“It’s literally something that you’ll never forget,” Brent Brisben told The Washington Post on Tuesday. “To be the first person to touch something that’s been lost for 300 years is a magical experience.”
Brisben’s company, 1715 Fleet — Queens Jewels LLC, owns the rights to explore the shipwreck site where the coins were located, and the Schmitt family had subcontracted it.
So after the gold was discovered, Brisben got a call: Schmitt told him to get down to the site. But it had been a long day, and Brisben was tired. He tried to get Schmitt to just send a photo.
“He said ‘no, you need to come down here,’ ” Brisben recalled.
Eventually, Brisben gave in.
“He was right,” Brisben said, “and it literally left me shaken.”
The best part of the lot is probably a Spanish coin known as a “Tricentennial Royal.” The coin, apparently intended to be given to the king of Spain, is “extremely rare and extremely significant,” Brisben said.
“It is a perfect specimen of the coinage of the period and is known as a royal because it was destined for the King himself,” the release states. “What makes this coin so special is there are only a handful of royals from the 1715 Fleet wreck sites known to exist.”
The waters in which the treasure was hidden are only about 15 feet deep, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
For the past two summers, the Schmitts have made national news thanks to their discoveries from the fleet of Spanish ships that wrecked in July 1715.In 2013, the family found several pieces of a solid gold chain — more than 60 feet in all — and last year Schmitt found the back portion of a handcrafted gold-filigree pyx, a vessel used to hold the Eucharist during the Christian observance of Holy Communion.Each time their loot was found in the same general area: about 150 feet off the coast of Fort Pierce in about 15 feet of water.
“You spend so many hours picking up garbage off the bottom of the ocean … day after day,” Brisben told The Post. “It takes an incredible amount of perseverance to trudge through those things and continue on.”