'Never expect it': Florida treasure hunters find hundreds of silver coins from historic 1715 shipwrecks

Florida’s treasure-hunting season is off to a strong start, and Brevard County hunters hit it big time on their first find of the season. 

Hundreds of silver coins are now back on land, after they were buried at sea for more than 300 years.  

"It was kind of numbing in a way, you know. You don’t expect that. You always hope for it, but you never expect it," said Grant Gitschlag who was one of the treasure hunters and boat captain on the historic find. 

He wasn’t the only one who was surprised. 

"I wasn’t expecting it. I wasn’t expecting it at all which is how the greatest finds come about," said Corinne Lea who was also part of the hunt.

During the dive in late May, they sent a text to Sal Guttuso, who oversees their operation, and knew they struck something big. 

 "We’re getting into something really good," said Guttuso who contracts with these divers to explore the sunken ships from 1715. 

Finding a large sum of treasure like they did is really rare because sunken Spanish ships from 1715 have been salvaged for decades. 

Even finding one piece of treasure is exciting, but they found 214 pieces of history in just two days. 

"To get this kind of quantity in a period of a couple of days, is a very exciting start," added Gitschlag. 

This team of hunters has been working together for years, sailing on the Lilly May boat and looking for treasure off the coast of Indian River County.

"It’s the find. It’s all about the find," said Lea. "I love the history, being the first person up in 309 years to find what was once lost in a tragedy."

The ships from Spain sank during a hurricane. 

"Those ships, a lot of them, were just broken to bits and that treasure went everywhere," added Guttuso. 

When the treasure's brought back to the surface, it heads straight to Guttuso who’s the operations director for the 1715 Fleet Queen’s Jewels LLC

His company is the U.S. District Court’s custodian and exclusive salvors of the historic 1715 treasure fleet. 

Right now, conservation efforts are underway to clean up all of the historic coins.

They’re still covered in 300 years’ worth of sand and shells, but when they are preserved, history that’s hiding underneath will be uncovered. 

The treasure hunters are ready to get back out there and see what else they’ll bring back up. 

"Oh a crown!," exclaimed Lea. "I always say, it doesn’t matter how delicate the crown might be, I will arrive to the top of the surface with a crown on."

"You know, the treasure doesn’t grow back. Every piece you take out, that’s one less piece to find," concluded Gitschlag.