Articles of significance and important dates in Fleet history1715 Fleet Society ArchivesAllArticlesDocumentsIn MemoriamInterviewsLettersPDFsPhoto ArchivesPhoto GalleriesPresentationsThe Orr CollectionThe Real 8 CollectionThe Thompson FilesUser Submitted StoryVideo A Tale of Spanish Doubloons Aug 24, 2019 One of my ongoing projects as a Director of the Fleet Society is to catalogue the many archival documents that I have acquired over the years. Although I enjoy this aspect of my job very much, I find that the responsibilities of my full time job often interfere with cataloguing duties. But, when I do […] Read More An Alternative Explanation for an Iconic Artifact Mar 20, 2019 Within the State of Florida’s archaeological collection there resides an unusual and rare artifact, catalog number 93 A. 673. 000103. 0001, lab tag 6458, with the designation “bone toothpick”. It was received into the State’s collection in 1993 after being found at the site number 8SL – 00017, the Douglas Beach Wreck, part of the […] Read More One Day of Hunting Treasure Jan 30, 2018 Walt Holzworth was a Pennsylvania Dutch farmer who relocated to California to work in the construction industry. Eventually, he ended up a full-time treasure hunter. He made his first dive in 1963 at the age of 52. His wife Shirley authored this narrative describing a day in the life of a treasure hunter. The actual […] Read More DATELINE: Cape Canaveral, Florida – A Testimonial on The Passing of John Jones Dec 15, 2017 John Jones was a career officer in the Air Force, retiring with the rank of Major. A native of Atlanta, he was a West Point graduate and veteran jet pilot. Later in his career, he became a range safety officer in the space program. This job required lightning fast reflexes and decision making, as it […] Read More The Orr Collection Nov 29, 2017 The story of Dr. Will W. Orr and his friendship with Kip Wagner is the central theme of the Orr Collection. Assembled between 1966-1972, this Collection and the story behind it is brought together in a wonderful narrative written by Wilson W. Orr, son of Will W. Orr. Dr. Orr was President of Westminster College […] Read More DATELINE: Delray Beach, Florida In Memoriam: Carl Ward Nov 6, 2017 Recently we received word of the passing of Carl Ward on October 30, 2017. Fleet Society Director Ernie Richards, a lifetime friend, thought it appropriate that we acknowledge his passing by posting some biographical information about this most interesting man. Ernie provided the following text: CARL WARD 14 December 1931—30 October 2017 Carl’s Family posted […] Read More Some Highlights of the Florida Collection Oct 20, 2017 “The Earliest Lima 8 Escudos in the Florida Collection” This post is the second in a series that will explore some of the highlights of the magnificent Florida State Collection of Spanish Colonial artifacts and coins. The Lima mint began striking a gold coinage in August of 1696, almost a decade after permission for a […] Read More DATELINE: Sebastian Inlet Marina, August 25, 1997 Aug 21, 2017 | 3 CommentsThis Friday, August 25, will mark a special anniversary of sorts. On this day in 1997, members of the Real Eight Company got together for their last public appearance. The occasion was the production of a historical documentary on the 1715 Fleet produced for the Arts and Entertainment Network. Filming was done at the Sebastian […] Read More DATELINE: Ohio: Fleet Society Recovers Additional Group of Historic Documents Aug 8, 2017 As a follow up to our July 16th post, the Fleet Society is proud to announce that it has purchased additional historical documents relating to the early days of 1715 Fleet salvaging efforts. This group of material consists primarily of records, photographs, and letters originating from the early days of the Real Eight Company. There […] Read More Clausen Report Jul 20, 2017 | 1 CommentIn the summer of 1964, Mel Fisher working through a contract with the Real Eight Corporation, located and salvaged a tremendous treasure consisting of thousands of gold coins and priceless artifacts. This wreck site was surveyed, analyzed, and reduced to a report by archaeologist Carl J Clausen, who was representing the State of Florida. More […] Read More DATELINE: St. Augustine, Florida – Conference Videos May 8, 2017 At the recent conference in St. Augustine the Fleet Society welcomed David Lisot, a well-known videographer from Richardson, Texas (cointelevision.com). David was hired by the Society to film the conference and related events. He has a series of nine videos that can be purchased by contacting him directly (see Newsletter Post of April 26, 2017 […] Read More DATELINE: Richardson, TX; Fleet Society Conference Videos now available Apr 26, 2017 We have just been