Finally, after 300 years, Americans struck gold as they discovered the Spanish treasure long lost in the ocean.
At exactly 300 years after it was reported to be lost, William Bartlett and his team consisting of captain Jonah Martinez and fellow treasure hunter Dan Beckingham found on July 31, 2015 some 350 pieces of gold coins only 8-feet deep on the Florida Coastline.
Using the propeller of their boat, Bartlett’s crew reached the bedrock by removing the top layer of sand sitting on the treasures.
It took them almost five days to collect everything that shines from the ocean floor with a total estimate $4.5 million dollars.
All the gold coins were in great shape according to Bartlett, which now belongs to Brent Brisben, owner of the salvage company Queen’s Jewels who had bought the rights to the shipwreck.
Bartlett and his crew were hired by Queen’s Jewels to “treasure hunt” for them.
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As a subcontractor, his expenses could add up to $50k every summer they look for sunken treasure, but now that they found the gold, Bartlett would keep a percentage of the treasure.
Brisben on the other hand bought the rights to the shipwreck from a person named Mel Fisher who had won the rights to the shipwreck in a court battle in 1980.
Spain hadn’t shown much interest on their long lost treasure, making it a treasure hunter’s endeavor.
The state of Florida would also get a 20% share of the treasures found which they will display in their museums.
Nine larger pieces of gold called Royals were also excavated by the crew of treasure hunters.
Only 20 pieces were known to be existing all valued at around $300k each.
The Royals were larger coins given by King Phillip V to very important people of the Spanish and European nobility.
Despite not being able to keep all the treasure, Bartlett expressed extreme satisfaction in discovering and collecting the long lost Spanish treasure.
“To be able to go and do that, and then succeed in something like that, is more than any treasure.”
The story of the lost treasure
Exactly 300 years ago before its discovery, July 31, 1715, 11 out of 12 ships from Havana, Cuba sank after being caught in a hurricane of the coast of Florida.
The ships were pushed into the outer edge of the reef causing the misfortune of over a thousand sailors and a multitude of gold treasure on its way to Spain.
Only pieces of the gold were being washed up ashore but the bulk was never found due to the vastness of the Pacific.
As of this writing, $6.5 million dollars’ worth of gold has already been discovered while there are still around $400 million lying on the seas, waiting for the lucky treasure hunter.
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