Rick Schmitt, wife Lisa and their children found at least $300,000 worth of gold, sunken treasure off the coast of Florida.

The treasure-hunting family, which includes the couple’s adult children, Hilary and Eric, discovered the treasure while diving with Dale Zeak. The gold reportedly originates from a Spanish convoy of ships that were caught in a hurricane near Florida in 1715.

Schmitt runs his own treasure-hunting company, Booty Salvage, and treasure hunting has always been a family hobby.

“We love doing it. It’s a family effort… Not only are we doing something that’s really fun, we get to do it as a family. It’s a pretty awesome experience,” Hillary said.

The family revealed that, at first, they found a trail of gold chains and gold coins about 150 yards from the shore.

The wreckage site belongs to 1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels LLC, and the company will split the profit from the treasure with Booty Salvage after the 20 percent is donated to the state to be displayed in accordance with state law. Co-founder of 1715 Fleet – Queens Jewls LLC, Brent Brisben, expressed his awe at the find.

“To be the first person to touch an artifact in 300 years is indescribable. They were there 150 years before the Civil War. It’s truly remarkable to be able to bring that back,” Brisben said.


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Schmitt shares Brisben’s respect for the historical value of the treasure the team collected.

“It’s about the history. It’s who wore this, the respect for the person who was in the New World and had this made. It was probably his entire life savings,” Eric Schmitt told WPTV.

The treasure discovered includes eight gold chains, one gold ring and five gold coins.

“It was a hobby, but now it seems like a lifestyle. We are pirates. It’s what we do,” Schmitt told Good Morning America.

The bounty, which was originally valued at around $300,000 appears to have been re-appraised. On Wednesday morning, Booty Salvage announced that their find is worth closer to $500,000 on its official Facebook page.

Despite their recent windfall, the Schmitt family is still currently out looking for treasure, hoping to find more of the wreckage.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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