Saturday, August 29, 2015

8/29/1 5 Report - As Of Saturday Morning Erika Heading Into Gulf and Now Just A Depression.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Just a temporary post for now.  Just wanted to let you know that it appears at this point that Erika will be heading into a Gulf and not likely to be anything more than a tropical storm.

I'll do a regular post later probably.

Friday, August 28, 2015

8/29/15 Report - Mystery Solved. Bogota Escudos: New and Old Finds. Real Eight Co. Changes For Erika Forecast.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Another Group Of Recently Discovered Escudos
This grouping shows some escudos from Bogota, Columbia.  There are two signs that provide clues.

On the cross side of some of these, you see a design feature that some have refer to as "scissors."  I can see why they refer to it that way.  They do look a little like scissors, but not a whole lot.  That mark appears in each quadrant of the cross.  The scissors, are just a distinctive type of rendering of one type of Fleur-de-lis.  On some escudos they appear much larger than on others.

On the other side of the escudo, in the upper right quadrant of the shield, where Naples and Sicily is represented, you see two dots instead of two birds.  That is also a tip off.

You might remember how I was surprised to see lions and castles of Leon and Castile in the upper right of a shield that I pointed out yesterday.  I thought that was unusual and possibly an error.  It was not an error.  Well, it wasn't an error on the cob.  It was my error.

That is what you see on some of the shields of Bogota escudos.  I hadn't seen that before, but found it listed in an old auction catalog in which a lot of Kip Wagner's escudos from the 1715 Fleet were being auctioned.

Illustration From Bowers & Ruddy 1977 Auction Catalog.
In the illustration from the auction catalog shown immediately above, the Naples and Sicily symbols are in the upper left of the shield, and the Leon and Castile symbols in the upper right.

I'm only aware of 2-escudos and a few 1-escudos from the Bogota mint, and no other denominations. The auction listed 75 2-escudos from Bogota and five 1-escudos.  The catalog shows many more escudos from other New World mints and is a very good reference source.

There were eleven different shield designs for Bogota escudos illustrated in the auction catalog.  Two had the Sicily and Naples symbols on the left side of the shield rather than the right.  So it was not an error or anything like that, just a design that I didn't know about and didn't remember seeing anywhere before.

It was in the early sixties that the Real Eight Company found the famed "carpet of more than 1000 golden dubloons."  They hit big again in 1974.

Most of the Bogota escudos sold in the 1977 auction averaged around $150, which adjusted or inflation would be just over $600 in 2015 dollars.  The price of gold that year averaged around $150 an ounce.  I think you would actually expect to pay something more like $2000 for similar escudos today.  That gives some historical perspective to the money aspect.


Different subect: I feel a duty to provide the following warning.

Hurricanes are dangerous.  I don't want you to take the danger too lightly.  I don't want a hurricane.  I just want a storm that stays out at sea and churns up some waves.

Hurricanes do too much damage.  And people die in hurricanes.  I'd have to be a raving fool to want that.

Many of you have been through hurricanes.  Some who have been through a hurricane have been on the out skirts where you didn't get the full force.  I want to tell all of you, and especially those of you who plan to come in from other areas, (I've heard from a few that plan on doing that already) don't drive into a hurricane.  It is not a party.

They do a good job of forecasting these things anymore, but they are not totally accurate. Make sure you know what you are doing.  Don't do anything stupid.

You never know what you might be getting into.  There can be downed electric lines, blocked roads and closed bridges.  If we get much of a hurricane, you might not even be able to get to the beach for a few days.

I don't want to unnecessarily alarm anyone by saying that all or any of that will happen this time, yet it could.  Storms can do strange things.  They can take unexpected turns.

Play it safe on the beach too.  If you haven't been in a big hurricane before, you simply don't know what you might be getting into.  When the surf is high and the waves big, you might not be able to get on the beach anyhow for a few days.  The bridges will be closed.   And it will be too rough and dangerous to get down on the beach anyhow.  Wait until it is safe.

Some of the best beach finds have been made days after a storm.  People who have made really big beach finds have told me they thought they were too late and it was all over.  But that is when the big find was made.

Even after the water has gone down some, a big wave can easily catch you unprepared and sweep you off your feet.  It can be very dangerous.  Trees and other large debris can be washing in an out in the surf.  You can lose or have your equipment damaged.  I've known more than one person who was experienced with rough weather detecting that lost a detector or scoop to an unexpected wave.  Don't take this too lightly.  Err on the side of caution.  It isn't worth losing your life.


In support of the above, I received this message from Robert H.

