Gold Hound Treasure Hunters
Gold Hound Treasure Divers LLC is a treasure salvage firm based in Sebastian, Florida, headed by Captain Greg Bounds. The firm is a subcontractor to the Mel Fisher Center, Inc., which owns the Admiralty Rights to the 1715 Fleet, a fleet of Spanish Galleons laden with precious cargo that sank off the east coast of Florida in 1715. The locations of six of the eleven sunken ships have been found, but still missing are 300 chests containing nearly one million silver coins from just one ship alone with an estimated value of $450 million, among other treasures including gold, diamonds, emeralds and pearls. The principals of Gold Hound Treasure Divers have been salvaging the 1715 Fleet sites for over a decade using an advanced, proprietary mapping technology to plot out over 100,000 focus areas -- holes excavated and searched along the ocean floor. Those holes collectively create a “scatter trail”, showing trends in how the ships broke up, and yielding a trail of smaller treasures ultimately expected to lead to the larger treasures. The principals of Gold Hound have used similar techniques to unearth sunken treasure from other major shipwrecks including the Santa Margarita off the Florida Keys, where Captain Bounds in 2007, helped locate in a single day sunken treasures estimated to be worth into the many millions.

Gold Hound Treasure Drivers has uncovered a steady stream of treasures in each of the years that it has searched the 1715 Fleet, ranging from recovered gold and silver coins, to jewels, rare artifacts and more. The Gold Hound salvagers search a radius surrounding the wreck sites anywhere from about 3,000 yards out, to a several-mile radius for those wrecks shattered across a broader spectrum. Salvage efforts are methodical and scientific in strategy, aided by magnetometers, a device that has helped revolutionize modern-day treasure hunting. The device detects deviations in the earth’s magnetic fields, clueing Gold Hound Treasure Divers in as to metal remains of the ships that have stood the test of time underwater. Added to that technology are various sonar scans, metal detectors and the like, in addition to the sophisticated mapping technology.

Aided by all that technology, the m/v Goldhound then blows approximately 30 to 40 holes per day in its salvaging season, which lasts from around late March to early September, weather permitting. Captain Bounds employs a 30-foot Sport craft vessel, specifically modified for treasure hunting along the shallow reefs off Sebastian and surrounding areas, some of the 1715 Fleet having sunk in only 20 feet of water.

Treasures that are uncovered are logged and submitted first to the State of Florida, which owns the rights to 20 percent of all artifacts found on the wrecks after which Gold Hound Treasure Divers and Mel Fisher Center, Inc. split the remaining treasures 50/50. Divers participating in the “Treasure Hunter for the Day” program must render their findings to the state, but can have those findings earmarked for first dibs on later purchase.

