Saturday, October 30, 2010

10/30 Report - Beaches Neither Trick Nor Treat

Beach at Turtle Trail This Morning.

The entire Treasure Coast looks pretty much the same. You can see the remains of cuts from two previous times - slightly larger cuts towards the dunes and in front of that some smaller cuts made last weekend.

The low tide shows a low flat beach front and in front of that a lot of sand. The low tide zone is worth detecting. I'm surprised by how many coins and things are still out there considering how much these beaches are hunted. I would think those heavily hunted areas would be more cleaned out.

I guess they weren't the easiest targets, though. Most are several inches deep and do not give the clearest signals. They are signals that could easily be missed if you are moving too fast or being a little sloppy.

At Corrigans, and from what I've seen, in many places on the Treasure Coast, there was a layer of sand over a layer of shells. The shell layer was typically down a little over six inches. It seemed like the targets were in the top of the layer of shells.

They weren't the easiest targets to dig either. The sand was packed and the water was coming up and filling the holes.

I recommended searching the low-tide areas the other day, and I would still recommend the same. There are coins and things out there.

British cannons and cannon balls were uncovered on the waterfront in Kingston Jamaica. In a rare statement of common sense, they decided to allow development to continue because all of Jamaica could be made into a historic preservation site, which would leave no place to "live and work."

The remains of a Civil War tugboat, the USS Narcissus that exploded in 1866, was uncovered near Edgmont Key. Previously, little of the wreck was visible, but shifting sands have revealed more of the wreck.


So far the beach conditions do not qualify as either a trick or a treat. It's sort of middling. Conditions aren't terrible, and there actually is some possibility of something good popping up, but conditions aren't great either. I'm sticking with my 2 level Treasure Coast Beach Conditions Rating, which as you probably know by now, is on a five point scale.

For the forecast, the peak seas for this weekend are now expected to be about five feet. That probably won't help much, but if we can get just a little improvement on the beach fronts, there should be continued decent hunting in the low tide zone.

I'm not expecting much of an improvement in conditions, but am hoping there is no further deterioration.

There is one hurricane out there. At least I think it is now a hurricane - Tomas. It looks like Tomas is headed for either Cuba or Central America and so will probably not affect us much.

Have fun,

Friday, October 29, 2010

10/29 Report - Blackbeard's Skeleton Dog & Various Sunken Treasures

Black Beard's Dog?

I just thought this was a great image for Halloween. I've posted it before. If I remember correctly, it is a dog skeleton found on the Queen Anne's Revenge wreck site, and could therefore be Blackbeard's dog.

Looks like he is still guarding the treasure.

For information on that wreck and the salvage efforts, archaeology, artifacts and conservation, here is the link. It is a good site with a lot of good information.

There has been much discussion about how the the HMS Victory should be handed since Odyssey Marine discovered and identified that important wreck. While some prefer to keep wrecks on the bottom, in this case there are some that want the wreck to be raised. Odyssey has offered a proposal on how they would handle the wreck.

Here is a link to one web site about that.

Millions of dollars in gold and silver were found inside a ship that sank under mysterious circumstances in the South Atlantic. Some say the ship was sunk to hide the stolen loot. Video recordings taken by an ROV 80 metres below the surface of the ocean revealed bundles and baskets holding 9.6 tonnes of raw gold and silver. As far as I know this has not been salvaged yet due to the cost and difficulty of the project.

Here is the link to the story.

Sounds like an interesting project.

I received an email giving notice of a new web site that shows the Jupiter area beaches. That should come in handy.

Take a look.

I'll be adding this link to my blog in the next few days so you can find it here.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is out of the northwest now and I'm expecting a cold front, or should I say cool front, to be passing through. The seas are expected to be increasing through today and reaching a peak of about 5.5 feet tomorrow.

It will be interesting to see what the new waves do to the low areas like I showed yesterday. I'm not expecting much erosion, but the remaining old cuts might get cut further.

For the time being, I'm sticking with a 2 on my beach conditions rating scale.

Tropical Storm Shary is heading for Bermuda. There are two other disturbances out there to watch.

Happy Halloween Treasure Treats.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

10/28 Report - Flat Low Tide Areas & Cold Front Coming

Treasure Coast Beach Near Low Tide Today.

Notice all of that flat low-tide area that is now available for hunting. That area was difficult to get to, let alone detect, when the water was rough. Now, there it is.

That is the type of area that you also want to eye-ball when you detect near the water's edge. I once showed what appears to be a intact wax seal that was found at the edge of the water in an area like this.

One of the biggest finds on a 1715 Fleet site in recent years was the gold bird found by the crew of the Gold Hawg this past summer south of Fort Pierce. I think I posted about that in the past.

It takes a lot of hunting.

Skill is the process of improving the probability of success. You can skillfully improve the probability of success, and that will bear out over the long term, but a lot of luck goes into finding those once-in-a-life-time finds.

It seems that when I find a cob, I almost always find one within the first twenty minutes of hunting. I don't know why that is. Sometimes I think it is because I hit the most promising areas on a beach first, but I can't totally accept that because if I did, I would tend to give up too soon. Sometimes I think it is intuition. But if that were the case, why doesn't my intuition work better more often? The best advice is patience and perseverance. You never know when something will pop-up, but you can improve the probability of success by learning as much as you can about how to hunt more effectively.

