Friday, December 31, 2010

1/2/2011 Report - Sunken Car Treasure & More

First Treasure Coast Sun Rise of 2011.

Hard to believe that 2010 is over. Time flies.

The weather is really nice and there were a lot of hunters out this morning. The cuts that were fresh a few days ago have gone stale and have been hunted. I'm sure there are some cuts that haven't even been worked yet - the ones that are a t distance from beach accesses or not in the popular hunting areas, but will now be a little harder to find fresh holes.

It is good to know where the cuts are even if they aren't producing. If the wind and waves are right, they could easily be replenished. Of course, if the wind and waves are wrong, those old cuts can easily disappear altogether.

I took the photo of this cut yesterday. It looked pretty much the same this morning, but the front is mushy and I don't think it will produce much. Again, you have to watch these old cuts for possibe improvement.

First Cut I Hunted in 2011.

I think I showed the same cut on New Year's Eve. Anyhow, it didn't improve any since I was last there. You can see some seaweed here, which tells you that most recently sand had been accumulating rather than eroding here. Even though it was cut about three feet deep and ran for hundreds of yards, there were very few signals here. I suppose that is in part due to the fact that the eroded sand was recently accumulated sand.

Cuts that are far back towards the back of the beach are generally better than those towards the front of the beach, and those that are down close to the water level, better than those up above a slope.

We often talk about sunken treasure ships, but here is a story about a sunken car that turned out to be quite a treasure. It was broght up from 160 feet deep in a lake and was sold for over $300,000.

First Artifact I Found With Metal Detector in 2011.

I think it is probably a heavy-duty chisel.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is continuing out of the south. The seas will be calm for the next few days. It looks like beach conditions will continue to deteriorate. I'll probably be dropping my beach conditions rating back to a 1 very soon.

You'll have to hunt hard to find any good spot on the beach. I hope I'm wrong. It looked like 2011 was going to get off to a better start.

Happy hunting,

12/31 Report - Conditions Upgrade - Happy New Year!

Cut Treasure Beach This Morning.

I met Oliver Sudden this morning two times. The first was when visiting this treasure beach on the Treasure Coast. I was here a couple days before and there was nothing but sand piled deep everywhere, but this morning when I visited, Oliver Sudden, there it was - a big cut that went for about four hundred yards. The cut was two or three feet high.

As we end the year, here is one of the big metal detector finds of 2010. It is a Roman helmet that brought in over $3,000,000.

The first link talks about the find. And the second gives the price it brought in.

The last few days I've talked a bit about hunting modern coin holes because sometimes other things pop up in between the coins.

I spent most of my time today cleaning out some coin holes.

Here is what came out of two holes today.

Some of Today's Coin Hole Finds.

As you can see there were a mixture of things in the coin holes.

Part of those finds came from the hole that I showed yesterday. As I mentioned, the area directly below the cut yesterday was clean. I worked to the south of there yesterday. I wasn't planning on working that spot today, but I was going by and stopped and noticed that the water had pealed away a little more sand from the cut so I worked the area directly below the cut. The coin hole had been replenished so I couldn't pass it up.

I then visited the treasure beach that I am showing today and saw a surprising cut that ran for a few hundred yards. I couldn't pass it up either and spent some time checking it out too.

And then I was going to quit for the day but was passing another spot that I thought I would at least take a look at so I would know what was going on there, and it was too cut too pass up too, so I hunted some more.

Forecast and Conditions.

Well, to sum it up, I saw three improved beaches today. Two were old cuts that were improved over night, and the other was a brand new huge cut where there was none before. Although there are places that are not cut yet, there are so many cut beaches that an upgrade in my Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Conditions Rating Scale from a 1 to a 2.

I've been talking about the modern coin holes, and there are still some good modern coin holes available, but now the erosion is hitting additional places, including some of the treasure beaches. While I don't believe the treasure beaches producing well, yet, by the cuts that I have seen, the conditions are better and the cobs have to be getting close. I sure wouldn't be surprised if some have already been found.

Even though the wind is out of the southeast and the seas are not predicted to increase much in the next day or two, sand levels are already low at some beaches and may continue to improve in spots.

You'll still have to hunt for those good spots, but I'm confident there will still be some out there.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, December 30, 2010

12/30 Report - Low Tide Hunting Around Old Cuts

Cut at Low Tide This Morning.

A few days ago the beach south of Jensen Beach was eroded as shown in this photo. There were a lot of clad coins at this cut. One reader worked it a couple of days and took out a lot of clads.

I visited the spot this morning to see what it looked like now that the wind had shifted. As you can see the cut is still there but there wasn't much to be found directly in front of the cut.

What I did is what I talked about yesterday. I went outside the area that had already been cleaned up and found a good number of coins. The area south of the cut running for a couple hundred yards produced a coins in the wet sand at low tide.

There was a huge log (about 40 feet long and big around) that moved a couple hundred yards down the beach. That illustrates how quickly and how far wood or sections of a hull could travel along a beach.

I'm often surprised to find how many coins can still be found on our beaches. You just have to hunt out the right spots. I know that clad coins are not exciting, but they are out there. And when you find good concentrations of coins you can often find something else more interesting in between in them.

My experience this morning illustrated very well what I talked about yesterday.

After visually scanning a beach to find the best areas to check first, do some sampling. Run a loose scan and check to see what kinds of things are in the area. If the sample provides evidence of more good things in the area, tighten your pattern and hunt it better. If the sample isn't promising, move on and sample some other areas until you find a more promising place to hunt.

That applies to any type of beach hunting. Sample some areas before you decide where to focus your time.

The more you look at and the more you know about what is going on, the better off you will be.

Even knowing where the cuts are now, even if they are filling in to some extent, is a good thing to know. They can easily cut again. When there is a lot of sand on a beach, it will take more for it to cut.

When you dig a hole, notice the layers, if there are any. Become familiar with the type of sand that usually contains different types of targets at a particular beach.

You'll often notice that the coins you dig tend to be in a particular layer. That was the case today. The top layer was brown sand and then under that was a hard-packed grey layer of sand.

Here is a link to an article about a Chinese counterfeiting ring. They are manufacturing a variety of silver coins. The article has a lot of photos including the dies used to make the coins. I found it interesting.

Silver has been doing even better than gold on a percentage basis.

Here is a link to an article on metals investing.

Forecast and Conditions.

As I mentioned the wind shifted and is now out of the southeast. Seas are relatively smooth, which gives you a chance to easily hunt the wet sand at low tide.

There are some cuts left and even though they are partially filled, you can still take advantage of whatever is left in the low tide areas around the cuts.

It doesn't look like there will be much change this week.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

12/29 Report - $100 Coin & Hunting Strategies

Metal Detector Find.

$100 gold coin? Nope! A hundred pesos. I'm sure you can see how it could easily be mistaken.

I dug this one up years and years ago and remember the moment still. When I first saw the coin emerge from the sand in my scoup there were a few seconds when I thought it might be a $100 gold coin. That is why I still remember it I guess.

I dug up another like it years later and still have it but don't remember digging it. That time I knew what it really was right away.

There are some things you dig up that can excite or mystify you for a while. That is one thing that makes the detecting hobby so great.

Yesterday I talked about hunting the dry sand for a recent drop. Hunting recent drops can be very different from hunting older coins and items on a beach. If they were lost in the dry sand, you will generally find recent drops where they were lost and they won't be very deeply buried. The trick to hunting recent drops is to find locations where a lot of good things are lost but not already found by someone else.

Many good beaches for finding recent drops are heavily hunted. That means you'll either have to beat the competition to the item or find what the other hunters missed.

One thing you can do is adjust your hunting time so that you are not hitting the beach right after everyone else has been there. But even if you do follow the other hunters, you can always find some things they missed.

