Thursday, October 23, 2014

10/23/14 Report - Things That Will Help You Grade Dug Coins. Florida Dug Walking Liberty Halves. Dutch Shipwreck Huis de Kreuningen Found.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Dug 1943 Half Dollar.

It can be difficult for a detectorist to determine the actual value of a dug coin.  A lot depends upon the grade or condition of the coin.  With the internet it is becoming easier for an amateur to get a good idea of a coins condition.

Today, just as an example, I decided to look at some dug Walking Liberty half dollars.  Fortunately there are some good sites that provide very helpful pictures of coins of different grades. 

Here is a good site for grading Walking Liberty halves.

Photograde Online is an excellent aid too.

That site provide a image library of reference coins of each grade from the PCGS library.

1943 Half As Dug From A Beach.
You probably know that you should not clean coins because if they are valuable you can quickly destroy a lot of the value.  However, if you detect beaches, coins can be entirely unreadable without some cleaning.  They can also be in such poor condition that there is little danger of reducing the value by cleaning them.   My advice is to consult an expert when in doubt.  You can visit coin dealers or conventions and talk to experts there.

Similar But Different 1943 Beach Dug Half That Has Been Partly Cleaned

You might recognize the common reddish patina that is often found when a layer of green crust has been partially removed.

Of course a good magnifying glass is handy.

I made these pictures with a low power Celestron digital microscope, which is handy for inspecting coins as well as making photos.  I find it much easier than squinting through a magnifying glass or loop or something.

Here is a much cleaner dug coin.

You can see the roughness of the coins corroded surface.

You can also see the some of the details that help in grading the coin.

I am no expert at this, but I focus on details that might be removed or faded as the result of wear.  For example, the vertical lines in the draped material, or the shoes.

Dug 1945 Half Dollar

Here is dug 1945 half dollar for comparison.

While it looks more worn and flattened from circulation, it doesn't show the same effects of salt water corrosion.

A smooth worn surface on a silver coin is attractive to me but hurts the value.

Other Side Of A Dug  Half Dollar.

Notice the designers initials (A over W) just to the right of the R in dollar.  That is something you might not easily notice without magnification.

Of course good lighting is important.

Lighting can really affect your photos too.

Another View.

Here you might focus on the stars in the furled flag, or the creases, or the facial features.

This Walking Liberty Half is thought by many to be among the most attractive coin designs.

I think if you use one of the sites I pointed out above, you'll be able to come up with a good estimate of the grade of your dug coins.

If you use either or both of the web sites I referenced above you'll be able to get a good idea of the condition of your dug coins.


The Dutch ship Huis de Kreuningen was sunk in Scarborough Harbour in Trinidad and Taboago on March 3, 1677 along with 15 other vessels.  The Huis de Kreuningen, has been found.

A project conducted by the University of Connecticut ... found a wealth of other material, including nine canons; Delft and Bellarmine pottery jars that date to the third quarter of the 17th century; lead shot that was never fired; dozens of Dutch smoking pipes; and bricks that perfectly match the specifications of bricks made in the Dutch city of Leiden in 1647.

Here is the link for more of that article.


The surfing web site says we should have about a two-foot surf on the Treasure Coast today.  That isn't much, and from the look of the wind, I'd guess it would be a bit higher.

I was surprised this morning to find that Tropical Depression Nine disappeared, as did another disturbance the developed real close to it near the Yucatan.

There will be a partial solar eclipse around 6 PM today.

Happy Hunting,

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

10/22/14 Report - Mystery Of The Quartz Crystal Cross Of Mission San Luis. Tropical Depression Nine Has Formed.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Quartz Crystal Cross Pendant
One of the most unique and interesting artifacts of the early Spanish Contact period is a quartz crystal cross.  The cross was found at the site of the Mission San Luis.

No longer existing except as an archaeological site, Mission San Luis once had the appearance of a European city and was second in size and importance to only St. Augustine.  The inhabitants were Native Americans and Spanish explorers and missionaries.

Thriving since the mid 1600s, Mission San Luis was burned to the ground in 1704.  The majority of Native American inhabitants then moved west while the Spanish moved to St. Augustine after the destruction of the mission.

