Wednesday, October 16, 2019

10/16/19 Report - The Hesse Crown Jewels. A Silver Cross Find Examined. Pax.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Princess Margaret Wearing Some of the Hesse Crown Jewels.
Source: See GemSelect,com link below.

The story of the Hesse Crown Jewels illustrates how a cache can be secreted, discovered, distributed and found.  Some of the Hesse Crown Jewels could still be buried somewhere.

The story of the Hesse Crown Jewels heist began during the time of WWII. To help secure the future of the Hesse family, in October of 1944, Prince Richard and Prince Wolfgang of the House of Hesse secretly placed a large collection of their crown jewels into a wooden box lined with lead and zinc, which was buried in the basement of the Kronberg Castle. The box was lowered into a hole they had dug into the floor and then covered and sealed over with concrete. The contents included several diamonds, gemstones, bracelets, rings, necklaces, tiaras, rare coins, pieces of silver, gold and family heirlooms. After burying the jewels, they abandoned the castle and planned to return and retrieve the jewels after the end of the war...

The cache was discovered by U. S. soldiers, who helped themselves and dispersed the jewels.

Almost immediately after arriving in the United States on March 12, Durant set about hiding or trying to sell all the jewels he had managed to send from Europe.

On at least two occasions he and his brother James—the recipient of most of the packages Durant had mailed—buried large glass jars filled with jewels and cash along Route 7 near James’s home in Falls Church, Virginia. Durant sold gems to several private individuals, pawned other items, and, using a false name, sold several stones to a large Washington jewelry store. He even managed to use one particularly nice diamond as partial payment for a new Hudson convertible...

If you want to learn more about the Hesse Jewels, here are the source links for both of the above excerpts.


Crude Silver Cross
Same as posted yesterday

I posted this picture yesterday.  It was just one example of a few items that I thought were probably made by an individual for their own use rather than commercially made to be sold.  It is almost exactly one inch high and wide - a fact that I neglected to mention yesterday.

As I looked at the photo, it captured my attention and made me wonder about it more than I had before.  I don't know that I ever noticed the lettering until I took this closeup photo yesterday.

The cross appears to be inexactly made.  The lines are not perfectly straight or perpendicular. The bottom part of the stapes, which is the vertical member of the cross, looks wider and offset to the right when compared to the upper section.  And the lines of the horizontal member, the patibulum, are not parallel or straight.  Rightly or wrongly, I would expect the cross to be more precise if was made commercially.  Some of the original lines could have been changed slightly by wear and corrosion, but not that much.

Despite being imprecisely made, the use of a precious metal suggests but does not prove that it was an item of some reverence for the person who carried it.  The form, of course, also suggests that.

It is possible I didn't notice the word before, since the item is very dark and rough and smaller than it appears in the picture, but now that I notice the word "PAX," I also see that the word is not centered.  I would guess that is just another example of being made with less planning and care than you would expect of a commercially produced item.

I do not see any sign that there was ever a loop or appendages for attachment, but those could have been worn or corroded away.

It shows some age, but I have no idea how much.  I wish I remember where and when I found it, and I wish I had conducted the experiments I thought about to learn how long it takes for silver to corrode after being immersed in salt water.  It could be very old, but I don't know if it is.  I've seen silver coins just a decade old as well as items centuries old, that have a similar look.

The word PAX, of course, is Latin for "peace."  Peace, the peace symbol, and homey crafts were the vogue in the seventies, but that is not the only time period that it could be from.  I can see it being made either by a Jesus Freak of the seventies or someone in the 1700s needing a point of contact with a source of peace.

I think the Jesus Freak explanation is the more likely of the two even though there are other reasonable possibilities.  Maybe I shouldn't even say "think."  It is more like a feel.

PAX has a few other meanings.  In Christian liturgy, "the Pax" refers to "pax vobis" or "pax vobiscum," which are salutations used in Catholic mass or Lutherin Diving Services.  There were also Pax tablets, which I'd expect to be much more elaborate than this simple cross, and also Pax pendants, which I'd expect to be more formal, except possibly in the most desperate circumstances when a person might have to make do with whatever poor materials they had available.

