|Divers on the Treasure Coast have announced the discovery of treasure from the Royal flagship of the 1715 treasure fleet, the Capitana: 52 gold coins, 40 feet of gold chain, and 110 silver coins. |
The find was made on June 17, 2015. The Florida family that made the discovery, led by Eric Schmitt, wanted to wait so their announcement would coincide with the 300-year anniversary of the fleet's sinking off the coast of Florida. The 11 ships were part of Spain's Tierra Firme and New Spain fleets, regular convoys of vessels that transported gold, silver, and other precious resources from Spanish colonies in the New World to Europe.
|Captained by Don Juan Esteban de Ubilla, the Capitana carried an enormous fortune when it
sank during a hurricane that hit them on July 30 and 31, 1715. The Schmitts are seasoned treasure hunters having first found gold in September 2013. |
Schmitt and his family had been working the 1715 vessels under contract with 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels LLC, a Florida company with exclusive rights to the wrecks, for several years.
|>|| The Schmitt family found a rare 1715 "royal" intended for the king of Spain.|
"To find a 1715 gold royal is incredible. There are only a handful known," said Ben Costello, a director of the Pennsylvania-based educational group the 1715 Fleet Society. The odds of finding one are long indeed."
Eric Schmitt, second from left, Lindsay Schmitt, his wife, stands at left and Brent Brisben, the owner of 1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels stands at right.
|"People live all along this Treasure Coast, and they don't even know why it's called the Treasure Coast," Lindsay Schmitt said.|
"They don't know that there's 11 ships out there, six of which are still missing."