Sunday, August 31, 2014

8/31/14 Report - More On The 1715 Fleet Reliquary Pendant Found By The Booty. More On The Cob Tests. Brevard Beaches Improving.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Photos of Reliquaries 

Submitted by L. Strolia

The most read post of July was the 7/31/14 post.  I've been going back to see which posts were the most popular, or to be more exact, the most read posts.

It is not surprising that the 7/31/14 post was the most read post of July.  That is the post that reported on the amazing find made by the crew of the Booty on the Treasure Coast.

I incorrectly referred to that find as a gold pyx.  Laura Strolia, author and researcher has since told us why it is a reliquary pendant rather than a pyx.  I posted on report by author Strolia a few weeks ago, but she was kind enough to provide additional explanation, which you'll find immediately below.

More on the 1715 Fleet Triptych Reliquary Pendant

Here are some more thoughts regarding the TRIPTYCH RELIQUARY PENDANT of the 1715 fleet.
First off, I would like to better explain why this artifact is not a pyx.  A small container called a pyx was used by a priest to transport the consecrated Sacred Host to a sick or dying person.  It was crucial that nothing could penetrate into the body of this vessel and allow absorption.  The material used for a pyx would never have small or narrow spaces, such as we see in filigree work, because there would be a danger the Host would become corrupted.
Upon leaving a church, the priest placed the pyx in a purse or pouch, called a burse, which was hung around his neck by a cord. Even the burse, usually made of leather, cotton, or wool, was not enough to protect a receptacle of filigree metal since all these materials were permeable to water and air.
Another point to consider is the size of the circular opening that would encase a consecrated Host if it was a pyx.  The circle on the 1715 artifact reflects an opening that is too small based on diameters of the average vessel or ciborium of that time period. Additionally a pyx always had a closed lid, and the interior of it was made of precious metal which consisted of solid elements. This was necessary in preserving the sacredness of the Eucharist.  After the sick received Holy Communion, the pyx was then purified by the priest.
Why do Catholics exert such effort to protect and keep a Blessed Host safe?  One of my favorite stories about a Eucharistic miracle ( can hopefully answer this question. Catholics believe Jesus is alive and has a real presence in a Sacred Host.
The Reliquary Pendant found at Douglass Beach is also called a triptych, a term meaning that a work of art is made up of three hinged panels that can be opened for display, or folded shut when desired.  The circular opening on the 1715 reliquary would have held a holy remain behind a piece of rock crystal.  A fabric-covered paste board would have been stitched to the back of it.
It is intriguing to wonder about the final destination of this 1715 reliquary if the hurricane never happened.  Perhaps it was meant to hang in a private chapel of a wealthy household, or near the bedside of a clergy member?  We will never know the answer. But in this modern day of age, we are so fortunate to be able to view an artifact, such as this one, that holds such beauty and significance. – Laura Strolia
The reliquaries shown above are housed at St. Anthony’s Chapel in Pittsburgh (
Thanks Laura!

You can see how the reliquaries shown above are similar to the item found by the crew of the Booty.

I've received a few thoughts from readers concerning the reason for some smaller cobs producing better signals than some larger cobs.  One thought is that it is due to the composition of the metal and another is that it is due to the shape of the object, with more round objects being thought to produce better signals.  I look into that subject more in the future.

The past two days I posted information about tests that I did on some cobs using the Ace 250 and Excalibur detectors.  I used the same cobs for the same tests using the Dual Surf PI, which, as you may know is reputed to be a very deep seeking detector.  I might give more detail on that some other time, but here I'll just say that the PI had difficulties simply detecting the cobs under the circumstances.  The ambient interference made the PI very erratic, and it barely could detect any of the cobs.  It did, but not very well.  I varied the gain, loudness, and delay and still could not do nearly as well with the PI as with the other two detectors.  I am sure the PI would do better on the beach.

That again shows how one detector can be best in one situation while another would be best in another situation.  It also shows why you need to know your detector.

Concerning local beach conditions Dan W. wrote and said that the Brevard beaches have been producing older coins for the first time since the beaches were renourished.