Like many metal detecting finds, this humble cross started me on a thought-journey.  I didn't solve the puzzle, but journey was fun and I learned something.  I hope you did too.


Here is another find that looks to me to be a craft project from the seventies.

Earring Craft Project.
I think it is pewter but not sure.

The National Hurricane Center map looks pretty quiet now - especially in our area.

The surf is down to around two feet and won't be any higher, at least for a few days.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

10/15/19 Report - How To Recycle and Get More Out of Your Junk Finds. Crafts and Classes.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Crude Sea-Seasoned Dug Cross Displaying "PAX"

If you metal detect very much, you'll get some pieces that can no longer be worn.  They might be broken or corroded or both, like the cross shown above.  You might accumulate a collection of corroded or broken rings, chains, coins, etc.  So what do you do with those broken silver or gold items that can no longer be worn?  One option would be to sell them for the value of the metals, but there are also some other options.  If you take jewelry making classes you might be able to use your salvaged materials from broken jewelry to make new jewelry.

Many years ago I took a lost wax casting class at a local community college.  The class not only provided instruction, but also access to expensive equipment for melting and casting newly created jewelry.  I also sold some of my scrap metals to fellow students who did not have their own supply of scrap silver.

The silver cross shown above is too corroded to be cleaned, but it could be melted and made into something else.  It doesn't look like something that was sold at a jewelry store.  It could have been made by somebody as a craft project.

Here is a warning:  Before selling or melting an item be sure you know that it isn't anything you want to keep.  Once you melt it down, it is gone.  The cross above needs to be researched.  I don't know how old it is.

Here is a ring that I always thought was probably made by an unskilled person like myself.  I really doubt that it is anything old or interesting.  It doesn't appear to be either old or well made.

Crude Dug Silver Ring.
I have no interest in cleaning or trying to sell this ring, but it contains nearly half an ounce of silver that could be melted and reused or sold for scrap.  There is no silver marking on the inside even though it tests as silver.

Here is another piece I found that I always thought could have been made by an amateur.

Silver TJ(?) Ring.
The TJ ring looks a crudely made but also lacks a silver mark.

You can also find other types of jewelry making courses, such as silversmithing and wire wrapping.

Let's say you found a nice fossil shark tooth fossil and want to wear it.  You can either pay someone to make a pendant for you or you can make your own.  Most of the shark's teeth I've seen made into jewelry are wire-wrapped, which is an easy technique.

Here is one example from the internet.

Of course it helps if you are a little artistic and have a knack for the craft, but you'll never know until you give it a try.

You can purchase all kinds of wire and other materials, as well as jewelry making equipment, from Rio Grande.  They sell a tremendous range of jewelry making supplies and equipment.

My wife turned some of my fossil finds into pendants and sold them online.

Here is an example of a piece of wire wrapped sea glass.  I just picked this one off the internet too.

Wire wrapping is a simple technique but you can be very artistic with it and make some very elaborate and beautiful items.

The price of a class will be very reasonable, especially considering the access you get to good equipment for making your own creations.  You can get good instruction for free on the internet, but when you take a class, you also can get access to good equipment.

I took my lost wax casting course many years ago at Broward Community College.

On the Treasure Coast the St. Lucie County Rock and Gem club offers courses on lost wax casting, silversmithing and wire wrapping and more.  The classes generally cost in the range of $35 to $65.  In many cases you'll also have to purchase supplies, like maybe casting wax.

Here is a link to a list of the St. Lucie County Rock and Gem club classes.

I've found a few rings that were obviously made by unskilled amateurs that used lost wax casting, but I've also found several examples of wire wrapping.

My wife does more jewelry making than I.

You can purchase any equipment you might need, but equipment and materials can get expensive so you might want to give it a try and practice using the equipment before you purchase it yourself.

You can purchase almost any kind of jewelry making supplies or equipment from places such as Rio Grande.  You can find them on the internet.


There are still some systems on the map, but there are no immediate threats.

The surf on the Treasure Coast is now down around 2 -4 feet and will be getting smaller the next few days.

