POST OF THE DAY
VERO BEACH, Fla. —
More than 300 years ago, violent storms sank a fleet of 18th century Spanish ships. It scattered hundreds of gold coins along the Florida coastline. And now, treasure hunters have found the fortune.
It may sound like a sea-faring Indiana Jones screenplay, but it actually happened just last month. William Bartlett was the lucky guy who came across the gold. It was his third dive on a long day late last month. He may not have screamed -- but there's no doubt he knew he uncovered something big. Once ashore, Bartlett and the 1715 Fleet Queens Jewels Salvage Crew counted more than 300 gold coins valued at $4.5 million!
The larger coins -- called Royals -- tell an important story of the past. Royals were specifically made for King Phillip V and are incredibly rare.
There were only 20 or so known to exist in the world before the crew found these nine. The King would present the coins to other important people in the monarchy.
The discovery of the nearly 300 coins was on the 300th anniversary of the wrecks. Reminding Bartlett he's not just hunting for the flashy price tag, but pieces of history to preserve. The salvage crew believes about $400 million worth of sunken treasure still lies undiscovered off the coast.
They are giving 20 percent of what they found to state museums.
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author: Lisa Suzanne Thomas