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Incredible Treasure Find Off Dominican Republic Could Could Net 'Millions

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"We have just scratched the surface."

It's a discovery reminiscent of pirate times when treasure hunts produced epic open-sea battles.

A diving company has discovered a a sunken treasure off the coast of the Dominican Republic that has already produced "700 silver coins that could be worth millions, jade figurines and even a mirrored stone that was possibly used in Shamanic rituals," London's Daily Mail reports.

According to reports, the treasure dates back tot he 1500s.

"We only started diving last autumn and haven't gone down that much because it's been the winter," Randy Champion, vice president of the Utah-based diving company Deep Blue Marine, told the Mail.

"We have just scratched the surface," he added. "All of the stuff we've found is just from mucking about really."

For now he's keeping quiet about what ship the team believes it found. But he isn't shy about guessing at how much the treasure -- which he says is composed of vast amounts of coins -- is worth:

'There are thousands and thousands down there,' Mr Champion added.

Most of the coins don't have dates on, so the team have been busy cleaning them up and trawling through reference books to identify them.

'These coins could be worth just $1,000,' Mr Champion said. 'But then one similar to ours sold for $132,000 the other day.

'They could be worth millions. But they aren't worth anything unless someone buys them.'

One set of coins could be worth $1million on its own. The crew won't know whether they have it until the clean up operation is complete.

The pre-Columbian carved jade figurines, all approximately 2in to 3in high, could be 500 years older than the wreck itself.

Mr Champion said some had holes in the back side suggesting they could have been part of a head piece.

This also suggests the crew of the 1500s ship probably weren't altogether that straight laced and almost certainly stole a lot of their booty.

Champion believes the ship was headed for Spain and went down in a hurricane.

And while the dive and the ship's booty is astonishing, even more incredible is how they found it:

They had been surveying 42 miles of coastline with high-tech equipment in an effort to find the wreck.

But they got lucky after the chance encounter with a local fisherman who sold them an old coin he had found while diving.

To their astonishment the team discovered it was one of the oldest coins ever minted and knew they had found what they were looking for.

'We said to this guy: "If you show us where you found the coin you can come and work for us",' said Mr Champion.

Read the full story from the Daily Mail.

And see more pictures from Deep Blue Marine.

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