notified by David Lisot of cointelevision.com (Richardson, TX) that videos of the 2nd International Conference on the 1715 Fleet and related events recently held at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida, are now available for sale. If you were not able to attend the Conference, these videos are the next best […] Read More Treasure of the Spanish Main Feb 15, 2017 Recently a rather important anniversary slipped by the 1715 Fleet community (including me ) unnoticed. It was 50 years ago on February 4, 1967 that the famous “Treasure of the Spanish Main” auction took place at the Parke-Bernet Galleries in New York. The sale consisted of 331 lots of major treasures recovered by the Real […] Read More 1715 Fleet Conference LATEST VIDEOS Feb 13, 2017 CLICK BELOW TO VIEW LATEST 1715 FLEET SOCIETY VIDEOS: 1715 Fleet Society Plans International Conference Mar 16-17, 2017. VIDEO: 3:04Ben Costello, Director, 1715 Fleet Society, Interviewer: David Lisot, CoinTelevision.com. The second annual 1715 Fleet Society International Conference is scheduled for March 16-17, 2017. It will host noted lecturers and researchers devoted to the study of […] Read More DATELINE: Melbourne, Florida – First Installment of the Thompson Files Now Available Sep 5, 2016 | 2 CommentsIn our newsletter post of July 14th, I reported that the Fleet Society came into possession of some historical documents relating to the work of Colonel Dan Thompson and the Real Eight Company. As everyone knows, Colonel Thompson was one of the original Real Eight members. The materials provided to the Fleet Society were the property […] Read More DATELINE: Gainesville, Florida – Growing up on the Treasure Coast Aug 9, 2016 | 4 CommentsBack in June, we created an area of the site where our readers could submit their own stories. The first is an article from Darrel Strickland of Gainesville, Florida. As a child, living in Ft. Pierce, I was always around those who collected arrowheads, bottles, insulators, shells, etc. Later, my grandmother introduced me […] Read More DATELINE: Lake Mary, Florida – 1715 Fleet Documentary in Production Dec 11, 2015 Crawford Entertainment of Lake Mary, Florida has announced the production of a special one hour documentary on the 1715 Fleet. “The Lost Treasure Fleet of 1715” is scheduled to premier nationally in June, 2016. The program features a host of luminaries including the well-known and widely respected Dr. John de Bry (Director of the Center […] Read More DATELINE – Richardson, Texas. 300th Anniversary DVDs Available Sep 14, 2015 | 2 CommentsRecently we were contacted by David Lisot (firstname.lastname@example.org) advising that the DVD’s he prepared in connection with the recent 300th Anniversary Commemoration are now available. There are 13 individual DVD’s for $25 each. A complete set of all 13 DVD’s sells for $250 with a donation of 20% from the sale of each video or […] Read More DATELINE: Wabasso, Florida – The Golden Glove Aug 26, 2015 | 2 CommentsThe Fleet Society received this YouTube video from Mel King and Faye Asano of Big Blue Wreck Salvage, Inc., Denver, CO. Mel and Faye were on the deck of the Capitana when lead diver, Bill Bartlett, came up holding his glove, later dubbed the “Golden Glove” which was filled with gold coins including a gold Royal. […] Read More DATELINE: Washington, PA – Commemoration Cameos Aug 26, 2015 During July, I spent a considerable amount of time in Florida getting things ready for Commemoration Week. Although my duties took up most of my time, I did manage to contact some folks to see if they had time to meet with me while I was in the area. All of these folks had some […] Read More 1715 Fleet “Tricentennial Royal” Press Meeting Photos Jul 29, 2015 In this post, you can see photos from yesterday’s “Tricentennial Royal” Press meeting. Images courtesy of Ben Costello. Read More A Video Interview with Lou Ullian Mar 20, 2015 | 2 CommentsThe 1715 Fleet Society is proud to bring you a Video Interview with Lou Ullian, one of the original Real 8 Company Members. Louis J. Ullian was born in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1932. He gained a mechanical engineering degree from Purdue University in 1955 and from there went directly into the Navy. He served in […] Read More A Video Interview with Colonel Dan Thompson Mar 20, 2015 | 3 CommentsThe 1715 Fleet Society is proud to bring you a two part video interview with Colonel Dan Thompson, a native of Savannah, Georgia and an electrical engineering graduate of the Air Force Institute of Technology. Colonel Thompson was Director of Range Safety Operations with the Eastern Test Range based at Patrick Air Force Base. An Air Force […] Read More A Video Interview with Dr. Kip Kelso Mar 20, 2015 | 3 CommentsThe 