Library of Fleet Historian Ernie Richards acquired by Society

The 1715 Fleet Society continues to make a history of its own. On Saturday, May 20, 2023, Society President, Ben Costello, announced the Society’s acquisition of the complete 770-volume library of Ernie “Seascribe” Richards. Ernie, who was a founding member of the Society, has been a fixture in the Treasure Coast community since the 1960s. He was the creator and publisher of both the Plus Ultra Newsletter and Treasure Quest magazine. Ernie was also the partner of Bob “Frogfoot” Weller in numerous treasure-salvaging efforts and edited Bob’s many books.

Like many of the early 1715 Fleet enthusiasts, Ernie was reaching the age at which he needed to contemplate how to preserve his knowledge for future generations. He alerted Dave Crooks (Member #7), President of the Sunken Treasure Coin and Book Society who placed a notice in the newsletter of the library’s availability for purchase. Fellow 1715 Fleet Society member Richard Beleson (Member #51), who first met Ernie in the late 1990s, immediately offered to provide the funding so that the 1715 Fleet Society could acquire and preserve Ernie’s extensive library.

Beleson said, “Ernie Richards is the first person I ever interacted with regarding the 1715 Fleet. I had picked up a copy of Bob Weller’s “Sunken Treasure on Florida Reefs” and decided to write to the author at the address in the book – at Florida Treasure Brokers. I subsequently received a reply from Ernie “Seascribe” Richards. I promptly ordered every back issue of the Plus Ultra newsletter as well as all the other treasure books that Ernie was either publishing or distributing. I then traveled to Florida, where I had the pleasure of meeting Bob and Margaret Weller and Ernie and Ellie Richards (Member #52). We have been friends ever since – almost thirty years now. Ernie is one of the most knowledgeable people in the treasure-salvaging community. I wish we could cryopreserve his brain, but it’s not feasible. The best we can do is preserve his amazing library and keep it intact for future generations.”

The Society greatly appreciates Richard Beleson’s generosity and dedication to the Society and our mission. On behalf of myself and the Fleet Society Board of Directors, we would like to thank Richard for his continued help and support. The library will be housed in a newly acquired temporary office in Washington, PA that will be used by the Society to conduct business until a more permanent location is established in Florida.

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