The mission was formed in the Appalachee Province of Florida after native leaders visited St. Augustine and asked for the mission to be established.  Over 5000 natives were baptized by the Franciscans there.

When you see the cross, you might not think it is hundreds of years old.  In fact you could easily pass it off as something modern.  And if you are told it is old, you might think it is a hoax, or maybe something like the crystal skulls that have been widely discussed, studied and faked.

The cross was first thought to be made of European molded glass, but additional study showed that is made of quartz crystal and was formed using Native American techniques such as flaking and biconic drilling but finished using an iron file.

Quartz crystal had special significance and was used for charms and amulets by both Native Americans and Spanish prior to the establishment of Mission San Luis.

The Spanish often carved rock crystal for rosary beads and other items.  The Christian cross was a design motif widely adopted and used by Christianized Native Americans.

The rock crystal cross represents a unique blend of Native American and European influence and belief.

It is thought that the cross was made by an Apalachee artisan employing both indigenous and European tools. 

Questions remain.     Who owned the cross?  How was it used?  How did traditional Native American traditions and beliefs, especially those concerning quartz crystal, blend with Christian beliefs in the form of the cross?

Primary resources.


On the Treasure Coast we have a fairly calm surf today that will increase only a little tomorrow.

The big news is that we now have Tropical Depression Nine, which is in the Southern Gulf of Mexico.  It looks like it will cross the Yucatan Peninsula and head towards Jamaica.  It could possibly head our way if it does not fall apart.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

10/21/14 Report - The Magic and Memories of Metal Detecting. Excellent Research Links. Thin Silver Coin(?)

Written by the Treasure Guide for the exclusive use of

Thin Piece of Silver
About Dime Size If Complete

I was looking through some old coin finds and noticed how often I could remember the exact moment when they were found.  I'm not talking about the routine pennies, nickles and dimes, that I don't pay much attention to, but those finds that are just a little distinctive in some way.  I was really amazed by how many of those finds brought back a crystal clear memory of the exact time and place.

Isn't that the magic of detecting? You create memories.  It surprises me how I remember exactly where and how so many items were found.  So many of those memories seem as clear today as they were 20 years ago. 

They might be moments of elation, surprise, wonder, or maybe exhaustion or fear.  Those memorable moments are very different, but they stick in memory just the same.

I remember stupid things that I did.  I remember the first time I got caught in a rip tide.  And the time I got bumped by something in the ocean at night, and I still don't know what it was.  (I don't do that anymore.)  It got my heart pumping.

They say God watches over helpless fools.  He took care of this ignorant soul.

You might not know exactly what something is when you first dig it up, and that seems to add to the excitement. 

There often is excitement when you first dig up an item.  I clearly remember the diamond that I saw sparkling through a couple feet of crystal clear water as it came up in my scoop.  That was beautiful, and it was memorable.  The sky was so blue and the water was crystal clear that day.

I remember the time my wife thought she had a real hot spot when she had a hole in her goody bag and kept picking up the same coins.  That was funny.

I remember the time I found a very nice gold chain and religious medallion and it slipped through a hole in my pocket on the way back to the car.  After discovering that it was missing I walked back a mile or more to find it, and was lucky enough to see part of it sticking out of the sand at the edge of the water. 

Those are just a few.  There are tons of them, and they come marching back one by one as I look through old finds.

Some of those finds will last a long time.  Somebody else will own them some day, but whoever gets the item won't get all the magic.  They weren't there.  I was.


Above are two views of a dug silver object.  It looks like it could have been a coin, but most of it is missing, as you can see.  The side shown in the second photo is almost completely covered with a thin coat of encrustation.  It looks like it was in the water a good long time.  It looks like it attracted some iron residue.


This blog has become a very good resource.  I find myself often using the blog search box to find old postings to locate information or links.  There are quite a few links to good reference works. 

One reader commented on especially liking the gem stone link from the other day.

Below are some very good links relating to Florida archaeology.  Some deal with 16th Century Spanish exploration.  

The works are by Jeffrey M. Mitchem.  The articles are a few years old but excellent.

