Almost 300 years ago on this day, 12 ships of a fleet of 13 were sunk by a hurricane off the coast of Florida. Starting off from Cuba (which was then a Spanish colony), the ships were home-bound to mainland Spain, and as such carried a hoard of valuables. And now in 2015, a team of family treasure-hunters have successfully salvaged most of these items by accounting for an impressive haul of nearly $1 million worth of gold objects (including coins and chains). But the ‘jewel’ among such riches arguably pertains to the ‘Tricentennial Royal’ – a very rare, immaculately-shaped Spanish coin that is alone worth around $500,000.
By all accounts, the hoard was luckily located off Fort Pierce, Florida – with the discovery being made just at a distance of 1,000 feet from the coast. The salvaging project was undertaken Eric Schmitt and his family, along with their trusty salvage vessel – Aarrr Booty. The salvage permits were given to them on a sub-contract basis by a company named 1715 Fleet Queen Jewels, LLC – owned by one Brent Brisben (who obtained the original permits for exploring the shipwrecks in 2010).
As for the fascinating scope of the discovery, the family crew-members of Aarrr Booty were able to find 51 gold coins and gold chains that collectively account for over 40 ft of length. But as we mentioned before, the ‘piece de resistance’ of the treasure hunt relates to the Spanish-made Tricentennial Royal. To that end, the significance of this single piece of coin lies in its almost impeccably round shape.
This is because the coin (among very few others) was specifically minted for King Philip V of Spain, and as such was exclusively die-cast by pouring molten gold in a specialized coin mold. As a result, the uniformed shape of the Tricentennial Royal stands out from other Colonial coins of the era that were mostly minted by more rudimentary processes.
And if the discovery of the royal coin has tickled your adventurous senses, wait for this – the treasure hunters have estimated that around a whopping $440 million worth of coins and other treasures are still to be recovered from the wreckage of the twelves ships! The unexplored hoard possibly includes the queen’s jewels (like a 74-carat emerald ring and 14-carat pearl earrings) which were owned by Philip V’s second wife, Elizabeth Farnese, Duchess of Parma.
Source: LiveScience / Images Credit: 1715 Fleet Queens Jewels, LLC