$4.5M worth of sunken Spanish treasure recovered in Vero Beach

This article originally appeared at WPBF.com, August 20, 2015.

VERO BEACH, Fla —Queens Jewels, a historic shipwreck salvage operation that owns the exclusive rights to the remains of the 1715 Treasure Fleet, has recovered gold coins off the Treasure Coast valued at $4.5 million.

On Wednesday, the company announced that it recovered more than 350 gold coins on July 31 – 300 years to the date that the ship sank.

On Wednesday, the company announced that it recovered more than 350 gold coins on July 31 – 300 years to the date that the ship sank.

Nine of the coins, called Royals, were made for the King of Spain, Phillip V, and are valued at $300,000 a piece. The nine Royals account for 30 percent of all Royals known to exist, a release said.

The artifacts were discovered in shallow waters – about 6 feet deep – off the coast of Vero Beach.

Brent Brisben, owner of 1715 Fleet-Queen’s Jewels, LLC, said the 1715 Fleet is considered one of the most important maritime tragedies in history.

Eleven galleons laden with treasures from the New World and returning to Spain departed from Havana, Cuba on July 24, 1715, and were shipwrecked in a hurricane on July 31 on what is now known as Florida’s Treasure Coast.

“These finds are important not just for their monetary value, but their historical importance,” said Brisben. “One of our key goals is to help learn from and preserve history, and this week’s finds draw us closer to those truths.”

The four treasure hunters say it’s too early to know whether they’ll sell their share of the treasure.

Crew members of the Capitana said Thursday they do know one thing: They plan to keep searching for more treasure.

They say their motivation isn’t wealth but the thrill of the hunt for items from the site of the 300-year-old shipwreck.

They also say there’s still $400 million down there.

In June, a Florida family found more than $1 million in treasure from the shipwreck.

The State of Florida is entitled 20 percent of the recovered artifacts for purposes of displaying in their Museum in Tallahassee, the release said.

Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press

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