INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Less than two weeks after treasure hunters found more than $200,000 in gold coins in the waters near Wabasso, the same team struck gold again Friday north of Indian River Shores.
This time it was diver Chas Francoviglia who found two gold escudos in about 6 feet of water about a 100-yards from shore. It's the first time Francoviglia has found gold coins in more than 17 years of professional diving.
The team also found one other gold coin on Thursday.
"They were very near the location of last week's find," said Brent Brisben, who owns the shipwreck salvaging rights from 13 miles north of Sebastian to 13 miles south of Fort Pierce. "One coin looks to be very rare but without an expert, I cannot give an exact value. The three coins together are worth around $15,000."
For three centuries, the gold has been hidden after 11 Spanish ships, carrying a fortune in gold, silver, diamonds, emeralds and pearls sank during a hurricane in 1715. The wrecks and their hidden bounty is what have given the area the nickname of "Treasure Coast."
Brisben's company, 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels LLC, acquired the salvage rights to the sunken ships from the heirs of world-famous treasure hunter Mel Fisher. In 2012, the crew uncovered seven gold coins in the same general area. The crew goes out whenever weather permits, mainly between April and September.
Greg Bounds, the boat's captain and a trained diver, worked as a treasure hunter for Fisher's Treasure Museum in Sebastian for years. In a video posted on the 1715 Fleet Queen Jewels Facebook page, Bounds can be seen uncovering gold coins from bedrock cracks along the ocean floor, and returning them to the boat for inspection.
He and Brisben have worked together since 2010. Bounds helped uncover the 48 gold coins that the treasure hunters found in Wabasso on July 13.