The first describes the archaeological evidence for the location of Narvaez's Aute.  Very good article about one of the very first Spanish explorations in Florida.  Well worth reading.

Here is an good list research resources by the same author.

Thanks to Mr. Mitchem for making his works easily available to the public.  That is how is should be.


On the Treasure Coast today and tomorrow we are supposed to have a small surf -  only one to two feet.   That is as calm as it is going to be for a week or so if the predictions are correct.  Unfortunately the tides are pretty flat, so we won't be getting much of a low tide.

There is one disturbance hanging around in the south of the Gulf of Mexico.

Happy hunting,

Monday, October 20, 2014

10/20/14 Report - Treasure Coast Beach Conditions. Another Reason To Not Discriminate. How To Know Where To Detect. Know Your Gem Stones.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

I took a look at the beach yesterday near low tide.  Here is the first beach I looked at.  The waves were breaking there right near the foot of the beach.  Course sand was piled up on the front of the beach.

A mile or two away, I saw a beach that was different (Second photo.).  The waves were about the same size, naturally, but they were breaking about 40 yards farther out.

On that beach the sand bar was farther out and there was a dip between the sand bar and the foot of the beach.

On the front of the second beach, the sand was even more course and the slope was covered by very course sand with shells and even small rocks next too the water.  I wish I got a picture of how that course sand transitioned.  There was a sharp division between the course material on the slope and more fine sand in the dip.

Notice the shells in this second picture, and also notice just above the center of the picture and a little to the left, how the water is piled up near the foot of the beach.  Just below that you can see the flat water covering a dip.


The other day when I talked about discrimination, I ended by mentioning that when I talked about what I called "working the washing machine" I dug only one trash item while digging a good number of good targets.

Some beaches are so busy that you can always find some recent drops, no matter how poor the conditions in that area might be.  You can have a spot that is very mushy where anything good will sink quickly, but if the item was just dropped, you can still find it before it disappears.  I don't generally spend my time in areas like that,   though in some situations, if there might be high value targets and I don't have a lot of good alternatives or the time to travel, I might do that.

Normally I am always assessing the situation and trying to find areas where the good to bad target ratio is good, and I don't stick around in areas where I determine from any evidence that I can gather, that the area is not where I want to spend my time.

How do you know which is which?  First you can tell a lot by how it looks..  That is the first level of analysis.  Learn to read the beach, and also the water.

You can also tell a lot by checking.  Do a little sampling.   What are you digging?  Aluminum junk or dense objects?  That will tell you a lot.  Where are the dense items?  Maybe lead or coins?  You won't get all the information if you are discriminating. 

Not only is the type of item important, but also how deep it was found.  What can you tell about layers?

This type of hunting works well in wet sand and shallow water, but is also applicable to other types of areas as well.  What I focus on is finding a well defined area where I can really focus my efforts.  That would be an area where I can quit prospecting and begin mining, as I sometimes put it.  That would be an area where there are few trash items relative to the number of good targets.

There is more than one way that the distribution of items (good and bad) can be changed.  In wet sand and shallow water, the water action and movement of sand and other materials has a lot to do with it.

In the dry sand or even on dry ground there are still many relevant factors that can affect how good an area might be.  Inland, for example, besides the fact that there are still layers and the layers are occasionally changed by water, for example by rain or creeks, or falling leaves, or human events and activities, those areas can also be changed by other detectorists and how they hunt.

What I'm trying to say is that my focus is on learning how items are distributed, and finding those areas with concentrations of high value targets, and that junk as well as good targets provide good information about the area and which direction to go next. 

Things are not distributed randomly, and I want to locate and spend my time working the most productive spots.

Not only does the type of item provide information, but how old it is and how deep it was, also provides good information.   For example, how deep a pull tab was found is important, as is the age of the pull tab.

I'm always considering the type of item, depth, density, age and its history, and any other factors that might shed some light on if I should stay where I am or which direction I should move next.

I'm generally not going to spend my time in an area where the junk to good target ratio is poor.  There are a few exceptions.  For example, if I have reason to believe that a dip filled with course sand and aluminum also might contain a Rolex or other high value target, I might hunt that area.  The point is that there is an analysis of all evidence and an intentional calculated decision about where to go next.   It is not just a process of wondering around and hoping to hit something good.

