$250,000 in Gold Coins Discovered Off Florida Coast

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Courtesy of 1715 Fleet - Queens Jewels, LLC

A shipwreck salvage company recently found these gold coins, known as escudos, just 100 feet off the Florida coast.

You know that incredible feeling when you find $10 in the pocket of an old jacket? Well, this is kind of like that, but also, kind of different. This past weekend, a team of shipwreck explorers discovered 48 gold coins reportedly worth up to $250,000, CNN reports.

Brent Brisben, who owns the shipwreck salvage company 1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels, LLC, led his crew of three on an expedition off the Florida coast to explore a 300-year-old wreck site. And, in the most literal sense, he struck gold. The trove of coins the crew found, called escudos, are part of the treasure left behind after 11 Spanish galleons sank on July 31, 1715, after a hurricane. According to CNN, they’re still in decent condition, with some markings still legible. The oldest dates to 1697, and the youngest dates to 1714.

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The discovery is exciting for Brisben and his team — who prefer to be called “historic shipwreck salvors” rather than treasure hunters — because a find like this is exceptionally rare.

“Most days we’re out there are extremely long, extremely hot, and extremely tedious,” Brisben tells TIME. “Days like these are not nearly as common and make all those hard miserable days worth it.”

Brisben says his work is also rewarding because everyone he meets — regardless of age, race, occupation or gender — is fascinated by his stories. It makes sense: Who isn’t intrigued by the prospect of buried treasure? “Everybody loves it,” Brisben says. “When I can take that treasure and put it in people’s hands, its magical.”

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