I think they got a little bigger surf up that way, but it could be more a matter of angles.

Thanks for the report Dan!

Today and tomorrow the Treasure Coast will have a one to two foot surf.  There are no storms or anything right now.

That is all for today.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, August 30, 2014

8/30/14 Report - Silver Cobs Metal Detector Test Continued With Results. Quartz Crystal Pendant.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Silver Quartz Crystal Pendant

Here is a beach find.  Oxidized silver and quartz with a tigers eye.

Notice the phantom in the quartz. 

I don't know how old it might be.

Now I'm going to pick up today where I left off yesterday.  I'm going to show you something new that might surprise you.  It also shows how specific you have to be about detector tests, particularly the types of targets you are interested in and the environments they are used in.  A number of factors have to be considered when selecting a detector for a particular job.

A lot of people seem to accept what they hear or accept the results of simple tests on clad coins that actually leave out a lot of important factors.  They think if detector A is a good detector or has a good reputation it is the detector to use.  The fact is, as I'll show today, it is much more complicated.  And as I showed yesterday, there are situations when an inexpensive detector will actually do a better job than a highly regarded more expensive detector.  The basic questions are, what do you want to find and where are you going to hunt.  I say those are basic questions, but to answer them well involves more factors than you might think.

If you haven't read yesterday's post yet, I recommend that you do that before continuing.

Here are the same small beach cobs that I used for the tests that I reported on yesterday.  The one on the left weighs about 0.4 grams, the next 0.5 grams, the next 0.6 grams, and the next 2.0 grams.  I will refer to these cobs going left to right as 1 - 4.

Four Treasure Coast 1715 Fleet Beach Cobs.  Three Half-Reales and One 1-Reale.

Yesterday I tested these in a high EMI environment using the Ace 250.  Today I'll report on my results using an Excalibur.

I used both discrimination mode and pinpoint mode for all my Excalibur tests.

Which cob do you think consistently produced the best (loudest and clearest) signal?  It was cob 3.  You might expect it to be cob 4.  I did.   But cob three consistently produced a signal that was a loud and distinct, and a slight bit better than cob 4.  That was true on many attempts varying the sweep speed, and sweeping at different directions.

Tests were done with the coil at the approximate same height over the cobs, and also at different heights to give a rough measure of depth.  By varying the height of the coil I essentially did a type of air test but with a sugar sand background and relatively high EMI environment.

In case you wondered, signal loudness and distinctness correlated with air-test depth.  In other words, cobs that produced a fainter signal when the coil was at the same height for all cobs, were detected only at smaller distances from the coil.  Those cobs that produced louder more distinct signals were detected at greater heights when the coil was raised.  So relative signal strength, as you might have suspected, is a decent (not perfect) measure of how deep a target would be detected.  That makes sense, but the test results did strongly support that conclusion.

Now the question is why did cob three, even though smaller by weight and presenting less surface area produce a louder signal.   I do not yet know.   Yesterday I suggested that one possibility could be different alloys or composition of the silver.  We know that the composition of cobs was regulated,  but we also know that there were some differences.

Surprisingly, cob 1 consistently produced a more distinct signal than cob 2 despite its smaller surface area.  It is thicker.  All other cobs produced better signals than cob 2 without exception.

Another reason could possibly be the ground under the cobs, but I changed where I did the tests and the results were the same.

The results did not change when I switched from discrimination to pin point mode. 

I often hunt in pin point or all metals mode.

Ordered by signal strength, it was cob 3, 4, 1 and last, 2.

Being in a high EMI environment, I varied my sensitivity.  I actually got slightly better signals with reduced sensitivity. 

Some people are afraid to reduce sensitivity.  I seldom reduce sensitivity and am accustomed to identifying signals in noise, but there are times to do it.

I always recommend testing your detector and settings with the type of target that you want to find and in the environment that you will be hunting before beginning to hunt.  I think these tests support that recommendation.  Things are not always simple, and if you want to optimize your detector and settings, do it in the environment and with the most desired targets.

When selecting a test target, Id select a smaller test target.  Generally if you are set for the smalls, you will find the larger targets too, whereas the other way around is not necessarily true.

