It will have been 298 years to this date that a treasure fleet disaster of epic proportions occurred off the Central Florida coast. But this year a big difference, as new treasure has been recently been salvaged off of Wabasso beach. Recovery in July of 2013 of 48 gold and silver coins with an estimated value of $200,000 to $250,000 by the 1715 Treasure Fleet Queen's Jewels salvage company.
The salvage company is coowned by Brent Brisben who got his start in treasure salvage in 1983 with Mel Fisher working on the Atocha project. Bill might be thought of having the "Midas Touch" as he has introduced methods and techniques which has resulted in very successful salvage operations. With the latest recovery the oldest coin bears the date 1697 and the youngest is dated 1714. The 1697 coin is a Lima One Escudo and named for where it was minted in Peru. Other items recovered include; Kang Hsi china, cannon and musket balls, a sword hilt and eight reales.
As the story goes, in 1715 a fleet of twelve Spanish ships called the "Plate Fleet" carrying treasure from the New World to Spain were destroyed in a huge hurricane. It was in the evening of July 31, 1715, seven days after departing from Havana, Cuba, that eleven of the twelve ships of this fleet were sunk dumping their precious cargo of gold, silver and other expensive commodities along Florida’s East Coast. Most of the ships went down in the Fort Pierce and Wabasso beach ares but many experts agree that there is evidence that some wrecked further North. Nearly 700 sailors perished while a small number survived by drifting ashore on wreckage and lifeboats. Only one ship a small escort made it back to tell the tragic news. Spain sent their salvage ships and employed local Indians to begin the recovery operation.
Then came the pirates that helped themselves. The British governor of Jamaica sent out his left-hand man Henry Jennings to establish order but the very sight of all treasure turned him into a privateer,and later a full pirate. This event launched the dawning of the “Golden Age of Piracy" on the Caribbean.
Decades later the legend faded away only to leave evidence in legends and a map notation of the fleet wreck by Englishman Bernard Romans. Later this map notation was discovered by the research of a retired building contractor by the name of Kip Wagner in 1964. Kip set up company called the The Real Eight Company and the National Graphic Magazine picked up the story and word got out and 'treasure' once again became the buzz on the streets. > to be continued.
1715 Fleet - Queens Jewels, LLC .1715treasurefleet.com web accessed 29 July 2013
Holland, "Leslie Gold! $250K in centuries-old coins found" CNN 25 July 2013