As I said, when working the washing machine the other day, I was finding almost all coins or better items, and only one junk item.  Under the circumstances I was going to stay in that general area.  I was going to try to find any center point and return towards it if I started wander away from it.   If I started to wander one way or another and started to get into an area where I was only finding aluminum, I would try to find the center of the good area again.  It is better to spend a lot of time in a small area once a good area has been identified.  If the good area was cleaned out, I would move on and try to find another good area.


What is the most expensive gem stone?  Here is a link that will show you several of the most expensive.  I bet you haven't heard of some of them.

Red diamond will bring a million dollars per carat. 

Mistaking your gemstones can cost you a lot of money.   Don't assume or guess.


Tomorrow the surf on the Treasure Coast will be down to one or two feet again.

There is an interesting disturbance down by Central America that might come our way.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, October 18, 2014

10/18/14 Report - 1853 One Dollar Gold Mounted Gold Coin Find. Discrimination For The Discriminating Detectorist. Importance Of Knowing The Range Of Trash At A Site.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Other Side Of The Gold Coin I Showed Yesterday.

This is the other side of the mounted cold coin find that I showed yesterday.

The photo is a little grainy for some reason, but if you look at the coin closely you can see a small mark on the coin made by one of the prongs.  I talked about that as being one reason you might not want to mount some coins.

The 1853 1 Dollar coin was minted in high numbers, and as a result is often found mounted in jewelry.  Another common and frequently mounted gold coin is the Mexican Dos Pesos.  I've mentioned that before.


Occasionally I mention a gadget that I have found very useful.  One of those is an inexpensive battery tester.  I really get a lot of use out of mine.


Yesterday I wrote about using the pulse delay setting to discriminate when using a pulse induction metal detector.  When I publish a post I almost always leave something out.   There are always some ifs, ands, and buts that I don't include.  My posts are too short to include everything.  It would be an endless post if I stated all of the relevant details.

Anyhow, concerning yesterday's post, one thing I might have mentioned is that the exact settings of the pulse delay will depend to some extent upon the specific item and the type of ground you are working. 

The thin gold ring that I talked about as an example was the same gold ring that you saw in my video a few days ago.  And  I was talking about your typical Treasure Coast beach without black sand.

Here is one other thing I'll add to that discussion.   At most sites there are only one or two types of trash that make up the vast majority of trash.

At many old sites the predominate type of trash will be iron and nails.

At other sites it might be aluminum and pull tabs, and at other sites it might be bottle caps.  Of course pull tabs and bottle tops are typical of picnic beaches.

At older sites that have been continuously used over the years you might have layers of all types of trash.

Discrimination can be more effective when one or two types of trash predominate a site.  When that is the case you only have to discriminate a small range of targets to dramatically improve detecting conditions.   If the predominant type of trash is bottle tops, increasing the pulse delay on a pulse induction detector can be fairly effective.

At sites where the predominate trash is iron and nails, a detector such as the Excalibur can discriminate fairly effectively.

In situations like those that I've been talking about, notch discrimination or target ID can be very helpful.  In those cases, you don't need to discriminate out more than a narrow range of trash targets, and that allows the use of discrimination while reducing (not entirely eliminating) the risk of missing good targets.

Before settling on the type of detector and discrimination, you first need to know what type of trash is there and what type is not there.  If you run around using a lot of discrimination right off the bat, you might not even find out what is at the site worth discriminating.

Despite everything I just said, I will still warn you about the dangers of using discrimination and suggest the alternative of simply removing the trash.  I can't get into all of the reasons for that right now.

If you have adequately analyzed a site and determined that the site is worth detecting, it should be worth detecting thoroughly, otherwise consider simply moving on to another site that is worth detecting well.

If  you are just out to pass some time or make a few easy finds, I understand using liberal discrimination, but if you suspect that a site might hold something good or if the site is good enough that you intend to hunt it on a continuing basis, I strongly suggest digging everything.

