updated 09/05/2013 AT 4:00 PM ET
•originally published 09/06/2013 AT 10:50 AM ET
Rick Schmitt and his family struck gold over the weekend, uncovering an estimated $300,000 worth of chains and coins off the Florida coast from Spanish ships struck by a hurricane hundreds of years ago.
Schmitt’s family, along with friend Dale Zeak, were photographed with their discovered treasures: a 64-ft. gold chain, five fold coins and a gold ring.
“This is like the end of a dream,” Schmitt, of Sanford, Fla., tells the Sun Sentinel.
Brent Brisben, co-founder of the company that owns the rights to dive on the wreckage site, says, “To be the first person to touch an artifact in 300 years is indescribable. They were there 150 years before the Civil War. It’s truly remarkable to be able to bring that back.”
Before their discoveries, the Schmitt family was a group of “world-class recyclers,” their daughter Hillary said with a laugh.
Rick’s wife Lisa acknowledged the experience has been valuable for more than just money reasons.
“The greatest treasure is time with the family,” she said.