To do that, one thing you can do is hunt where they didn't hunt. I once mentioned how when I was visiting the Pensacola area, I stopped at a picnic beach by the roadside. I could quickly tell that someone regularly detected that beach very thoroughly. There was not the smallest piece of junk in an area of the shallow water bordering some picnic tables. The area was detected so well, that I could tell that it was a pretty good spot to detect.

Knowing that no one can detect the whole beach that well (there just isn't enough time), I tried to define the area the other detectorist detected. It turned out that they covered a square which was defined by two pilings that were out in a few feet of water. They detected inside that rectangle very thoroughly, so I decided to detect the area outside that rectangular area. In less than a half hour, I found three gold rings, all within a few feet of the detected area, but just outside the detected rectangle.

The point of that is, if someone has already detected the area, look for any signs that indicate where they detected and detect where they didn't. Sometimes that is easy. You can see their footprints and holes.

But you don't have to look for an undetected area. See if you can tell how well the area has been detected. Detect the same area for a little while and see what the others left.

Everyone will leave something, either they will miss something, or they will leave some areas undetected. The more thoroughly they detect a defined area, the smaller area they will be able to cover. If they are all over the place covering a lot of area, they didn't cover any area very well.

Sample the area to see what other detectorists have done. Look to see if they are leaving trash, iron, bobby pins, aluminum, nickels, deeper items or smaller items. It shouldn't take to long to get an idea of what other detectorists have done and therefore what they were doing and what they might have left behind. I usually get an idea of what type of detector was used and what settings were being used in a relatively short period of time.

After sampling the area and determining what the other detectorists did and what they might have missed, I will make a decision. If I decide to stay in that area, I'll target the things that they were likely to miss. Often I'll adjust my settings and scan pattern and focus on smaller and deeper targets.

I'll often hunt very trashy areas that other people avoid because of the trash. People using discrimination can miss a lot of good stuff.

There are usually places that are missed even on heavily hunted beaches that you can learn to take advantage of. Trash cans, cabanas, etc. can cause some detectorists to miss spots. You can learn to detect those spots that were missed. I won't get into all the details of how to do that.

It wasn't my intent to talk about that today, but I got started and just ran on. I'll have to get to my intended topic some other time.

Forecast and Conditions

The wind is still from the northwest. And the seas are running about three feet, and will continue that way for a few more days. I don't see anything that would indicate any significant change in conditions real soon.

There are a few spots where there are old cuts and a few cuts that come and go. Some of those contain holes of modern clad coins.

As far as hunting shipwreck artifacts and cobs, conditions aren't good at all. I haven't heard anything from Jupiter lately. I wouldn't be surprised if it is an exception.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

12/28 Report - Seal Ring and Griding

Seal Ring Found with Metal Detector.

I'm still hoping someone might have some ideas about the seal.

As I mentioned some time last week, someone asked me what is the proper way to work a beach. There isn't any one right way, but there are a lot of strategies and methods that apply to different situations.

The dry back beach that has not been affected by moving water for a long time is one situation. The low tide zone that is affected daily by moving water is another.

What you are hunting also makes a difference.

So lets look at one fairly specific situation today. I'll start with one of the easiest.

Assume you heard that a valuable ring has been lost near a volleyball court in front of a hotel. In that case the area to be searched is relatively small and well defined. Unless someone already found it, it is probably buried under a inch or two of sand where it was lost.

In that case you simply want to thoroughly cover the defined area. Mark the corners of the defined area and walk in a straight line back and forth until the entire area has been covered. For those of you who don't already know, that is called griding.

You should realize that the natural tendency is to walk too fast. so that your coil on one sweep leaves some area uncovered between sweeps. You need to keep your sweep pattern tight. In fact it is best to overlap successive sweeps. I've had detectors that I would swear detect a larger area than the size of the coil, but generally speaking, the greatest detecting depth is under the center of the coil, and the area under the edges of the coil do not detect as deeply. Therefore, targets under the edge of the coil could easily be missed if buried even a few inches.

Before starting, check the settings on your detector. Generally I would advise against discrimination. A trash item can cause a detector using discrimination to miss a good item that is either under the trash item or very near to the trash item.

There are situations when discrimination can be helpful, but generally speaking I say to use as little as possible.

One good way to check your settings is to use a test target similar to what you are hunting. Put the test target on the ground. For purposes of selecting your settings, you probably won't have to bury the test target.

Adjust your settings until you get the best response from the test target. It won't matter if you cover every inch of sand and put your coil over the target if your discrimination is too high or the other settings on your detector will not detect the target. Make sure you can detect the target before wasting your time.

You might have to adjust your settings very precisely to easily detect small gold chains or other small gold or platinum items.

If you are looking for small pieces of gold, you certainly don't want much discrimination.

I advise practicing at home with various types of targets so you know what your detector will and will not do with the adjustments set to various settings.

Sweep your coil over the test target at different speeds and adjust your sweep speed until you get the best signal from the test target. Practice that sweep speed and use it during your search.

Again, this is one of the simplest scenarios. Griding is a common technique, but it is important to remember to do it well. Don't get sloppy, don't sweep too fast.
Sweep at the best speed and overlap successive sweeps.

Griding can be used for other situations when you want to cover every square inch, but for other types of hunting it would often not be efficient. There is too much sand and too little time to cover every grain.

It is important to learn where to spend your time. To do that you need to learn to read the beach. I'll talk more about that and other strategies and techniques in the near future.

An article in he New York Times suggests that museums should sponsor and conduct digs.

Here is the link.

I wanted to elaborate on one paragraph of this article.

Sadly, when an object is taken from its original site without documentation, context is lost. And in archaeology, context is everything: it tells us an object’s age, its likely place of manufacture and its everyday use. This lack of information makes it harder for collectors to determine if an object is fake, while even authentic works, in the absence of the context of their discovery, become mute witnesses to our irresponsible acquisitiveness.

The situation beach hunters face is that items found on a beach have no context that would tell you much. A beach by it's nature is a very dynamic system. Things do not stay put. They are washed in and out, and separated from their source and other items that they were originally associated with. You are very fortunate when an object is marked in any way that helps you identify the item.

Forecast and Conditions.

Not much has changed recently and it doesn't look like there will be for the next several days. The surf web site is projecting 2.5 foot seas for that long.

Conditions aren't terrible, but for hunting treasure cobs they are poor. The wind is still out of the north/northwest. It is certainly cold.

I think the beaches are still interesting, but not easy.

Happy hunting,

Monday, December 27, 2010

12/27 Report - Beach Erosion Illustration

Cut South of Fort Pierce Inlet This Morning.

I showed this cut a few days ago. The cut has been going up and down every few days.

Just a few days ago the cut was about six feet deep. Today the cut was only about three feet deep.

There is about three feet of new mushy sand over the previous harder surface, so most of the coins here are now down a few feet and out of detector range.

When I arrived this morning, a guy asked what I was looking for. I hadn't turned my detector on yet, and I told him I was looking for coins. He said there is nothing here, and explained this was all fill sand and I wouldn't find anything there. I thanked him for the information and continued to check out the beach.

I don't know if he really thought there was nothing there and was really trying to help me or if he was just trying to discourage me from detecting there. In either case, don't put too much stock in what strangers tell you. Some may not know what they are talking about, and some will see you as competition and try to deceive you.

The primary reason I wanted to show this beach today is that it provides a very good illustration.

A beach next to an obstacle like a inlet or jetty will be cut off from the natural flow of sand from the north and will therefore erode easily.