A lot of people are running around with detector settings that would not detect the smaller cobs shown above if the cobs were laying on the surface with the detector coil right over them.  I know I have met people on the beach who were discriminating out anything that small.

As I showed yesterday using the Ace 250, these test cobs generally were identified as nickels.  That's not bad.

The best way to learn how to better understand and use your detector is to experiment.  What you read may or may not be true, and your detector and your environment might not be the same as those you read about. 

On the Treasure Coast we're back to a one-foot surf again.  Nothing much in the Atlantic either.  Just one disturbance down by Central America.

Get to know your detector better.

Happy hunting,

Friday, August 29, 2014

8/29/14 Report - Detector Test Using Silver Cobs in High EMI Environment. A Couple Tips For Detecting Junky Sites.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Four Treasure Coast 1715 Fleet Beach Cobs.  Three Half-Reales and One 1-Reale.

There are times when it is a good idea to try something new.  If you try something new there is a good chance that you will strike out, but you very well might learn something valuable in the process.

When you try a new site, the first visit might not be much more than a scouting trip or site preparation.   Too many people give up on a new site too quickly.  They do a little detecting and decide that there is nothing there or that the site is too junky.  Before giving up, they should analyze the situation, test different areas, and find out where things used to be and what might be there.

Sometimes on your first visit you'll be accomplishing a lot if you simply remove the surface trash.  That can be true on either a beach or inland site.

For trashy sites you might want to use a magnetic rake.  They are made for post-construction clean-ups, but you can use them for pre-detecting cleaning.  They come in a variety of types.  Below is a link that shows a few of those types.

Using a magnetic rake can really help you prepare a trashy site.  Trash can mask a lot of good targets so it is good to get rid of a lot of it.

And it is always a good idea to have a magnet like the one shown in the following video when you have to deal with nails and things like that.  I sometimes tape a magnet like this one to the handle end of my scoop.

This procedure works very well.  You can waste a lot of time searching for a small screw or bit or iron. 

After pinpointing an iron item, pick it up with the magnet.  As you can tell if you carefully listen to the video, you can hear when an iron object gets picked up by the magnet. 

I've been noticing a lot of good potential land detecting sites lately. Keep your eyes open as you drive. 

I did some new tests.  I used the four silver cobs shown at the top of the post.  Left to right they weight about 0.4 grams, 0.5 grams, 0.6 grams and 2.0 grams.  All four are very much under weight for their denomination.  That is not unusual for beach cobs.

The first part of the test was conducted with the Ace 250, an inexpensive detector with target ID.  I've talked about that detector in the past.

The setting was a front yard where there is considerable electromagnetic interference from power lines, underground cables, etc.

I simply put the four cobs on the ground (didn't bury them) spaced apart about a foot.

When using the Ace all four cobs were easily detected, mostly being identified as nickels.  Two cobs jumped a little on the target ID - one one way and the other the other way. 

Here is where it starts to get interesting.  You would assume that the silver in all four cobs is of similar purity.  I know that might not be exactly the case, but I would not expect them to vary a lot.

But I got a hint of something interesting in this part of the test.  The heaviest cobs did not always give the best signal.  And the cobs presenting the most surface area did not always give the best signal. 

Using the Ace, the third cob from the right occasionally jumped into the pull tab range, while the second cob occasionally jumped from the nickel to foil ID range.

I repeated this process many times with different sweep speeds, slightly varying the height of the coil, and changing the centering of the coil.  Same results.  The smallest and largest of the two cobs without exception were identified as nickels.  Only the other two differed, one towards the upper end of the range and the other towards the lower.

I did not take this too seriously yet.  I then tested the same cobs with two other detectors.  In another post I'll discuss how that added to the evidence found in this part of the test.

What I did conclude from this first test is that it is not always the larger target or the target presenting the most surface area that creates the loudest signal.  Bigger is not always louder, even when the metal is the same (or nearly so).  These conclusions were supported using two other very different detectors.  Like I said, more on that some other time.

