Keep It In The Family
A family of treasure hunters have struck gold after discovering Spanish gold worth $1million off the Atlantic coast of Florida. It is the culmination of two decades of work for Rick and Lisa Schmitt and their two children Eric and Hillary which has seen them scour Florida’s coast for treasure. The hoard of Spanish gold was lost when a fleet of 11 ships got caught in a hurricane en route from Havana to Spain. All eleven ships sank off the coast of Florida with the loss of as many as 1,000 lives. Now 300 years later the Schmitts have recovered 51 gold coins, including a rare 1715 ‘royal’ that was intended for the then King of Spain, as well as a 40 foot gold chain. Ben Costello, a director of the 1715 Fleet Society, commented “To find a 1715 gold royal is incredible. There are only a handful that are even known”. For now, legal custody of the find is with a federal court in South Florida but it is expected Florida state will be assigned 20% of the treasure, which will be put on public display. The remaining 80% will be split between the Schmitts and the Queens Jewels, the salvage company that owns the rights to the 1715 site. Hillary Schmitt added “People live all along this Treasure Coast, and they don’t even know why it’s called the Treasure Coast…They don’t know that there’s 11 ships out there, six of which are still missing.” Sounds like the Schmitts won’t be sitting on their gold leafed laurels.