300-year-old sunken treasure offers more than gold coins
300-year-old sunken treasure offers more than gold coins Treasure hunter Brent Brisben, captain and owner of 1715 Fleet - Queens Jewels LLC, displays their recent discovery of more than 350 gold coins valued at $4.5 million found off the coast of Wabasso Beach on July 30-31, 2015, during a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015 in Sebastian, Fla. (Eric Hasert/The Stuart News via AP)
300-year-old sunken treasure offers more than gold coins
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William Bartlett had just started diving on a 300-year-old shipwreck. He was using a metal detector in July in the waters off Florida's Atlantic Coast. That is when he found his first Spanish gold coin. Then one coin became two. And two became so many he had to stuff them into his diving glove.
 
When he came up, "every fingertip was stacked with gold coins. And we knew then we were into something super special," the captain of his boat, Jonah Martinez, said.
 
Over the next two days, Martinez, Bartlett and another treasure hunter, Dan Beckingham, found 350 coins. They were worth $4.5 million. It is the most valuable find from the 1715 shipwreck site in decades.
 
Eleven treasure-laden ships that made up the 1715 fleet were heading to Spain from Havana. It was July 31, 1715, when they encountered a hurricane off Florida's central coast. The winds and waves smashed the ships onto reefs. As many as 1,000 lives were lost. It was one of colonial Spain's biggest maritime disasters off Florida.
 
Now it is turning out to be a treasure trove.
 
A family of treasurer hunters found $1 million in gold coins in an area south of the latest discovery in June.
 
The latest group of treasure hunters to find millions of dollars in gold coins from the 1715 fleet shipwrecks said they believe "magic" has played a role. The discoveries this summer have come on the 300th anniversary of the sinking of Spanish colonial galleons.
 
"We all enjoy doing this. And we all know the odds when we are out there and finding nothing," Martinez said. "To be able to go and do that, and then succeed in something like that, is more than any treasure."
 
They expect more discoveries to come. About $400 million in coins is still undiscovered. The search is in a coastal area. It stretches from Melbourne to Fort Pierce. The area is known as Florida's Treasure Coast.
 
"Five years ago, before I got into this business, I would have told you that magic is in fairy tales," said Brent Brisben. His salvage company, Queens Jewels, owns rights to the 1715 Fleet shipwreck site.
 
"I truly now believe that there is an energy that surrounds these shipwrecks, that I cannot quantify. I truly believe that these shipwrecks wanted their story to continue. That this magically happened on this anniversary because this story still needs to be told, and it is currently unfolding."
 
Anywhere from a dozen to two dozen subcontractors have signed up with Brisben's company to search the shipwreck site each summer. The subcontractors are responsible for their boats, crew and other expenses. That can tally up to $50,000 each summer.
 
Brisben's company purchased the salvage rights to the shipwreck five years ago from the family of treasure hunter Mel Fisher. He won a lengthy court battle in the 1980s for the rights to the shipwrecks. The Spanish government never declared an interest on the lost treasure during the legal battle. So it has no claim on it. The state of Florida did declare a claim. It is allowed to have 20 percent of found artifacts to show in a museum in Tallahassee. The remaining discoveries are split between Brisben's company and whoever finds the treasure. That is after a federal judge in Miami signs off on it.
 
For any treasure found washed up on land, "it's finders, keepers," Brisben said.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween56/300-year-old-sunken-treasure-offers-more-gold-coins/

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How is this discovery a story of both tragedy and success?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (110)
  • warind-nar
    8/27/2015 - 02:28 p.m.

    This discovery is tragedy and success because the Spanish lost over 400 million dollars of gold but it is also success because anyone can claim it if their lucky.

  • juliac-nar
    8/27/2015 - 08:34 p.m.

    This is really cool because I've only seen treasure hunters on TV shows, so to me that's very interesting that they found treasure. It even was found on the coast of Florida and the only thing that I've seen people (in real life) find on the beach is silverware, or inexpensive metal.

  • claudiag1-man
    8/28/2015 - 07:53 a.m.

    Pretty interesting after 300 years that much money in gold coins were found.

  • josephe-mil
    8/28/2015 - 07:55 a.m.

    It is tragedy because thousands of people died during the shipwreck but it is a success because they are finding millions of dollars in gold coins and the story about the ships are starting to unfold

  • christianm1-man
    8/28/2015 - 07:55 a.m.

    Because, it's a tragedy top hear and think about all the lives (which were 1000!" To be lost in the wreck but it's also a success because of how much the coins were worth.

  • chancelerh-mil
    8/28/2015 - 07:55 a.m.

    It shows to not give up on something you enjoy doing and that hard work pays off.

  • tylerc-1-mil
    8/28/2015 - 07:56 a.m.

    The discovery means that many people died during the shipwreck, but because of that there is treasure to be found.

  • noahr-1-mil
    8/28/2015 - 07:56 a.m.

    This story tells of the tragedy of the ships being destroyed in a hurricane off the coast of Florida. Yet the story also tells about the divers having great success in their search for treasure.

  • carae-mil
    8/28/2015 - 07:57 a.m.

    It's a tragedy because there seems to be a large area of sunken ships who lost lives; however, it's a success at the same time because the ships have left their legacy with all the findings treasure hunters get ahold of.

  • katelyns-1-mil
    8/28/2015 - 07:57 a.m.

    This story is both a tragedy as well as a success because it's awful that the shipwreck caused 1000 people to lose their lives, but now the story is being told and unfolded more and more. They have had many people find gold too. The lives that were lost were definitely a tragedy but the amazing story and the dicoveries are making it a great success.

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