One of the more interesting and valuable wrecks found has been the Atocha, a Spanish galleon vessel that sank off the Florida Keys in the year 1622. The Atocha was actually even partly salvaged by the Spanish when it sank that same year, in 1622 and 1623, but then they misplaced where the location of the wreck was, and it faded into history.
In the year 1985, a team of treasure hunters headed by Mel Fisher located the wreckage of the Atocha again, on July 20th, 1985. The find is thought to be ultimately worth over $300 million dollars, and has revealed nearly 250,000 coins consisting mostly of Spanish Potosi coins of that era.
Divers have successfully recovered over 175,000 different coins since the discovery in 1985, and it stands as one of the most successful salvage operations and diving discoveries in the last century.
The team of treasure hunters had searched for the wreck for several years, using maps and different information from the period. It was known that the wreckage of the Atocha was there, just not exactly where until it ultimately was discovered.
The vast treasure from the Atocha has been slowly sold on the retail market, with many pieces winding up in various museums but the sales have yielded the discovery team headed by Mel Fisher a vast sum of money, a fortune many times over.
While there are other shipwrecks out there yet to be discovered, the wreck of the Spanish Galleon Atocha certainly stands out as one of the most exciting finds in many years.