Gold ! $250K in centuries-old coins found

By Leslie Holland - CNN

"Constantly searching for a needle in a haystack" is what Brent Brisben says he does for a living, and on days like Saturday, the payoff makes the work worthwhile.

Brisben owns the 1715 Treasure Fleet Queen's Jewels salvage company.

This weekend, he and his crew of three found quite a few "needles" in their oceanic "haystack" -- 48 gold coins that date back 300 years, to be exact.

The coins, called escudos, were part of the treasure aboard a fleet of 11 Spanish galleons wrecked by a hurricane off the Florida coast on July 31, 1715. It was this famous shipwreck that gave this part of Florida its nickname, The Treasure Coast.

The coins appear to be in good condition, and still have some legible dates and markings. The oldest bears the date 1697; the youngest is dated 1714.

The 48 coins have an estimated value of $200,000 to $250,000, said Brisben.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the expedition is that the coins were found just 100 feet from the shoreline, in only six feet of water.

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