A Florida family of self-described treasure hunters brought home the proverbial big score on Monday after recovering gold and jewelry estimated to be worth about $300,000, the Orlando Tribune reported.
In describing his feelings about his family’s lucrative discovery, Rick Schmitt, who lead’s the family salvage company, Booty Savage, told the Tribune, “This is like the end of a dream.”
The collected haul — five gold coins, a gold ring and 64 feet of gold chain — has been traced back to a Spanish fleet of ships that was almost completely destroyed off of the Florida coast in July 1715 by a freak hurricane. The storm is blamed for the deaths of 1,000 people, and the region, located off the coast of Fort Pierce, is known as the Treasure Coast.
“To be the first person to touch an artifact in 300 years, is indescribable,” another local treasure hunter, Brent Brisben, said to the Tribune. “They were there 150 years before the Civil War. It’s truly remarkable to be able to bring that back.”
Brisben’s group, Fleet–Queens Jewels LLC, holds the search rights for the area and often employs Schmitt’s family as a contractor. Fleet-Queens Jewels also reported a major discovery this summer, finding another 51 gold coins valued at approximately $250,000.
According to the Tribune, the state of Florida will get to display up to a fifth of the two companies’ findings, with the rest of the treasure to be split evenly between them.
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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