Florida man cashes in big on treasure hunting

By Matt Austin - Anchor

Treasure hunting off Florida's East Coast can turn people into millionaires with one find.

News 6 recently spoke with treasure hunter John Brandon, with 1715 Fleet Queens Jewels LLC. 

Brandon started treasure hunting with the legendary Mel Fisher as a teenager.

Through his years of treasure hunting, Brandon said he's found  between $30 to 40 million.

However, one person doesn’t get to keep all of the loot.

The state of Florida keeps 20 percent of all new and unique finds. Also, boats and divers are expensive. Historians and archeologists are needed for most big hits, Brandon said. In some cases, it can take decades to find all of the booty from a particular ship.

It took Fisher and Brandon 17 years to find the legendary Nuestra Senora De Atocha in the Florida Keys, but the hunt payed off.

The team found treasure beyond their wildest dreams, including a huge pile of 300-year-old silver bars. Each bar is 80 pounds of pure silver. Brandon says today, each bar is valued at close to $80,000.

The Atlantic Ocean off Florida's coast included a busy trading route from the New World back to Spain. Huge convoys of Spanish ships transported massive amounts of loot. Hurricanes sunk many of those ships.

Brandon said billions of dollars in booty is still waiting to be found.

Copyright 2018 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.