While watching this beach erode a few days ago when it was really getting beat up, I noticed that the water coming in along the jetty gets deflected off of the jetty and towards the south. The maximum force of the waves was funneled towards the south focused on a point near the center of the cut.

Illustrated Beach Similar to The One Shown in the Photo Above.

In my diagram the circle labeled "A" is a point near where the waves would hit with near maximum size and force. On the real beach that is what was happening and a coin hole deveoped near that point.

You'll seldom if ever see a really good cut that is not curved. The big cuts are usually created by water that comes in and slices along the front of the bank like shown by the lines at the right of the diagram labeled "B." That slices the sand at the bottom of the bank and washes it down the slope.

That would be very different from waves that go directly up the slope, hit the bank, and then recede directly down the slope in the same path. That is illustrated by in my diagram by the lines labeled "C".

Waves that directly hit the beach at a ninety degree angle, generally build the beach rather than erode, as do waves hitting from the southeast, which tend to push sand back up onto the beach as usually happens in the summer.

I started another topic a few days ago, I'll get back to it some time soon.

I was really surprised by how many people checked into this blog over the holidays. It seems my readers are really devoted.

On eBay there is a listing for a small vial of cochineal recovered from the 1715 Cabin Wreck Site in 1992. That is the first time that I've noticed cochineal from the 1715 Fleet offered for sale on eBay.

The seller tells about the cochineal and a bit about how he recovered it. You might want to read the listing.

I had a little trouble with the blog editor today. I kept losing text. It seems a bit messed up.

I got word that there was a good cut and coin hole down at Jensen Beach a day or two ago.

It looks like today some of the old cuts have filled in, but it also looks like there are still some interesting spots out there.

I picked up an old nickel on a beach that is very heavily over-detected today. Something good must have happened to bring that coin within range. That is always a good sign to watch an area like that for future development.

It is cold out there, especially in the morning.

The seas are only going to be four feet or less for a couple of days, so don't expect much to happen in that time period.

Like I said, there are some interesting spots out there, although in my opinion the overall condition of the Treasure Coast treasure beaches is not good for finding cobs.

There are still some decent coin holes filled with modern coins to be hunted.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, December 25, 2010

12/25/2010 - Merry Christmas!

Wishing you the best during this holiday season in which we are reminded what is truly important in life.

Here is my Christmas card to you.

The best treasure is the treasure in your heart.

Peace and Joy!

Friday, December 24, 2010

12/24 Report - Christmas Eve 2010

View South of Sebastian Inlet Thursday Morning.

Photo by Ken A.

Ken says there were lots of shells but not much else.

I do like the look of those dips.

The remains of the Confederate gun boat Peedee are to be salvage from the bottom of the Peedee River.

Place names are often good clues.

View in Front of the Holiday Inn in Vero Wednesday.

Photo by Timothy T. who says there was nothing to be found there.

Stolen artifacts and fakes from Iraq were seized by German authorities. Interesting article.

Here's the link.

And here is another article with some photos on the same topic.

Ornate Silver Bead Found.

This is the second one like this that I found this week - just days apart. I thought it was kind of unusual to find two alike, especially being so small. Looks like maybe a bracelet came apart.

I need to pick up where I left off yesterday, but it is Christmas Eve, and I'm going to keep it short today. I pick up again where I left off after Christmas.

Forecast and Conditions.

After a peak of about 5.5 feet Friday morning, the seas will back off for the rest of the week.

The wind is still out of the north and there are still a few remaining cuts and heavily hit eroded places to hunt - mostly for modern objects. A few old objects are surfacing in some of those areas.

I'm actually going to upgrade conditions to a 2 rating on my five point beach conditions scale. The upgrade is based upon two things: the continuing north winds and movement of sand, and the continuing erosion of a few spots (those with obstructions to the natural flow of sand.)

I've been primarily picking up modern coins, but there are a lot of them at some spots, and there are a few older things occasionally mixed in.

Merry Christmas,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

12/23 Report - Side Scan Sonar

Side Scan Sonar Image of Wreck in 200 Feet of Water.

That is one sharp image of a ship off Key West obtained by The Dare on a test run while preparing to head up north to find the “Lost Merchant.”

The image and information was obtained via email from the Fisher organization.

Someone asked me the other day how to properly hunt a beach. That is an interesting question. Unfortunately a good answer to that question would be long and perhaps surprisingly complex.

Let me begin to address the question even though I'm sure I can't do the question justice in a single post and probably not in a hundred posts. I'm not sure I can do the question justice at all, but I'll give it a shot and maybe something of value will come of it.

Before I begin, let me say that I'm really not suggesting that I have the "right" answer, and I want you to know that the following is nothing more than my opinion. Maybe it will help someone, if only to convince them that I don't know what I'm talking about.

First there is no single way to properly hunt a beach. There are different strategies and techniques, and some can be applied to one situation while others might better be applied to other situations.

Some of the most important factors to consider are what you want to find, where you are hunting, and the local beach conditions. Much of the intent of this blog is to provide information on beach conditions.

Before really getting into the meat of the subject, I need to provide some background.

Success can not be guaranteed on any one outing, but you can over the long haul learn to succeed more frequently. It is about probabilities and doing what ever you can to improve the probability of success on any given outing.

There is way too much beach for anyone to cover completely. Therefore, it becomes a matter of spending your time in the right places. Some places are much more productive than others.

First you have to define your own idea of success. Some people want to find things with the highest economic value, other people want to find old things, other people want to find things of historic interest, and other people are perfectly content to go out, get some exercise and fresh air and pick up a few coins.

Your goals should match your personality, goals and circumstances. Most people would like to find something like the treasure of the Atocha, but most people do not have either the optimism, patience, and abilities and resources or commitment to do something like that. High value targets like that usually require tons of perseverance and commitment, and many people would give up way before finishing the task.

Besides personality, situation plays a role. If you want to pan or mine for gold and live in Fort Pierce, your situation doesn't match your goals very well.

Where you live has a lot to do with what you should target, unless you are willing to travel or move.

If you live in South Florida, you should be able to learn to do well hunting modern jewelry. If you live on the Treasure Coast, hunting modern jewelry is not as economically productive as in South Florida.

The Treasure Coast has the famed shipwrecks but hunting shipwreck coins and artifacts isn't easy. Unless you dive and work with someone that has a lease,you are pretty much confined to hunting the beaches, and most of the time the conditions are not good for that.

My main point of all of that is that you have to have some clarity about your own personality, your situation, what you are willing to invest in time, effort, and expense, and your goals before you can maximize the probability of success however you define it.

If you don't have too much patience and easily get discouraged or give up, set goals that are realistic and more easily achievable. Expand the number of things that you target. And learn to enjoy the hunt.

Given all of that, once you decide what you want to find then you can begin to learn the best ways of being successful in finding that particular kind of thing. There are different things to find, and many of them require different strategies an techniques.

One of the things you can do to improve your success rate is to be adaptable. Learn to hunt a variety of different types of things. That requires more knowledge and a variety of different strategies and techniques.

Learn to identify the conditions that are best for different types of hunting and adapt to the current conditions. Take what the beach is offering.

I'll pick up on that in future posts.

Forecast and Conditions.

Not much has changed since yesterday as far as I can see. The beach looks the same. The wind is still coming from the north. There are some spots where you can find bunches of modern coins.

Friday looks encouraging. The seas will be increasing to around 6.5 feet Friday morning. That should improve the spots where there is already some erosion, and there are already a few of those.

Happy hunting,

12/22 Report - Only two more shopping days.

Beach at John Brooks This Morning.

Most of the beach that I saw this morning was not eroded. Here is a rather typical beach at John Brooks park. I liked the little run-off ravine created by the water running from behind the pile of new sand.