“I don’t know of anywhere in the world where the average person is allowed to search for sunken shipwreck treasure of this scale,” said Greg Bounds, Captain of Gold Hound Treasure Divers.
Gold Hound Partnership Interest Q & A
What are the estimates for the amount of sunken treasure still remaining from the 1715 Fleet?
$700 million to $900 million by conservative estimates, according to Dr. R. Duncan Mathewson III, author and Archaeological Director of the Search for The Nuestra Senora de Atocha. According to Mathewson, if one takes the non-perishable cargo left after the hurricanes and subtract what the Spaniards and English pirates recovered in their salvage efforts, together with what has been recovered in modern day times, “we are left with almost 3 million pesos worth of gold and silver treasure still strewn on the ocean bottom somewhere along the St. Lucie Inlet-Melbourne coastline.”
Using the same appraisal value indices and point system devised years ago for valuing the 1622 Atocha and later the Santa Margarita, the 3 million remaining 1715 pesos represent three times the value of items on the Atocha manifest. Today’s minimal value, stated Mathewson in January 2007, is between $700 million to $900 million.
What is the track record for Gold Hound Treasure Divers?
Gold Hound Treasure Divers has consistently recovered treasure from the 1715 Fleet every year since 1998, with the exception of 2007 during which time, Gold Hound worked the Santa Margarita off of the Florida Keys discovering over 8,000 artifacts including gold bars, solid gold chains totaling nearly 30 feet, 200+ silver coins and more. Highlights of recoveries off the 1715 Fleet, all of which are public record with the State of Florida, include a very valuable gold cross with medallions, precious jewelry embedded with emeralds, more than 750 silver coins, numerous rare gold coins (Royal 8 escudos) including one valued at $175,000 and another at $100,000, gold nuggets, and gold jewelry, and hundreds of artifacts such as silver candle holders, a gold-washed dragon head sword pommel and more. Gold Hound believes some of this “scatter trail” will lead it to much larger finds.
How are treasure finds documented?
Gold Hound Treasure Divers has a form from Florida Department of State & Bureau of Archaeological Research, called “Daily Field Note & Activity Log” on which Gold Hound enters a daily log of salvage operations and inventory recovered. The log is extensive in scope, recording the location of the boat, weather, type of metal detectors used, different GPS beacons, longitude and latitude, water depth, composition of the sea floor and where excavation holes were dug. Artifacts recovered are tagged, their quantity noted and a description of the items entered. The log information, once submitted to the State, is public information.
What type of reports do partners receive and how often?
During the salvage season, which typically lasts from late March to early September weather permitting, treasure recoveries are posted online on a weekly basis for partner perusal. Monthly summary reports are also provided to partners during that time period. During the off-season, updates of further activity such as Valuation Committee meetings, meetings on treasure division among entitled parties and the like, are summarized quarterly, typically at calendar year-end and then in March of the subsequent year. The final divvying up of treasure is completed after the State has reviewed all recovered items. Once that task is complete, treasures are then divided amongst the remaining entitled parties, with that event usually occurring in early summer of the year subsequent to investment.
Where do the items go once they’re found?
All recovered artifacts are stored at the Mel Fisher Treasure Museum in Sebastian, Florida where they go through the conservation lab to preserve them as best possible. Items are photographed, weighed, broken open if encrusted, conserved and documented. After year-end, the Division Committee meets to collaborate on the valuation of all items. After that, a list of the items is sent to the State of Florida, which begins their selection process as to the first 20% of items in which they are interested.
How are the items valued/appraised?
A Valuation Committee is comprised of representatives of Mel Fisher Center, Inc., the State of Florida, Gold Hound Treasure Divers, invested partners and appraisers. Certain objects, such as silver coins, often have precedents set as to their market value and the value of similar new finds can be easily discerned based on their condition and a comparison to precedents. At times, items are extremely rare, in which case independent appraisers may be brought in to help ascertain value. Captain Greg Bounds, for example, once found a gold coin the likes of which had never been seen anywhere in the world. In that case, three independent appraisers were consulted to determine its value.
How are items preserved for future sale?
There are various procedures undertaken including electrolysis for metallic objects. The electrolysis entails running an electric current through the object to eliminate accumulated salt. That process, for example, erases black shades off of silver. High quality gold, on the other hand, never corrodes. Other chemicals are used in preservation as needed. Pottery, porcelain and the like are pieced together only if a majority of the object’s pieces are uncovered, otherwise remnants are tagged as is.
How is the state’s 20% share calculated?
Once a collective agreement has been made as to the valuation of all items recovered during the year, a list of those items is sent to the State of Florida for review. The State is entitled to 20% of the finds from each of the identified wreck sites. In the case of Gold Hound Treasure Divers, the State may claim that entire 20% from Gold Hound’s finds in a given year. Given that there are other salvagers working the same sites, however, the State may choose to claim some of that 20% from other salvagers on those particular sites. In other words, 20% is the maximum that the State can claim from Gold Hound’s finds from any given wreck, but they could claim less, instead taking the rest of their share from other salvers on that same wreck site.
Do partnership interests receive treasures or cash, and if so, when?
Partnership interests receive treasures. The final divvying up of treasures is completed after the State has reviewed all recovered items and claimed the ones in which they’re interested. That process can take about four to six months after year-end, after which point the remaining items are divided among entitled parties.
If there’s a particular item recovered that I like, can I have it set aside for me?
If a partner is interested in a specific recovered item, especially an item, which that party helped uncover undersea, Gold Hound, will note that interest in the logbook. Should the item not be claimed by the State of Florida, the partner’s preference would then be reviewed when artifacts are being divvied up. There are no guarantees, but when possible, the various decision makers involved try to honor partnership requests within reason. – That being said, if it’s an emerald cross, the partner should not hold their breath (no pun intended), but instead plan on paying market price if interested.
What’s to prevent crew from keeping items of value?
Gold Hound has a small crew with long and strong ties in the treasure salvage business, and has never been known to have lost treasure to crew theft. It has on rare occasions occurred with other salvage operations. Treasure, however, tends to bring attention on itself and on occasions when a salvager has attempted to keep items in the past, they have often been unveiled when attempting to sell such treasures. -- The treasure-buying community is a close knit one, and like rare antiques items, sunken treasures are not easily sold on the open market without word spreading. Perpetrators, while rare, have been prosecuted and not again permitted on salvage sites.
 