Another thing I concluded is that ( and not taking depth into account) the Ace worked as well as the Dual Surf PI and Excalibur for detecting these small surface cobs in this environment.  The Ace, which was operated with the default settings (not maximum sensitivity) was not as much affected by EMI and did as well as the other two detectors.

One thing I want to reiterate is the importance of testing detectors on specific targets and under specific circumstances.   Here you have a case where an inexpensive detector that some call a toy worked as well or better than much more expensive detectors. 

The results might change if the cobs were buried at depth and for a time.  I don't know that yet.

On the Treasure Coast today we had a 2 - 3 foot surf.  Tomorrow the surf is predicted to be down around one foot.

We only have one tropical wave right now, and it is down below the islands and apparently headed towards Central America.

That is all for now.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, August 28, 2014

8/28/14 Report - Million Dollar Eight Reale? Christobal & Three Disturbances. Battle of Blair Mountain. Error State Quarters.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Million Dollar Coin?
Source of photo:
Is this a million dollar coin?  We'll find out this November when it is auctioned by Sedwick Coins in Orlando.

The auction estimate is $500,000 to $1,000,000.

Minted in Mexico in 1538, this 8 reale was found on a shipwreck in the 1990s.  This is one of three known to exist and is considered to be the first dollar-sized coin minted in the New World.  This is the first time it will be offered publicly.

Here is the link for more information.

Three Disturbances and Christobal
We're certainly seeing more activity in the Atlantic.  Christobal is headed towards Iceland.  One disturbance passed over the West Indies and is heading towards the Gulf.  One is sitting over the Southern coast of Texas, and one is just about to leave Africa.

Padre Island is getting four to six foot waves, building to overhead today.

The 2014 Outer Banks Pro (surfing competition) started Wednesday because the waves were coming in at the head high to overhead range.  

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to pop down on any beach at any time you wanted? 

On the Treasure Coast, if that is where you are, this is the last day of 3 - 5 foot surf.  This weekend it will slack off and get back to a 1 - 2 foot surf.  At least that will give you a chance to get out a little farther where the waves were hitting the past few days.

I'm curious about the path of these next two potential storms.

Source: link.

Here is a pistol from the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain. 

Detectorists helped to locate the position of skirmishes by locating concentrations of bullets and shells.  I don't remember that being mentioned in the article, but maybe it was.  It has been a while since I read the article.

The following link provides a good article on the effort to save the mountain as a historic site, ironically, from mining operations.

Coin errors are out there and they can make a big difference in the value of a coin.  I've found a few while detecting.  There are so many possible die errors that it can be difficult to know what to look for.

There are a lot of mint errors on the state quarters.  Here is one article showing a lot of the easily noticed errors as well as a few of the more difficult to detect errors.

Source: link above.

Some of these errors make the quarter worth hundreds of dollars.  That is something you won't want to miss.

For example, this 1999-P Pennsylvania state quarter shows the faint image of the opposite side of the coin on both sides.  This quarter is worth about $700.

It is easy to let some good treasures go simply because you don't know about them. 

It can be worth taking a good look at your coin finds and doing some research.

And here is a another web site showing some more difficult to detect errors found on state quarters.  Some of these you really have to know about or you would never notice them.  For example on one you need to know how many trees there are supposed to be.

Have some fun hunting error coins.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

8/27/14 Report - Vero and Sebastian Beach Conditions. Abandoned Burt Reynolds Property. USS Houston. Flourescent Fossil Shell.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of


Turtle Trail Access Looking North

Sebastian North of McCarty
I took a look at a few beaches this morning.  Here are some of them.  I also looked at Rio Mar.

All of the beaches looked pretty much the same.  They all still have some renourishment sand. 

I didn't see any cuts.  There were a few scallops around Rio Mar. 

Nothing to make me upgrade my beach conditions rating.  They were all pretty mushy.  And all had a some new sea weed - not a good sign.

As it turns out, Christobal didn't do much for us.

The first target I dug produced this very small children's silver ring.

The small items tell you that you probably aren't missing much.

Here is an interesting video.   I thought it was anyhow.   It shows the abandoned and neglected Burt Reynolds property in Jupiter.

There are over grown paths, old docks falling apart, old film sets and all kinds of junk.