As you know silver tarnishes. I'll bet that some people have picked up cobs and artifacts and thrown the blackened lumps away because they didn't realize that they were silver. There are stories about people skipping the black lumps back into the ocean.

Here is a link to an article about a new treatment for silver that conservators are using.

Did you know that silver prices have increased more than gold prices this year on a percentage basis? Some are saying that because of the industrial demand for silver, silver will hold onto recent gains better than gold. Both have dropped back from recent highs a little, due to recent gains in value of the dollar.

Have you noticed that Odyssey Marine stock (symbol OMEX) has increased from its low of below $1.00 back in July to over $2.00 now. That is a very good gain. Who knows which direction it will go now?

Forecast and Conditions.

It was a beautiful morning to be out on the beach. As I showed in the photo above, the tide was out and a lot of low flat beach was exposed. I think I mentioned yesterday or the day before that the southwest wind would do that.

You could see where the sand from recent cuts had piled up in the water at the front of the beach. There is a sand bar now protecting much of the beach.

I did a little detecting in the low tide zone and found a variety of targets down in the flat area. I suspect they were dragged out of the beach above when the beach eroded a few days ago. You'll often find some nice big targets down there, but they can be hard to dig out when they are close to the water.

The surf web sites are saying that the seas will start increasing tomorrow and build to around six feet on Saturday as a cold front comes through.

That will be another chance to see some more erosion if things work out well.

The tropics are actually fairy active. There is one disturbance southeast of Bermuda that is expected to head towards the northeast and there are two others interesting areas out there.

It is that time of year when things should start to happen.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

10/27 Report - Burt Webber & the Solo Dios Gloria & Weekend Waves

19th Century Anchor Found Near Perdido River.

An oil boom snagged an 19th century anchor while working to clean up the oil spill near the mouth of the Perdido River.

This is a relatively small anchor, probably from a smaller vessel.

Below is the link to the Press-Register story.

Burt Webber Jr. and his crew returned to salvage the Solo Dios Gloria, an early 18th Century Spanish galleon that sank off the north coast of the Dominican Republic. Finds have included silver coins, jewels, gold jewelry with pearls, a solid gold ring with diamonds, and much more.

Below is the link to that story.

Talk about luck! One new detectorist discovered about a million dollars of ancient gold jewelry in his first week of owning a metal detector.

Here is the link to that story.

Forecast and Conditions.

It looks like there is a possibility that Halloween could bring a treat for detectorists. This weekend seas are expected to increase from around the current three feet, to around 6 or 6.5 feet. As I've mentioned that is getting close to what is usually required to produce some good hunting. Of course, there are other factors to take into a account, including wind and wave direction. So although I can't be sure that conditions will improve this weekend, there is a decent chance that they will. The fact that some sand was removed last week will help. I'll keep an eye on developments.

Right now, the southwest winds might help you get out a little further than otherwise.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

10/26 Report - Unsold Treasure Lots at Reduced Prices

Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

More about that later.

I received the following email from SedwickCoins.

Many thanks to all our consignors and bidders for making it happen again: Our third auction in a row over $1 million! About 90% of the lots sold, but now you can make that number higher: As always, we are offering the unsold lots on our website at reduced prices for ONE DAY ONLY (ending at 4 pm EDT Tuesday), so you have to act fast! For those of you who got outbid on everything (check your iCollector account to see), here is a second chance to get a piece of the treasure.

The unsold lots now listed on our website are at fixed prices and subject to immediate sale (first come, first served). ALL SALES ARE SUBJECT TO THE SAME AUCTION TERMS (seller's fee, shipping and taxes [if applicable] will be added). Limited (and reasonable) offers will be presented to consignors as time allows, so if you see something you want at a lower price, it can't hurt to ask, but you are likely to lose the lot to someone else in the meantime. Things sell quickly in our post-auction sales!

Invoices will go out to winning bidders later this week and next. Please be sure to let us know how you are paying and how you want your lots shipped, as we cannot finalize your invoice until we have that information.

We will be attending the Baltimore Coin & Collectible Expo next week (November 4-6), so please let us know if you would like to meet us there. We can bring your auction lots (coins only), but only if you tell us ahead of time. Call or email us for details about the show:, (407) 975-3325.

You have until 4:00 today to take advantage of the reduced prices on unsold lots.

Here is the link.

I always try encourage people to expand their areas of interest and familiarity. Did you notice that a fossil megaladon tooth brought in a bid of $385 in the recent SedwickCoins auction?

You can find fossil shark teeth along much of the Treasure Coast, and often when metal detecting conditions are poor.

As I often say, "When conditions are not good for one thing, they are often good for something else."

And did you notice the nice prices brought in by some of the spikes and concreted artifacts. Sometimes concretion adds to the appeal of items. You don't have to clean everything. Sometimes it is better to leave things in their found condition.

Here is a good article for anyone that wants to understand what is going on in the American economy. The article explains why and how our cash is turning into trash. Back a year or more ago, I explained some of this in my own words. Here is someone that knows a lot more than me saying the same thing and more. It also explains the high prices of gold, silver and groceries.

Forecast and Conditions.

The beach photo that I posted above shows one thing that was not so apparent on the same beach yesterday. Can you guess what that is?

It is the sea weed. Sea weed is a bad sign. It usually means that light materials are washing in and building up on the beach. That is what happened to some of the beaches that eroded over the weekend. The erosion has stopped and started to reverse.

The thing is, like the erosion, you never know how long current conditions will continue. The building might only continue for a few hours or it might continue for days.