1715 Fleet Society is proud to bring you a Video Interview with Dr. Kip Kelso, one of the original Real 8 Company Members. Kip Kelso was born in 1918 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was a long time resident of the Sebastian/Indian River County area in which he was the last descendent of four generations […] Read More Numismatic Legacy of the 1715 Plate Fleet Feb 21, 2015 | 1 CommentThis article, by Phil Flemming and Ben Costello, was published in the January 2015 edition of The Numismatist, and the full text of the article is included below. Three hundred years ago, a Spanish treasure fleet was lost in the waters off Florida’s eastern coast. Over the last five decades, salvage operations on known wreck […] Read More DATELINE: Ft. Pierce, Florida Nov 20, 2014 The latest edition of Indian River Magazine, published by a locally owned company based in Ft. Pierce, Florida, has just released its Holiday 2014 Edition featuring a multi-page article on the 300th Anniversary of the 1715 Fleet Disaster. Written by Rick Crary, the article features a brief history of the 1715 Fleet supplemented with numerous […] Read More The Loss of the 1715 Spanish Treasure Fleet Oct 16, 2014 The Loss of the 1715 Spanish Treasure Fleet is an 8 page, full-color PDF. Download / View PDF Read More 1701 Gold Escudo Hybrid of Santa Fe from 1715 Fleet Apr 26, 2014 by Herman Blanton The “171S Fleet-Queens Jewels, LLC” treasure salvage operations recovered a cache of gold escudos on 13-July-2013 on a site called “Corrigans” at Sebastian Inlet near Wabasso Beach, Fl. Other artifacts including a silver spoon, olive jar pottery shards, musket balls and spikes were found in the vicinity. About a week later three […] Read More Treasure Rediscovered Oct 26, 2013 by John de Bry This past summer I had gone down to Juno Beach, Florida, to go out on a boat owned by a company involved in the commercial salvage of historic shipwrecks. The purpose of my visit was to check out their operations and to make sure they were following the State of Florida […] Read More Literature About the 1715 Fleet and the Coins Salvaged Jun 26, 2013 Literature About the 1715 Fleet and the Coins Salvaged by Dave Crooks Introduction Much has been written about the 1715 Fleet since the wrecks were discovered by Kip Wagner and the Real Eight Company in 1965. Both popular and scholarly publications have been produced, ranging from articles and pamphlets to full-length books. This list includes […] Read More A 1715 Lima Eight Escudos from the Fleet? May 26, 2013 The Holy Grail of Fleet Collectors by Ben Costello They say a picture is worth a thousand words. They also say pictures do not lie. But try telling that to anyone who has ever snapped a photo of a UFO – or Bigfoot. Oftentimes a picture ignites a mystery and starts a controversy, leaving more […] Read More December 1964 edition of The Saturday Evening Post Feb 6, 2013 December 1964 edition of The Saturday Evening Post. Text reprinted with the permission of The Saturday Evening Post. Photographs provided by the 1715 Fleet Society.Note that the text for this article is rather small due to the archival nature of the article and website limitations. Read More The Great Florida Treasure Find Sep 6, 2012 January 1965 edition of Argosy. Read More 1715 Glory Hole! May 1, 2012 by Ernie Richards Fleet Day this year, July 31st, will mark the 297th anniversary of the tragic loss of the 1715 Plate Fleet along Florida’s east coast. Exactly twenty years ago, July 31st, 1992, Captain Stephen Shouppé was celebrating Fleet Day by diving on a still unidentified Fleet site known as the Cannon Pile Wreck. […] Read More Winter 1965 edition of Sport Camping Magazine Apr 6, 2012 Winter 1965 edition of Sport Camping Magazine. This issue featured Real Eight Co. member Del Long who recently passed away on May 4th, 2011. Read More The Salvaged Treasure Fleet of 1715 Jan 1, 2012 This article reproduced from the Bowers and Ruddy Auction Catalog, The Harold A. Blauvelt, Iberoamerican and 1715 Spanish Treasure Fleet Collections, public auction sale February 17-19, 1977 Read More Lou Ullian Personal Collection of Treasure Photographs Nov 12, 2011 | 7 CommentsThe following photographs are from the personal collection of the late Lou Ullian, one of the original members of the Real 8 Company. These images depict artifacts, coins and other treasures found by the Real 8 Company in the 1960’s. Regrettably, the photographic quality is somewhat poor. However, this is often the case when dealing […] Read More Historic Photos of 1715 Fleet Salvage Operations Nov 12, 2011 | 3 CommentsThese photographs were recently acquired from a private collection. Some of the photographs are being presented publicly for the first time. Due