This month’s featured treasure is appropriate for June, as it was found 26 years ago this month … on June 22nd. This exceptional gold chain was liberated from the seabed by none other than Bob Weller. Known to all as “Frogfoot” (a nickname he was given while serving during the Korean War with Navy Underwater Demolition Team ONE), Bob was no stranger to the 1715 Fleet as he methodically began salvaging the fleet’s wreck sites in 1978.
On June 22, 1991, Bob and his crew were working a wreck located about 2-1/2 miles south of Ft. Pierce Inlet. It was late afternoon when Bob found our featured treasure knotted in a ball about the size that a man could hold in his fist. Once topside, the chain was carefully unraveled. Grains of sand embedded in the links made the job much more difficult. But with the help of his wife, Margaret, Bob managed to accomplish the task without damaging the delicate artifact. Consisting of hundreds (possibly a thousand) individual links, his prize measured an astounding 11’ 2”. The gold was butter yellow (similar to the color of gold coins) and was about 22 karats.
There have been many gold chains found on the wreck sites of the 1715 Fleet. For comparison, see our featured treasures for August 2012 (5” chain), July 2013 (11’ 4-1/2” chain), and April 2016 (8-1/2’ to 9’ chain).
For more about our Treasure of the Month, read Bob Weller’s detailed account found on pages 7-12 of his book True Stories of Sunken Treasure (Crossed Anchors Salvage, Lake Worth, 2005). Images and references courtesy of Ernie Richards.