Right now, as you can see, the cuts have not filled. There is just some loose mushy sand building up on the front beach.

It is still worth checking around. I'll keep my beach conditions rating at a 2 for now. If you are a new reader of this blog, my beach conditions rating is a five point scale, with 1 being poor, and 5 excellent.

October and November have been good months in the past. If I remember last year was not one of those years. But often a cold front will come in in November or December. Most of my best hunts have been in the period between November and January. In more recent years, February to March, while not being great, have produced a few cobs.

Right now, I would guess that it will take a either one real good northeaster or a few months to move a lot of that sand.

The surf web sites are projecting about three foot seas until the weekend when the seas are expected to increase to about six feet. It usually takes six to eight foot seas for much to happen. We'll have to wait and see if we actually get seas that high.

You can always count on having some luck - sometimes it's good and sometimes bad.

Happy hunting,

Monday, October 25, 2010

10/25 Report - Slightly Improved Conditions & Heart Shaped Cobs

Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

The big news this morning is the improving beach conditions. I took a quick look at three different beaches this morning in St. Lucie County and all three were eroding to some extent.

I saw about a mile length with two to three foot cuts at one beach. Another had a cut that was not as long and not as high - less than a foot. But still every place I looked I saw some sand being removed.

On the basis of what I saw, I'm upgrading my beach conditions rating to a minimal two.

I'll comment more on that below.

The cob shown below was sold yesterday in the SedwickCoins auction. Here is the description.

"Potosi, Bolivia, cob 1/2 real, 1657, cut down to heart shape. S-P37a; KM-B12; CT-1170. 1.3 grams. This is a tough one, because even though the weight is not bad and the shape is accurate, a close inspection of the cuts around the stem reveals that they are post-minting, so apparently someone (long ago, presumably) took an overweight, nearly heart-shaped coin with choice detail and cut it into what we see here (AVF with contrasting toning, holed twice). Estimate: $70-$100."

Heart Shaped Cob Sold in Last Week's Sedwick Auction.

While the estimate was seventy to a hundred dollars, the actual bid was $750. Cobs with unusual shapes often bring a premium.

This shape is often referred to as heart-shaped even though they have a cone at the top of the heart. In Monedas Espanolas desde Juana y Carlos a Isabe II, Clico et al uses the Spanish word corazon, which translates to "heart."

Here is a another heart shaped cob.

1704 Potosi 8 Reale from the Monedas Espanolas book.

You can also see the heart shaped 1 reale that I posted before in this blog when I did a post about Ex-votos. The shape of these types of cobs is very stylized and either intentionally or accidentally includes a lop-sided or curved pointed end as well as a hole in what I referred to as the stem.

From the holed stems, I would guess they were also worn like a charm.

You might want to review my August 10 post on Ex-Votos.

While there are a number of different shapes for ex-votos, the heart shape appears to be one of the most common.

I get the feeling that the mint was in on the production of these things even though the Sedwick description of the first example shown in this post says the cob was cut down after minting. It started out as an over weight cob. Could that have been intentionally done with the intent of trimming later? I don't know.

Anyhow, watch out for unusually shaped cobs, they provide an interesting study, and, as I've mentioned, often bring in more than other cobs.

Forecast and Conditions.

As I've mentioned before, southeast winds can cause erosion too, although the erosion caused by southeast winds seldom reaches the extent of our more powerful northeasters. And, in my experience, erosion caused by southeast wind is not usually as productive as that cause by the northeasters.

As I mentioned, I am not giving current beach conditions any more than a minimal two rating. Despite the relatively wide spread erosion, the erosion is towards the front of the beach, and probably more importantly, only removing recent sand that had built up well in front of recent previous cuts.

In the most eroded spot that I saw, the erosion was 10 to 15 yards in front of the bigger cuts that occurred a few weeks ago. That is not the best situation for finding cobs.

The surf web sites are predicting seas of three to four feet for the rest of the week. I would be surprised if that results in much more erosion, although it might continue chipping away at a few of the spots that are currently cut.

Next weekend the seas are predicted to be up around five or six feet. We'll see.

At least it is something worth watching and checking out.

The high tides are till nice and high.

Keep a watch on this to see what develops.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, October 23, 2010

10/23 Report - 7 Thousand Dollar Silver Cob & "Bubble" Cobs

Piece of Eight Showing Bubble Hole.

This is a photo of a cob listed in the recent SedwickCoins auction and described as having a bubble hole.

It is not extremely uncommon to find holes like this in Mexican cobs of the 1715 Fleet. It is more unusual to find bubble holes from cobs of other mints.

One auction listed a similar cob as being pierced, which is probably not how the hole was created.

Alan Craig, author of Spanish Colonial Coins of the Florida Collection, seems to think that the holes were made when impurities were scooped out of the siver prior to stamping. That seems to make sense to me. He provides photos of a number of Mexican minted cobs showing a variety of similar holes.

Some holes look like craters with raised mounds in the center, as would be the case if someone used an instrument to scoop something out of the silver and the silver stuck to the bottom of the scoop as it was lifted.

If I correctly recall, most of these "bubble" cobs were produced under the watch of assayer J.

Here is a nice slide show of the most valuable US coins. They start at $100,000 and go up to millions.

A 5000 year old door was found. That is an old artifact. Notice the iron nails that would be detected if a person was not discriminating iron.

