Hoard Discovered on Florida's "Treasure Coast"

03/09/2013 09:26  |  Gold Coins

Florida’s “Treasure Coast” well and truly lived up to its name this summer when 48 gold coins were recovered with an estimated value of a quarter of a million dollars.

Treasure hunter Captain Greg Bounds of the ‘Capitana’ discovered the valuable hoard buried in the sand about 200 miles off the coastline of Wabasso Beach on the east coast of America’s Sunshine State. Bounds and his crew had spent years hunting for treasure around the site where a fleet of Spanish ships, laden with treasure, sank almost 300 years ago. Normally they’d just find rubbish like old beer cans and fishing weight but this one Saturday they quite literally struck gold!

“We’re out there all day, pulling ropes and diving, and lifting anchors, big heavy anchors. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had in my life,” said an ecstatic Bounds following his incredible discovery. The owner of the company that owns the salvage rights to the shipwrecks, Brent Brisben said afterwards that watching Bounds emerge to the surface with a handful of coins is a sight he’ll never forget. Each coin has been valued at just over $4,000, making the complete hoard worth in the region of $250,000.

Between the mid 16th and the mid 18th century, ships carrying valuables like precious metal coins, tobacco and spices regularly sailed between Spain and the Americas. The risk from pirates was high but the greatest danger was by far the elements. The “Treasure Coast” is so-called after eleven Spanish galleons hit violent storms on their return to Spain from Havana in Cuba and sank in the area in 1715. Most of the crew were lost at sea with only a handful of lucky ones escaped in lifeboats.

Spanish authorities recovered some of the lost treasure from the wreckage but much more remained on the ocean floor. It wasn’t until another 200 years that further discoveries were made. Artefacts from the capsized fleet are occasionally washed up on Florida’s coastline. The hoard is now in the custody of the state of Florida who has a right to up to 20% of everything found. It’s likely to eventually go on display in the local museum.

View The 2013 1/10oz US Gold Eagle Coin

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