You are 100 percent spot on. Those treasure coast barrier islands could be completely submerged under water with a full moon and big tides that were predicated the storm surge is what mainly kills people. As a survivor of one of the worse hurricanes being Andrew and being right in the heart of the storm many were lucky the storm surge wasn't any higher. I know certain areas did see that 15ft rise in sea level but I think most all were evacuated from those storm surge areas in advance thankfully. In all reality we were extremely lucky to survive that storm. If it slowed down and lasted another hour or two with that intensity many more lives including mine could had been lost. Would hate to think of any fellow Detectorist going to wait it out in there car right there ocean side and get swept in the ocean or the ocean swallows them and there car.

Thanks for sharing Robert.


There are two changes with the forecasts or Erika.  The track has moved more south.  She is now expected to land down at the southern tip of the penisnsula, and she is expected to remain a tropical storm rather than developing into a hurricane.

Predicted Track of Erika As Of 8 AM 8/28
The surfing web sites are now predicting only around a five foot surf now.  That means that it might not move much sand or stir up much of anything on the Treasure Coast.

Keep watching for any additional changes.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, August 27, 2015

8/27/15 Report - Big Surf Predicted For Treasure Coast! New Error Found On Newly Discovered Escudo?? Erika Shifting More To The North.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Recently Salvaged Treasure Coast Escudos That Were On Display At The Press Release.

The thing that is so interesting about cobs is that no two are exactly alike.  Being hand struck, there are all kinds of variations.  The die wore easily and needed to be resharpened and replaced often too. That caused many variations.  It seems that you can study them forever and continue to make interesting new discoveries.

I was looking at the picture of these escudos that were found by the guys on the Capitana and noticed something that appeared very odd.  It really confused me at first.  I couldn't believe I was seeing what I was seeing.

Look at the shield on the escudo in the bottom center of the picture.  Look at that escudo very carefully.  Get the orientation of the shield and its elements.

Now look at the shield of the escudo at about 11 o'clock from there.  Study that shield.

They may not be the exact same shield, I can't tell that for sure. (The shields changed from time to time to show political changes.)  But the one on the upper left looks very odd.  I've never seen the lions and castles of Leon and Castile on the right side of the shield, and the elements representing Naples and Sicily on the left.  I've seen a lot of reales and escudos shown in books etc., but I've never seen anything like that.  Maybe it has been documented and I'm not aware of it - I'm not expert in Spanish Colonial numismatics, so maybe I just never heard about it.   I'll call it the reversed-shield escudo.

 Common Shield Configurations.
In the illustration immediately above, the two circles and arrows that I added point out the two elements that I can see are reversed on the one shield in the photo.  Maybe the entire shield is reversed, but I can see for certain that those top elements are reversed.

I have never seen a shield with the the lions and castles on the right and with the birds of Naples and Sicily on the left.  I'll be going back to see if I have any better pictures of that particular escudo to see if the entire shield is reversed.

That still has me wondering how I'm seeing that, or if I am really seeing that.


Predicted Path of Erika According to
The big news for me today is that Erika has shifted more to the North.  It appears now that she could stay off shore as she passes east of the Treasure Coast.  As you know, these things can change direction at any time, so keep an eye on it.

The surfing web sites are now predicting a surf reaching up to around twelve feet for Monday.  As you know, the surf predictions often change too, so keep watching that.

They are concerned that Erika will arrive during a full moon, causing flooding.

Thanks to Jorge Y. for sending that link.

It has been so long since we had much surf, and the predictions for a bigger surf have been wrong so many times in the past couple of years, that it is hard to believe.  Maybe we will finally see the beach get stirred up.  Maybe.


The latest issue of Kovels Komments reports: Latest fashion. Small stacked rings are out, rings with large stones are back in, according to The Wall Street Journal. Look for vintage and antique rings that are large and can be worn on a middle finger. But look carefully to see if there is a repair joining the ring band to the top part of the ring. In the 1960s and other years when large rings were in fashion, dealers removed the pin and catch on the back of suitably-shaped brooches, especially cameos. With the addition of a band, the brooch was turned into a large ring. These altered rings should cost less than all-original rings.


Happy hunting,

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

8/26/15 Report - Erika Headed Towards Florida, Lima 8-escudo, Treasure Crates, Smuggling and Contraband, New Wreck Discovered

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Predicted Path of Erika.
Erika looks to be headed towards Palm Beach and is expected to arrive very early Monday as a level 1 hurricane.  There are still a few days for all of that to change, so keep watching.