Monday, October 14, 2019

10/14/19 Report - Interesting Ring For Opinions. Explanation For Holed Coins. Big Viking Tab. Decreasing Surf.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Latest Big Oak Island Find
By Alberto S.

I got a lot of emails about the Oak Island big find that I posted the other day.  People thought that was funny.

One person thought the item was probably Templar rather than Viking though due to the size :) , but then I received this picture from Alberto S. with evidence supporting a Viking origin.

Thanks Alberto!


On a more serious note - one reader sent in the following possible explanation for the Eisenhower Dollar with several holes.  Here is what he said.

1 possible reason is most Alcoholics Anonymous groups do holes in special coins to mark years of sobriety. 

My dad has a coin with 10+ holes in it. 

That is the most plausible explanation I've heard.  Thanks!

And congrats to your dad for his years of healing.


Here is a opal ring that Gaylen C. would like to learn more about if anyone has any thoughts.

Four Views of Same Ring
Photos by Gaylen C.

And here is what Gaylen said about the ring.

Factually it is a very heavy silver metal, weighing 22g. Crude and handmade in appearance. I had it examined at West Bay Traders last week. The result was rather surprising. It was suggested, but not confirmed, that by weight and a digital analyzer, that it was likely pure gold under a plating. I believe the digital reading was 97+%. I have made arrangements with them to go back when they will have an XFR analyzer available. It was determined that the plating was too thick to produce good results by rubbing off a spot. Acid tests did not prove anything either. Without my relating any history it was suggested that the opal could be Mexican. After giving some history I was told that it was not that uncommon for the Spanish to disguise gold with plating to smuggle back home. No suggestion on what the material was that was used to secure the stone in the ring. Looks like some kind of resinous material that can be seen as translucent in some photos. 

Any thoughts on the ring would be appreciated.


Thanks for the notes concerning the passing of my friend Larry.  Your kind sentiments are appreciated.

Larry said he was going to write up the copper artifacts for me but was never able to.

One of the things I don't like about getting farther along on the path of life is that you lose a lot of friends and family along the way.


Just a couple observations on the Minelab Equinox -  The very small 21.5K gold band showed an ID number of 16.

Also, it seems that the depth meter does give some estimate of depth, but probably not highly accurate.

That is something I wouldn't pay a lot of attention to anyhow because you can get a good idea of depth from the audio signal.


The National Hurricane Center map is lighting up again.


The surf will be calming down.  I've been waiting for quite a few weeks for the water to back off some.  I'd like to see a big low tide along with some calm water.



Happy Hunting,

Sunday, October 13, 2019

10/13/19 Report - The Path and My Dear Friend Larry.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Old Indian and Wagon Path in West Viriginia
Photo by TreasureGuide

It's a sad day for me.  A dear friend passed way.  He grew up in a house just up the hill and to one side of this path.  Just a couple years ago I took a picture of him walking this path along with his 93 year old aunt.  It was the last time each of them would walk the path that they once joyfully played on as children.

So how did I ever get to know this hidden back woods path?  It started when I met my wife at college about fifty years ago, and I began driving the winding roads from Pennsylvania to West Virginia to pick her up on the weekends.  I'd usually arrived when Hee Haw was on TV.

Well, the years passed.  It only took a minute or so, as it seems.

Eventually I got to know Larry, who was my wife's cousin, along with the rest of my wife's family.  Turns out he was quite an artifact collector.  His father dug old bottles and insulators in the woods, and Larry collected Indian artifacts.

Their house at the top of the path and off just a little to one side was built beside a natural spring, where evidently the Indians spent a lot of time.  Arrowheads littered the ground there, and Larry started collecting them as a child.

Down at the bottom of the hill by the Ohio River, in later years, Larry found a copper point and copper beads that the Carnegie Museum and the Smithsonian both believed were from the Late Hopewell period.  They concluded the point was probably ceremonial and associated with a cremation burial.  The point and beads were also noteworthy because they were found in an area where copper artifacts of that period are very unusual.

Ceremonial Copper Artifacts Found by Larry P.
Here are a few of Larry's other finds.

