Treasure-Hunting Clan Finds $1 Million Worth of Treasure in a 300-Year-Old Sunken Ship


Now that’s quite a gold rush!

The Schmitt family, who runs a treasure hunting company called Booty Salvage, is spearheaded by 27-year-old professional treasure hunter Eric Schmitt. They were responsible for the discovery of a remarkable and not to mention priceless piece of history last June. The artifacts came from the wreckage of a doomed Spanish fleet that sunk around the year 1715. The ship was said to have been en route to Cuba from Spain, it contained heaps of treasure including 51 gold coins and 40 feet of ornate gold chain, which are believed to amount to an estimated 175 million dollars in value.

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Schmitt was reported to have discovered the artifacts while diving 15 feet below in a protected area. The ship’s wreckage is owned by Brent Brisben, who runs the company 1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels LLC. Schmitt and his family are in contract with the company to allow them to search for any treasures from the wreckage.

The Spanish fleet had sunk following a hurricane that killed more than a thousand crew members, including Capt. General Don Juan Esteban de Ubilla. To date, only the $175 million from the estimated $400 million treasure has been recovered. All of these treasures once belonged to the Queen of Spain.

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Unarguably the most valuable of the loot was the tricentennial royal, a coin modeled for King Philip V.  Today, it is worth up to $500,000 and only six of these royal coins are known to have been made throughout history.

As for the gold chains, these were previously used for tax-free coinage and have beautifully handcrafted olive petal designs

The announcement of the astounding discovery was officially made during the 300th anniversary of the sunken fleet. This marked a milestone after a tedious two-year search for the wreckage. But this had not been the first time the Schmitt family has ever recovered something valuable. Eric found a 300-year-old Mexican silver platter near Sebastian that valued just about $25,000.

Family business: Eric Schmitt (right) - along with with his sister Hillary (left), father Rick (center) and other family members runs a diving salvage company named Booty Salvage

The family is looking into splitting the find with Briben’s company, while a remaining 20 percent will go to the state museum in accordance to federal law.

“It’s amazing, it’s the reason why you do this,” Eric Schmitt said. “The amount of hard work that goes into this is indescribable. There are breakdowns, boat issues, crew issues, once you overcome that, it makes it all the more better.”

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