The surfing web sites are not predicting a big increase in surf. They are only showing a maximum of four feet on Sunday evening, decreasing after that.

It is still too early to be certain.  That could change as well.

I'd really like to see some sand get removed.  I'd so like to see a ripped beach.  It has been so long.


1702 Lima 8-Escudo
Photo submitted by Captain Jonah Martinez.

Here is an interesting escudo.  Notice how the top of the pillars is off angle.


The other day I was talking about how treasure was packaged on the treasure fleets.  I found the following in the Foster article on Talegas and Contraband.

Here is that link again.

The chests weren't always cedar, and they weren't always of exactly the same dimensions, but it seems they were usually pretty similar.   Since gold is nearly twice as dense as silver, I'd assume that crates carrying gold weighed closer to 450 pounds.


There is a lot of really good information on the internet these days. Here are a couple of books that I found.

One is Smuggling: Contraband and Corruption in World History by Alan Karras.

Click here to link to that book.    Click on View Sample when you get there to read the sample.

Looks like a very interesting book.


 Here is another book you might like to take a look at.  It is  Treasures of the Spanish Main: Shipwrecked Galleons in the New World by John Chistopher Fine.

You can read a sample of that one online too.  The sample had some nice information on the 1715 Fleet.

Click here to link to that.


(August 24, 2015) - During the repair of the US 50 Bridge over the Nanticoke River, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) discovered an 18th century shipwreck in the water. SHA was removing debris from under the bridge when workers realized some of the wood may be ship timbers...

Here is that link.


Keep watching Erika.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

8/25/15 Report - The Treasure Coast Could Get a Hurricane Sunday or Monday. Example of A Jeweled Cross Escudo. Hunting Meteorites.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Predicted Path of Erika
I'm changing the focus today.  We now have a new tropical storm - Erika.  Erika is headed towards the Bahamas and Florida and could possibly get here Sunday or Monday as a hurricane.

We'll have to wait to see how that actually develops.  It could fall apart or turn away.

Here is a forecast about that.

I'm hoping she doesn't hit us hard but skirts the peninsula just giving us some good waves.

That is something I'll be keeping my eye on.


In my 8/12/15 post I talked about the jeweled cross series of Mexican escudos.  Here is one.

Jeweled Cross Escudo.
Photo submitted by Captain Jonah Martinez.
This is not one of the most recent batch of gold cobs found on the Treasure Coast, but it is a good found example.

Notice the dots along the cross.  That is the characteristic that gives the name to the jeweled cross escudos.


I've been talking a lot about the most recent Treasure Coast discoveries made by the crew of the Capitana..  We all want to hear as much as we can about that.  There are so many things to think about and explore, but there are a lot of other things to talk about too.

I'll have more on the Treasure Coast escudos of 2015 in the near future, but here is something different today from SuperRick.

SuperRick hunts meteorites and gold out West but also occasionally visits Florida and hunts our beaches.  He talks about meteorites, something I have never hunted but am interested in and would love to try someday.  He also provides a number of links if you want to learn more about hunting meteorites.

Here is what Rick wrote.

Space Diamonds in Gold Country: California Meteorite's Secrets Revealed

I thought that I would start off with this story, because I was hunting for this meteorite the day after it hit California. Out here in the Las Vegas area we do not have the beaches to hunt, so I hunt primarily  meteorites, with a good sprinkling of gold prospecting.

 Every time I come back to Fla. I bring with me a Garrett ATX to hunt the beaches, but like everybody else have been locked out of finding anything that I would say is a good find because of all of the beach reclamation. Still waiting for that first storm and the right timing to hit the Treasure Coast.... 

...I have three different detectors and just bought a Deus XP, as we all know different detectors do different things, so I run a Gold Bug 2, a Whites MTX and  a Garrett ATX hunting for different things.

The Meteorite's are worth more that the gold if you find the right kind of a meteorite that is what we call a cold find, that the collectors don't have. So I primarily do nothing but cold hunts, which you can go month or years without finding anything. Doesn't sound like fun, now does it?

There are times that I will take the out-of-town guests out prospecting or meteorite hunting where I can almost guaranteed that they will find a very common meteorite on one of our many dry lake beds. All of those hunts are done by sight. We also have some strewn fields where again they stand a very good chance of finding a meteorite or gold.

Now I'm not going to put up any videos that I shot because most of the stuff that I do is cold hunting and we keep those locations very secret.  Some very enterprising hunters have tracked down where someone is hunting by the video that was put online.

I will back in Fla. The first week of September and right now looking at that first storm out in the Atlantic hoping to have my timing right to see some beach erosion, without any major damage to anything else!