 
Is Gold Hound the only company salvaging the 1715 Fleet?
There are a number of salvagers of the 1715 Fleet, some just part-time weekend hobbyists, others more serious operators. The number of salvors varies from year to year with full-time boat operators during the peak salvage season numbering about five. Gold Hound Treasure Divers’ operation is historically among the most consistent and successful of the salvors.
How often does Gold Hound undertake salvaging efforts?
Exceptional days for salvaging number about 60 to 90 days during the peak season of April to September, days with calm seas and clear weather providing optimal visibility for excavation.
What are the biggest challenges to recovering artifacts from the 1715 Fleet?
The weather, water visibility and occasional equipment failure, the first two being acts of God, the latter the damn fault of man and all our modern toys.
What is the process and technology used in search of treasures?
Gold Hound Treasure Divers has advanced, proprietary mapping technology that has plotted over 100,000 focus areas around the 1715 Fleet. In those focus areas, holes were excavated and searched along the ocean floor for treasures. Treasures recovered have collectively created a “scatter trail” showing trends in how the 1715 ships broke up, a trail ultimately expected to lead to larger treasures. Based on that scatter trail information, Gold Hound continues its search.

Salvage efforts are methodical and scientific in strategy aided by magnetometers, a device that has helped revolutionize modern-day treasure hunting. The device detects deviations in the earth’s magnetic fields, clueing Gold Hound Treasure Divers in as to metal remains from ships that have stood the test of time underwater. Added to that technology are various sonar scans and GPS. Using all of that collective information, the m/v Gold Hound then taps its powerful diesel engine to blow water through a large aluminum funnel to excavate sand from the ocean bottom, blowing approximately 30 to 40 holes per day. Once the holes are excavated, salvors use hand-held metal detectors to comb the ocean floor in search of treasures.
Does Gold Hound only work on the 1715 Fleet or other fleets as well?
For 2009, our efforts will be focused entirely on the 1715 Fleet. Gold Hound Treasure Divers has additional salvage locations in the works but those are not targeted till 2010 at the earliest. With estimates of over $700-$900 million of uncovered treasures still remaining from the 1715 Fleet, we feel no rush to move on.
If I hold a partnership interest, am I allowed to help in the salvaging efforts?
Those partners taking a 1% or greater share in the year’s efforts are allowed to join in unlimited salvage dives with Gold Hound for the year, space permitting.
Who do I contact to inquire about becoming an investor?

Apolla Roth handles all investors and can be contacted by email or phone

Phone: 804-814-4512

Apollar@yahoo.com