Saturday, April 19, 2014

4/19/14 Report - Gold Crucifix Beach, Muntz Metal Find, and Clarification On 1715 Fleet Salvage Contracts

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Here is an especially appropriate Good Friday find. When it comes to Easter I tend to think more of empty tomb than crucifix.

Do you know what the INRI means?  You'll see it a lot of the time on a crucifix.

The letters “INRI” are initials for the Latin title  that Pontius Pilate had written over the head of Jesus Christ on the cross (John 19:19).  Latin was the official language of the Roman Empire.

The words were "Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Ivdaeorvm." Latin uses “I” instead of the English “J”, and “V” instead of “U” (i.e., Jesus Nazarenus Rex Judaeorum). The English translation is "Jesus of Nazareth," the King of the Jews."

Here is the link to a web site giving that information.

I received this photo of a piece of Muntz metal and the following email message from Greg S.

Muntz Metal Found
Find and photo by Greg S.
Although I live near Galveston Texas I read your blog daily. Your recent blog about Muntz metal reminded me of some pieces I found on Galveston. The attached picture is a piece I found with partial patent still visible. I sent this picture to a treasure hunter what is it forum. I was told it was sheeting with the Muntz patent.  Was kinda exciting to know this was possibly from mid 1800s. Maybe a ship.

Notice the illustration of the patent mark on the paper in the photo.  You can see the actual mark on the bottom left of the piece of metal in the same photo.

Thanks Greg! 

It is always nice to find good marking on any find.

Sometimes you might not see marks at first, and you might have to clean the item or look it over a few times before you do find any marks. 

Look finds over very closely for any significant marks.

Some of my wording in my yesterday's post was sloppy and inaccurate.  That is a first!  Not!!!

Anyhow, Brent Brisben sent in the precise language and details to clear up the matter.  Here is what Brent said.

Just wanted to clarify something in your latest report.  The Cabin wreck is salvaged under the State of Florida S-27 Salvage Contract which is issued each year in the names of my company and Chris James' company Double Anchor Salvage. Neither party owns the Cabin wreck site. All wrecks are salvaged under the direct permission and complete control of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. My company is the US District Court Custodian for all the identified 1715 wreck sites. Sometimes referred to as the Federal Admiralty Claim.

Thanks Brent! 

If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out yesterday's post and take a look at the photo of the gold and diamond studded finds.

On the Treasure Coast we have around a three foot surf today.  The surf will be about the same tomorrow.

The wind, however will be coming out of the North today and tomorrow and then on Sunday the surf will be a little higher.

Happy Easter,

Friday, April 18, 2014

4/18/14 Report - Story Behind Fabulous 1715 Fleet Finds - Gold and Diamond Brooch, Ear Rings, and Tooth Picks

Written by the TreasureGuide for the

1715 Fleet Treasures
Picture submitted by Bruce Beck.

In my 4/9 post I had some information about some big finds made on the Treasure Coast.  It started after I mentioned the 1715 Fleet diamond ring that is the current Sedwick auction.  Bruce Beck was kind enough to help set the record straight. 

Christopher James, Bruce's dive partner, added the following.

 Hey there you are correct about the butterfly brooch but not correct about the rest. I did indeed find the butterfly on my own but also went back and found the large brooch containing 170 diamonds in it and the gold snowflake toothpick before the boat was pulled over to the spot. And Bob found the earing containing 54 diamonds and I found the other one three days later. They started blowing with the boat after that. I do believe that the large stone to the center of the round brooch is still out there and is about 10 carats, according to Captain John Wilson.

Did you get that?  It sounds like the 10 carat diamond is still out there to be found.  Maybe it will wash up on the beach some day.  Keep your eyes open!

Bruce provided the picture above that was in the magazine article about the find.

Note the toothpicks as well as the diamond studded brooch and ear rings.  Those are some really neat finds.

Thanks much Bruce.

Every year Mel Fisher Days is held in Key West.  This year it will be from July 10 - 13.  You can get more information at

You undoubtedly know that it took 16 years to find the Atocha and the $450 million dollars of treasure.

Horse Tooth in Jaw Bone.
It is always good to check your equipment out before you need it.  Don't forget to check your backup detector if you have one.  Make sure the batteries are still good and that you have fresh batteries on hand. 