Here is the link. (Submitted by Don B.)

Did you notice the iron nails, which would be detected if a person was not discriminating iron?

I know a lot of you like discrimination, but it can cost you. You'll never know what you missed.

One of the stars of the second day of the SedwickCoins auction was a 1747 Lima 1 reale that sold for seven thousand dollars. If you want to take a look, it was lot 1321.

Forecast and Conditions.

Seas are now expected to run about four feet for Saturday and Sunday. As I've been saying that isn't usually enough to do much good. Combined with the high tides, though, it might shift some things on the beach front.

Richard is going to pass over Yucatan and could come out into the Gulf and intensify again. You can't tell where it will go from there.

There are also a couple other areas of disturbed weather out in the Atantic, but still far away from us.

The weather is so nice these days, that it is nice to be out even if the beaches aren't producing a heck of a lot.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

10/22 Report - Vero Bone Carving Find Studied by Smithsonian & Wreck Ceramic Reference

A Local Find with National Scientific Significance.

Look near the center of the bone in the photo to see the carving of a mammoth.

There are all kinds of treasures. Some people are focused on shipwrecks and gold coins. Other people are focused on diamonds and gems. And other people focus on things that change scientific thought.

The above carved bone was found near Vero and was recently inspected by researchers at the Smithsonian who did not find anything to suggest that the carving was not authentic. There is nothing particularly earth shattering about a carved bone, but this one dates back to around the end of the Ice Age, which was about 12,000 years ago, and suggests that there were humans living at that time right here on the Treasure Coast along with extinct animals such as the mammoth.

Before being studies by the Smithsonian, researchers from the University of Florida studied the carving and with similar results.

Here is something mentioned in Mr. Jones' TCPalm article that provides a useful hint.
"In early 2009, local fossil collector James Kennedy cleaned off an old bone he found two years earlier and noticed some lines on it — lines that turned out to be a clear etching of a walking mammoth with tusks."

I always recommend keeping finds until you have studied them thoroughly and are sure you know what they are. Mr. Kennedy had this important bone for two years before he finally cleaned it off and discovered the carving.

I've kept cobs for at least that long before cleaning them off. I wanted to make sure I knew how to approach the task before attempting it.

But if you keep objects, like Mr. Kennedy did, you will often later discover something about them that you failed to notice earlier. Sometimes you will also learn something that will make you see the object in a new light.

My advice is to keep anything that might have any mystery to it at all, occasionally take it out and inspect it using whatever new tools, techniques and knowledge that you might have access to. Sometimes it is almost like finding a new item when you discover something new about an old item.

Here is the link to the article about the Vero Man bone carving.

Remember there are many types of treasure that are not metallic, so keep your eyes open when you are metal detecting.

Talking about nonmetallic treasure, I recently mentioned olive jars in some recent posts, and in the past I've mentioned the K'anh Hsi pottery that is sometimes found on the sites of 1715 Fleet wrecks.

If you are interested in the ceramics of the Spanish galleons, here is a link to a digital book that will be of interest to you.

You can go to the table of contents and then select any section you wish to look at.

You might also want to look at the illustrations.

Pot shards are often found on the beach. It will help you to be able to identify the shards of the shipwrecks. Such shards can provide valuable clues to the informed detectorist.

A broad knowledge base will help you many ways in the hobby of metal detecting.

The SedwickCoins auction begins the second day at 10:30 this morning (Eastern).

The moon was beautiful this morning. It would have made perfectt Halloween photo.

Forecast and Conditions.
As you know the seas have been calm lately. The high tides have been unusually high. That might make for some interesting low tide browsing next week.

The seas will be increasing Saturday, reaching a height of about 4.5 feet Sunday. That is normally not enought to do much good, but this time it might be helped by north winds, which could create a few small cuts on the beach fronts if we are lucky.

Tropical storm Richard seems to be headed towards Yucutan. Two more disturbances are coming off of Africa.

Happy hunting,

10/21 Report - Sedwick Auction Going Live - Gold Cobs Doing Well

Bunch of Mushy Sand on Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

There were still boats anchored over the Nieves site this morning. Must be something interesting going on there.

The 8th SedwickCoins Auction is now going on. You can watch the auction live even if you do not register to bid by going to iCollector and selecting the Sedwick auction.

Some of the first gold escudos up for auction solf for over $10,000, incuding the following Mexican 1714 8 escudo.

The Sedwick auction will continue today and the next two days. There might still be time to enter your bid for that favorite coin or artifact.

Did you notice in the auction catalog that they are offering a few fossils this time?

You can sometimes find fossils on the beach if you watch for them. I've shown some that have been found on Treasure Coast beaches in this blog in the past.

I stopped at one tourist beach to detect the dry sand for a little while today and found something unusual. I was really surprised that there was so little junk on the beach compared to the number of coins - about a 20/80 split of junk to coins. You really don't see a high number of coins relative to junk items very often in dry sand, especially on the Treasure Coast where a lot of people use discrimination in the dry sand. If it was wet sand I could understand how the sifting of the water would spearate the aluminum junk and heavier coins, but usually on dry sand there will be a lot more junk compared to the number of coins.

If I visit a particular dry sand beach very often, I'll generally remove most of the junk.

Forecast and Conditions.

Tropical Depression 19 has been developing down by Grand Cayman. It looks like it will be going west instead of towards us though. Another distrubance is coming off of Africa. That one is too far away to be concerned about.

