Saturday, February 25, 2017

2/25/17 Report - Finding Barber Quarters in Florida. An Extensive Shipwreck Project Report Worth Reading.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Six Barber Quarters Found By One Detectorist In Last Seven Months.

How would you coinshooters like to hit a Barber Quarter every month?  It might be more possible than you think.  One fellow sent the above picture with the following email message.

I thought you might want to use this picture to illustrate that there is still a lot out there!  These are my Barber quarter finds from the last seven months from five different sites on mainland Florida.  

I started detecting in 2011.  In my first two years, I found one Barber dime among thirty or so total silver coins.  That was so exciting!  I was not sure if I'd ever find another.  I definitely lamented getting a late start in detecting and felt that most of the good finds had been found.  Now I feel the opposite.  I target old coins.  Many of the oldest coins were out of detecting range or protected in other ways...

The best Barber quarter, the one to the far left in the picture, is an 1898O, a better date.

Like I mentioned, feel free to use the photo and any of the above text, but please keep my name off of it.  Your blog has become very popular!

Thanks much for the photo and email!

Notice the good tip in the message.  He targets old coins, and assumes those will likely be out of range or protected in some way.  

You can't just go around skimming the easy finds if you want to find the older coins.  

By being specific about what you want to find, you can adjust your technique and strategies to meet your goals.  Your research will be more specific too.

According to an 1898 O Barber quarter in mint state would be worth around $800.  Of course dug quarters are never in mint condition.  In average condition an 1898 O would be worth something more like $17.

The O mint mark indicates it was made in the New Orleans mint, which made just %13 of the Barber quarters ever minted.


Here is an email I received from Peter H.


Here's a great story you may not have seen in so much depth , very interesting and I hope you enjoy !!!!

I always appreciate your research links which I often use and bookmark ,Knowledge is wealth !!! I always learn something from your posts and although I am in Wales I read them every day !! .

Thanks much,

Here is a brief excerpt from that document describing the wreck and its discovery.

On 1 April 2008, open-air mining for diamonds was underway in Mining Area 1 (MA1) in dry marine basin known as “U-60”, which lies approximately twenty kilometers north of Oranjemund, a peaceful mining town about 12 miles north of the Orange River estuary in the extreme southwest corner of Namibia and is part of the Sperrgebiet (“forbidden zone”)3 . On that day, two much damaged bronze tubes were found4 which were later identified as breech-loading cannons. These were followed in short order by other artifacts, including copper ingots in the form of half-spheres, elephant tusks, chunks of timber and gold coins, which suggested they were from an old shipwreck.

I think everyone will find something of interest in this 77 page report.  First off, the coast state and the flag state decided that the wreck was shared heritage and worked cooperatively to "rescue" the wreck.

The report is very complete and addresses construction of the ship, treasure, and archaeological procedures.  You'll find a lot of photos and illustrations.

Thanks Peter!

I'm also glad you find the blog so helpful.  


I've been looking at an archaeological study that surveys a large number of shore-stranded shipwrecks of diverse ages and periods.  Those are shipwrecks that ended up in the dunes or on the beach.  I'll report on that more in the future.

The surf today is to be 3 - 5 feet. The tide will be fairly high too.

Happy hunting,

Friday, February 24, 2017

2/24/17 Report - A Look At a Few Treasure Coast Beaches Today.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

I went out to see if anything was happening.  I looked at five beaches and saw no erosion anywhere, but my observations were limited to South Hutchinson Island.  

The water had been fairly high on the beach, but all beaches showed newly accumulated sand on the front beach.  There were almost no shells.

I had most of my post done and then lost it, and I don't feel like doing it all again, therefore today's post is going to be short.

Between John Brooks and Frederick Douglas Around Noon Friday.
Notice the little canal where the high tide water ran back into the ocean.  This dip was present probably two weeks ago but was refreshed by last night's high tide.

This is the type of cut I mentioned a few weeks ago.  That one was a couple hundred yards south of this one and just below the previous one I found a coin hole that I talked about.

John Brooks Beach Around Noon Friday.
The beach front was pretty steep here.  Very sandy.