Of course that means that the water was pretty high this morning. Unfortunately, it wasn't high enough to hit the back dunes at any of the places where I was.

More on other beach spots below.

I ran across a web site that shows a shipwreck that was discovered off of Cape Cod when it was spotted from an airplane. It appears to be a schooner.

The article talks about how the weather recently uncovered the wreck. It also mentioned a couple of other wrecks in the same area, including one that guarded Boston Harbor the night of Paul Revere's famed ride.

Here is that link.

The British ship, the HMS Somerset, wrecked about three years after the night of Paul Revere's ride.

Here is a nice web site about the Somerset, which includes some photos of the wreck, or what remains of it, sticking out of the sand.

Here is that link.

You can back up from that link and read more about the Somerset if you wish.

Now, back to beach conditions.

One Small Cut This Morning.

This cut was only about a foot high and ran for about fifty yards. It produced a few modern coins.

But there were better cuts to be found even though most spots were not cut.

The beach just south of Fort Pierce inlet was really eroding this morning. The drop-off was about six feet and ran for over a hundred yards.

Unfortunately we paid for all of that sand to be dumped there and now, just a few months later, it is gone again already. I suppose they can't wait to pay someone to bring in more sand that might last a few months.

Beach South of Fort Pierce Inlet This Morning.

In some places the newly planted sea oats were falling in.

Overall, I would say that conditions are mixed. A few spots show heavy erosion, some spots a little erosion, and many of the beaches no erosion.

In recent posts I've been mentioning how areas to the south of obstructions such as inlets, sea walls, and rocks are eroding while most places are not.

From the look of the area just south of Fort Pierce inlet, I would say that my best bet for finding cobs would be just south of Jupiter Inlet. I haven't personally been there to see it, but would guess that from how the beach south of the Fort Pierce inlet is acting, Jupiter could well be doing something similar. If I had the time, I would check it out.

You can use the link of the site that shows photos of the Jupiter beaches from my main page.

I've been finding good numbers of modern coins and jewelry on the Treasure Coast, but not much in the way of shipwreck cobs. My treasure beaches rating scale is based upon the probability of finding cobs. As I said, that in my opinion is not a high probability right now other than perhaps down at Jupiter, and, like I said, I haven't had the opportunity to check that out but recent reports say that shipwreck items were being found down there.

Another spot that I hear has been eroding is the area south of Rio Mar. It might be worth checking.

Some nice sized waves were really banging the front of the beach this morning. You could see it really churning things up.

I'm somewhere between a 1 and 2 on my Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Conditions Scale. (The scale is a five point scale with one being poor and five outstanding.) There is some improvement occurring. I don't know if it will be sustained and continue to a point that will produce cobs in numbers or not.

At times like this it is worth at least scouting around to see what different areas are doing.

Oh, I did find one little sparkly item that will serve as a Christmas present for someone today.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

12/21 Report - Silver Tumbaga Bar & Coin Auction

7 Pound Silver Bar for Sale on Ebay.

The seller doesn't tell where the bar was obtained. It has some nice markings on it. Maybe you can identify the source from the markings.

I received a couple of emails yesterday that included a little information that I'll pass along.

First, Mark E. says that he was picking up flakes of iron in front of the McClarty Museum that the museum personnel thought might be from a cannon.

Second, Jim M. said that south of the Rio Mar beach access, down around the bend, there was some erosion.

Otherwise, Mike and Jim both suggested that the beaches there were pretty clean.

That is a place that really changed after the hurricanes of 2004 and the subsequent beach renourishment. Before that there were eroding banks at the back of the beach that produced US silver coins. That was quite a few years ago now.

And today Mike T. said the gorget-like object that I showed yesterday might be a backing plate from watch FOB. I thought at one time the smaller ones, that were simiar to the posted object, might be boot heal plates or gun butt plates, but I've decided against those ideas now for various reasons. For one thing, I think the distribution of holes would be different. And also the plate is too light weight to be effective on a boot heal.

I've been showing some items that I can't identify lately. There is often not much economic value to items like that, but they can be valuable in another way. If you can figure out what they are for sure, it gives you an idea of what went on at that location and that might give you some clue of other items you might find in the area.

The information-value of finds is often more than the economic value. That is often true of plain junk. That is one reason I don't like to use discrimination. Even junk can tell you something about the area and where you should be looking.

As I've said before, if light materials are accumulating in an area, that is probably not the best area for hunting heavier materials like gold. That is one example of how the type of junk you are finding might tell you if you should move to another area or not. But if you use too much discrimination, you won't get that information.

The Bowers and Marena rare coin auction will be held January 4,2011 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. Near1y 1,700 lots of rare and desirable United State and Colonial-era coinage will be auctioned.

Here is the link for highlights of the auction and additional information.

Forecast and Conditions.

The seas are predicted to remain about the same until Friday when they will increase to about 5.5 feet. Again, that isn't that much and I wouldn't expect much change.

It sure has been cold this year.

The continual north winds that we have been having should help move some of that sand in the shallow water in front of the beach. Otherwise there isn't too much encouragement, especially with all the beach renourishment that is planned.

You really have to work for it these days.

After Christmas I'll probably do a series of posts on cobs.

Happy hunting,

Monday, December 20, 2010

12/20 Report - Gorget(?) & Seminole Information

Photo of Gorget? Found by Metal Detector.

Yesterday I mentioned a metal Seminole Indian find. Here is what might be a gorget. I don't know for sure what it is, but in my opinion that is one of the best suggestions that I've heard so far.

It is about three inches across, from point to point, and was found in an area that would have been long inhabited and where battles took place up into the early 1800s.

If you have any ideas on the item's identity, I would be glad to hear from you.

There are some smaller ones too - basically the same shape but more deep than wide - closer to the shape of a half circle.

Looks like different phases of the moon. But I think that is coincidental.

Back to the find that I mentioned yesterday. Although the Seminoles sometimes wore silver bands around a turban as described in the article found through the link below, the item I was talking about yesterday was not the band, but rather a plume holder for feathers worn with a headdress. I don't know if I used the right words to describe the object, but those are the words that came to me. It looked like it would hold three large feathers.

On a side note, the plume holder, or whatever it should be called, had a hole in the middle of it made by the detectorist during recovery. Be careful when you dig up items. You can't be too careful. Almost anything can be damaged. Nice coins can be easily scratched by a scoop.

The web site says that the preferred metal of the Seminoles was silver, and they sometimes worked silver coins to create other items. They sometimes also used German silver and other metals for the same purposes.

Here is a link to a web site on Seminole Indian dress. It will take you directly to a section discussing their silver work.

You might want to look at some of the other topics on that web site.

Notice the gorgets described in the article.

David J. submitted the following link to a digital book, The Seminoles of Florida, by Minnie-Moore Willson (1910 edition). David's submission provided a lead that helped me find the above link.

You might find it interesting. There are a lot of things that can be found on the Treasure Coast.

Here is article on big time international looting. Not only are the looters looting, but it seems they are also producing forgeries that are being sold on auction sites.

You really have to be cautious if you buy antiques these days.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is out of the west now and the seas are building to about 5.5 feet later today (Monday). I'll try to get out sometime soon to see what is happening. My guess is not much.

The seas will be tapering off the next two days.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, December 19, 2010

12/19 Report - Spindle Whorls & Jupiter Inlet

I was browsing through eBay last night and noticed an object that reminded me of the small stone cylinder that I showed in a post a few days ago. The object that I saw on eBay was a Precolumbian spindle whorl. That is something that I didn't know anything about.

With my curiosity aroused I did some additional research on spindle whorls and found that they were made of a wide variety of types of material including sandstone. The mystery object that I showed looked to be made of a rough stone like sandstone.