I found it interesting.  Think about where you would detect as these two looney guys explore the property.

Navy divers explored the wreck of the USS Houston.

Christobal is up by North Carolina now.  There are two other disturbances that could develop.  One nearing the West Indies and one in the Gulf by Texas.


We still have a 3 to 5 foot surf on the Treasure Coast.  The surf is supposed to decrease a bit after Thursday.   Maybe the next system will kick things up again.

Right now it will be hard to find anything but modern items. 

There haven't been hardly any shells on the beach lately.  And I haven't seen any fossils for a while.  I did run across my old black light and took a photo of a phosphorescent fossilized shell

I didn't know if I could take a photo of it or not.

Not bad.

The crystals glow yellow.

Haven't posted any fossils lately.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

8/26/14 Report - Rare and Valuable 1725 OMD 8 Reale. Few Small Cuts On Treasure Coast. 3 - 5 Foot Surf Continues. Ace 250 Tested On Beach. New Disturbance in Gulf.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

To be auctioned during the upcoming SedwickCoins Nov. 6, 2014 auction.
For more information here is the link.

One Foot Cut On A Treasure Coast Beach.
Above is one of the few scattered cuts that I found on the Treasure Coast.  It is about one foot.

It is actually the front ledge.  Behind is cut is the remains of a cut that was created quite a while ago.

The sand in front of the cut is mushy.  Not very promising at all.  To top it off, the sand that was eroded is newly accumulated sand.   No reason for a beach conditions rating upgrade.


The above video was taken at another beach after yesterday's high tide.  Again no significant improvement in beach conditions.

Christobal has produced a little bigger surf on the Treasure Coast, but so far it hasn't done a lot to improve beach conditions.

Yesterday I gave the Ace 250 its first beach test.  Previously I tested the 250 inland and posted the results.

Once again my expectations were exceeded.  Perhaps it was because my expectations were not very high.  I did not expect it to do well in wet salt sand.

Before I get into that though, it worked fine in the dry sand.  I'm not talking about earth shaking depth, but decent depth and good target ID and discrimination with no other problems.  The light 250 was a joy to swing after swinging a heavy underwater detector with a weighted coil.

After testing in the dry sand, I tested the 250 on the beach front where the water was washing up over the berm.  In fact it was right behind the cut you see at the top of the post, but near high tide when the water was washing up over the berm.   The 250 detected coins easily at decent depth in mushy wet sand.  When the moving water hit the coil or when a hole was dug in the newly wet sand, false signals did occur.  Detecting in the wet sand when the water was not rushing caused no problems.  Basically the same thing happens with more expensive detectors such as the Excalibur are used at the water line with moving salt water.  The difference is that with the Excalibur I would switch modes to deal with that, but there was no good solution with the 250.  What do you expect?  The price is only about 20% as much.

This test was not a highly controlled or very precise test.  It was just my simple first test of the 250 at the beach and in wet sand.   It did better than I expected in the wet sand.   It is fine in the dry sand, and workable in wet sand as long as conditions aren't too rough.


Besides Christobal, which is heading north, we now have two other areas to watch.  Note the new one in the Gulf.

The surf on the Treasure Coast is predicted to be 3 - 5 feet Tuesday and Wednesday.  The wind is blowing this morning and the surf is up. 

Thursday the surf will begin to decrease again.

While Christobal heads north, there is another disturbance that is approaching the West Indies. 

Happy hunting,

Monday, August 25, 2014

8/25/14 Report - Surf Increasing Already This Morning As Christobal Heads North. Some Cuts on Treasure Coast. Reasons and How to Conduct A Pre Hunt Detector Test.


Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Tropical Storm Christbal will stay to the East of us and the rest of the United States.  It looks like it will be a fish storm now, but it looks like the Treasure Coast will still get a four or five foot surf by Wednesday.  The surf has begun to increase (Monday morning).

Monday morning there were also some one-foot cuts along the Treasure Coast.  Unfortunately those scattered cuts are in sand that has piled up in the past few weeks.  That will not change my beach conditions rating yet - still poor.  It, however, might cause a change in conditions if things keep going in the same direction.