By the way, you can find meteorites in Fla, but because of the vegetation you would be pretty hard-pressed to do so!
Now if any of you guys have any question you can send me an Email at

Thanks Rick!  I always like to learn about different types of detecting and am sure that others do as well.


I have some more good information and news relative to treasure hunting the 1715 Fleet.  I'll pick up with that again in the future.

Happy hunting,

Monday, August 24, 2015

8/24/15 Report - Contraband Treasure and Signs To Look For. Shipping Containers for Treasure. Danny Disappeared.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Active Atlantic
Source: National Hurricane Center
As you can see Danny fell apart.  That is the end of him.  However, there are two more systems coming off of Africa.

The one behind Danny has an eighty percent chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours.  It seems to be on a similar path.

Here are some more fresh escudos that were on display Thursday.

Three More Of The Escudos Displayed At Thursday Press Release.

I'm not absolutely sure, but from what I can see of the two shields, it looks like they might be from Bogota, Columbia.

Correct me if I'm wrong about that.  As you know, I'm not any kind of expert on numismatics.

We are fortunate to see so many fine examples.  It gives you an idea about what was on these wrecks and what could possibly be found.


Yesterday I started talking about the recent finds and how they might have ended up where they were found.   In my opinion there would be very little chance of the cobs that descended to deep cracks or tight crevices would ever be washed up on the beach.

I think I mentioned yesterday that I didn't know of any evidence of any bags or boxes associated with those cobs.  The   treasure chests that held the cobs on the Atocha were simply plain boxes nailed shut.  They weren't ornate at all, and didn't have a lid that flips up.  While the dimensions varied, the tops and bottoms were around 57 by 22 cm., and the sides were 57 by 16 cm.  There were no hinges or hardware.  Below is a picture of one such unexcavated box as found on the site of the Atocha.


One chest of silver reales held 2,225 cobs of various denominations, and weighed just over 130 pounds.

As you probably know, a lot of the treasure on these galleons was contraband.  I found a very good article about contraband treasure.  The title is Talegas and Hoards: The Archaeological Signature of Contraband on a 1725 Spanish Merchant Vessel, by John Foster, Matthew Maus and Anna Rogers. The authors attempted to identify common characteristics of contraband treasure.  The paper is base upon observations of contraband treasure found on the site of the Nuestra Senora de Begona.  I think you'll find the article interesting.

"Talegas" are bags.  While they did not discover intact bags, that article did show pictures of the clumped contents of such bags (Shown immediately below.)

The primary purpose of the Foster paper was to help identify contraband.  Here are their conclusions.

Contraband treasure tends to consist of coins of highly diverse origin.  They would be stored in containers of different sizes and shapes, mostly smaller, rather than being shipped in standard size containers such as the shipping boxes and bags like those I mentioned.  They tend to consist more of small denomination coins.  Contraband coins tend include a wide variety of dates and show a good amount of wear from circulation.  They also may include clipped coins.  Of course they are unregistered and may be unstamped.  They also may show evidence of having been concealed in barrel bottoms or other methods of concealment.

If you compare the finds recently made by the Capitana guys, you won't find much to make you think those escudos were contraband.  In fact the unusual group of 1711 Mexican royals were about the opposite of what you would expect of contraband.

Is it possible they were wedding gifts meant for the Isabel Farnese, the new wife of Philip V.  They were married in 1714.  I guess it is possible.

At one time the newly found escudos were probably in a shipping chest like those described above. What happened to the chest is unknown.  It could have been broken at any point.  If it remained in the sea, it probably disintegrated long ago.

I think you'll find the Foster paper to be very interesting reading.  Here is the link.


I heard the other day that a device that repels sharks is being sold for surf boards.  It emits some sort of signal.

Here is a link about that.


I'm not expecting any change in beach detecting conditions now that Danny has disappeared.  We'll get a storm some day for the Treasure Coast.  It is long over due.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, August 23, 2015

8/23/15 Report - How Did The Escudos End Up Where They Were Found. A Few Thoughts. Tropical Storm Danny.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

One of the Cobs Recently Found By the Captiana Crew.

Just a picture of one of the escudos on display at the press release Thursday.

The press release was at Captain Hiram's Resort in Sebastian.   The 1715 Fleet Queens Jewels guys talked about their recent finds and their experiences. There were a lot of TV cameras.  You probably saw clips from the release on the local news.  I heard one video clip from the release on the radio Friday morning when I was in the car.

