Monday, May 22, 2017

There’s treasure to be found on the beaches of Southwest Florida

treasure map of florida

naples-herald-dot-logo-20x20 (1)There is treasure to be discovered just off the southwest Florida coast. Just ask Ron Lord.

Lord is a familiar face on the beaches of Naples, Marco, Bonita Springs and Sanibel. He and his metal detector are always searching for lost treasure. Ron’s greatest find was right off the beaches of Marco Island.

“I found a three-inch square copper plate. This plate is written in Sanskrit, which is the first written language, it is valued at $100,000,” according to Lord.

In the early 20th century, the Ashley Gang were notorious bank robbers who terrorized the citizens of Florida. They stole over $100,000 in cash and it is believed to be buried near Canal Point at the southern tip of Lake Okeechobee.

In DeLeon Springs a treasure chest was spotted in the 1890’s on the bottom of Ponce deLeon Springs. It soon fell into one of the submerged caves and has never been discovered.

One of the most vicious pirates to sail the Spanish Main and Coastal waters of Florida in the early 19th century, was Henri Caesar. He was known as Black Caesar, the son of African slaves. Caesar was said to have stashed $6 million in plunder on the west coast of Florida. On Pine Island there are some very old trees that bear the pirate markings of Caesar. The locals believe the markings identify Round Key as the Treasure Island.

In 1715, 11 Spanish Galleons left Havana Harbor and were lost off the Atlantic coast of Florida, scattering their treasures along the ocean floor. Millions of dollars’ worth of gold, silver, jewelry and ship artifacts were strewn along the east-central coast of Florida.

According to legend, just off the southwest Florida coast, King Phillip of Spain married the Duchess of Parma, Isabel Farnese in 1713. She refused to consummate their royal marriage until he gave her jewels that were unique to all of the world. The King commissioned remarkable treasures be made for his bride, including a golden jewel-studded carriage pulled by a team of gilded silver horses, 41 chests of emeralds and a 74-carat emerald ring set in gold. The entire treasure was lost at sea during a storm somewhere off of the southwest Florida coast.

Because of Florida’s location within the most treacherous of waters of the bustling trade route, a share of Europe’s lost treasure lies along the Sunshine State’s east and west coasts and throughout the Keys.

Eric Schmitt, A Florida salvager, struck gold when he unearthed a priceless religious artifact from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in 2014. The sunken treasure was discovered at the site of a 300-year-old shipwreck off the coast of Ft. Pierce. It was the missing piece of a necklace.

Depending on the age and condition, a silver coin can sell for as much as $1,000 and a gold piece for as much as $20,000. You may discover a 300-year-old piece of pottery of museum quality.

When looking for treasure, stay on the beaches beyond the surf line. Look for the high-tide line where the sand is softest and walk along it. That has often proven to be productive. Use simple garden tools, such as a hand scoop and pail.

Another good zone is the wet sand that is exposed as the surf recedes after each wave. If you notice something move quickly before the next wave, look for areas with more shell deposits than others, as this might indicate where strong currents are sweeping across the bottom and depositing loose objects onto the beach.

Hit the beach as soon as a storm is over. Heavy wave action deposits objects such as coins onto the beach. A metal detector is an excellent tool in your treasure hunting.

By law, the state of Florida can take possession of up to 20% of a shipwrecked treasure. The U.S. District Court in South Florida is in custody of all discovered treasure. Ship wrecks are not off limits to divers. However, there is legislation prohibiting the removal of objects from the shipwrecks.

If you would like to dive for unfound treasure log onto www.treasuresites.com for maps and additional information.

treasure map of florida
Photo provided.

© 2015 Naples Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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