Florida Family Finds Sunken TreasureBy: Toni Matthews-El - July 30, 2014
It’s an exciting story that brings out the treasure hunter in all of us.
One Florida family literally struck gold when a surprising discovery was made beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
It was Eric Schmitt, a treasure seeker by trade, who made the startling find last month. He and his parents were out scavenging for underwater treasure amid an 18th century shipwreck.
Eleven ships had sunk off the eastern coast of central Florida, taking with them rare and precious artifacts.
Schmitt and his family were hoping for a bit of luck, and they were indeed lucky.
The Orlando native unearthed a 300-year-old artifact, which Spanish historians stated was a perfect match to a similar artifact that was found 25 years ago.
The recently discovered piece is called a golden pyx, which together with the previous find created a Eucharist case, used by high priests during a communion ceremony in the 1700s.
It’s just another amazing find for Schmitt, who last year found roughly $300,000 worth of gold coins in the same underwater location.
As for the artifact, it’s too soon to know for sure what the exact dollar value is. If such an estimation can be made.
According to Brent Brisben, operations manager for 1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels, the piece is “priceless” and “one of a kind”. The business owns the rights to the wreckage site.
Even though the Schmitt family has made a decade-long hobby of searching for sunken treasure, they have not been able to keep the goods for themselves.
The law dictates that the treasure be turned over to the U.S. District Court in South Florida, after which the state will claim 20% of the treasure.
So much for “finders keepers.”
Well, at least the Schmitt family won’t walk away empty handed; they will split the remaining 80% of the treasure’s value with Brisben.
Image via Wikimedia Commons