to age and storage several are distressed and had to be digitally enhanced. Each photograph has a hand written narrative on the back. That narrative is set forth under each picture presented below. […] Read More Real Eight Company Collection of Gold Cobs Nov 6, 2011 | 6 CommentsThe modern day hunt for the 1715 Treasure Fleet began in the 1950’s, when a retired Florida contractor wondered why gold and silver kept washing up on a Florida beach near his home. Kip Wagner used to go beach-combing along the Florida coast looking for decorative pieces of driftwood. What he found, instead, was treasure. […] Read More History of the Real Eight Company Through Documents and Letters Nov 6, 2011 | 14 Comments No history of the 1715 Fleet would be complete without mentioning the Real Eight Company and the men that formed this group. The Real Eight contribution to the discovery and recovery of the valuable historical coins and artifacts that made up the Treasure Fleet cannot be understated. Much of what we have learned about […] Read More In Memoriam – Stephen Shouppé Nov 6, 2011 STEPHEN SHOUPPÉ 1 June 1948—5 November 2001 Captain Stephen Shouppé is probably best remembered by 1715 Fleet collectors for the wonderful artifacts and coins he salvaged from the Cannon Pile Wreck. His first major find was serendipitously on Fleet Day, July 31st, twenty years ago (1992). Steve died in November of 2001. What follows is […] Read More In Memoriam – Demostenes Molinar Nov 6, 2011 | 2 CommentsDEMOSTENES “MO”MOLINAR 15 June 1932—23 April 2011 Shipwreck Treasure Legend The shipwreck salvage community was devastated by the news on April 24th that our Dear Friend and Idol, Mo, had died suddenly, at home, the day before. It is almost inexpressible — the sinking hollowness that this jingling on the e-mail grapevine brought to us. […] Read More In Memoriam – Delphine “Del” Long Nov 6, 2011 DELPHINE “DEL” LONG d. 4 May 2011 at age 87 Del Long was one of those whom I call the “Gentlemen Divers”—the Real Eight Corporation. He was born in South Carolina but came to Florida as an infant, growing up in Grant, which is just north of Sebastian. He moved to Melbourne in 1980. But, […] Read More Karl H. Goodpaster Slide Presentation Nov 6, 2011 Karl H. Goodpaster was a conservator for the Real Eight Company. In the 1960’s he developed a presentation that included a slide show. What follows is that presentation including his slides which have been digitally enhanced and reformatted for greater clarity. Along with the photographs is the actual written presentation that Mr. Goodpaster wrote. The […] Read More Lou Ullian Interview Nov 5, 2011 What follows is an interview of Lou Ullian, original Real Eight member, conducted by Dan Sedwick on July 27, 2007. It is indeed fortunate that Dan had the opportunity (and foresight) to interview Lou when he did. Lou passed away on May 16th 2010 leaving many saddened friends. The treasure community has lost many significant […] Read More The John de Bry Collection Oct 3, 2011 | 3 CommentsOur photo gallery depicts some of the highest quality images of treasures recovered from Spanish galleons lost in Florida waters. These photos were taken by Dr. John de Bry, who is director of the non-profit Center for Historical Archaeology in Melbourne, Florida. Dr. de Bry has extensive experience in photographing artifacts recovered from Spanish shipwrecks. Read More Treasures From the State of Florida Collection Oct 3, 2011 | 5 CommentsIn this section of our Photo Gallery we are pleased to exhibit what we call the “Treasures of the State of Florida Collection”. Beginning in the early 60’s, the State of Florida authorized private salvage operations in Florida waters by implementing a program of leasing arrangements. The leases required each operator to share with the […] Read More Appraisal of Historical Artifacts Oct 3, 2011 Prepared by Scott N. Nierling The following is an appraisal of Historical Artifacts and coins recovered from the area of the 1715 Spanish Plate Fleet wreck sites by Real Eight , Co., and later purchased by the present owner. This appraisal was prepared for income tax purposes by Scott N. Nierling, P.O. Box 177 Roseland, […] Read More 1715 Treasure Fleet Exhibit Oct 3, 2011 If you find yourself in Tallahassee, the Museum of Florida History has a 1715 Treasure Fleet Exhibit that is a must see. Click here for location and times. The exhibit showcases the magnificent Florida State Collection of coins and artifacts recovered from the 1715 Fleet. The Museum’s Fleet exhibit is rated as one of the […] Read More February 1967 edition of The Numismatist Oct 1, 2011 This article is reproduced, by permission, from the February 1967 issue of The Numismatist, official publication of The American Numismatic