There were a good number of tourists out today everywhere I went.  That should help some if you are interested in hunting modern items.

Another South Hutchinson Island Beach Friday Around Noon.
This beach front was sandy too, but not as steep as the one at John Brooks.  The high tide got nearly to the dunes.

The surf was fairly rough, but where I was, not well formed for surfing.  The high tide got pretty high.  There might be a beach or two in the Vero/Sebastian area that improved, but I just didn't get up there to take a look.

I had some other stuff started and lost it, so that is all I'm going to do today.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, February 23, 2017

2/23/17 Report - Research Tips For Locating Good Old Sites. Stuff Found In Walls. Increasing Surf.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exlcusive use of

I was looking back at some old posts and noticed some that I think should be posted again.  I forgot about them and suspect many other readers did too.  Newer blog readers probably never read them.  I will post some of those that I think are worth rereading even if you might have read them years ago.

James F. consistently submitted pictures of great old finds.  He made fantastic finds while many others were complaining that there were no good places left to hunt.  I asked James if he would give some tips on how to conduct research that leads to the kind of  finds that he was always making.  

One of the things he said is that although the internet helps, the overwhelming majority of historical information, .maps, narratives, and photographs still exist only in hardcopy form.  I suspect that is still true today but perhaps to a lesser extent.

Here is  what James said.

The first thing I did to locate the steamboat artifact was a quick on-line search looking for generalities like major areas of steamboat activity in Florida. On-line sources indicated the St. Johns River (which flows northward, by the way) and the chain of lakes it includes (Lake Jesup, Mullet Lake, Lake Monroe, Lake Poinsett, et al) where almost teeming with steamboat traffic for almost 80 years ago, all the way from Jacksonville to Rockledge (Cocoa Beach) Florida. With this general data, I went to my local library and specifically searched for information about 19th century steamboat activity within my region...Sanford, Geneva, Oveido, Lake Mary etc. I then looked for historic facts specifically targeting those town's level of involvement with steamboat operations; Fruit and vegetable shipments, cargo and passenger operations, Seminole and Civil War materials and troops movements by steamboat, etc. It is all readily publicly available information using a few keywords like steamboat, shipping and check the index in the back of hardcover books. Once I identified the towns involved, I narrowed the focus down even further, by selecting a specific town or area to hunt.

One of my favorite sources of research material in this regard is best obtained from small local museums or historical societies. Many of these little (or not so little) organizations have some very specific resources available to you, you cannot find anywhere else; self-published books on the local area, old maps on display, people who can tell you, through family history, of certain things or places not found in a book. It was from a couple of these organizations I discovered information regarding several close-by areas where steamboat traffic and operations were very prevalent in the mid-19th Century. Using this information...old maps, photographs, drawings and other facts, I managed to piece together a promising site. A quick look on-line of aerial map views through either Google or Bing Bird's Eye (I like Bing best for this sort of search as it has very, very clear aerials that get within 25 feet of the ground) will yield current information about the site before your actual recon of the physical place. This gives you site coordinates that you will use to navigate to the location; nearby roads, landmarks and GPS information, etc.

From there, I find the online website of the local tax assessor and locate the property plat, which also gets me the name and address (sometimes even the phone number) of the owner. Again, all publicly available information. I then make a cursory visit to the site, and if it looks searchable (i.e. not swampy or too snake infested) I'll call or visit the owner and try to get permission. I always offer something in return: a free 2-hour metal detection search anytime in the future if they or someone they know loses a valuable item, or I ask if they would like to accompany me while I hunt and have their pick of the items recovered. It is their land. If you have any people skills at all, you should be able to get on site, and maybe even an invitation to come back by the landowner. That's it in a nutshell...remember to look out for snakes!

There it is. Some great tips that work. Thanks again James!

Let me repeat and summarize a few of the main points.

1. Do a preliminary search to become more familiar with the topic, identify important key words that can lead to other resources, and iteratively refine your search.