My research then led to a great web site that shows photos of a number of sandstone whorls and a lot (and I do mean lot) of other types of artifacts, including some coins.

Here is the link to that web site. You might find it interesting.

While I do not believe that my object is a spindle whorl, I do believe it could possibly be one. I haven't positively identified the item yet, but seeing the example of a similarly shaped spindle whorl opened up that possibility to me and also helped me to see the object in a new light. It "might" be older and of a different use than anything I originally considered.

I often say that finding an object is just the beginning. The research that follows is often more fun and more educational than the original find. Not only did I find a nice new web site full of information to browse, but I learned a lot in the process of researching my item even if I haven't yet concluded what it is. There is more research and learning ahead for me on that subject, and I'm glad I learned a little something about spindle whorls.

The same web site offers a large number of photos of found coins. Here is the beginning of the post-medieval coin section.

Quite a nice web site for browsing British archaeological finds. Too bad the US educational/scientific community doesn't do such a good job of making things easily accessible for the tax-paying public. There are enough graduate students sitting around wasting time on public assistance that could easily do something worthwhile.

While researching another object (a tin ornament from a Seminole head dress found a number of years ago by a now deceased detectorist near the area of the original fort of Fort Pierce) I located a nice paper discussing the movement of the Jupiter inlet. The article is from The Tequesta and contains a lot of good and interesting information that you might want to read.

Here is the link.

The account of the Jupiter inlet is found on pages 14 - 16. The old location is mentioned as well as the new location of sand that was moved from the old inlet to new location.

There are a lot of good hints there.

I was originally trying to locate a good photo of a tin headdress ornament and failed to do so. If anyone can point me to a picture of Seminole head-dresses, I would sure like to hear from you.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is out of the northwest again. This is a cool front, not like the last cold front. Seas will increase to about five feet on Monday. That is some improvement but won't be sustained.

It's just pretty much more of the same.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, December 18, 2010

12/18 Report - Alexander the Great Gold Coin

350 BC Gold Coin Found With Metal Detector.

My research seems to indicate that this one is from around the time of Alexander the Great.

I guess it is a good time to remind you to keep your good finds in a bank safe deposit box. Don't keep anything good at home.

I might have shown this one before. I forget.

You can find all kinds of coins on the beaches of Florida. This is a really old one. It was found mounted. I cut the bezel out of the photo.

I should get a better photo some time.

The ring I found yesterday was silver (Fort Pierce platinum, haha). Some places tend to give up more expensive jewelry than others. Fort Pierce isn't at the top of the glitz and glamor scale.

Most of the modern coins I dug yesterday were six inches to a about 16 inches deep. There was a real dense layer hard-packed layer that it seemed most of the coins were laying on. Then there was a varying depth of new sand on top of that.

Spots tend to change day to day. The best time is right after the erosion occurs. When the hole starts to fill again, you'll have to dig deeper holes.

I noticed something yesterday, and I can't remember what it was now, that reminded me that objects in the surf along the coast of Florida more often than not tend to travel south.

Kevin Reilly, now deceased I'm sad to say, once threw a bunch of marked metal tokens about the size of a coin into the ocean below the Hillsboro Inlet. Detectorists found a number of them later, and they were all south of where they were thrown in.
I knew at the time what the tokens were made of but I forget that now unfortunately.

How and where objects travel depends on many factors, such as the density of the object, shape of the object, and a variety of other factors.

I ran across a coin forum that talks a good bit about treasure coins. One thing that you might find interesting is the discussion on pricing of shipwreck coins.

Here is the link to that topic.

You might find it worth browsing.

Forecast and Conditions.

Not much new here except that I was wondering the other day how conditions were up by Sebastian inlet. Well I got an answer. Ken A. wrote in and said he was up there and it wasn't eroded. He had some fun anyhow. He also mentioned that they are planning on dredging up that way again soon. I guess that means that Jupiter Inlet beach will be replenished, and I heard about Indian River County replenishing again soon. It looks like everything will be buried by that crap sand again, and it might last a few weeks. I guess they like to spend tax-payer dollars and watch it get washed into the ocean. As I showed yesterday, a lot of the fill sand at Fort Pierce is gone again. All of that dredged sand will cover a lot of the old stuff again.

With all of the discouraging news about upcoming dredge and fill operations, it wo't be easy. Hopefully we'll finally get some good erosion and some good hunting before that occurs.

Sometimes you really have to hunt it out. Right now, as I've been showing there are some recently eroded spots, but they are few and far between.

The wind is out of the southwest and the seas are down around two feet. That isn't much. You have to work with what you have. With the low tides, it gives you an opportunity to get out a little further than normal. Check the low tide areas for any little erosion or dips.

People have manage to find a few things lately.

Also, get a little creative and try something different. There are things to do beside hitting all of the same old spots and I'm still often surprised by what is till out there.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12/15 Report - Wedgewood, Railroad Spikes, and Jupiter Inlet Beach

Wedgewood Pot Found Along a Treasure Coast Waterway.

Don't bother with those expensive stores if you are thinking about antique Wedgewood for Christmas. Just take a walk along one of the Treasure Coast waterways. You might find something unexpected like the pot shown in this photo.

Wedgewood pottery was first made in 1759. I would guess that this one is a much later piece.

I occasionally remind people that there are places other than the ocean beaches to hunt and there are all kinds of different things that can be found.

I can see why people like Wedgewood. This pot should clean up nicely.

Photo of a Couple Railroad Spikes.

I thought I'd show these to maybe help you recognize railroad spikes and help you tell the difference from shipwreck spikes.

I recently showed a photo of a spike that was up for auction on eBay that seemed like it might have been flattened out to be used as a knife. Fred B. had some other thoughts on that. Maybe it wasn't a reshaped spike after all.

Here is what Fred had to say.

"Years ago, bricklayers used a tool similar to the "neat spike". It is called a line pin, the line is wrapped around the upper part of the pin. The blade of the line pin is pushed in the soft mortar joint and the line is strung to the pin on the other end of the wall being lay-ed and the bricks are lay ed to the line. If the mortar is already hard, the line pin is then driven into the mortar joint with a masons hammer and the line is then pulled tightly to the pin in the other end.
The key is having a tight line, to ensure the line is straight and there is no sag.

They now have completely different pins and the line is no longer stored on the pin.
I have been trying to find pictures for you but not had any luck, I actually used some of the pins 40 years ago as a bricklayer."

Proper identification of artifacts isn't always easy, but you can learn a lot in the process.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is still coming from the northwest. The high tides are decreasing, as are the seas in general. The seas will only be around two or three feet. Again, that should provide some opportunities to get out in the low tide zones.

From time to time I've been mentioning the areas south of the inlets or other obstructions to the flow of sand such as rocks or sea walls as good places to check.

I haven't been to Jupiter for quite some time myself, but it seems that the area south of the inlet has eroded and has been producing shipwreck coins and artifacts. Tom Guidus wrote and said that is true, but he also said that the dredge pipes are already arriving. Sounds like you probably don't have much time left to work that beach.

Tom also sent this link to a photo of the beach there.

It would be a good idea to keep checking those areas with obstructions, as well as any of those isolated little cuts you might be able to find.

Stay Warm,

Monday, December 13, 2010

12/14 Report - Religious Artifact Found & Santa Discovered

Nice Metal Detector Find From an Area Bordering the Treasure Coast.

Photo submitted by Will B. who found this great item. I really like religious artifacts like this.

I had a religious medallion from a 1715 Fleet site that was so encrusted that I thought it was a coin. I kept it with a bunch of coins that needed cleaned for the longest time. I didn't find out what was actually under the encrustation until I finally started to clean it with a bunch of coins.