Also, it is a good idea to check your detectors and batteries before you put them in the car.  It is a real bummer to get there, and when you are all ready to get started, find that your detector isn't working.    That is a real pain.

Here is a different type of find.  It was found in shallow water.   It isn't fossilized and still has part of the jaw bone.  It's about three inches high.

On the Treasure Coast today the surf is up to about five or six feet.  The wind was strong last night a time or two.  It could have moved some sand, but I don't expect much due to the fact that the wind was out of the East and is going to be out of the Southeast the rest of the day while the surf decreases.

The surf is predicted to decrease for a couple of days.

Happy hunting,


Thursday, April 17, 2014

4/17/14 Report - Another Bunch of Finds, Buttons and Coins, Cannon Ball, Semiole War Items, Surf & Erosion

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

As you've been seeing from some of my recent posts this month, some guys have really been cleaning up with the artifacts and silver coins.

Great US Coat Button Find
Find and photo by SW.
SW has been detecting a Seminole War era site where he found all the following listed items.  And he says there is still more left to be found.

Here is a listing of his finds.

Period finds; 1 Dragoon button, 1 Artillery button, 1 Great Coat button, 1 unmarked flat button, 1 4 hole button, 1 brass clip, 1 Jeweled screw, 3 copper nails / tacks, 2 round balls, 2 other bullets, 1 2 1/2 inch Iron ring, 1 8 inch iron ring (both badly deteriorated) and other unidentified items.

Modern items; 1 silver Quarter 1948,
2 silver dimes 1952-54,
3 wheat pennies 38, 42, 57,
1 George Junior Republic token 1946.

Clad; 7 Quarters, 11 dimes, 4 nickels oldest 1947, 48 pennies.

18 Pound Cannon Ball
Photo by SW
He said, A ton of trash was removed,   I only hunted a small portion of the lot. I know better items are there.  Good luck to the next guy.   

Thanks for sharing SW.  Great finds!

And some people think there is nothing left to be found. 

SW also said,
I acquired this cannon ball on the 7th.  The story I got, it was collected by a dock contractor from the Dry Tortugas. The book, out of the blue, I ordered on the 4th!! I think my next book will be on Gold Cobs!!! The guy with the cannons should contact me maybe we can identify the age and country of origin. The Ball is an 18 pounder unknown age. ...  I am researching a pirate site for my next project.

As I've been showing there are still good sites out there if you do your research and get permission.

I went out to take a look at the beach this morning.  Most of the cuts that I showed yesterday had already disappeared.  The sea was rough.  The water was coming up onto the flat beach at high tide.

We had the expected higher high tide.  The trouble is that the wind also changed direction and the water was now hitting the beach pretty much from the East.  

Wind and water direction, which are correlated, are among the most important factors for predicting erosion.   Surf height and tides are also included, but in my opinion the angle that the water hits the beach is most important.

Just the other day when we got the cuts that I showed, there was very little surf.  Now the surf is bigger and the erosion mostly all but disappeared.


This is what the water looked like at one 1715 Fleet beach this morning.  Pretty rough.

Later today the surf is supposed to be bigger and then decreasing tomorrow.  It looks like the wind will be coming more from the South, which won't be any help.

Based upon what I saw today, I'm not expecting a beach conditions upgrade now.

Happy hunting,


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

4/16/14 Report - Odyssey Marine, SS Central America, Copper Sheathing, Northeast Wind & Erosion

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Treasure Coast Beach This Afternoon.

We had a good northeast wind on the Treasure Coast this morning.   That surprised me a little.  After watching it a while, I thought I should go check out the beach even though the surf was supposed to be small.
This picture shows the same beach that I showed yesterday.  The top cliff is from yesterday.  The bottom cliff is from last night, or more likely, this mornings high tide during the northeast wind.
You can see that a foot or more of sand got removed since yesterday, and this wasn't the most eroded spot.

Same Beach Just a Little North.
In some spots more sand got removed today.  The second picture shows where there was about a four foot cut.  It ran a good distance too.  It was about a two foot cut yesterday and two more feet gone today.
This cut beach that I'm showing was the most cut of any that I saw today.  Other beaches were nothing like this one.
I checked it out simply because the wind looked promising.  There were very very few signals though.  I'm not going to increase my beach conditions rating despite the sizable cut on this one beach.  I will however issue an alert.  If things continue to improve we might get into something.

