Find Gold Coin Trove Off Florida by ABC News | Mon,
Jul 15, 2013 4:16 PM EDT
In July of 1715, a fleet
of 11 spanish ships departed from Havana, Cuba. A hurricane
struck on July 31, and all the ships sank. Fast forward
300 years, and 48 gold coins from the fleet have been discovered
off the Florida coast.
Brent Brisben, who owns the shipwreck salvage
company 1715 Fleet - Queens Jewels LLC, discovered the coins
with a four-member crew as part of his excavation quest
Saturday. A half hour into their quest, the crew was only
100 feet away from the shore when they discovered the coins.
"It's something I will never forget,"
Brisben told ABC News. "To be one of the first person
to touch these things in over 300 years is amazing."
Brisben's company is responsible for salvaging
items from the shipwrecks. He said six of the 11 ships have
Brisben is estimating the value of the coins
at $250,000, but says his archaeologist has to come in and
provide the full value. He estimated that each coin is worth
$4,000 to $5,000. The oldest one dates back to 1697, and
the newest one 1714, he said.
Brisben plans to sell the coins to collectors.
But he said Florida is entitled to 20 percent of the haul,
and he needs to see what they want to take.
Mary Glowacki, the chief and state Archaeologist
of the Florida Bureau for Archaeological Research, did not
return calls for comment.
During the summer, Brisbenand his crew leave
the docks at 6:30 a.m. and come back after sundown. He can
only look for items in the summer, he explained, because
the water has to be calm and flat, conditions which really
only happen during the summer months. He spends the winter
months conserving and documenting the artifacts.
In 2010, Brisben and his crew discovered
a bronze cannon filled with 50 gold coins and 40 silver
coins that were valued at half a million dollars. That same
year, they found an "extremely rare" gold artifact
appraised at $885,000 which the company sold to a private
collector in San Francisco.
Brisben previously owned a real estate business,
but has operated the salvage company since 2010. He also
told ABC News his company is filming a reality show about