2. Check with local museums and historical societies.

3. Talk to people who may have personal knowledge.

4. Use the internet but go beyond that.

Your research will become more productive as you accumulate a depth of knowledge and variety resources on specific locales and topics.


Once you start digging — whether excavating long-populated urban land for a commercial project or tearing down the walls of a house — you never know what you’ll find. It might be a ritual object placed there to ward off evil spirits 300 years ago, or a few decades ago. It might have been put there on purpose or left by accident. Unless it’s a time capsule with a note enclosed, you’ll never know for sure.
Every building carries history within its walls, ceilings, floors and foundations. The very wood, plaster and stone can contain powerful secrets, even talismans, some of which were placed there for future inhabitants to find — a thread linking past and future...
That is the beginning of an interesting article.

Here is the link for the rest of the article.

Thanks to Doug for the link.


Today the surf was something like 2 - 4 feet.  Expect 4 - 6 feet tomorrow.  I'd like to see the beaches get stirred up.  Unfortunately the tides won't be high.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

2/22/17 Report - The Real Facts About Pirates. Big Shark Takes Bite Of Five Foot Shark. New Book On Catholic Roots of La Florida. Increasing Surf.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

This partially eaten five -foot  shark washed up onto the beach in Volusia County.   They think there must be a great white cruising the coast.

Here is a  link to that story.


I found an interesting Ph. D. dissertation about pirates.  It tells a great deal about pirates.   Below is one table from the dissertation showing the types of goods they got.

As you can see, the greatest amount was classified as personal necessities, including things like clothing, provisions, alcohol and medicine - very useful things.  Only 38% of the take was the kind of treasure that you typically think of, such as gold, silver, coins, and gems.

Notice that the data was derived from resources detailing 88 different piratical seizures.

I thought that was an interesting table.  I think you'll find much more of interest if you read the dissertation.

Here is the link.

Of course, dissertation always provide a bibliography, which can be worth browsing.


Michael Brown has written a new book.  It is Where the Cross Stands.  Here is part of the description.

...a book that swiftly details the surprising and astonishing Marian history of this nation -- of La Florida -- as the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, guided explorers and dozens of priests in the earliest days, brave men who faced hurricanes and Indians, disease and snakes, as they planted Crosses at the very first places they set foot -- most notably, what is now St. Augustine, the oldest city in the U.S., where the original Cross planted on September 8, 1565 has been replaced by the tallest Cross in the world.

Here is the link to learn more about the book.


Rainy day!  Finally the surf is increasing.  Expect something like 2 - 3 feet today and 4 - 6 feet by Friday.

That might stir things up a little.  It has been a while since we got any bump in the surf.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2/21/17 Report - How You Can Participate With Archaeologists Worldwide In Discovering New Archaeological Sites.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Monday I was watching TED Talks on TV.  TED Is a nonprofit group that advances what they judge to be powerful ideas in various field.  I like the TED TV show and watched three TED talks yesterday, one of which was by Sarah Parcak, who uses satellite images to identify ancient sites.

In Egypt, Parcak's techniques have helped locate 17 potential pyramids, and more than 3,100 potential forgotten settlements. She's also made discoveries in the Viking world (as seen in the PBS Nova special, Vikings Unearthed and across the Roman Empire (as shown in the BBC documentary, Romes Lost Empire).  Her methods also offer a new way to understand how ancient sites are being affected by looting and urban development. By satellite-mapping Egypt and comparing sites over time, Parcak has noted a 1,000 percent increase in looting since 2009. It’s likely that millions of dollars worth of artifacts are stolen each year. Parcak hopes that, through her work, unknown sites can be protected to preserve our rich, vibrant history.

Through GlobalXplorer she said she is "democratizing discovery."    (I discussed how technology is democratizing knowledge in a very recent post.)

Here is a description of GlobalXplorer from their web site.