Tonight the high tide will be higher than normal.  If the wind remains favorable that should help.  Thursday we're supposed to get up to a six foot surf and again Sunday.   That could do some good.

Odyssey Marine Explorations had a profitable year.  They will be salvaging the SS Central America which hasn't been worked in a decade due to court proceedings.

Here are a couple of paragraphs from an Odyssey press release.

The SS Central America was a wooden-hulled, copper-sheathed, three-masted sidewheel steamship launched in 1852 as the SS George Law. The ship was in continuous service on the Atlantic leg of the Panama Route between New York and San Francisco. Owned and operated by the United States Mail Steamship Company, the SS Central America was caught in a hurricane and sank on September 12, 1857.

When it was lost, the SS Central America was carrying a large consignment of gold for commercial parties, mainly in the form of ingots and freshly minted U.S. $20 Double Eagle coins. Because of the large quantity of gold lost with the ship, public confidence in the economy was shaken, which contributed to the Panic of 1857.

Here is the link for more about Odyssey and their projects.

Did you notice that the SS Central America was copper-sheathed.  That practice started in the mid 18th Century.  So if you are finding copper hull sheathing it is from a wreck of that time or later and not earlier vessels such as those of the 1715 Fleet.   Of course, earlier wrecks do have copper items other than sheathing but copper sheathing would be later.

It can help a lot to know the approximate dates of things like that.

There is one beach on South Hutchinson Island that produces a lot of copper sheathing yet today.  I suspect a later shipwreck is there, in fact I think there is a mixture of wrecks there, but some of the copper bits could also come from things other than shipwrecks.  There is a lot of varied history there.

Here is a link to a site that gives some information on copper sheathing.

Later tin was mixed with the copper resulting in "Muntz metal."

Copper or copper alloy sheathing was no longer used on larger vessels after steel hulls became common, but it was still used later on smaller vessels.

Leo L. had this to say about Dan B.s key from yesterday's post.

Well the keys are likely from Allegheny County in Pennsylvania maybe likely keys from the jail?? or government building.

If the wind doesn't switch, and I think it will, we might get a beach conditions upgrade before long.

The trouble we've been having this year is the fronts have been moving through quickly and when the wind is right, it changes too soon and the cuts fill back in.

Happy hunting,


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

4/15/14 Report - Key and Ring Find, Keys From the Margarita, Portuguese Man-O-War & Beach Conditions

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Treasure Coast Beach Around Low Tide This Afternoon.
I went out to look at a couple of beaches this afternoon.  Here is a photo of the first, that as you can see, had a little cutting and also a little scalloping.

The cuts here were less than two feet at the highest.  What is worse, is that the sand in front had filled up to the cuts and was mushy.

You can see how there were some scattered shells along in front of the cut.  I didn't bother detecting here.

Same Beach Just a Little South.
This is the same beach, this time looking from the flat beach towards the water and out over a dip.  Maybe you can see where the dip is in the middle of the picture.  Here it was more scalloped than cut. 

I went to one other beach and it was less cut and scalloped than this one.  It also had scattered shells and was very mushy along the water line.

There were targets at the second beach near the water line, although not things like coins -  pieces of copper and stuff like that.  Also there were some larger items that couldn't be recovered because they were deep and close to the water.

Portuguese Man-O-War
I saw a couple of these.  They normally show up seasonally.   They were pretty big and capable of delivering a good sting.

The stinging tentacles can be feet long.   I've got some good stings from those while in the water.  Try to avoid them.  When there are a lot of them in the water you might want to wear a wet suit or something.

Meat tenderizer seems to be a good thing to apply to affected areas to reduce the pain.  I've heard of other people who use other applications.  Some apply alcohol, but I haven't found that to be very effective.

Key and Ring.
Finds and photo by Dan B.
Here are a couple of finds from Dan B, and here is what he said.

At the top of the broken one, it says Allegheny, and is stamped in the middle with the number 16 and says County PA on the bottom. Not sure how old the key is, and the ring was found at the beach and appears to be modern. Go At Pro. Found two of these with low sensitivity just to reduce interference's from deeper objects.