If anyone has seen an item like Will's before or can offer any information or an opinion about the item, I'd be happy to receive any thoughts and pass along new information as we learn more.

The oldest known American figurine of Santa has been discovered at the site of an old toy factory in Akron Ohio.

A colonial American steel mill has been discovered. You might not think about steel mills as being part of the American revolution, but they were. The British discouraged enterprises like that because they wanted the colonies to ship raw materials to England where they would manufacture products to be sold back to the colonies. Still those rascally Americans persisted.

Here is the link to the story.

Found Bottles Turned Into Christmas Ornaments.

Here is an idea if you dig old bottles. You can turn them into Christmas tree ornaments. Just put a wire hanger in the open end and paint them if you want. They tend to be large so are probably best for outdoor trees.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is still out of the north/northwest and the cold is pushing in. Seas will be decreasing for the next few days. I don't know, but you might be able to find some cuts out there. I wouldn't expect any real good ones, but still worth looking.

As the seas decrease you might want to scout around for low tide spots that look good.

We have been getting enough wave action that there should be some artifacts to be found.

Let me know what you think of Will's find.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, December 11, 2010

12/11 Report - Neat Spike and Old Rusty Stuff

Really Neat Spike Found by Diver Off of North Carolina.

I saw this spike offered on eBay and thought it was really interesting. The seller inherited the item. He didn't know if it was a spike that was modified to be used as a knife or what. I just thought it was unusual and very nice.

Below is one of those things that looks like nothing more than a rusty lump. I think most beginners automatically discard ugly lumps like this, but that could be a mistake.

First, other objects and other types of metal can adhere to clumps like this. You can occasionally find cobs sticking to clumps or conglomerations. Take a good look before tossing something like this.

In this case, the object appears to have completely dissolved. However, there is a very good impression of the object to be found where the object used to be.

Object Found on a Treasure Coast Beach Last Week.

It looks to me like it used to be a square spike. Looking down the hole that I am showing in the photo, you can see that the hole opens where the head of the spike was.

The original shape of the object is very clearly and cleanly preserved in this clump. When that is the case, you can pour plaster, or better yet, a more flexible rubber compound into the hole. When it hardens remove the cast and you have a mold of the object.

Removing the cast from the clump can be difficult, but it can be done. I like to use a substance that makes a soft and flexible mold so it is easier to remove without damage. You might have an expert do it if you haven't mastered the procedure. You can really get a lot of detail on the cast when it is done well.
I might get time to make a cast of this object someday, and if I do, I'll show the results here.

Antoher Ugly Find From This Week.

I don't know if this one is old or not. So far it falls in the questionable category awaiting cleaning and study. If it is very old, it looks like it might have been a strengthening strap on a box or something. So far I haven't found any holes or markings, but it is still rather heavily encrusted.

Again, I think these types of things are worth taking a second look at. Even if they turn out to be nothing of interest, you can learn a lot in the process.

One point I want to repeat is don't throw things alway until you have looked at them well enought to know that they aren't of any interest. As I've recently discussed, I've held onto things for years before learning the true identity. I'm sorry I've thrown some things away. There are times when I should have kept things. I've never been sorry that I have kept them until I knew what they are.

As always, if you have any ideas or thoughts about these things, I'd love to hear from you.

Divers are finding Precolmbian artifacts in a water-filled crater in Mexico.

Here is the link to that story.

It is good to be somewhat familiar with Precolumbian artifacts. They have shown up on shipwrecks, especially the older ones.

Forecast and Conditions.

I got a report from Timothy T. saying that the cuts at Wabasso are getting bigger. As you know that is one of those places where the fill-sand is eroding. If it was the natural beach it would be a different story, but as it is, it's still worth taking a look.

Conditions are generally pretty much the same around the Treasure Coast. Still a north wind and seas running at four to five feet. I don't think you'll see much change out there.

That means keep on hitting the low tide areas, checking the shell and rock areas, and scouting around for cuts and dips.

Happy Hunting,

Friday, December 10, 2010

12/10 Report - Gold Plated Space Debris? & Rusted Iron Shipwreck Debris

Thin Sheet of Metal Plated With Gold That Tests Good at 18K.

This piece was found on the Treasure Coast, and the photo was submitted by Fred B. Fred said that when he found the piece it was folded over, and when he unfolded it he found the gold plating on what was the inside surface. Fred was wondering if it might be another piece from the space shuttle. I think that is very possible. Electronic components and probably other shuttle parts were gold plated.

Gold is a very desirable and useful metal, even for modern technological applications. Gold is around $1390 per troy ounce now. As I've mentioned, part of that is due to the decline in the dollar.

I once conjectured that someday there will be people going into space to salvage abandoned or wrecked space ships, satellites, etc. much like shipwrecks are salvaged today. I wonder what the most desirable finds will be then. I would guess that it would not be the gold.

Governments will probably want to control the process through salvage leases, and archaeologists will want the old space vehicles to be left alone to float in space in their natural deteriorating condition. The more things change the more they stay the same.

On a more earthly note, Lloyd D., who, in addition to detecting in places like the Bahamas (I posted some of his finds back in May) also looks for sea beans. I mentioned sea beans in a recent post, and Lloyd emailed me to say that the head ranger (some of you probably know Ed, who is also a detectorist) at the McClarty Museum wrote a book on sea beans and sells it at the museum.

The cut that I hunted the other day was present in about the same position last year. Many cuts are seasonal and tend to occur in about the same position on the beach year after year when conditions are right. I know quite a few spots and coin holes that are seasonal like that. That is one reason it is a good idea to write down when and where you find things. A review of your records might suggest hunting spots that would be good to try again this year.

Ol Rusted Iron Item Found Yesterday on the Treasure Coast.

I've recently mentioned how stones are washing up and being left at the top of new sand accumulations. Along with the stones you can sometimes find other items of similar size and density. This photo shows a very rusted iron item that was found where the stones were being deposited.

As I say, keep your eyes open. You never know what might pop up.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is still out of the north/northwest. That has been the same for a few days now. A consistent wind direction like that will have more effect than higher seas that constantly change direction. It is something like a blower. You keep it going in the same spot until a lot of the sand is moved. You wouldn't want to blow the sand in one direction for just a little while and then change where you are blowing because that would just fill the old hole back in. It is something like that with wind direction and the currents. Consistent unchanging conditions can have a larger cumulative effect on beach hunting conditions.

Seas will run about four feet today, so that isn't much change. I wouldn't expect much to change today or this week even though the seas tomorrow might be a foot higher.

Keep checking low tide areas and keep checking those eroded spots.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, December 9, 2010

12/9 Report - A Found Shipwreck Spike, Rust Eating Bacteria, & TV Show Being Made

Photo of a Nice Spike Found Near the Boca Inlet.

I like the detail shown of the head of this spike. Thanks to Andrew G. for submitting the photo of his find.

A new species of rust eating bacteria has been discovered that speeds the deterioration of shipwrecks. Shipwrecks are not underwater museums frozen in time but may deteriorate faster and in ways other than previously thought.

Here is a link about how the Titanic is being affected by rust-eating bacteria.

Metallurgical studies are being conducted on ancient Greek and Roman coins to learn more about ancient trade routes. This is the type of thing that I've mentioned as possibly being applied to cobs and Spanish colonial coins to help further identify those coins.

Here is the link.

I recently was contacted by Engel Entertainment who makes documentary TV shows for networks like the Discovery and History channel. They'll be filming in Florida in January for a new program about archaeology and anthropology.

I received more reports of possible space shuttle metal being found on the Treasure Coast recently as well as other finds.

Forecast and Conditions.