The beaches are very poor right now.

There is just too much built up loose sand on the front of the beaches to have much of a chance of finding anything much old there.

Just a reminder - cobs have been found on dry and sites.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

10/20 Report - Divers Down at Nieves Site

Boats Anchored Over Nieves Site Yesterday.

There were about seven boats anchored off of John Brooks Park yesterday, some with dive flags out. Interesting! I wonder what was going on.

The beach hasn't changed much in the last week. There is still a ton of loose shelly sand out in front of where the beach was cut at one time.

John Brooks Park Beach Yesterday.

The ram of an ancient warship was recently discovered by RPM Nautical Foundation near Sicily. The ram could be from the famous last battle of the first Punic War in which Rome defeated Carthage in 241 B. C.

The same RPM Nautical Foundation has worked near Florida with the Fisher organization in the past. You can find photos of the ram along with information on the three Florida projects on their web site. You'll find interesting information on the civil war use of a harbor near Key Largo, for example.

Here is the link.

Select the projects icon and then the geographical area that you are interested in.

You might want to look at the various sections of that web site.

One person that has been reading this blog is about to buy a metal detector and get started with the hobby. As a result I have a couple of tips for those who are just starting out.

First, you will need patience. It is not likely that you will find a gold coin your first time out. Expect to start slow and stick with it. It will take you a while to learn how to use your detector well and to learn how and where to search. You'll find some things, so don't get discouraged.

Second, take time to learn about your detector. Work with it at a dry beach. Take some coins of your own to use as test targets. Bury them, or have someone else bury them not too deep in a well defined area, and then scan the area until you find them. Test the different settings on your detector with the test targets. Sweep the coil fast and slow and observe the difference in the signal that you get.

Try to find an area without many metallic targets for your experimentation.

There are many detectorists that have been detecting for years that have not really taken the time to learn how to use their detector to best advantage.

Often if you try your detector at home there will be electrical interference from power lines or different things that will confuse you until you know your detector better.

I would not buy the most expensive or fanciest detector to start with. Learn to use a basic detector well before stepping up to a top of the line detector. You can learn a lot by experimenting with your detector.

Patience and practice will be two of your best allies.

Another person said they would like to hear more about water detecting techniques. I'll do some more of that in the future.

Again, I'd advise browsing the current and past artifacts sections for the SedwickCoins auctions.

Forecast and Conditions.

The ocean is smooth and will remain smooth up until Saturday when the seas will begin to increase. If you want to do any water hunting, do it now.

On Sunday we will have five foot seas if the surf web sites are correct. I suspect that will be the result of a low pressure area down around Grand Cayman that will be forming and moving east.

The high tides are still pretty high and the wind is from the north.

Happy hunting,

10/19 Report - Olive Jars & Stoppers, Bonhomme Richard, & Digging Wet Sand

Olive Jar Neck and Lid in the SedwickCoins Auction.

Not long ago I mentioned a reader that found a number of what he thought might be ceramic olive jar stoppers. I noticed this neck and pewter lid listed in the current auction. Although these ones are pewter, it only makes sense that there would also be ceramic stoppers. If you have seen any or know of any ceramic olive jar stoppers I would still like to hear from you.

The SedwickCoins auction already has some early bids. You can see them by going to the auction site.

It is not too late to register.

It's always good to study artifacts. You never know when you might find one, either whole or a part of one. I would say there are as many artifacts found on the beaches as cobs, but often the artifacts are not recognized.

As you can see from the auction, they often bring good prices.

I've mentioned the Spanish Navy hunting its shipwrecks using minesweepers. The US Navy also has a small department for hunting its historic shipwrecks. One ship that they have been looking for is the USS Bonhomme Richard, John Paul Jones's famous Revolutionary War frigate.

One group thinks it has found the location of the Bonhomme Richard, but the Navy thinks they are wrong.

Here is the link to read more.

You've probably read about the vessel discovered at Ground Zero. Here is more on the 18th century history of New York harbor.

Digging targets in wet sand can be challenging, especially when the waves keep hitting the hole. The waves can be a help though once you get the target in your scoop. If you know that the target is larger than the holes in your scoop, just dip the scoop into the water holding the front of the scoop up at an angle and let the water wash the sand out of your scoop.

Of course digging in the wet sand can be most challenging when the hole is deep enough that it keeps filling with sand when the water comes in. When you take the sand out, use it to build a little dam around the hole. That will only work when the water is not coming in too hard.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is from the southwest, and that typically creates calm seas along the Treasure Coast. The seas are projected to remain calm for several days.

It is still good for water hunting where you are allowed.

I've posted maps of the local leased areas so you can consult them. You can do a search using the blog search box.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, October 17, 2010

10/17 Report - One Metal Detecting Scan Pattern for Working Rough Water

Silver Candle Holder with Mel Fisher Coa for Sale on Ebay.

Laura Stolia presents a photo of a much larger silver candlestick in her book on the Marigalera. It was found in the water south of the Spring of Whitby site. Again, you can get the Strolia book on Amazon.

There is also a silver plate now offered on eBay with a Fisher COA.

A few days ago I presented a scan pattern for finding and working coin lines or holes on the beach. Water conditions can make metal detecting in the water more difficult, and it is always a little different. As a result, different scan patterns can be useful.

One Simple Water Hunting Scan Patter for Finding Coin Lines or Holes.