GlobalXplorer° is an online platform that uses the power of the crowd to analyze the incredible wealth of satellite images currently available to archaeologists. Launched by 2016 TED Prize winner and National Geographic Fellow, Dr. Sarah Parcak, as her “wish for the world,” GlobalXplorer° aims to bring the wonder of archaeological discovery to all, and to help us better understand our connection to the past. So far, Dr. Parcak’s techniques have helped locate 17 potential pyramids, in addition to 3,100 potential forgotten settlements and 1,000 potential lost tombs in Egypt — and she's also made significant discoveries in the Viking world and Roman Empire. With the help of citizen scientists across the globe, she hopes to uncover much, much more. This is just the beginning. With additional funding, Dr. Parcak aims to revolutionize how modern archaeology is done altogether, by creating a global network of citizen explorers, opening field schools to guide archaeological preservation on the ground, developing an archaeological institute, and even launching a satellite designed with archaeology in mind.

Here is the link to the web site for GlobalXplorer.

Sign up and participate if you wish.  Maybe you'll discover a new important site.
Years ago in this blog I mentioned how archaeology should be making greater use of the multitude of those interested in history and archaeology to identify sites.  The trouble is that much of academic archaeology still does not trust the public and often refers to detectorists and treasure hunters as looters. While Sarah Parcak sees the advantage of using the public to help find sites, those who discover new sites are kept informed about progress at the site that they discovered, but they do not have access to the larger  database.  They are only in the loop for developments pertaining to the site that they discovered.

Florida does not provide open internet access to their master site file.  They do not want to tip "looters" off to the location of archaeological sites.  They fail to recognize that the public is not only capable of discovering sites, but the same public would also protect those sites.  The same sea of eyes that would identify and report discoveries, would also keep a watchful eye for looters.  Being informed and involved, more of the public would feel more responsible for archaeological sites and act accordingly.

I know that not all archaeologists have the same paranoia about the public that the say they serve, but there are still those that do.

Monday, February 20, 2017

2/20/17 Report - Observations From A Little Detecting This Morning. A Good Book On the Wreck of the Rosario.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Two Views of Pepper Park This Morning

No surprises this morning.  The beach front was very sandy, as was the shallow water.

Pepper Park is heavily detected and the area in front of the central lifeguard station was very clean.  No nails, bottle caps or anything metallic.  This beach is very heavily detected during the winter months.  I only stopped there on my way to another spot that I wanted to detect.

The beach that I detected is not a wreck beach, and is not detected much at all.  It doesn't have a lot of targets, but when conditions are right, does produce some old things.  That did not happen today.  I hadn't been there in months, and I could see that there had been some good erosion sometime in the past that I missed.  The cliff was eroded back several feet from the last time I detected there, but it had filled in again.  Like I said, I missed it.

Despite all the new piled up sand on the front beach, there was a coin hole in the shallow water.   It only produced modern coins though.  On top of the poor conditions, the noseeums were voracious.  It wasn't the best hunting morning I've ever had.

Earlier in the morning at Pepper Park I used the Garrett Ace a while.  Later I used the ATX some.  One thing I noticed is that it took a little time to get accustomed to the ATX after using the Ace.  The signals I was getting from the ATX made everything sound huge after using the Ace for a while.  I never thought of that before, but it can take a little time (not very long) to get accustomed to sounds of a detector when you switch from one to another.  I'm sure that is more true in some cases, depending upon the particular detectors.


My wife took a little walk the other day and found the following items.

Usable Fishing Equipment Finds.

Small Cork Top Medicine Bottle and Couple Of Pieces of Pottery.
I always enjoy recovering usable objects.


Here is a book you might want to take a look at.  It is  Oceans Odyssey 3. The Deep-Sea Tortugas Shipwreck, Straits of Florida: A Merchant Vessel from Spain's 1622 Tierra Firme Fleet, by Kingsley and Stemm.

Here is a bit of the description.

In 1990 Seahawk Deep Ocean Technology of Tampa, Florida, commenced the world’s first robotic archaeological excavation of a deep-sea shipwreck south of the Tortugas Islands in the Straits of Florida. At a depth of 405 meters, 16,903 artefacts were recovered using a Remotely-Operated Vehicle. The wreck is interpreted as the Buen Jesús y Nuestra Señora del Rosario...

Click here for a free preview of the book.
The book contains 210 page and costs less than $20.  Not bad.