I just remembered something that I forgot to mention the other day when I talked about working the washing machine.  I used no discrimination and only dug one trash item while digging quite a few good targets.  I'll have to follow up on that another day.


Gonzalo battered Bermuda.  Here is a link.


The weather is beautiful.  The tides are pretty flat.  There is not much of a low tide.

The surf is about the same on the Treasure Coast now, but they are still predicting a 5 - 7 foot surf Sunday the 26th.

Happy hunting,

Friday, October 17, 2014

10/17/14 Report - U.S. One Dollar Gold Coin Find. Pulse Induction Metal Detector Discrimination. Bump In Surf Predicted.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Nicely Mounted One Dollar US Gold Coin Metal Detector Find
I heard some guys discussing discrimination.  That is one of two big obsessions in the metal detecting community.  The other is depth.

Anyhow, the discussion centered on the hope for some type of effective discrimination for pulse induction detectors. 

Pulse induction detectors do have a type of discrimination.  You can discriminate with a pulse induction detector, but the results might not be exactly what you wanted.

What people really want is for the detector to tell them exactly what they are detecting before they dig it up.

One way you can get a type of discrimination with a pulse induction detector is to use "pulse delay." 

If you use the Whites Dual Field PI, for example, you'll find that you can discriminate out beer bottle caps and some other junk by using the pulse delay setting.

Just as an example, if you turn the Whites PI pulse delay setting up about half way, most beer bottle caps will be discriminated out.  As you increase the delay from 0 the signal from the bottle cap will decrease until you get no signal, which happens just before the straight up position.  A dime or other coin will still cause a good strong signal well after the setting which causes the bottle cap to be discriminated.

There you have it.  Discrimination with a PI - at least for some items.

But here is the bad news.  A thin gold ring will normally quit causing a signal at a much lower pulse delay setting.  You only have to turn the delay up about one eight of the way for a thin gold ring to be discriminated out.  And increasing the pulse delay will cause depth to be decreased for the same gold ring even before it is discriminated out.

(In a previous post I told you how important the threshold level is when using a pulse induction detector to detect gold and other items.)

It is easy to tell the difference between the signal from items such as a thin gold ring and a beer bottle cap  with a pulse induction metal detector such as the Whites Dual Field.  To produce a signal like a thin gold ring, the typical bottle cap would have to be buried deeply, and that is seldom the case.

The problem with discrimination with any metal detector, not just pulse induction detectors, is that there is risk involved.  You risk missing good stuff when you use discrimination.  Some detectors reduce that risk more than others, but there is risk.

If you must discriminate, there are things that will help you reduce that risk.  One of those things is knowledge of how your detector responds to different items.  Another is knowledge of how things are distributed in the type of area you are hunting.  For me that is by far the most important and effective.

If you want to find coins with a pulse induction detector and want to avoid the bottle caps, turning the pulse delay up is fine (to a point) but be aware that you will lose depth on the coins too.  For me, I'd rather find the gold rings.

Some other day I'll try to explain why I don't care as much about either discrimination or depth as  much as a lot of people.   That will take a number of posts, and I'd have to write a entire book to explain it well.


Above is another example of a mounted gold coin.  The mounting on this one is very nice.  It has six little diamonds on the pendant. 


Here is a video showing the town that is under Lake Meade.  It makes for some nice diving.


Prehistoric camps have been found in the High Tetons.  I really like Jackson Hole and the Tetons and highly recommend visiting if you get a chance.  Saw my first grizzly bear live in the wilds there.  I was glad he paid me no attention and went on his way.   It is a beautiful place.


Back to the Treasure Coast, I looked at a number of different beaches today.  I didn't see any that looked promising at all.  All those that I visited really looked poor.  I didn't bother to take my detector out until the last one.

I could see some dips in front of the beaches in shallow water.  The waves were hitting hard right at the bottom of the beach on most of the beaches.

Gonzalo is headed towards Bermuda as a strong hurricane.   There is nothing much else out there to watch, however if you look at the surfing web sites you'll see that about a week out they are predicting up to a seven foot surf for the Treasure Coast.  In the past when the predicted a higher surf a week or more in advance, a good percentage of the time it never really happened.  There is a chance though.  It is worth watching.