After I was married, I took my metal detector on a trip to visit my wife's family and started detecting the old path which wound its way up the hill between the homes where the poor Slovenian immigrants settled a few generations earlier.  The first time I detected the path I found a gold 1940s class ring from the same high school my wife's mother and Larry's father attended in their youth.  I found items from their family history, and I also found items from an earlier time, including a horse shoe, crotal bell, musket ball, wagon parts and other older items.

I eventually learned that my ancestors had roots in the same area.  My ancestors included the Wetzels, who were among the earliest white settlers in the area.  John Wetzel was a scout on the western front during the Revolutionary War, but if you want to know more about the Wetzel family, there are books about Lewis Wetzel, whose parents were killed by the Indians when he was a child.  He was wounded and taken by the Indians but escaped and went on a rampage of revenge the rest of his life.  The books clearly describe the adventures of the Wetzels, mostly those of Lewis, and the area around the same path I'm talking about today.

As I think of Larry and that path today, I think of the history it has seen.  The path was used by the Native Americans, followed by pioneers and settlers, and then immigrants from far away places like Slovenia.  It has been used for centuries and is one of too few such places that remains pretty much unchanged, and where besides the birds and blowing leaves you can almost hear the whispers of history.

There was a time when I knew nothing of that path, let alone my ancestors that settled in the area or the history of the immigrants of more recent years, but now, thanks to metal detecting and my dear friend Larry, I've held objects that connect me to those people as well as the more distant past.  I would have never guessed that I would be so connected to that area in so many ways.

The next time I visit that path - and I will - it won't be just any path.  It will be alive, as it is today, with Indians, my long-haired, buck-skinned musket-toting ancestors, as well as the poor immigrants that settled there in the next century because it reminded them of their homeland across the ocean.  But despite the quiet and peace, most of all it will  remind me of the last time I walked down that path with my dear friend Larry.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

10/12/19 Report - A Couple Miscellaneous Reader Finds. Learning From Auctions. Trade Beads. Subtropical Storm Melissa. Rough Surf.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Odd Eisenhower Dollar
Find and Photo by Jerry P.

A couple days ago I showed a clad quarter with a hole in it that I found.  That reminded Jerry P. of this odd find he once made in Melborne.  Any ideas on why it would be punched or drilled like that?


Fossil Find by Dustin L.
Photo by Dusin.

Dustin L. recently found this fossil bone and wondered what it might be from.  I'm not good at identifying fossil bones, but it looks to me like it might have been split to obtain the marrow.  Obviously it is from a rather large animal.


Lot 1221 In The Current Sedwick Auction.

These trade beads are lot 1441 in the current Sedwick Auction.  You can learn a lot by browsing the Sedwick Auctions.  The lot description shown below tells you about a US trading post destroyed by the Seminoles, for example.

Necklace made of hundreds of tiny glass trade beads in many colors, recovered from the site of the US trading post on the Caloosahatchee River near Ft. Meyers, Florida, that was massacred and destroyed by Seminole Indians led by Chief Holatamico (better known as Billy Bowlegs). 8 grams, 26" long. A long string of tiny, plain beads in many different colors (mostly orange, red and yellow), often referred to as "Harney Massacre" beads in reference to Lieutenant Colonel William S. Harney, who was manning the site when the Seminoles attacked. Housed in a Riker box with printed history and with photo-certificate.

A few days ago I posted a photo of an alligator across from the old mound by Fort Pierce.  Many trade beads have been found in that area.  Many of them were found on private property.


Here is the latest big find from Oak Island.  I just received this photo from Bill G.

Big Find From Oak Island.
Submitted by Bill G.

Due to the size, they thought it might be Viking.


Subtropical Storm Melissa

The only thing on the National Hurricane Center map right now is Melissa, which is a tropical storm headed out to sea.

On the Treasure Coast we are having some high surf.  I'll try to check it out before long.