As I've already suggested above, Treasure Coast beach detecting conditions are not good,  I don't expect that to change any time real soon.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, February 19, 2017

2/19/17 Report - Theories About the Cobs of Bonsteel Park Beach. The Democratization of Archaeology and Our Cultural Heritage.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

I recently mentioned Bonsteel Park.  The beach in that area produces cobs, including a lot of half reales, when the water hits the dunes.   No wreck has been found near that beach to account for the cobs.

There are different ideas about how the cobs ended up there.  Frogfoot Weller, for example, suggested that the old Chuck's Steakhouse was the site of the wreck of Ubilla's frigate.  Yet, I don't know of any ballast pile in that area.

Others believed that  a smaller vessel associated with the early Spanish salvage efforts wrecked there.

And still other's believe that individual's that left the salvage camp on their way to St. Augustine buried treasure there or met some unfortunate event.

One of the most interesting things to me is the predominance of half reales, which is not unlike some other beaches which are adjacent to known wreck sites.  As I've said before, I have some ideas about why more half reales are found on some beaches while more larger denomination cobs are found in the water on the associated wreck sites.  


Where do you look when you want to learn about Florida's history?  If you want to learn more about an artifact, where do you look or who do you ask?

I know that most people these days do a good bit of online research.  That has increased dramatically over the past several years.  When I began this blog there were not nearly as many blogs and web sites about metal detecting, archaeology and local history as there are today.  In making more information more easily available to more people, the internet has been democratizing knowledge.

Wikipedia says, "The democratization of knowledge is the acquisition and spread of knowledge amongst the common people, not just privileged elites such as clergy and academics. Libraries—public libraries in particular—and modern digital technology such as the internet—play a key role in the democratization of knowledge, as they provide open access of information to the masses."

Back in  2013 I conducted a blog poll to find out how people learn more about the Treasures of the Treasure Coast.  117 people responded to the poll.  They were people who visit my blog and therefore can be assumed to be more interested than the general population in metal detecting and treasure hunting.

Only 5% of the respondents said they had ever seen any of the coins in the Florida Collection. I don't know what percent of the population in general have seen the coins in the Florida collection, but I would assume that it would be a much smaller percent of the total population.  Among the people that read this blog are some who have found coins that went into the collection.  Anyone who reads this blog has seen pictures of coins that went into the Florida Collection before those coins became a part of the collection.   Not only did they see pictures but they also read something about the coins, how the coins were found and the people that found them.

One of my points today might be an obvious point, but I think it needs to be stressed.  Technology has provided increased access to more and better information about history, archaeology and our cultural heritage.  Every year more people read and discuss and get information about our cultural heritage over the internet.

If you want to study coins from the 1715 Fleet, for example, or any other shipwreck for that matter, where do you go?  The internet more likely than not.  You will find pictures and information in online auction catalogs, on web sites, blogs, ebooks,  and online documents such as dissertations, academic papers and archaeological reports.  The web provides a lot of information that is free and easily available to the public.

The people who contribute to those online resources include many amateurs as well as professionals.  In a simple blog like this one you often see pictures and information contributed by those who actually salvage the items that make up our museum collections.  You see the contents of famous collections as they change hands in online auctions.  You get information from people who make finds in the field and write books, and post their information on the internet.

There are amateurs outside of the state agencies and universities that contribute very significant discoveries, and there are researchers such as Laura Strolia who have contributed top notch research through blogs like this one.  Salvage companies like the Mel Fisher group and Odyssey Marine, not only find shipwrecks and artifacts, but also operate museums and display collections and publish quality research papers.

Archaeology, like other fields, is without a doubt being democratized, yet those of the elite have much to protect.  They feel their jobs, careers, status and reason for being are threatened by democratization of our cultural heritage.  Instead of keeping up, they drag their feet and in the process widen the gap between themselves and the public that funds them.  Their existence is threatened, but the threat is not what they think it is.  Their biggest threat is their own efforts to protect their domain while progress moves on.


The surf is still small.  We'll have a one or two foot surf Monday, and after that a little increase.

Happy hunting,