, either. In 2013, the family found several pieces of a solid gold chain, totaling more than 60 feet. Last year, Eric Schmitt found the back portion of a handcrafted gold-filigree pyx, which is used to hold the Eucharist during the Christian observance of Holy Communion.

The Spanish treasure fleet's wreck reportedly sent more than $400 million worth of treasure to the bottom of the ocean, leaving plenty more to be discovered. 

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