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Diver Finds Gold Coin Worth $98,000 on Wreck Off Key West

Gold medallion

The gold coin was recovered from the wreck of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha.

Courtesy Mel Fisher's Treasures

The son of treasure hunters who helped discover a wreck in the 1980s worth $400 million recently found a gold coin worth at least $98,000 on the same wreck.

Zach Moore, a diver and engineer at Mel Fisher’s Treasures, found the rare coin in about 30 feet of seawater on the wreck of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha. The ship sank in a hurricane in 1622, just 35 miles off Key West.

“There’s nothing like finding treasure, first of all, but there’s nothing like finding gold,” Moore tells the Miami Herald. “Gold shines forever. It looks and feels exactly the same as the day it went down 400 years ago.”

Moore was diving the wreck with an underwater metal detector when it pinged to alert him of a silver coin in his path. After he recovered that coin, which he says he was “ecstatic” about, he spotted something about three feet away that was even more exciting — gold.

The coin was wedged into a small hole in the bedrock.

Zach Moore

Moore holds his discovery.

Courtesy Mel Fisher's Treasures

“There’s this beautiful golden coin with a cross on it staring right back at me,” Moore says. “Picture like an angelic choir with sunbeams shining down kind of a feeling. It was a little glint and a splash of this yellow gold.”

Moore showed off his find to fellow divers and was met with an underwater celebration of hugs and high-fives before everyone got back to hunting.

“I’ve [had] a lot of area to cover with the metal detector,” Moore says. “I just went right back to work [after finding the coin].”

With Moore’s loot, the number of coins found on the Spanish galleon raises to 121.

“It’s quite an incredible find,” Kim Fisher, Mel’s son and the current president and CEO of Mel Fisher’s Treasures, tells the Herald. “It’s the first gold coin in 20 years.”

Moore’s parents, Bill and Julie, met when they were both part of Mel Fisher’s “golden crew” that discovered the Nuestra Señora de Atocha in 1985. Fisher had been hunting the wreck for over 16 years, and his divers pulled up over $400 million worth of treasure — gold, silver, emeralds and more.

“Scuba diving for gold — it runs in the blood,” Moore says. “I’ve just got to get back out there so I can find more.”