Coin lines and coin holes can occur in the water as well as on the beach. In fact, due to the constant affect of moving water and sand, coin holes are more often found in the water. And when I say coin hole, that doesn't mean that other things won't be found in those holes.

When the water is on the rough side and visibility is not good, you need a way to keep track of where you are and where you were in the water. You can find landmarks to use, such as rocks or other features, or you can make your own, but sometimes you have to go by feel.

The above illustration shows one useful scan pattern for metal detecting when wading in rough water. In the middle of the spiral is a circle. The circle represents a hole that was dug to retrieve object X.

After digging the hole you have a landmark that you can use even when you can't see it.

Either stick your foot in the hole, or stick your scoop into the sand at the bottom of the hole and keep track of the hole that way.

Then spiral around the hole looking for additional targets to determine if the target was a part of a coin line or coin hole. Keep your scoop in the hole as you circle around the hole.

If you find additional targets while spiraling out further from the hole, there is the possibility that the target is a part of a line or hole.

In the illustration you can see that two other targets where found leading in one direction. If that happens, when you spiral out as far as you can, you can make one of the new holes the new center to begin another spiral.

It is advantageous to use a wood handle or other handle that will float upright by itself. If you let it go and when there is a little sand in the scoop it will under most conditions remain stationary to mark your spot even if you let go of it.

Even if a target is not a part of a coin line or coin hole, it is always worth closely checking the immediate area of any find. When there is one target there is an increased probability of a second.

That is one technique that works well in rough water with low visibility.

There is a lot to learn about metal detecting in the water, and there are many different strategies and techniques that work well under different circumstances.

Forecast and Conditions.
There is not much going on that will change things signficantly on the beaches. The water is calm and there is no immediate change in sight.

Seas are expected to be around three feet for a couple of days and then decreasing from there.

I like the continuing north/northeast winds. Even if it is not cutting the beaches, it is moving some of the sand in front of the beach.

This is a good time of year to see things begin to change though. Scout out the beaches now so you know what they are like before something begins to happen.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, October 16, 2010

10/16 Report - Jupiter Beach & Miscellaneous

Photo of Jupiter Beach. Submitted by Tom Guidus.

Tom Guidus of Wreckovery Salvage, regularly works the Jupiter wreck, and sent some photos of Jupiter Beach, pointing out the loss of sand and shells at the base of the cliff. He said much of the renourishment sand is gone and some of the old stuff is starting to reappear.

The best time to hit it would be just after the water has hit the cliff and caused some erosion. Cobs as well as old US coins sometimes come out of that cliff when the old dunes erode.

Another View of Jupiter Beach from Tom Guidus.

I always appreciate receiving photos from around the Treasure Coast and Florida, especially from places that I don't get to a lot.

I often get email from people from out of state asking about where you can go to the beach. One thing I can say about most of the Treasure Coast is that there is no shortage of beach accesses. Thank goodness it isn't like some places where you can hardly find a place to see the beach without paying high parking fees.

St. Lucie and the other counties have done a good job of maintaining many fine beach accesses. All you have to do is drive along A1A and watch for a beach access, then pull into the free parking area and take a look at the beach. If you want, you can find either busy beaches with facilities or quiet out of the way places.

One thing you can do when beach conditions are not good, is explore some new beaches.

The SedwickCoins Auction begins October 21. The first lot contains a number of gold cobs from the 1715 Fleet.

You might find it instructive to browse through the shipwreck artifacts.

Here is the link.

I certainly wish I knew more about artifacts years ago. People find a lot of things and don't know what they are. It really helps to be able to recognize artifacts when you see them.

The stock of Odyssey Marine (synbol OMEX) is now up to around $2 per share. That is a nice return from recent lows. They appealed a claim made by Spain to one of the salvaged wrecks on the other side of the Atlantic and are still holding the salvaged coins and artifacts.

As I've mentioned, Spain is making an attempt to find and and claim any sunken ships that might be their's. They are using their navy for the job, and it seems are having very limited success in terms of really identifying shipwrecks.

Forecast and Conditions.

It's that time of year when we often get some cold fronts moving in from the the north. Things should be improving sometime this fall.

Now the seas are calm but will be increasing to near four feet tomorrow, but only for the day. That probably won't be enough to improve things yet.

There is no tropical activity that will affect us soon.

Happy hunting,

Geoglyphs or what?

Friday, October 15, 2010

10/15 Report - Helmet Find Sells for Over 3 Million Dollars

18th Century Wine Amphora Artifact from a Spanish Shipwreck

This one is for sale on eBay.

Yesterday I heard on the radio that many recent college graduates wish they had selected a different major. It's hard for young people to know what they want to do in the future. Too bad they don't have exposure to more things that might excite them.

How many of you would have studied history with more interest if you would have done some detecting first? It makes it more meaningful when you are digging it up yourself. And it makes it more meaningful when you conduct research on local history in order to go out and put it to use.

Some of you might want to take a course in archaeology or history or something now that your interest has been aroused.

People gain a greater appreciation for knowledge when they are actually putting it to use in pursuing their own goals.

The metal detecting hobby contributes a lot to a lot of people in a lot of different ways.

One detectorist found a second-century Roman helmet in England last May. It just sold at a Christie's in London for $3,629,469, which was over 11 times the estimate.

Here is the link to that story.

China wants to buy the artifacts of an ancient shipwreck after an attempt to auction the items failed to turn up a bidder. If you read the story you'll know why that was.

