Florida Family Finds Buried Gold Coins from 1715 Sunken Spanish Fleets

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A Florida family announced they recovered $1 million worth of sunken treasure from the Spanish treasure fleet’s shipwrecks off the coast of Florida. Today also marks the 300th anniversary of the shipwrecks. The Schmitt family kept their findings a secret for nearly a month from the public, but finally held a press-conference to announce their discovery and allow the public to view photos of the recovered gold coins.

The Schmitts are subcontractors to 1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels LLC. Among the findings are 51 gold coins, 40 feet of intricate gold chain, and one extremely rare gold coin that is worth more than half a million dollars alone. This particular coin is “called a Royal made for the king of Spain, Phillip V.” A news release reports that only a few are known to exist and the coin, also called the “Tricentennial Royal,” bears the date 1715.

Brent Brisben and his father, William Brisben, manage all of the historic shipwreck salvage operations through Queens Jewels LLC. Brisben said he, the Schmitts, and the treasure will be featured Fox News on Wednesday morning.

Of the 11 ships that sank off the coast of Florida 300 years ago, Brisben said the 1715 Fleet “has positively identified six of those ships,” according to Florida Today.

“Five more are remaining,” Brisben said in a Florida Today article, “with an estimated $400 million worth of treasure still out there.”

While this isn’t your standard way to accumulate gold and silver coins, if you have the means, it could be an exciting way to go about it. There are still five ships out there!

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China’s gold exchange gains traction

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Foreign banks and trading houses have signed up for China’s planned global gold exchange. New members and major players in the industry are intrigued to have access to China as the biggest gold consumer worldwide and to trade commodities in the yuan currency, according to Reuters.

China seeks to challenge the dominance of London and New York in trading and the strong reaction from foreign players is supporting this goal. By gaining pricing power over the metal, China will further establish its leadership as the primary golden global leader.

Ten more companies than originally expected signed up for the Shanghai Gold Exchange. Though 30 companies were approached for the first round of membership, 40 have signed up before the exchange launches in just one month.

The global trading community will watch the exchange closely since “gold is one of the first commodities that China is opening up to foreign players by allowing them to participate directly in physical trade and to use offshore yuan,” according to the article.

The article also explains that operations will begin on Sept. 29 in the Shanghai free-trade zone, with three yuan-denominated physical gold contracts of 100 grams, 1 kg, and the bigger London gold delivery bar weighing 12.5 kg.

“It is too important a market to stay away,” said Bernhard Schnellmann, director of Swiss-based Argor-Heraeus, one of the world’s biggest gold refineries, which is consider joining. “I think the SGE will be successful with this new exchange as they have a big home market and there should be enough liquidity.”

Click here to read the full article.

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India Finds New Gold Smuggling Route

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India has such an insatiable appetite for gold that smugglers are finding new ways to avoid the 10 percent import duty and sneak the precious metal into the country illegally. By avoiding the duty and meeting the high demand, gold smuggling now ranges from swallowing nuggets to hiding bars in dead cows, according to NDTV.


In one case, a gold exporting firm tried to bypass restrictions by using a tax-free special economic zone. However, the owner of the firm was arrested when police stopped a car trying to take 25 gold bars, worth about $1 million, out of that zone.

The ministry of commerce, which is in charge of special economic zones, did not reply to any requests for comments. This new scheme reveals that there are more complicated and sophisticated strategies being made by smugglers to take huge profits on gold in the domestic market by not paying the import tax.

However, all 185 of these special economic zones are now vulnerable to gold smuggling activities.

The World Gold Council estimates that 150-200 tonnes of gold illegally entered India last year. You can read more about this here.

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300-year old buried treasure found in Florida

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ownx-gold-pykA man from Florida recently discovered a “priceless” religious artifact from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, according to ABC News (a video of the discovery is posted on ABC’s article). The sunken treasure was discovered by a 27-year-old professional salvager last month on a scavenging hunt with his family. The treasure was found at the site of a 300-year-old shipwreck off the coast of Ft. Pierce and is the missing piece of a necklace that was discovered at the same site in 1989.

Called a pyx, the ornate gold trinket is a Spanish artifact used by priests to hold the communion host, Brent Brisben, the operations manager of Queen Jewels, said to ABC News.

“We find shipwrecked artifacts on a daily basis, but it’s more like ship spikes and musket balls, so when you get an extremely rare, unique piece like this, it’s exciting,” Brisen told ABC.

Eric Schmidtt, the man who discovered the piece, dug up more than $300,000 worth of gold chains and coins from the same wreckage just last year. Schmidtt and his family own a company called Booty Salvage that searches for buried treasure and work for Brisben’s company, which owns the rights to the wreckage and other sites, according to the article.

The article says the shipwreck where the piece was found is one of the most important in history. Several galleons packed with treasures from the New World left Havana and were bound for Spain before they were taken down by a hurricane in 1715.

A pyx is the container in which the consecrated bread of the Eucharist is kept. In other words, it’s a simple small container with a lid that holds a few pieces of the bread taken during communion.

The shipwreck involved multiple Spanish treasure fleets off the coast of Florida. It was common from the mid-16th to the mid-18th century for heavily armed fleets to transport massive amounts of New World treasure from the Americas back to Spain, according to the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior. This treasure fleet system is what helped boost Spain’s ability to become a New World empire and become the most powerful nation in Europe at that time. Pirates and privateers from rival European countries would threaten to seize the treasure on the fleets’ return home voyage. However, the men on the fleets feared the hurricanes more than the pirates.