The key is modern but it got me thinking that since there are a lot of keys found, you might want to be able to recognize older keys.   As a start I'll show some 17th Century keys from the Margarita, which sank in 1622.

The keys found from the Margarita and Atocha mostly look very much like those shown in the picture below, which is one of many pictures of keys from the Margarita and Atocha shown in the Mel Fisher artifact database.

Here is the source link for the picture of the keys.

Keys From the Margarita.
Source: Mel Fisher artifact database.

Tomorrow on the Treasure Coast the surf is supposed to be a bit bigger - up around four to six feet.  Also the high tide will be pretty high.  

I'm still not expecting much improvement in detecting conditions although we might have a few hours of North winds on Wednesday.   There is a lot of sand that needs to be moved.

Happy hunting,

Monday, April 14, 2014

4/14/14 Report - Sanford Railroad History, The Copper Freight Tag, Flue Thimbles, Poll Results & What Really Matters

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Here is what James F. has been able to learn after researching his copper railroad freight tag that I showed in my 4/9/14 post.

Well, I've been researching the old copper freight tag and have found some interesting information concerning it. It is a freight tag from the original South Florida Rail Road Company which was established in Sanford, Florida in 1879, built in 1880 and run from Sanford to Orlando from 1880 thru 1886 before becoming, in 1887, the "Jacksonville, Tampa and Key West Line," until becoming the "Plant Line" from 1889 until 1905, then the Atlantic Coast Line until from 1905 until 1969 then finally CSX, the current Florida railroad. So the tag can be dated somewhere between 1880 and 1886. The tag itself denotes a shipment of perhaps 127  "8 IN FLUE THIMBLES" which is the piece of hardware used in a building that is fixed to the inside to allow the smoke or stove exhaust to exit to to the outside. An interesting look at life 128 to 134 years ago :-)

Jim made a great historical find and made it all the more significant and interesting by doing the research.  Thanks James, and congratulations!

Below is a picture showing a flue thimble. This one shown below is for a wood burning stove.


That would be an important piece of hardware back then.

This picture from the Florida Memory Project shows the scene in 1886. 

And here is a paragraph from the Florida Memory Project.

1886:  Rail Service Reaches Central Florida Rail service was completed between Jacksonville and the central Florida town of Sanford, on Lake Monroe. Although steamboat travel was just reaching a pinnacle of popularity, with seventy-four vessels running out of Jacksonville, the penetration of railroads into central Florida spelled the beginning of the end for the steamboat era.

Here is the link, which provides a nice time line of significant historical developments.

I made a good many mistakes in yesterday's post.  I must of been half asleep or something.  Anyhow, I think I got them corrected.

For one thing I said that the second most frequently selected topic in the poll was Treasure Coast beach conditions, and that is correct.  However, I said that it got 15% of the votes, which is wrong.  It got 24%.

So the two most frequently selected "favorite" topics were Treasure Coast finds (36%) and T. C. beach conditions (24%).

Next in order was historical and archaeological information (15%), followed closely by beach dynamics (12%).

Both of those will help you be more successful.  For me, beach dynamics is a very important topic.  If you learn to understand a beach, you can really improve your time efficiency by quickly identifying and spending your time on the most productive areas.

Detecting and recovery techniques were not far behind getting (10%) of the vote.  I don't present a lot of that.  I prefer to not cover a lot of stuff that is common knowledge.  Sometimes I have to give some background, but normally I try to add to what is common knowledge rather than repeating a lot of it.  I think you'll find some of my rough-water working techniques to be relatively unique, for example.

Only one person selected non-metallic finds as their favorite topic and no one selected big treasure finds from around the world.

The poll asked people to select their one most favorite topic.  That is entirely different from asking what topics people are interested in and allowing multiple responses, and it has to be interpreted differently. 

To me it was surprising how many different topics were the "most" favorite topic for different people. 

On the Treasure Coast the tides are a little bigger.  It looked like near a full moon last night.

Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox.

We have only about a three foot surf today.  The wind was fairly strong from the South today.