Happy hunting,

Thursday, October 10, 2019

10/10/19 Report - Metal Detectorist Finds Hoard. Sebastian Inlet Bridge To Be Closed. Couple Odd Finds. More Surf.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Source: See News.err,ee link below

Another archaeological find has been made on the island of Saaremaa, just weeks after a major haul including a 1,700-year-old gold bracelet came to light.
The recent find dates from a later era, the viking period, ERR's online news in Estonian reports, and includes a large number of silver coins, according to both the Heritage Protection Board (Muinsuskaitseamet)  and Saaremaa Museum.
As with the earlier treasure trove, the latest find was the work of a metal detector hobbyist, who, in line with Estonian law, informed the authorities.
"We are grateful for the licensed hobby detector, who reported the findings to the Heritage Protection Board, which can now preserve some of the crucial history of Saaremaa," Saaremaa Museum stated on its social media page (see also gallery below)...

Two separate hoards were found. One of these dating to the second half of the 10th century, contained silver coins which came via the Viking trade route which crossed the Baltic from the present-day Swedish island of Gotland, to Saaremaa's southern coast, and then on to Lääne County and on to present-day Tallinn...
Here is the link for more about that.


The bridge on A1A over the Sebastian Inlet is scheduled to be closed for 18 months beginning in 2020 or 2021.  The closure for repairs to damage caused by Dorian will result in a 40 mile detour for some motorists.

Here is the link.

Thanks to Jerry P. for that link.


I previously mentioned that the last time I was at Turtle Trail I found a number of greened clad coins.  One (shown below) had a strange small hole in it.

Holed Quarter Dug at Turtle Trail.

Closer View of Same Hole Shown From Other Side.
Is that quarter familiar to anyone?  I know that some have made holes in coins to attach a string for testing.


Here is a closeup.  Can you guess what it is?

Can You Guess What It Is?
I would never get it, but it is a closeup of the surface of a blue glass insulator that has what looks to the naked eye to be just an imperfection in the glass.   When I looked at it more closely though, the lines are not just excess glass, they are actually embossed into the glass.  What it looks like to me is the imprint of a string or thin wire that was in the mold when the glass insulator was made.  If it was a coin, it would be called a strike-through error.



It looks like none of those systems will affect us much.

The tides are pretty flat now.  I'd like to see a good low tide.  I've been waiting for that for a good while.  


It looks like we'll get some more surf on Friday and Saturday, however I'm not expecting any significant change in beach conditions.  It looks like more of the same.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

10/9/19 Report - Mystery of the Strange Looking Coin. Sedwick Auction. Observations on Several of the Metal Detectors I've Used.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Interesting Lot in the Current Sedwick Auction Catalog.
Take a look at the above item.  What do you think it is?  Looks strange, doesn't it?

I was looking through the current Sedwick auction catalog and noticed the item shown above.  It is referred to as an "imitation cob."   Below is the lot description.

Caracas, Venezuela, 2 reales "imitation cob," date as 142 date (early 1800s), struck over a Spanish bust 2R (milled edge), rare, NGC XF 40. ,KM-C13.1. Well-centered pillars, off-center cross (with often off-the-flan M visible to right), faint toning around details, but most important aspect is that the edge shows traces of the rectangle-circle milling from a bust 2R (first we have seen). NGC #4841431-006.

So it looks like somebody for some reason turned a milled Spanish 2 reale into a fake cob, and didn't do a very good job of it.  The elements on the coin are very crude.  Was it made to fool people?  Maybe it was just somebody fooling around.  The date doesn't make sense at all.  There is a story behind that, but I can only wonder what it is.

Here is the link to the imitation cob.  

There is another imitation cob in the catalog that is very much like the one shown above.

Here is the link to the Sedwick auction site.

You need to register to bid.

Among the more interesting pieces, in my opinion, were the gold finger bars.  The finger bars had some of the highest auction estimates of the entire auction.  They were in the third session.   Look around lot 80 or 81.

I really think there will be a lot of reales that don't sell.    There is something for everybody though.


I wanted to rank the metal detectors that I've owned and used over the years.  I found out it wasn't easy to do that.  There are a lot of factors.

This isn't an objective ranking or comparison.

