This screenshot from the Facebook page of Booty Salvage Inc. shows the Schmitt family's recent $300,000 haul of Spanish gold.(Photo: Schmitt family via Facebook)
By Matt Cantor, Newser
A 65-year-old Florida man has spent his life searching for treasure
off the coast-and Rick Schmitt and his family have just made their
Some 150 yards off the coast of Fort
Pierce, and about 15 feet underwater, the Schmitt family found 64 feet
of gold chain, five gold coins, and a gold ring; the haul has been
valued at an estimated $300,000, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
gold is about 300 years old, leftover from 11 Spanish ships that went
down in a hurricane in 1715, earning the area the nickname "Treasure
a huge find for Schmitt, whose 20-year-old daughter recounts summers
aboard the family's boats (first the Booty Quest, now the AARRR Booty)
spent recovering undersea treasure like ... beer cans. Last Labor Day,
the family dredged up just one gold coin. But there have been some
big finds in the past. In 2002, Schmitt's son found a
three-centuries-old silver platter worth $25,000.
the newest haul, the state of Florida gets to keep up to 20% of the
treasure for museum display; the Schmitt family and the company that
holds local diving rights will share the rest. It's the second coup of
the summer for that company, which announced a big find in July.