Finding gold coins

Jul 29, 2013

I was never interested in walking the beach and sweeping a metal detector back and forth in search of something valuable.  But I had second thoughts when I learned about the discovery of 48 cold coins in just six feet of water and a mere 50 yards off Wabasso Beach in Indian River County.  The coins are worth as much as $250,000.  The state is entitled to a share of them.  At first, diver Greg Bounds, a subcontractor for a salvage company called 1715 Treasure Fleet Queen’s Jewels, came across some beer cans.   Probing with a metal detector, he found a couple of gold coins in rock crevices, then a few more, then a lot more – a total of 48.  The coins, called escudos, date from 1697 to 1714.   They were part of the treasure on board 11 Spanish galleons wrecked by a hurricane in July 1715.  That’s why this stretch of Florida is called the Treasure Coast.  Some of the treasure has been recovered, but much of it is still down there.  Brent Brisben, owner of the salvage company, told me his company holds salvage rights off our coast from the mean low-tide line seaward.  What about the beach up from the mean low-tide line?  Hmmm.  I wonder what a metal detector would cost me.  For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.