There is also a second disturbance coming off of Africa.

Source of maps:

Looks like the Atlantic is becoming more lively.

Both of the above weather maps are from

Sometimes detectors will fool you.   One will have a grand reputation for depth and excellance but will be outperformed by a cheaper detector or a detector with a poor reputation.   The thing is that there are a lot of factors that will affect the performance and depth that a detector gets on a specific target.  That is a big reason why I explained how to really test a detector yesterday.

You have to be specific about the type of target and the environment.  You also have to be specific about the operating characteristics of the detector.  The detectors performance will also be affected by your settings and how you use it.

One important factor is your sweep speed.  Sweeping either too fast or too slow can cause loss of depth and good targets.  So how do you know how fast to sweep?

I've discussed this in the past but it is worth mentioning again.  Put the type of target on the ground (preferable the type of ground where you expect to hunt) and sweep your coil over the object.  Listen to the signal.   Sweep over it again, this time slower.  Did the signal get louder or less loud?  If it got louder, that tells you that you were sweeping too fast to begin with.  Vary the sweep speed over the object until you get the loudest most distinct signal.  Maintain a constant distance between the coil and object on each attempt.

That is how you can find the near optimal sweep speed for you detector in the environment you plan to work.   The optimal sweep speed can be different for dry land and for wet salt sand, for example.  The best idea is to do your tests where you plan to hunt.

I like the practice of testing my detector each time before I begin a hunt.  It takes only a few seconds to get your sweep speed right.   Try to develop muscle memory for the best sweep speed for each detector.

I think it is natural to get in a hurry and go to fast.

Also test your settings.  Adjust your settings to produce the loudest signal on the type of object you want to find.

Target specificity is important.  Don't test your detector on an object you don't much care about.  Don't use a zinc penny for the test unless that is what you most want to find.

Testing your settings before you get far into your hunt can save a lot of wasted time.  It is easy enough for knobs to get turned between hunts.  It is a big waste of time to spend your first half hour with maximum discrimination simply because you failed to check the settings.  Yes you can simply look at the knobs, but a lot can be accomplished quickly by simply doing a test on an appropriate test object before your hunt.   I can remember times in the distant past when I started my hunt and spent quite a few minutes before discovering an incorrect setting and had to go back and cover the same ground with the corrected settings.  If you have a lot of electromagnetic or radio interference, you might choose to lower the sensitivity setting.

One type of location that can be tough to detect well is around electric lines, underground cables or radio transmissions.  Some detectors will be much more affected by those things than others.  A detector that is not the best in one environment can be the best choice in another.

Coils are different too.  A Dual Surf PI has a larger coil than an Excalibur, but the Excalibur coil gives you more depth under the entire coil than the PI.  The area of maximum depth is only obtained under a relatively small part of the PI coil.  That means that you should overlap sweeps more when using the PI.  You can quickly test coil coverage while doing a sweep speed test.

While doing a sweep speed test, move the coil front to back between sweeps.  You might notice that some parts of the coil give a much louder signal than others.  Check to see where your maximum sensitivity is located under the coil.  You will learn how broad your maximum detection area is and where under the coil it is located.

Just the other day, I tested a Surf PI, Excalibur and ACE 250 on an inland area having a lot of electrical interference.   I used a thin gold ring as my test target.  The Excal gave a good loud signal over the ring.  The 250 did almost as well.  The PI barely gave a signal under those conditions, and only when the ring was located under a small part of the coil and when the coil was moved at a near perfect sweep speed.  The results were remarkable enough that it surprised me.

That is just one example.  Do not over-generalize from that simple test.  In some environments the PI can perform better than the other detectors.  My point is that different detectors will perform differently in different environments, on different types of objects, but the response will also depend upon your settings and sweep speed.

On most tests I will optimize my settings for the loudest and most distinct signal.  In the above test, I  made a variety of adjustments, particularly on the PI to see if I could improve the results.

Once again I want to emphasize the value of testing your detector or detectors properly.  You'll get best results when you spend a lot of time testing so that you really know your detector.

Watch for the higher surf the next couple of days.

Happy hunting,