The surf is expected to increase Thursday, after a North wind on Wednesday evening.  That might be worth checking out.  We'll see if the surf gets up to its predicted size Thursday.

I've been going through some old 8mm family movie film from the 50s and looking for whatever I might want to have converted to DVD.  I showed one small piece of family film in this blog back some time ago.   But what struck me is that after going through reels and reels of film, the only thing I really want to have copied and preserved are movies of the people.  Many of them are now gone, while others are 50 or 60 years older.  I don't much care about the places and things that they thought were neat enough to capture on film.  The only stuff that I care about preserving now, all these years later, are the people.   I'm glad that I have some of that captured on film.   All the other stuff doesn't seem to matter much.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, April 13, 2014

4/13/14 Report - Treasure Coast Half Reale Date, Iron Cannons and Poll Results

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Mexican Half Reale Found In Nov. 2013

They say that time heals, but you could say it also reveals.  That is one reason I like holding onto things.  It often takes a good bit of time to learn about some things.

Just yesterday I was browsing through the Sedwick Coins auction listings.  I was looking at Mexican half reales.   I have a special interest in those since they are so frequently found on the shipwreck treasure beaches of the Treasure Coast.  But while looking through the auction listings I noticed a half reale with an O to the right of the monogram.  Hmmmm.  Where had I seen that before?

A little later when I was looking at some half reales that were found last November,  there it was -  the big round circle to the right of the monogram (See photo above.).

I then went to Sewall Menzel's book, Pieces of Eight and Treasure Coins, and looked through the Mexican half reales of the appropriate time period.  And there it was on page 108.   Menzel shows a cob that matches the one in the photo extremely well.

The book says that in 1705 there was a transitional half reale design that showed the common mint and assayer mark of "OMJ" to the left of the monogram and an"O" to the right of the monogram.  The O was the mark of an assistant assayer.

The match between the one in the Menzel book and the one in the above photo was one of the best matches I've seen.  There is the same lop-sided V, and on and on, detail by detail, making for a very excellent match.

Since the transitional design started in 1705 and ended by 1719, or maybe earlier, I now have a better date range for this cob.  If it came from a 1715 Fleet wreck, as I'm confident that it did, the date range would be 1705 - 1715. 

My point is that it was a combination of  browsing through numerous examples, in this case including the auction listings, and taking yet another look at the real thing that made it all come together.  Not only do I now have the date for the cob narrowed down to between 1705 and 1715, but this cob might be from the same die as the one in the Menzel book, or at the very least, a very similar die.

I'm reminded of that old song, Just One Look, which says that's all it took, but one look is seldom enough for me.  I really like how old things seem to reveal their secrets over time as you add one fact or detail after another.

Bill F. ran across some iron Spanish cannons in a marine consignment store.  The asking price was about $2000 each.  They were reportedly found in the Bahamas in the 1930s and were in a yard in the Sewall's Point area for some time.  Bill says they were in good condition.

The most recent blog poll has concluded and the results are in.  The sample size was good, especially considering the time of year and everything.

One thing is for sure - this blog has a heavy Treasure Coast focus even though a good number of its readers are from other parts of the country and other parts of the world.  The two most favorite categories were Treasure Coast specific.

According to the poll results the top "most favorite" thing in the blog is Treasure Coast finds.  I guess that shouldn't be too surprising.  Over one third (36%) of the poll respondents selected that category.

The second most favorite topic is Treasure Coast beach conditions (24%).   That is what I started this blog to be.  That part has become a smaller part of the blog simply because Treasure Coast beach detecting conditions don't change real often and I got tired of giving the same old ratings everyday.  I still make every effort to stay on top of things and warn you of any changes in beach conditions that result in a beach conditions upgrade.  I actually spend a lot of time monitoring beach conditions, even if I can't issue an upgrade or downgrade very often.  I really stay on top of things and give daily conditions ratings when I can issue anything other than a 1 (poor) beach conditions rating.  As you know most of 2014 has been poor this year and there have been very few upgrades.

I'll talk about the poll results some more some other day.

On the Treasure Coast we still have poor beach detecting conditions.  The wind picked up a little today, but we still have something like a three or four foot surf and the wind is coming from the East.

It doesn't look like it will get much better in the next few days.

Happy hunting,