X Marks the Spot! Beachcomber finds cache of Spanish gold

Daily Dispatch June 22, 1976

Excitement gripped the beach in Duck, North Carolina this past week when a beachcombing treasure hunter unearthed a lost chest of Spanish gold from beneath a beachside dune late Wednesday afternoon. The exact value of the find is unknown as of this writing, but sources indicate that the excavated chest is full of authentic Spanish gold doubloons and is believed to be linked to the lost treasure galleon Corazon de Cristo, last seen off the Carolina coast during the mid seventeenth century. The single chest was discovered and excavated by visiting amateur treasure hunter Michael “Shelly” Schell using a commercial metal detector and hand tools.

A small crowd gathered to watch him digging once it became apparent that he had located something more substantial than loose change and discarded garbage. Local authorities secured the scene and assisted Shelly with pulling the rusted, iron-bound chest free from the sand. Onlookers snapped photos as Shelly broke the rusted lock free from the chest with his shovel and revealed the golden contents within. The police assisted Shelly in loading the treasure chest into his pickup truck and escorted him off the beach.

One officer estimated “Hundreds, maybe thousands of gold coins, whaddaya call them, doubloons in that chest.” The coins are reportedly worth far more than their weight in gold, thanks to their historical significance and ties to the lost treasure ship Corazon de Cristo. It is speculated that Shelly could make millions off the find, and while he declined an interview, he did confirm to our reporters that he has been approached by several public institutions and private collectors with offers.

This discovery has sparked a new wave of Gold Fever on the Duck beaches, as other amateur treasure hunters have taken to the sand with metal detectors in hand, eager to find more of the Corazon’s bounty. While no other treasures have been uncovered in the Duck dunes yet, those eager for the glitter of gold can visit the excellent pirate treasure exhibit on display at the North Carolina Maritime Museum.

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