Wednesday, October 29, 2014

10/28/14 Report - James Fort Excavation. Peach State Archaeological Society Web Site. Gold And Silver Artifacts From Florida. Most Read And Most "Plused" Posts Of September.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Source: link.

More than a million artifacts have been excavated from the site of James Fort including the spur shown here.

Here is the link.

The Peach State Archaeological Society web site has a lot of good information and pictures.  I was doing some research on metallic artifacts when I found that site.

Check out the New Finds and Artifact Identification sections, as well as others.

Of course Peach State refers to Georgia, but the site has a lot of Florida stuff on it too.

I really like the section on discoidals.  I know I've shown at least one of those that was found on a Treasure Coast beach.   There is also a section on trade goods, including a variety of artifacts from the early contact period.

Here are a couple of links to use.

Here is a gold pendant dated to 800 to 1500 AD.  It came from the St. Marks Wakulla area of Florida.

And here is a Calusa silver tablet from Charlotte Harbor area.

You can find both of these pictures by using the link immediately above in the Metallic Ceremonial and Decorative Artifacts section.


At the end of every month I go back to look at the blog statistics from the previous month to see which posts were the most read and which received the most Google Pluses.  Those measures give me some idea of what my readers want to see.  Some posts get read a lot because they get publicized somehow, maybe shared or posted elsewhere, but the most read aren't always the posts that regular readers indicate that they most like.

For September the most read post was the 9/7/14 Report - Million Dollar Coin Found by Detectorist.   How Objects Sink Very Quickly Into Beach Sand.

The most Google "plused" post was the 9/4/14 Report -  How Coins and Rings Sink In Beach Sand.  Targets Only Sink As Far As The Disturbed Layer.

Those two posts both talk about how objects sink in beach sand. 

Tomorrow (Wed.) and the next day we'll have a very calm surf on the Treasure Coast.

There is one new low pressure zone just north of the West Indies.  It already has a 30% chance of becoming a cyclone in the next couple of days.  I'll be watching that.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

10/28/14 Report - Tropical Storm Hanna. LaSalle's Ship La Belle Being Reassembled. 1870 CC Double Eagle Sells For $188,000.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Yesterday (Mon.) afternoon I saw this fellow going along what remains of a cut with a Garrette Ace detector

This beach had a better cut a couple of days ago.  In fact all of the cuts that I showed you the other day are now gone again.

Below are a couple of pictures of one of the beaches that I showed two days ago.  You can see that the cut that was there a couple of days ago is now completely gone.

There is now a Tropical Storm named Hanna down by Nicaragua.  Doesn't look to me like she'll come this way.

There is another low pressure area just east of the West Indies.
Two Views of Treasure Coast Beach This Afternoon.

This beach was but two to three feet two days ago.   As you can see, now there is nothing left of the cut.


The wreck of LaSalle's ship, the La Belle, was found in 12 feet of water off the Texas coast.  The hull has now be conserved and the ship is being reassembled.

The ship is gradually being reassembled and installed at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. La Belle was discovered in 1995 by Texas Historical Commission archaeologists, who built a dam around the wreck site and pumped it dry so they could excavate the nearly intact hull from six feet of mud.


As you probably know the SedwickCoins auction online bidding has begun and many lots already have bids.   You can view or bid at


1870 CC VF 30 Double Eagle
Source: reports that the Heritage New York US Coins Auction. held Oct. 8 - 13 brought in over $11.1 million.  Six coins sold for more than $100,000 each.

Taking top honors was an 1870 Carson City Double Eagle [shown here].  Graded VF30 by PCGS, the $20 gold piece sold for $188,000 and attracted "spirited bidding," according to Greg Rohan, President of Heritage.
"The 1870-CC double eagle is considered one of the keys to the entire Liberty double eagle series, and is by far the rarest double eagle struck in Carson City,"
Below is the link to that article.

Expect calm seas along the Treasure Coast for at least a few days.

Happy Hunting,

Sunday, October 26, 2014

10/26/14 Report - Officers Great Seal Hat Badge Dug. 300 Silver Dollar Cache. $50,000 Robert E. Lee Map. Nazi U-Boat Wreckage.

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Example WW II Officers Cap With Badge
Sent by Christopher P.

Yesterday I showed a metal Great Seal of the United States.  I didn't know what it was at first.  After the item was cleaned I could see where two pins would have been.  That was totally covered by a encrustation before. 

I am now sure it is a officer's cap pin of the WW II era.

Thanks for the picture Christopher!

Other WW II items have come from that same area of the beach in the past.  Most of that, though, was when the beach was eroded way back - maybe a hundred yards from where it is now. 

I suspect this one was dredged up and dumped with the renourishment sand.  That happens occasionally.  It can be very helpful when you can figure out where things are coming from.

This one was found where WW II training took place, but I still suspect that it actually came from where the dredged sand was picked up.

Where Pin Was Attached To Badge.

Here is the back of the badge that was found yesterday after the encrustation was cleaned off. 

There were two pins attached - one behind each wing.

This photo shows where one pin was attached (red circle).

A cache of 300 1887 mint-condition silver dollars were found when plummers were digging a ditch.  That happened back a few years but still the story is worth looking at.   Good read.

You never know what you might find if you keep digging.

A map actually used by Robert E. Lee has a value of between 50 to 100 thousand dollars.

More on WW II.   The wreckage of a Nazi U-boat was found off of North Carolina.

On the Treasure Coast it looks like we're going to have nothing much more than a two foot surf for about a week.  Nonetheless, as I've been showing, we have been getting some decent sand movement - more than I would expect from such a small surf.  The wind was from the North, which at least partially accounts for it.