There are some guys in the metal detecting community that try to make it all about themselves.  For them it is all me, me, me.   That is how they sound.   You know the type.   The P. T. Barnums of metal detecting.  Those are the same guys that have to resort to dirty tricks to sabotage other detectorists.  Unfortunately we have some of those.

That is the exact opposite of what I saw at the press release Thursday.  The Capitana guys are treasure rock stars, but they don't act like it.  They are some of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.

There was no arrogance.  No bragging.  There was no, We were successful because we were smarter and better than everybody else.  They told their stories with humility.  I wouldn't mind if all treasure hunters and detectorists were like them.  It would do us good.  Those are the kind of guys that you like to root for.  I know they'd be rooting for you too.


I've shown a lot of treasure in the last few days.  I showed gold cobs of different sizes and types, and I showed a video of the guys finding those gold cobs.

There is a lot to take in and think about.  It is time to play Sherlock Holmes.  Let's see if there is anything we can learn.

Let's start with the cobs.  What did you notice?  One thing I noticed is the remarkable lack of scratches or other damage.  I didn't inspect the escudos carefully when I did get to see some in person.  Mostly I've seen photos, and that just isn't the same.

Gold is a relatively soft metal.  It can be easily scratched, yet the escudos seem to show very little damage of any kind.  Not even many scratches.

From the video we can see they were found among rocks, and they were found near shore where the breakers crash. You might think that combination would bang them up.  But you don't see much of that.

If you watched the video you also saw that many were found in crevices and cracks and dips where they would be protected.  Any covering sand would protect them too.

Yesterday I showed an escudo that was lodged in a crack of a rock.  And in the video we see that some of those pot holes were maybe two, three or four feet deep, and sometimes the space between the rocks was very narrow.  Once they got into a place like that they would be well protected.

Divers Finding Escudos In Dips Between Rocks.
Source: Video provided by Jonah Martinez.
Over the years I've found a lot of clad coins in the shallow water that were bent like those shown in the picture here.

Penny and Nickle Bent As Found

The picture shows just a couple examples of coins that I've found bent up, and some were bent almost in half.

If you try to bend a coin like that you'll find out how difficult it is.  That takes a lot of force.

I don't know exactly how it happens, but all the bent ones that I've found, if I correctly recall, were found near the water's edge or in shallow water. They were also found in areas where there were a lot of loose coral rocks.  I would see the rocks piled up at the edge of the water at times.  Sometimes you'd see them and other times not.  I'm sure the rocks got moved around, and sometimes piled up, and other times buried.  My guess is that the coins got trapped between rocks in rock piles and got bent when the rocks got shifted and buried.  That is my best theory at this point.

I see no evidence of anything like that on the recently recovered gold cobs - not even scratches.  What we see in the video is large rocks that would not move.

It appears to me, rightly or wrongly, that the gold cobs were well protected protected during the three hundred years they were lost,  Even hurricanes failed to damage them.

I'm guessing that these escudos did not drop immediately onto uncovered rocks when they were initially lost. I think either they were lost on the beach or in the water, but on sand, and then gradually settled as the sand moved.

There is the possibility that they were once in bags or boxes.  I know of no evidence of that though.

I think they gradually settled down into the rock crevices. Once covered by sand, even just a little, they would be well protected.

It is also possible that they didn't settled all of the way into the dips until sand was moved by the blowers. That is a possibility I want to look into. I have some experiments planned.

Once coins settle into the cracks and crevices and pot holes in the rocks, I think there is very little chance that even a hurricane would move them onto the beach again.  Those would certainly be protected from most, if not all violent water movement,  And they wouldn't move until the covering of sand was removed first.

If the escudos were lost on the beach or in deeper water or on sand over top of the rocks, they could settle deeper when the sand was moved.  I believe it would be possible for cobs to be lifted and even thrown, but in my opinion that would be very unusual and unlikely if they were protected by narrow crevices and deep pot holes.

There is still a lot to learn about how those escudos got to where they were found, but I think we may have at least started the journey.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

There are a lot of variables, for sure.  It seems near impossible to figure out all of this, but in the past year or two I've learned a heck of a lot that took me a few decades to learn.  For example, it took me a long time to understand and appreciate what I call "trigger points" and "drop points" and how that determines how items are sifted and sorted. For me, that was a big leap, and it just occurred in the past couple of years, and only after decades.


Tropical Storm Danny
Tropical storm Danny is now headed towards the Dominican Republic.  As you can see things are heating up in the Atlantic.  There are three there other disturbances out there.

Danny will soon be downgraded to a depression.  I don't think it will amount to much by the time it gets close to us.

Happy hunting,