Luc Heymans, who salvaged the wreck, said the salvage operation cost 10 million dollars and he is eager to get the money.

Here is the link.

Spanish cobs circulated in China in the later 17th Century. One of the most interesting thing to me about those cobs are the chop marks that are found on them.

Here is one example.

There are not many days left to get registered for the SedwickCoins Auction. I've given links for that in the recent past.

One reader asked me about stoppers for Spanish olive jars. He found some items that he thought could be stoppers for olive jars or amphoras. I asked if anyone knew about anything like that being found before. I didn't get any answers so am asking again.

I was going to present a drawing of an amazing ornate trailboard found by John Brandon and studied by archaeologists at the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society, but I wanted to get permission first. The wood was protected by a layer of sand and was well preserved. It is shown and discussed in Laura Strolia's fact-filled little book, The Marigalera of the 1715 Fleet. If you haven't read it yet, you can purchase it on

Forecast and Conditions.

Nothing much has changed on the beaches recently. The seas are calm.

One thing you might do is find a beach where shells are piling up on the lower beach and take a walk looking for light materials such as ceramic shards. You might be surprised by what you find.

Beach detecting conditions are still poor. Conditions for water hunting are good in some ways and not in others. There is a lot of sand in the shallow water at most beaches.

Paula is south of Florida and making a turn to the south so we probably won't get much from her.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, October 14, 2010

10/14 Report - Silver Coins, Spanish Coins, and Beach Conditions

Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

Gold has recently been over $1385/oz. Much of that is due to the weakness of the dollar. And silver continues to do very well, nearly making $25/oz.

Here is a really handy little web site. You put in the type of American coin you have and the quantity and it will tell you the melt value of the silver coin.
For example, a silver war nickle has a $1.35 of silver in it.

Here is the link.

And here is a nice web site on the history of Spanish coins.

The miners in Chile are now out of the mine. American technology has driven much of the world economy for a number of years. Did you know that the drill bit that drilled down to the miners faster than expected was made by a small company in Pennsylvania. Reminded me a bit of the movie Armageddon - a really good action movie.

Pete R. wrote to tell me that the blue/green layer in the cliff that I showed a few days ago contains modern junk, including aluminum. That means (to me at least) that that sand was dumped there and is not the natural beach. That would also explain why it is so eroded. Sand that is not in it's natural location, like that in front of Disney at Wabasso will erode first and most because it is not protected on either side and just sticks out where it will be moved by the forces of nature.

Around the area of that same cliff there are a number of layers, most of which are evidently from somewhere else. In some places you can see very old layers on top of newer layers containing modern junk. I'll be working on figuring out what is going on there and where the old natural undisturbed beach is - how far down etc.

That also illustrates something that I often say. "Junk can provide important information." That is one reason I discourage the use of discrimination. Junk tells you what kind of items are in a certain area of a beach and can provide an approximate date to different layers like the one I was just talking about.

Normally you won't find concentrations of heavy materials like lead or gold mixed in with light materials like aluminum. So again, the light materials might be telling you that you aren't in the most promising area.

Forecast and Conditions.
The wind was out of the northwest this morning and the seas are very calm. In a day or two the seas will increase to two or three feet, which won't do anything significant.

It looks like Paula will stay down over Cuba.

Bathtub Beach has reopened again.

I took a look at some of the beaches this morning, and most were not changed to much but John Brooks surprised me. You can see it in the photo above. There was tons of loose shelly sand piled up in front of the cuts from a week of two ago. I couldn't believe how much had built up there.

Anyhow, beach conditions remain poor, but the water is calm enough to work if you are someplace not covered by a lease.

I [presented maps of the leases in the recent past.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

10/13 Report - Unidentified Treasure Beach Finds

Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Metal Detector Find.

I found his bracelet but am not sure of the age period. I don't know how long clasps like this have been used. I would suspect not that long, but I don't know. If anyone knows, I'd like to hear from you.

The bracelet and clasp are silver, but there are no markings that I can see. I would think this is probably less than a hundred years old, yet I'm not sure and some of the features, particularly the look of the clasp and the apparent decoration on the one end of the clasp, makes me curious.

The clasp is hinged and you can see a small ornate stud on the rounded outside edge of the clasp.

Yesterday I talked about locating and identifying coin lines. I didn't discuss coin holes or various scanning patterns.

I use some different scan patterns when working in the water than I use on the beach. As you know, detecting in the water is different in a variety of ways. For one thing, if the water is a bit rough, it can be hard to work in a straight line and keep track of your sweeps and location like you do on the beach. Sometimes there is poor visibility in the water, which makes it hard to know where you are relative to the holes you dug or other landmarks. And thirdly, coin lines and holes in the water are not formed exactly in the same way that they are formed on the beach. All of this means that other techniques, including scan patterns can be helpful. I'll have to talk about that more some other time.

Cobs are not the only coins to be filed down after minting. Gold coins up to the 1840s often show adjustment marks, which were made by filing the coin down to the proper weight.

Here is a link if you'd like to know more about that.

Treasure Beach Find of Undetermined Age and Source.

I suspect this silver ring to be less than a hundred years old, but do not know. There are no markings.

If you find something on a treasure beach there is no sure way of telling if it came from a shipwreck, but don't throw finds away until you are sure you have a very good idea about their identity.

One good thing to do is show your find to an expert.

A lot of people send me photos, and I find it very difficult to identify items from photos. It is better to show the item to someone that can handle and closely inspect the object.

