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$300,000 Sunken Treasure Found

September 10th, 2013

Photo credit: Booty Salvage/Facebook

School’s back in now but if you spent any part of your summer vacation looking for seashells and other treasures along the beach, you’ll appreciate this …

During Labor Day long weekend the Schmitt family was treasure hunting off the coast of Fort Pierce, Florida … and found an estimated $300,000 worth of Spanish gold coins, gold chains, and other treasures!

The artifacts are believed to date back to 1715 — nearly 300 years ago!

When 20-year old Hillary Schmitt saw her brother, Eric, with the golden treasures, she reported, “His pocket was hanging (with gold) about down to the ground. It was an intense moment … We were all just screaming and crying.”

Their father, Rick Schmitt, told NBC News, “You hate to say it’s a dream come true, but it’s a dream come true.”

Admittedly, the Schmitts look for sunken treasure a lot. They even have a company called Booty Salvage. Mainly, they say they do it to have family adventures together.

And even though they’ve had some luck in the past, they never expected this.

“When the metal detector went off, I’m thinking, ok, here comes another aluminum can and out pops a small gold coin,” said family friend Dale Zeak, one of the treasure hunters.

That was just the beginning.

The treasure is most likely from a fleet of Spanish ships loaded with gold and other treasure that was struck by a hurricane. All but one of the 12 ships sank . About a thousand people died.

Can the Schmitts keep the treasure?  Some of it but not all of it. The state of Florida has rights to some of the treasure. Also, a  company  owns the rights for salvaging the shipwreck in that area, so they’ll get a cut too. The Schmitts will get some of it for sure, even though they say more about history and the hunt for them.

That being said, if you think treasure hunting suddenly sounds like the career for you? There’s an estimated $400 million more down there just from this fleet of ships alone!


(apologies for any ads with this video, they originate from NBC News, not HTE)

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