September 6, 2013 – The Schmitt family of Sanford, Florida loves to spend their family time hunting for buried treasure. Last Labour Day weekend the family only found one coin, but they had a much more successful Labour Day weekend this year!
Rick and Lisa Schmitt and their grown children, Hillary and Eric, found approximately $500,000 worth of gold in a historic wreckage of 11 Spanish ships.
The ships and their crew were on their way to Havana, Cuba in 1715 when they got caught a hurricane. Florida's Treasure Coast, where the shipwrecks are located, was named after that storm.
They discovered 20 metres (64 feet) of gold chains, a gold ring, and five gold coins. An early estimation suggested that the treasure was worth $300,000 but a later estimate guessed that the gold was worth $200,000 more!
"To be the first person to touch an artifact in 300 years, is indescribable," said Brent Brisben of 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels LLC, the company that owns the rights to the shipwrecks.
The state of Florida is legally allowed to take up to 20 per cent of the treasure to display in a museum. Whatever is left over will be split evenly between the Schmitt family and Brisben's company.
It is believed that about 400 million dollars of treasure was on board the ships when they crashed. Only 175 million dollars has been found to date.
Lisa is happy that her family found the treasure, but the real treasure to her is the time she gets to spend with her family when they're hunting.
The Schmitt's don't plan to stop hunting any time soon. "We're going to keep doing the same things we did," said Rick. "Just with a lot bigger smile."