This month’s featured treasure was designed to hold a treasure but with time it became a treasure itself. This box (or what remains of it) is only one of two genuine “Treasure Chests” found on the 1715 Fleet. It is made of pine (or possibly South American Cypress) and held together by copper nails. This item measures approximately 61 cm (24 inches) long by 31 cm (12 inches) wide and 24 cm (9.5 inches) high.
This chest was found by divers working for the Real Eight Company on July 24th, 1965 two miles south of Sebastian Inlet (Cabin Wreck site). The chest is one of 1300 such chests aboard the sunken “Capitana” which was the flagship of the Fleet. Newspaper accounts at the time reported that the chest contained 4,500 silver pieces of eight which at the time had an estimated value of between $60,000.00 – $90,000.00. Many of the coins showed perfect date marks of 1702, 1714 and 1715.
The chest was eventually placed in a museum operated by the Real Eight Company. Known as the Real Eight Gallery of Spanish Treasure, the museum was located, at that time, in Satellite Beach. Later it was moved to Cape Canaveral. As a historical note, there was a subsequent chest found at the same location on June 26, 1967. The first chest was found only 80 feet from where the second chest was found. The remains of the second chest can be found at the Bureau of Archeological Resources in Tallahassee, Florida.
Image courtesy of Ben Costello.