Association. Read More The 1715 Spanish Plate Fleet: The Bank of King Philip V, Treasure Coast Branch Sep 1, 2011 | 1 Commentby Ernie Richards Just an hour’s drive north of here [WPB, FL] begins a 60-mile stretch of Atlantic waterfront that finds beachcombers making withdrawals from its sandy vaults nearly every day. From the St. Lucie Inlet to the inlet at Sebastian, lucky people swinging metal detectors —and others just kicking shells aside at the water’s […] Read More January 1976 edition of The Numismatist Aug 1, 2011 This Article courtesy of Tom Sebring, Paoli, PA Published in The Numismatist Magazine, January 1976 Reprinted with the permission of the American Numismatic Association. Read More November 1966 edition of Tequesta, Journal of the Historical Society of Southern Florida Jul 1, 2011 November 1966 edition of Tequesta Marion Clayton Link, 1907 – 1995 From the jacket of her book Windows in the Sea (Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington. 1973): “MARION CLAYTON LINK was educated in her native New York State, receiving a B.S. degree in journalism from Syracuse University. In her years of marriage to [aviation/underwater pioneer] Edwin […] Read More 1714 Mexico 8 Escudo Die 9 Jun 12, 2011 1714 Mexico 8 Escudo Die 9 or State type S found in 1964. This piece is a fully dated 1714 GRAT. The coin has wonderful surfaces, a nearly full shield and a well centered cross on the reverse. Note that the 1714 date (located on the reverse rather than the obverse) is full. The shape […] Read More Straps for Cash Jun 1, 2011 by Daniel Frank Sedwick When you look at Mexican cobs of the 1600s and 1700s, you may wonder how cob planchets were made, given their sometimes crazy shapes. We know from contemporary documents that an innovation at the end of the 1500s-in effect the invention of cobs-greatly sped up the coining process, specifically the planchet […] Read More 1715 Mexico 8 Escudo May 12, 2011 1715 Mexico 8 Escudo found in 1964. This coin is a fully dated 1715. The quality of the photograph is rather poor and does not do the coin justice. It is round with a full shield, full OMJ and a nearly full Crown. The obverse is well centered. The Shield has brown sediment and/or ocean […] Read More Pieces of 8 Newsletter – 1971 May 1, 2011 February 1971 Pieces of 8 Newsletter. An original copy of this newsletter is extremely rare. These were published by the Real 8 Company for a very brief period of time and consequently few surviving copies are known to exist. Our thanks to Frank Noga, Eastlake Ohio, for sharing his copy with us. Read More Two Archaeological Sites in Brevard County, Florida, Apr 30, 2011 Article by Hale G Smith from the Florida Anthropological Society Publications, No. 1 Gainesville: University of Florida, 1949. This article is referenced in the History of the Real Eight Company Through Documents and Letters, also on this site. Read More Spanish Contacts with the AIS (Indian River) Country Apr 29, 2011 This narrative by Charles Dana Higgs was read at the archaeology session of the annual meeting of the Florida Historical Society, March 6, 1942. This article is referenced in the History of the Real Eight Company Through Documents and Letters, also on this site. Read More 1712 Lima 8 Escudo Apr 12, 2011 1712 Lima 8 Escudo found in 1964. This is a rather exquisite coin with wonderful surfaces and sharply struck details. The obverse clearly shows two dates although the photograph does not completely show the full features because of lighting issues. In reality both dates are sharply struck. The reverse has an off center Cross, but […] Read More 1710 Lima 8 Escudo Mar 12, 2011 1710 Lima 8 Escudo found in 1975. The specimen shows a well centered sharply struck double date. On the obverse the Pillars and Waves are rather high allowing a substantial portion of the legend to be seen. Some ocean deposits can be observed around the edges. The reverse has a well centered Cross with some […] Read More Lou Ullian Journal Letter Feb 5, 2011 March 17th 2010 letter authored by Louis J. Ullian original Real 8 member describing a journal he kept of Real 8 activity from 1960 to 1965. A sample of the journal contents is shown below. Read More Pieces of Eight Letter Jan 5, 2011 July 2nd 1998 letter from original Real Eight member Kip Kelso to an attorney from Vero Beach Florida. It appears that Kip Kelso was seeking legal advice because the book “Pieces of Eight”, published in 1966 (and copyrighted by the Real Eight Company), was being reprinted by another company. It is not clear what advice […] Read More NewsletterRegular updates from the 1715 Fleet Society. Treasure of the MonthPast and current featured treasures. All ArchivesPresentations, videos, documents, photo galleries, and more.