In 1959, on Florida's east coast near Sebastian, Kip Wagner found a polygonal silver coin by happenstance which was stamped with a cross and the coat of arms of King Filipe V, a piece of eight from the 1715 Spanish Plate Fleet. Wagner's discovery was the beginning of one of the richest Spanish fleet shipwreck treasure discoveries in modern times.
In the 1960's Wagner formed the Real Eight Company, the forerunner of modern day treasure hunting in the Americas, as told in Mr. Wagner's book, Pieces of Eight, and his article, "Drowned Galleons Yield Spanish Gold," in the January, 1965 issue of National Geographic.
It took years for Wagner's new company to discover the scatter trails of the treasure shipwrecks of the 1715 fleet, smashed on Florida's treasure coast between Ft. Pierce, Florida and Sebastian Inlet. An early discovery was the Rosario at Sandy Point near Vero Beach, Florida, located in an area now under lease by the State of Florida to a Mel Fisher company.
Various subcontractors, under agreement with Mel Fisher companies, using conventional dive salvage vessels, have made ongoing recoveries from 1715 treasure fleet wrecks every year for more than three decades, including some 40 canon from the Rosario. However, the Rosario's primary cultural deposits have never been found, as she was lost in deeper water, and her scatter trail, about one mile long, is more distant from the inlets to Florida's inland waterways. These factors, especially the "commute time", have resulted in less work on the Rosario over the years by Fisher subcontractors than any other 1715 fleet wreck.
Now, Amelia's new lift boat technologies, and our ability to stay on site, make the Rosario one of the best remaining Florida treasure shipwreck sites with undiscovered treasure recovery potential. As with the Santa Margarita, Amelia will work under a subcontractor agreement with the Mel Fisher group on the Rosario site. Additional research has been performed. It is believed we can locate the primary remains of this 1715 fleet shipwreck, and proceed to full-scale commercial salvage. Of note:
Amelia's consulting archaeologist, Jim Sinclair, intimately familiar with the 1715 Fleet shipwrecks, has stated her would be hard pressed to choose which is a better Salvage Project, the Santa Margarita or the Rosario.
In recent years the Fisher group has been creating a computerized data base, compiling years of findings by Fisher subcontractors, and Fisher's own staff. This research, along with new magnetometry surveys, has narrowed the Rosario scatter trail to a search less than a 1 mile by 1/2 mile.
Because the Rosario was a 1715 fleet wreck lost relatively far from shore, and is one of the 1715 fleet wrecks at the greatest distance from inlets on Florida's east coast, Fisher subcontractors have not exhaustively worked the Rosario wreck site.