At least the seasons have changed.  Now we just have to wait a little more.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, October 16, 2014

10/16/14 Report - Educational Presentations On Treasure & Treasure Coins. Working the Washing Machine - Rough Shallow Water Detecting.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Treasure Coast Beach This Morning Near Low Tide.
The beach has been building. There were almost no targets in the wet sand this morning at this beach.  The dry beach didn't have much either.

I mostly worked in the washing machine.  By that I mean the area right in front of where the waves were crashing.  It isn't easy to work that area when you have decent waves.  The currents are strong there, and it is impossible to sweep a coil normally.  It can also difficult to recover targets there.  

To make things even more difficult, the bottom was very irregular today.  There were big dips and pot holes.  Many pot holes were more than a foot deep, and it was impossible to see the bottom, so occasionally I would get a jolt as I stepped into a hole.

There are several tricks for working in the washing machine.  While I normally don't bother to slip my arm into the band on the arm rest, in these conditions it helps a lot.  If your arm is strapped in tightly, it helps you to control the detector in the currents.

It also helps if you swing the coil so you are going with the current as much as possible.  Try to time your swing so the coil goes with the current one direction and then back the other direction when the current reverses.  It was so tough today that much of the time I was moving my coil more in a tight circle.  It took a good bit of effort.  If I didn't maintain good control both the detector and my scoop would get washed behind me.

Recovery was the hardest thing today.  In those conditions, try to time lifting the scoop so the current is rushing into your scoop rather than from behind your scoop as you lift a scoop from the bottom.   If you lift the scoop while the water is coming from behind, it will wash a lot of the sand, and quite possibly the item, out of the scoop as you lift it.

Before you lift the scoop, jiggle it to sift as much through the scoop as you can before lifting it.  That is if you think the item is in the scoop, of course. 

Don't over-fill the scoop or a lot of the sand, and quite possibly the item, will wash out of the scoop as you lift.

Detected Ear Ring.
Often foot-fanning will help you remove a lot of sand quickly, but fanning was not working well today because the currents were so strong, and the sand filled the hole as quickly as it could be fanned.  I had to give up on a few targets, which I always hate to do.

I was finding coins and objects mostly in the pot holes, and sometimes in the edge or side of a pot hole. 

Working the washing machine is not for beginners.

You also have to have sturdy equipment.  An extra brace can be used to help keep the coil in position.

The day before floor bidding begins for the current Sedwick Coins Treasure Auction, which will be  at the Doubletree Hotel at Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, there will be a number of educational presentations.  So if you are going to be in the Orlando area, you might want to make arrangements to see those.

Here is the schedule.

Wednesday, Nov. 5

 Lot viewing and educational presentations  

10 AM-6:30 PM EST

Lot viewing in Evergreen Room



2:00-2:45 PM EST

Ben Costello (director of the 1715 Fleet Society), guest Ernie Richards (PLUS ULTRA Newsletter)

"The 1715 Fleet 300th Anniversary"

Buena Vista Ballroom


3:00-3:30 PM EST

Jose Manuel Henriquez (president of Dominican Republic Numismatic Association)

"La Numismatica Dominicana"

Buena Vista Ballroom


3:45-4:30 PM EST

Roberto Mastalir (researcher-writer)

"Potosi Cobs: Transitional period"

Buena Vista Ballroom


4:45-5:30 PM EST

Jorge Emilio Restrepo (researcher-writer)

"Coins Issued during Colombian Independence"

Buena Vista Ballroom


5:45-6:30 PM EST

Cori Sedwick Downing and Jorge Proctor (researchers-writers), guest speaker Angel Valtierra  (Nat. Mexican Numismatic Museum)

"Mexican Charles and Joanna Coinage"

Buena Vista Ballroom


Gonazalo is still out there but the other disturbance has disappeared, so it looks like we won't be getting any real storm action.

Friday and Saturday the Treasure Coast will get a little higher surf but only around four or five feet.

The low tide is not getting very low at all these days.

We had got a bit of a cool front and some very nice weather.

Happy hunting,