Today I stopped for about an hour of detecting where I found a nice four foot high cut in an out of the way place. Even though it was pretty far from any beach accesses, the cut produced a pocket full of modern coins in less than an hour. A couple of other things were found in between the coins.

I'm surprised that nobody found that cut the other day and cleaned it out. Sometimes they replenish day after day, so maybe someone did get to it before me. Nice deep cuts are always worth at least checking.

I didn't spend much time out today, but did check a couple of other spots where after looking them over, didn't detect.

One thing I'll reiterated today is that there are now some cuts worth checking even though many of the beaches are accumulating a lot of shell sand. The cuts that I saw weren't in the most productive spots, but anytime you can pick up a pocket full of coins it's worth detecting a little. As I said yesterday, other things will occasionally pop up in between the coins, and sometimes they are interesting.

The newly accumulating shell sand might also be worth checking. I noticed what appears to be a fairly large iron artifact found where the larger stones were accumulating near the back of the new sand piles.

I'm fining interesting spots even though the probability of fining cobs is still relatively poor. I would rate conditions as a 1 on my beach conditions rating scale. It wouldn't take too much improvement for me to upgrade to a 2 rating.

Things will occasionally be found. And I wouldn't be totally surprised if a cob or two pops up somewhere.

I have some things to clean, test and identify before I say much more about them.

The seas won't change much through this week if the surf web site are correct.

I'd be checking out any cuts you can find and also any new shell piles or rock lines.

Keep your eyes open.

I've been busy and late on posting. Maybe I'll miss a post or two in the next couple of weeks.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

12/8 Report - Space Shuttle Metal & Local Conditions & Lodging

Metal From Space Shuttle?

When I went back to check who sent this photo, it appears that I somehow managed to lose the original email. Would the sender please send another email so I can credit the photo?

I got an email reporting a number of these types of melted metal finds coming from Corrigan's lately.

I've talked about finding metal from the space shuttle before. Fred B. sent some of his pieces to NASA to be analyzed and provided some good information that is mentioned in my 3/26/2010 post. Fred told about some easy tests you can do on metal like this.

If you want to browse old posts on that subject use the search box for this blog and enter "space shuttle."

Oh, I got a good look at the rocket launch today as I walked north on the beach.

I think people don't use the search box enough.

I've had some requests about lodging on the Treasure Coast. If money is not an issue, places like the Holiday Inn in Vero or the Disney Resort at Sebastian are very well located. Most people want something less expensive though. In the past I asked for suggestions and here are a couple of recommendations that I received.

One person recommended The Sportsman Lodge (

Another person liked camping at the Sebastian Inlet State Park or the Long Point campground about three miles north of Sebastian.

When I lived down south I sometimes stayed at the Mariner Hotel on South Hutchinson Island. I noticed that it is still there but might now be under new management and is now called the Royal Inn.

I suspect that most of the small motels in that area would do the job and are probably relatively expensive.

Forecast and Conditions.

Photo of One Nice Cut Found on the Treasure Coast Today.

Generally, I've been seeing big accumulations of sand and small shells building up on many of the beaches. That is not a good sign for finding cobs, but isn't bad for finding some artifacts and non-metallic objects that will wash up.

Even though many of the beaches are accumulating sand, there are places where you can find a few cuts like the one shown in the photo above. You might have to do some walking to find them. They are relatively rare right now.

It looks like seas will remain around three or four feet for the rest of the week with possibly an increase around next week.

Happy hunting,

Monday, December 6, 2010

12/6 Report - Acid Testing & Beach Combing

Two Plain Silver Rings Found on Treasure Coast Shipwreck Beaches.

These are the type of thing that are very difficult to identify - not much of a design to go by and no markings. The only thing to suggest that they might be from a shipwreck is the location where they were found.

There are metallurgical procedures that can help tell where the metal in the object came from, but other than that, it is very difficult to say.

It seems there was a jeweler on the Nieves. At least that is the conclusion that some have reached. A lot of unfinished jewelry and materials come from that site.

It seems they are producing a lot of 9 carat gold jewelry these days. And the trend is white gold. I prefer yellow - especially that nice buttery looking yellow of 22 k. But the 9 carat gold presents a little difficulty for those who use acid test kits to test or verify the carat value of found gold. Yes, most of this new jewelry will be marked, but if you want to test it, most gold kits come with test acid for 10kt, 14 and 18 kt, but not 9 kt. gold. I don't know why there is so much 9 kt gold jewelry being produced unless it is just the ridiculously high price of gold these days.

I was out of silver test acid and mentioned that one day. One person, I think it was Bill P., wrote in and told me that if you use 18 kt gold test acid on silver, the rubbing will turn blue. That seems to work. Thanks for the tip Bill.

It is good to have test pins which are tipped with known purities of gold, silver and possibly other metals like platinum. Test pins tipped with various purities and types of metals can be purchased from retailers that sell jewelry manufacturing equipment.

Make a rubbing of the known metal (say 14 kt if that is what you suspect the unknown metal might be) on the touchstone and then use the acid. Then after watching the results for the known metal, do the same for the metal to be tested. Compare the results. This procedure will help you further narrow down the purity of the gold or other metal.

For example, if you happen to have a gold ring that you know is 9 kt gold, you might start with a test on 14 kt first. Apply the 14 kt rubbing to the touchstone and apply the 14 kt test acid and observe the results. Then make a rubbing of the unknown gold and test it with the 14 kt acid. You will see that the 9 kt gold dissolves much faster than the 14 kt. So then you can do a test using 10 kt gold and use the 10 kt acid on that sample and then compare the results to the test on the 9 kt gold.

By using various samples of known purity and comparing the results to the unknown sample, you can pretty well arrive at the approximate purity of unknown samples.

If you want to test an object that is 16 kt, but you don't know that yet, you might test it and then compare the results with the results of tests done on 18 kt and 14 kt gold. You'll find that the 16 kt sample will react in a way that shows that it is between 14 and 18 kt.

I know that is not a great description of the process, but hope you get the idea.

Talking about platinum - platinum gives off the smoothest signal on many metal detectors. If you are practiced, you can often identify platinum targets from the signal. The signal will generally be not very loud, but very steady and smooth.

That is the kind of thing that you can learn to do with practice.

I often recommend playing around with your detector at home and using various types of test objects, especially those that you most want to find. You will develop an ear for the various types of signals and also learn how to adjust your detector's settings for maximum effectiveness.

Here is a nice web site by a beachcomber in Vera Cruz. It has lots of nice maps and illustrations and discussion about hunting shipwreck artifacts. The author shows spikes and various other finds. He describes the hunt in a very entertaining way.

Good read.

This web site provides a lot of useful tips for the detectorist. The things you do without a detector can really improve your success when using a detector. Studying maps, history and knowing about the area and having a strategy can really help improve your success rate.

Thanks to metal detectors, fragments of some of the earliest guns ever used one a British battlefield have been discovered.

I gave a link to this story before, but this link provides more on that story.

Forecast and Conditions.

With the cold fronts that have come through and the wind out of the north, there is actually some hope that the protective sand out in front of the beach is being moved. I don't know why, but it seems that north winds have a cumulative effect that gradually improves beach hunting conditions into the winter and spring. I have a theory on that, but it is only a theory.

As you know, the seas are only around five feet and have been that way for a while, so the hunting strategy hasn't changed. I'd still be scouting for dips and hunting the low tide areas.

At least the high tides are still nice and high. That helps some, especially with the non-metallic and artifact hunting.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, December 5, 2010

12/5 Report - Mourning Ring and 1877 Indian Head

Silver Possible Mourning Ring Found On a Treasure Coast Shipwreck Beach.

I think this might be a mourning ring. Mourning rings often held a hair or something and were worn in memory of a deceased loved one. They were especially popular in Great Britain in the 17th through 19th centuries. Often there was an enameled skull somewhere on the ring.

