Three men uncovered a cache of 300-year-old silver coins Friday buried at a beach in Indian River County, Florida.
Jonah Martinez had a good feeling that he was about to discover something big last week when he and his fellow treasure hunters began combing Wabasso’s Turtle Trail Beach, according to WFTS.
“When you pick up anything from these wrecks, you know you’re in the right place at the right time,” said Martinez, who has been hunting treasure for the past 24 years.
Along with 22 Spanish coins, he and his friends uncovered belt buckles, daggers, cutlery, porcelain, household items, and cufflinks.
“It’s very special when you find something like that,” Martinez explained, adding, “It’s very unique and it’s very romantic.”
The coins are worth an estimated $5,000 to $6,000, but Martinez said he did not plan on selling them because “it’s like a piece of history.”
The treasure is believed to be from a 1715 treasure fleet shipwreck that occurred when a hurricane caused one of the ships to wreck near Sebastian.
“A hurricane came and pushed them all onto the reefs of the Treasure Coasts. And that is why we are called the Treasure Coasts because of these shipwrecks,” said Nichole Johanson, director of the Mel Fishers Treasure Museum.
“The late ’50s is when the coins started turning up on the beaches and salvagers have been salvaging them ever since. Treasure has been found consistently,” she explained.
Treasure hunter Jeremy Prouty said hurricane or no hurricane, you would always find him combing the beach with a metal detector.
“During Frances and Jeanne, I didn’t sleep for three days,” he recalled.
Now, Martinez said his passion is not about the money but about preserving the Treasure Coast’s fascinating past for generations to come.
“This is our history out here. We are not trying to profit out here, we are just collecting pieces of history,” he stated, adding, “That’s cool if you ask me.”