A young Florida woman had the best birthday ever while treasure hunting off the Florida coast on June 17.
Hillary Schmitt, told her family before their expedition that day “we are going to find gold today,” says her brother Eric. What they found was more than they could imagine: $1 million worth of gold treasure, earning Hillary the nickname “The Gold Luck Charm.”
The find included 51 gold coins, 40 feet of ornate gold chain, and a single coin made for King Phillip V of Spain, called a Royal and nicknamed “Tricentennial Royal.” The latter coin is dated to 1715 and alone could be worth up to $500,000.
This year marks the 300th anniversary of the Spanish treasure fleet’s shipwrecks, which sent $400 million worth of treasure to the bottom of the sea.
The salvage rights to the remains belongs to 1517 Fleet – Queen Jewels, LLC, owned by Brent Brisben. It is illegal for anyone to enter the waters without a permit from this organization.
Brisben says the treasure belongs to the United States government (the state is entitled to up to 20% of artifacts that 1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels LLC recovers), and the remainder will be split between the Schmitts and Brisben.
Says Brisben “To think of a coin coming off of the bottom of the ocean 300 years after it was made on its birthday, so close to the anniversary of the sinking of these shipwrecks, is mind boggling.”
The cargo came from Capitan-General Don Juan Esteban de Ubilla and his flagship, the Cpitana en route from Cuba to Spain. It carried more than 3.5 million pesos in proceless treasure – the queen of Spain’s jewels. A hurricane on July 30, 1715 sank 11 ships and killed their crews.
Courtesy of USA Today