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Cache of Silver Coins Retrieved From 1715 Shipwreck

On February 21, 2020, twenty two silver coins, from a 1715 shipwreck, were discovered by a Florida man, Jonah Mortinez, age 43,from Port Saint Lucie, Florida, who used a metal detector along Turtle Trail beach in Florida. The coins were discovered after a powerful storm swept across the Gulf of Mexico and Florida, on Feb. 21 to 22, 2020, with 40 mile winds and 13 foot ocean waves removed a great deal of sandy ground, and which made metal detecting quite easy to find the buried coins. 

The 22 silver coins from the shipwreck washed up on shore in 1715, then were deeply buried through natural means. Originally, a fleet of 12 ships, 11 Spanish galleons and one French ship called the Grifrn, sailed from Cuba to Spain, but during a hurricane on July 31, 1715; the 11 Spanish ships sunk, sending most of the treasure done to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The one French ship escaped intact from the storm. 

Jonah Martinez, left center and his crew show coins from another discovery in 2015.

 Jonah Mortinez has been metal detecting the south Florida shore land for 24 years, was able to dig out  22 silver coins, possibly more coins, harder to dig out, might also be buried. He estimates the silver coins he found to be worth $6,000 to $7,000. One particular coin might be worth of $2,000. 

 Mortinez and his crew found just a few artifacts from the 1715 shipwreck including belt buckles, pieces of porcelain, cuff-links, and cutlery in 2017.

South Florida beaches have been called, for many years,  “The Treasure Coast”. Jonah Mortinez is highly familiar with finding a large fortune in early Spanish coins. He once found, in that area of  Florida, a whopping $6.5 million dollars worth of 350 buried gold coins. He estimates his finds, over the past 24 years, to be worth between $13 million and $15 million. Mr. Mortinez intends not to sale his artifacts and coins, but to keep them.

For people to treasure hunt on a public beach, Florida requires no permits. But to treasure hunt on state owned lands underwater, Florida requires a permit. The government of the state of Florida calls these permits “recovery permits”.

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