One survivor of the wreck, Miguel de Lima, was the owner of the Urca de Lima, a ship from the 1715 fleet that was not entirely destroyed from the hurricane. Miguel described his experience:

“The sun disappeared and the wind increased in velocity coming from the east and east northeast. The seas became very giant in size, the wind continued blowing us toward shore, pushing us into shallow water. It soon happened that we were unable to use any sail at all… and we were at the mercy of the wind and water, always driven closer to shore. Having then lost all of our masts, all of the ships were wrecked on the shore, and with the exception of mind, broke to pieces.”

In 1715, a fleet of these ships were almost entirely destroyed by an unexpected and deadly hurricane. The wreckage lay forgotten for more than 200 years before modern treasure hunters discovered several of them, according to NPS.

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7 Places to Get Free Personal Finance Classes

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Businessman Describing Investment Strategies

image credit: Wise Bread

With all the buzz about student debt, risky stocks, and mortgage fraud, some people might be in a bit of a panic. The thought of money management is intimidating for many people. And even though we linked to an article the other day about how to raise money-smart kids, some parents might feel inadequate to teach their children about money since they themselves don’t feel as if they have a good handle on their finances. In fact, more than 80 percent of teachers in America said they don’t feel equipped to teach about personal finance.

It is becoming glaringly apparent that understanding personal finance is one of the vital keys to becoming debt-free or making wise choices for school or retirement and living life in general. But maybe you’re busy, you have other responsibilities, and completely reorganizing your lifestyle sounds too exhausting to begin. At the same time, you know that a personal finance class would be an extremely beneficial resource to you or your family. (See also: 12 Steps to Better Money Management).

What many people don’t realize is that personal finance classes are widely available for free (emphasis on the free). Some of these classes are offered by major universities like Yale and Purdue, while others are available online through other resources.

A Wise Bread article lists 10 great, free options for those interesting in taking a personal finance class. Completing this material will improve your ability to save money, budget, extend cash flow, and even learn more about investments and savings. Some of the courses listed below are specific to a certain area such as retirement or financial markets, and some offer more broad personal finance instruction. We selected seven of their 10 classes that relate directly to personal finance, but you can read the full list here.

1. MoneySKILL

Wise Bread says this free resource is aimed to instruct young adults on how to manage their money. There are different modules and a demo of the actual program.

 2. CNN Money 101

The course is given in 23 different lessons and the material covers everything from budgeting to managing a 401(k). The lessons range from topics covering setting priorities, controlling debt, buying a car to estate planning! This is a great overview of all things personal finance.

3. Free Kindle Resources from Bob Lotich

Bob Lotich is an award-winning blogger who has been writing about personal finance since 2007. He writes mostly about becoming debt free, charitable giving, and budgeting for both personal and family life. He has several books that are available for free via Kindle.

4. Family Finance from Utah State University

This course is geared for families who want to establish and reach financial goals as a family. There are some practical exercises, like buying a major appliance, taking home inventory, buying versus leasing, and other helpful topics that involve the whole family on how to plan, save, and spend together.

5. Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) offers different resources for personal finance topics such as frugal living, bankruptcy, holiday spending and budgeting. There is also a series of webinars you can attend if they fit into your schedule!

6. Planning a Secure Retirement from Purdue

If saving for retirement scares you or sounds stressful, then this eight-module course is for you. The earlier you can start planning and saving, the better off you’ll be. But you can’t start until you hop over your fear and educate yourself on all things retirement! Don’t let your fear keep you from making personal strides towards financial security.

7. Personal Finance from Missouri State University (iTunes U)

This full-scale personal finance course is presented in a video format and includes eight classes ranging from 20 to 40 minutes. It covers the basics of personal finance

Just Start Now.

There is no reason you can’t overcome your fears and feel confident in your ability to manage your finances. With all of the free resources listed here and uploaded all over the internet, all it takes is some time, effort, and diligence to begin practicing better money management. And with the guidance of professionals and experts who share their advice to willing listeners, you can begin transforming the way you handle your personal finances today.

 Click here to read the full article.

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The best states for kids’ economic well-being

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Some states are doing better than others at providing economically secure homes. This Market Watch article explains that in 2012 about 31 percent of children had parents without secure employment, compared with 27 percent in 2008. Our economy is still being impacted by long-term unemployment.

“When parents are unemployed or earn low wages, they may struggle to meet their children’s most basic needs,” according to a report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a Baltimore-based philanthropy. “Economic uncertainty also increases parental stress, which, in turn, can compromise parenting.”

The report details indicate that certain states are doing substantially better than others regarding children’s overall economic well-being. North Dakota ranked No. 1 for kids’ economic well-being.


According to the report, here are the best fives states when it comes to kids’ economic well-being:

  1. North Dakota
  2. South Dakota
  3. Iowa
  4. Minnesota
  5. Nebraska

And here are the five worst:

50. Mississippi
49. New Mexico
48. California
47. Nevada
46. Arizona

While this report might show some unfavorable data for some states, every family can learn the skills and build better money management habits! Don’t let this map or data scare you, but take advantage of the fact that there are many resources out there that help train people in every stage of life to take a hold of their finances! We’ve written a simple article about “The 12 Steps to Better Money Management” to help get you started!

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