Brisben said Rick and Lisa Schmitt, and their grown children Hillary and Eric, found gold chains and coins from the wreckage of a convoy of 11 ships that went down in a hurricane off the coast of Florida in 1715 en route from Havana to Spain.
The ships' manifests indicate that about $400 million worth of treasure was on board, of which $175 million has been recovered, Brisben said.
His company bought the rights to the wreck site from the heirs of legendary treasure hunter Mel Fisher in 2010 and allows others, including the Schmitts, to search under subcontracting agreements.
Brisben said the Schmitts, who live in Sanford, Florida, have been searching for treasure for years. Eric Schmitt, who made the latest haul, also found a silver platter worth about $25,000 in 2002 when he was a high school sophomore.
Under U.S. and Florida law, the treasure will be placed into the custody of the U.S. District Court in South Florida. The state of Florida will be allowed to take possession of up to 20 percent of the find for display in a state museum. The remainder will be split evenly between Brisben's company and the Schmitt family, he said.
Brisben said the story of the 1715 wreckage was used as a basis for the 1977 film "The Deep" and for the 2008 film "Fool's Gold".
- By Reuters