My favorites though are the Noga and MacDonald modified Nautilus detectors.  They were excellent at finding gold on the beaches and in the water.  That is what they were made for.  They nulled on iron, which I liked.   If I'd been hunting relics instead of gold at the time, it would have been a different story.  But they worked very well for what I was doing at the time, and back then I was doing it a lot and had a lot of success with it.  One story that I recall and that illustrates how those detectors worked, was when I detected a small gold bead very near the access at Turtle Trail.  I could easily detect the bead, but I could find it.  I put a handful of sand containing the bead on the coil and still couldn't see the bead.  I moved the sand around and the detector gave a signal.  The sand was course and a color that matched closely to that of the bead, but I eventually found the bead.

Herb claimed his detectors were better than the Noga ones, but I'm not sure that was true.

I know some of the coils for those detectors were hotter than others.

They were very easy to set up and use because they were made for one type of hunting and didn't require or allow much adjustment.

The reason it is so difficult to rank the detectors, is that most of them have things that I like and find very effective, but also negatives.

I'd tend to rank the Garrett GTX second among those I've owned, but it is very heavy, difficult to learn to use well, and loves iron.  Those sound might sound like serious problems, but when you learn to use it and if you aren't bothered much by trash, it is a powerful detector.  I have confidence that I won't miss much of anything with that detector.

Of course the best detector for you always depends upon what you want to do with it, and your style and even your personality.  There are some people who would never ever use the GTX.

In the middle of the pack are many others.  High in the middle of the pack I'd put the other Minelab detectors that I've owned, including the Excalibur and Sovereign.  

I used the Excalibur for several years.  It worked well, but I used it differently than most people.  I always used the pinpoint rather than the discrimination mode.  If I'd been able to get either the Noga or MacDonald detectors at that point, I would have been using them.

I'd rank the Fisher 1280 right up there with the Excalibur.   I used the 1280 a lot and found a lot with it.  It was a good detector and very reliable.  I eventually sold it for about as much as I bought it for.  Long before I sold it, I found enough coins to more than pay for it, not counting any jewelry.  I was keeping good records at the time and knew exactly when my coin finds went over the purchase price, which, if I correctly recall, was about $640.

The 1280 was also the detector that found my first silver and gold rings.  One of the things I learned while using that detector is the danger of using too much discrimination.  Overall, it was one of my favorites.

Maybe I rank it higher because it was the detector that I learned a lot from and it found me a lot in my early days of metal detecting.

I'd rank the Royal Sabre after that.  For such an old detector, it has a lot of nice features, but it I'd use it in dry sand or dry land only.

Then maybe the Stringray.   I had trouble with the Tesoro Stingray from the beginning.  I sent it back about three times and it was returned with the same problem.  They wanted to blame it on underwater cables or something in the area, so I told them to send me another one to try in place of the original one to see if it was the location or the detector's fault.   The replacement detector worked fine.  The original Stingray had a grounding problem and the replacement was hardwired.  

When I eventually sent the replacement in for repairs years later, they said it wasn't under warranty because it had been modified.  That is one way for them to get out of their Lifetime Warranty, but they should have had records showing it was the detector as I received it from them. 

When it worked, it was not the deepest seeking detector, but was good at detecting small gold.  It was never anything other than a back-up detector for me.

After that I can't say much good about the other metal detectors.  I probably didn't know enough about the White's CoinMaster to rank it fairly.  The same might also be the case for the Garrett pulse detector.  So I won't say much negative about them.  I know the CoinMaster didn't get a fair chance.  I just didn't know much about metal detectors or metal detecting when I had that one.

I know there metal detectors out there that might be better.  I'm just reporting my observations and feelings on some that I've owned and used.  The ranking is scientific and it isn't objective, but some of you might find my observations somewhat useful anyhow.

I didn't include anything about the Equinox today.  I plan on doing more precise testing on it.  So far I like it a lot.  It seems like an effective detector that could be useful in many situations.  Right now I'd rank it above the Excalibur and in some ways above the GTX.  I don't want to say much more about it yet, but it looks like I will be using it a lot in the future.


The surf is going to be about 3 - 4 feet for a couple days.  I'm not expecting much change to the beaches for a while.

Happy hunting,

Minelab Equinox. 
I'm just leaning the Equinox, but it appears to be an easy to use and adequate metal detector for a variety of situations.   I expected the visual displays to be more useful, so that was a bit of a disappointment.  You can avoid trash, but in the process can miss a lot of good targets.