1715 Treasure Fleet Finds

Brent Brisben, manager of the recovery operations for 1715 Fleet - Queens Jewels, describes the different finds that have been pedigreed by NGC on the NGC certification label.

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2010 Cannon Find

On July 11, 2010, we uncovered a historic bronze rail cannon that was literally dripping with gold and silver, contraband treasure on its way back to Spain before the shipwreck. The historic find is what pirate lore is made of, with tales of treasure hidden inside cannon bandied about for centuries, but only then were those tales confirmed. The cannon was a rare find in itself, a bronze swivel cannon used to fend off enemies on the treasure ship’s journey back to King Philip V. This is the only bronze rail gun ever recovered from the 1715 Fleet. The cannon was encrusted from lying hidden in the sand for centuries and when chipped away, the cannon suddenly let loose its fountain of gold and silver in a remarkable find. There were 50 two escudos and 40 four reales hidden in the breach of the cannon. Were they hidden there to avoid taxes or were they placed there for safekeeping during the hurricane? We are all left to wonder.

2013 One Escudo Pile

In July 17, 2013 the crew of the S/V Capitana recovered 51 one escudos in a small crack in the bedrock. It is very rare to find one escudo coins on the 1715 fleet, but incredibly rare that such a large grouping was found together. The coins were minted in Mexico, Columbia and Peru under both Charles II and Phillip V. The story of this recovery was reported worldwide. The centerpiece of the find was a never before seen example of a 1701 Santa Fe de Bogata One Escudo. The coin was researched by Herman Blanton and in his report he concluded that this coin had been made with a Santa Fe One Reale die. It is the only known example of this type of coin and was donated to the People of the State of Florida to be displayed in the Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee.

Here is a link to a story from the UK Daily Mail in London: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2364165/250-000-gold-coins-discovered-ruins-11-Spanish-ships-wrecked-Florida-coast-300-years-ago.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

2015 Douglass Beach Find

On June 18, 2015, we recovered 51 gold coins and 40 feet of ornate gold chain. The centerpiece of the find was a 1715 Royal Mexico Eight Escudos. It is a perfect specimen of the coinage of the period. What makes this coin so special is that it is dated 1715! This date is rare because the fleet sailed out of Mexico early in the year before meeting its fate along the Florida shores. Being recovered exactly 300 years after its creation is truly remarkable and earned it the nickname “TRICENTENNIAL ROYAL”. Most of the coins recovered were minted in Lima, Peru and are great examples of beautiful Peruvian Eight and Two Escudos. The story of this recovery was broken on the NBC Today Show and made headlines worldwide.

300th Anniversary Find

On July 30 and 31, 2015 the S/V Capitana recovered 350 gold coins exactly 300 years (to the day) after they were lost. The centerpiece of the find were 9 Royal Mexico Eight Escudos dates 1711 and 1712. This was the largest recovery of gold coins (both in number and value) in the past 30 years. All denominations of coins were recovered, one, two, four and eight escudos. The three major mints of Mexico City, Santa Fe de Bogota, and Lima were represented as well as three very rare Cuzco two escudos. This incredible anniversary story was first announced on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and also made headlines worldwide. It is amazing that these coins were found at all, but for them to be recovered exactly 300 years after the shipwreck is truly remarkable. Seemingly, the 1715 Treasure Fleet had a little more of its story it wanted told!