As I left the beach yesterday, the tide was coming in and the face of the cut was being hit, and that was knocking a little more sand off the cut.  At that time the waves were hitting straight on and the sand was not being swept away.

We have one tropical disturbance below Cuba now.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, October 25, 2014

10/25/14 Report [Updated] - Some Treasure Coast Beaches Are Cut Two or Three Feet. Big Surf Predicted In Near Future. Unidentified Find.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

This item was found this morning.

It was found between a bunch of mangled aluminum junk. 

It appears to be copper.

The only words on it are E. Pluribus Unim.

I don't see any evidence of how it was attached to anything on the back. 

It is the Great Seal of the United States, but I don't have any idea if it would have been on a hat or what.

The beach photos below were taken yesterday afternoon not long before low tide.

The cuts varied from about one foot to a touch over two feet.

Cuts On Treasure Coast Beaches Yesterday Afternoon.

These cuts ran for hundreds of yards, while other beaches that I saw showed no erosion at all.

At one beach the beach front was convex in front of the cut and the beach front was relatively mushy.

At the other cut beach, the beach front was flatter and less mushy.

The second beach normally does not produce as much treasure as the first.

Notice the sea weed at both beaches.  That indicates that some filling had taken place since the erosion.

From what I saw I am not increasing my Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions Rating yet.  It could be a start, or all of this could reverse again and then we'd have to start all over again.

According to the predictions we're supposed to get around a three foot surf again tomorrow, but the wind is supposed to be primarily from the North.

It looks like the remnants of Tropical Depression Nine is reforming in the Gulf just east of the Yucatan.

------------------------------------  Morning Update Below --------------------------------

This morning I checked the same two beaches again.  The cuts were a little deeper on the first beach. The cuts were two to three feet this moring.   As the tide was coming in, there was a little additional erosion.

 On the second beach, things were a little worse.  The area in front of the cut was more mushy than yesterday.

Both of these beaches had very few targets of any kind.

I took a look at another beach that was cut about the same amount, but the erosion there was all in very junky renourishment sand.  There was a lot of mangled aluminum coming out of the renourishment sand plus a few coins and the item show above.

I've not seen enough to increase my Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions Rating yet.

Same Beach Shown In The First Photo Above As Seen This Morning.

Same Beach Shown In the Second Photo At The Top Of The Page As Seen This Morning.

The surfing web site says that the surf is only about two feet.  They predict the same for tomorrow.  Yet, as you can see, we are getting some erosion.

The interesting thing is that out about nine days from now, they are predicting a surf of six to nine feet.  If that actually happens, things could get interesting.

You have to be alert.  Conditions have been poor for so long that a lot of people have not been paying much attention.  Things can change quickly. 

Happy hunting,

Friday, October 24, 2014

10/24/14 Report [UPDATED] - Davis Zerkle Lumber Token Found. Huge Firearms Auction Listings. More Coin Grading Apps. New Beach Cuts.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Trade Token Found By William M.
Photo by William M.
Afternoon Update:  There are a few cuts on some of the Treasure Coast beaches.  I saw cuts of up to two feet this afternoon, but I am not yet changing my Treasure Beach Conditions Rating yet.  Not enough erosion at this point.  Photos will be posted later.


William M. recently found this very nice Davis Zerkle Lumber Company token.  Since the company closed in 1926, that would the be the likely upper limit on the date.  William hasn't found any other examples of the 10 cents denomination of this token.'

Great find William!  


Yesterday I showed a variety of Florida dug Walking Liberty Half Dollar coins.  I also gave links for a couple of web sites you can use to help determine the grade of your coins.  Chris S. wrote in and gave a couple more good resources.

Chris said, You can also get the photograde app by PCGS for your iphone. While you're at it, you can download the PCGS price guide. Both are good for reference in the field if you just can't wait to get back home to check it out.

Thanks for the tips Chris!


The National Park Service noticed hundreds of artifacts when they dredged a pond in the Everglades back in 1968.  They logged the finds but an excavation was not conducted on the site, which was under about ten feet of water.

Now that the Park Service wants to install a boardwalk over the area so archaeologists will be taking a better look at the site.

Here is the link.


Want to buy an 18th Century cannon for you front lawn?  You just missed the James Julia firearms auction that was conducted on Oct. 7 -9.  Cannons brought high prices.  According to Kovels Komments,  A 1750 Spanish siege mortar captured in Florida in 1862 from Confederates defending Fernandina Island during the Civil War sold for $97,750. It was sold as scrap metal in 1956 but then was sold again and saved.

It took $80,500 to buy a 1681 Dutch Falconette on a carriage. It appears to have the original bronze patina--it was never polished. A bronze Ames Model 1841 six-pounder cannon used in the Civil War brought $63,250.

Other expensive firearms: Model 1906 Krupp 50mm mountain cannon, $70,800; Dahlgren heavy 12-pounder boat howitzer, $92,000; and a rare Winchester Model 1873 lever action rifle, $258,750.

At least five cannons did not sell. The logistics of organizing and selling tons of firearms included solving the problem of what to do with leftovers. If you plan to buy [or sell] a cannon, be sure to consult this auction for prices.
Canon From Auction.

Here is the auction link.

There are many lots in this auction to browse.

As I said yesterday, Tropical Depression Nine fell apart, however it looks like it is reforming.  I wouldn't be surprised to see it emerge in the Gulf again before long.   I'll keep an eye on that.

The wind is blowing and the weather is beautiful.  We have about a three foot surf today along the Treasure Coast.  That is about what we'll have for a week or so.   After that there is a possibility of something significantly bigger.

Happy hunting,

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 grade.

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.

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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,