The ring shown in the photo above is silver and seems to have glass over some other type of hard surface. Whatever was held under the glass has evidently deteriorated or disappeared. Sometimes there were miniature portraits under the glass.

It is one of those things that I don't know very much about. I've never personally seen a good similar example to go by.

Below is a photo of a mourning ring containing a woven hair pattern. Of course it has never been exposed to salt water and is in very good condition.

I just don't know about the above example - if it really is a mourning ring or not, and I don't know if it came from a wreck or not. I suspect not.

As always, if you have any thoughts on this I'd like to hear them.

Good Example of a Mourning Ring.

Have you ever heard of a coin that is worth more as a MS-65 than a Proof 65 coin. There is one. It is the 1877 Indian Head Cent. And in MS-65 conditions, worth about $13,000.

Check out your Indian Head finds.

If you'd like to know more about the 1877 and why it is so valuable, check out this link.

A few days ago I gave a link to a site that discussed some of the military training that took place on Hutchinson Island during WW II.

You can still see many signs of that activity. For one thing you'll see concrete foundations where watch towers or other structures once stood. There is one such foundation just north of John Brooks Park just south of the condos.

A variety of junk can be seen to litter the area there. Some of it has been picked up or covered up in recent years.

There is also a concrete foundation on the beach south of the condos I'd say a couple hundred yard or more that has been uncovered on a couple of occasions. People with PI detectors often mention that there detector goes crazy up there. It is because of the buried foundation and rebar.

You can see another concrete foundation about a hundred yards north of the Blind Creek access at the back of the beach. And there are a few others that I can think of.

That is to mention just a few.

There is one of the Treasure Coast shipwreck treasure beach maps now listed on ebay that has a bid and will conclude on Monday. One day remaining.

Not much has changed on the beaches the past few days and I don't have much new to say about that today. I'd still be checking out the low tide areas. Also you might want to hunt out some of those WWII sites. I showed a nice found canteen a few days ago.

I know I keep saying this but shipwreck cob hunting has to improve someday before long.

Until then watch for the non-metallic items and other artifacts.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, December 4, 2010

12/4 Report - Silver Earring & Sea Beans

Silver Earring Found on a Treasure Coast Shipwreck Beach.

This is one of those things that frustrates me. It is so difficult to properly identify unmarked items found on a beach. I think it is just as difficult to properly identify items found in the water around a shipwreck, but I think they often get a pass and quickly conclude that if an item is found near the pile, it is part of the shipwreck. Items can come from intermingled wrecks and wrecks can be contaminated with items from a variety of other sources.

This earring is obviously old, but it is hard to tell how old or where it came from. It is a lot easier when you can find some type of mark on an item, but when there is none, the best thing you can do is try to match the found item with others of known identity. That can take a long time.

The item that I now think is a rove (I posted a photo of the suspected rove a few days ago) took me years to find a photo that gave me a clue.

I don't know how long it will take to learn more about this earring. If you can help in any way, please do.

When I get the time to clean this earring properly, I might be able to find a mark that will help. If I find that it is marked 925 or Sterling, I'll know that it isn't from a Spanish shipwreck. I guess even the absence of a mark can help narrow things down some.

It often takes a lot of work to identify an item, but you usually learn a lot of interesting things in the process.

If you've been to the beach lately, you might have noticed some sea beans. A sea bean is any of a variety of seeds that wash out to sea and then onto a distant beach. Locally they mostly come from places like Central or South America or the Caribbean and end eventually up on our beaches.

One type of sea bean that I've been seeing on our local beaches lately has the more scientific name "Macuna." There are a variety of types of Macuna.

The ones I've been noticing are an inch to an inch and a half across and are bright shiny brown. One type has a black stripe around it.

I just found out today that there are web sites about sea beans, and that some people collect sea beans, and there are some people that make jewelry and other items from sea beans. I knew about sea beans before but I didn't know that some people found them that interesting.

Both gold and silver have been doing well, with gold being near $1400 an ounce and silver near $28.

Note: The troy ounce is the unit of weight for precious metals. One troy ounce equals 1.09711 regular (avoirdupois) ounces.

Forecast and Conditions.

It has been a long time since conditions have been good on the Treasure Coast for finding old shipwreck cobs. I hope you've notice though, how much rougher the water has been on average for the past couple of months. It might not be producing a lot of erosion on the beach, but it should at least be moving some sand in the water and stirring things up a bit. I think that was pretty much proven when the pieces of planks were washed up onto the beach. What is going on on a particular day is important, but there is a longer term cumulative process that takes place during the winter too.

You undoubtedly noticed that a cold front moved through recently and that always reminds me of my best cob hunting day back about twenty years ago when a col front came through. I've mentioned it before, but it was so cold on the Treasure Coast that the bridges on 95 were icing up. I can't remember exactly what year that was, but I remember clearly being out there in the freezing air and finding a good number of cobs. The only other person I saw on the beach that day only lasted a few minutes before he got froze out. I think it was on December 23rd or 24th.

Anyhow, conditions aren't good for finding cobs yet. At least that's my conclusion from the beaches that I've seen. I can't get around to them all. I've been pretty busy lately.

I think it is interesting how some fairly large stones were washed out of the water and deposited high on the beach even while the sand was building on the beach.

I think it is still a hunt and peck kind of world out there on the Treasure Coast beaches. You just have to scratch around to find much of anything.

I do think some artifacts will show up on the front of some of the beaches at low tide.

Happy hunting,

Friday, December 3, 2010

12/3 Report - Non-metallic Treasure Coast Finds

Indian Pot Shard Found on the Treasure Coast.

This one was found at the beach on the surface. It is about an inch and a half square. It is darker on the outside than the inside and the outside shows some of a decorative design. Pot shards showing some ornamentation are almost always a bit more interesting - at least to me.

You might be able to see one line running from near the bottom center at about a forty five degree angle towards the upper left and two parallel lines on the opposite side.

Below you see a view of the other side (inside) of the same shard. Notice the rim edge at the top of the piece.

Another View of the Same Shard.

Some of you might have any interest in pot shards or Indian artifacts, but they do provide information when they show up on a beach. First it tells you that old light items are washing up - or out.

Second it tells you that there has been some activity at the site in past centuries. That is important and useful information.

Many sites where the Spanish camped were also associated with Indians. Sometimes the Indians were involved in salvaging shipwrecks, either of their own free will or otherwise.

We know that the Indians often interacted with the Spanish and both Spanish and Indian artifacts can be found at the same sites. Not too long ago I mentioned a Native American dwelling found in St. Augustine where there was a mission settlement.

Also, if the Indians found a particular site to be of some advantage, so would other people, weather it was a source of water, game, or strategic advantage. That means that it would be a good site to detect.

Use non-metallic signs like this as an indicator of a possibly good detecting site.

While on the subject of non-metallic items, watch out for loose emeralds. They have been found on the Treasure Coast.

Two Raw Emeralds.

They won't necessarily be cut and polished like those found in a ring or other jewelry.

Bottles of vintage champagne were salvaged last summer from an early 19th century shipwreck near Finland. 50 sealed bottles are expected to sell for about $68,000 each.

The previous record price for a bottle of champagne is $21,200 for a 1928 bottle of Krug.

Forecast and Conditions.

Beach conditions remain essentially unchanged. The forecast shows nothing as high as five foot seas for the next several days. That means more of the same.

You'll probably have to really hunt for anything much good. The good spots will be few and far between.

One piece of advice I would give is to take a look at the low tide areas. Also hunt out some of the off-beach spots.

I might give a hint or two on some of those in the next few days.

Happy hunting,