One thing that you might consider is buying a jeweler's loop. Don't get the most expensive or most powerful one. I think the more powerful loops are more difficult to use and they usually aren't necessary for looking at detector finds. A good loop can often help you see markings that will help you determine the identity of an item.

Another thing you might consider is a metals test kit. You can get acids for doing acid testing or an electronic pen tester. There are acid solutions for testing gold, silver and platinum.

Keep you unidentified items and look at them every once in a while. You might notice something you missed before, or you might have some new knowledge that helps you.

Forecast and Conditions.

Unfortunately there isn't much to report here. The seas are very calm and expected to remain that way for a number of days. That means no changes.

It might be a good time to get in the water wherever that is permissible.

Hurricane Paula seems to be headed for Cuba where she'll probably fall apart.

My conditions rating remains a 1.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

11/12 Report - 800 Foot Long Gold Chain & Detecting Coin Lines

Simplified Illustration of a Coin Line.

I wanted to discuss coin lines a little more today, so I made this illustration. Usually a coin line would be much thinner in relation to the width of a beach than what is shown in this illustration, but I wanted to focus on the coin line.

The dashed line represents the path of a detectorist along a beach. In this case, he is zig-zagging from the water line to the dune line.

The upper left diamond points out the first coin that this detectorist finds. If the detectorist did not know about coin lines or suspect the presence of a coin line, he might just continue on his zig-zag pattern and miss many of the coins in the line.

In my illustration, the small dots represent pennies and the slightly larger circles represents quarters.

After finding the first coin in a area where there might be a coin line or hole, I first check down the slope to see if other coins might have washed out at the same place.

After checking below the first found coin, it would then be good to check to the left and right of the first coin found. If he discovers other coins that would increase the chances of being in a coin line or hole.

In my illustration, there is a second coin right below the first, but none below that. That gives the first indication of the possible width of the coin line if these two coins are indeed part of a line.

The detectorist might then begin detecting to the right of the first two coins to see if there are more at a similar distance from the water as the first two. In my illustration the detectorist then locates another coin near the top edge of the coin line, and then checks below that coin and finds one near the bottom edge of the coin line. He is now getting an idea of the width of the coin line, which is wider than the first two coins suggested.

The position of the pennies and quarters tends to confirm the approximate width of the coin line.

Often pennies are found near the top of a coin line or hole, while heavier targets such as quarters are found near the bottom of the line or hole.

After continuing to thoroughly detect to the right of the first finds to find all of the remaining coins in the line in that direction, the detectorist would return to the first two holes that he dug and then thoroughly detect to the left of them to see if the line continues in that direction.

The coin line that I mentioned a couple of days ago was much more narrow than the one in this illustration, with all the coins being within about a three foot band running across the area in front of the dunes.

In my experience, coin lines are more often closer to the water and in wet sand. I believe the line I found that day was produced by coins washing out of the dunes instead of out of the water.

I mentioned in one other blog how I often use a loose scanning pattern prior to tightening up and detecting an area more thoroughly. One reason for that is making an attempt to find a coin line or hole, and that does not require a tight pattern.

There is just too much beach to cover it all thoroughly so you want to find the spots where the most targets can be found.

After detecting as far right and left as the line seems to go, then before quitting, it would not be a bad idea to scan a path just above and below the line to find any targets that just happened to fall a bit outside the area of the coin line. That would often include targets that are either heavier or lighter or have a different surface area or composition than those in the line. Heavier targets, such as gold rings, are often found lower on the beach and below coin lines.

There are a variety of scan patterns that seem to suit different situations. I might mention some of them in the future.

I'm sure I didn't describe the procedure very well. There are just too many details that I didn't have time to get into today. There is a lot more to this, but I'll have to give it to you a little at a time.

On another topic, how would you like to find an 800 foot long chain of gold as thick as a man's wrist? According to the story, there is one that was hidden by the Incas.

Here is the link for more of the story.

Forecast and Conditions.

Hurricane Paula is down below Cuba. Current forecasts have Paula making a loop and staying south of us, but the path is a bit unusual and might be something we need to watch for the future.

The seas are calm now and will remain calm for at least a few days. The surf web sites project slightly increasing seas next week, but nothing that looks promising.

I'll maintain a level 1 (poor) beach conditions rating. It will be mostly clean-up duty for a while.

Happy Hunting,

Monday, October 11, 2010

10/11 Report - First Church Found in St. Augustine & Coin Lines

First Parish Found in St. Augustine.

Photo in St. Augustine Catholic magazine. See link below.

The following linked article is from the St. Augustine Catholic Magazine which tells about the first parish in the United States. It was found near Aviles St. in St. Augustine and was destroyed by Francis Drake in the 16th Century.

Here is the link.

If you are interested in hunting fossils, here is a web site that will give you a lot of background. It also links to the Florida Museum of Natural History web site.
The water level on Florida rivers is now low enough to hunt fossils in Florida rivers such as the Peace River.

Here is the link.

And here is a YouTube Video from SedickCoins showing items from their upcoming auction.

Pretty neat.

I recently mentioned that is helpful to be able to quickly identify coin lines if and when you happen to run into one.

Just to repeat, I define a coin line, as a number of coins found running in a line parallel to the water line. A coin line can vary in length and width. A narrow line would create nearly a straight line if you drew a line between the coins. A wider line would create a rectangle pattern.

A coin hole, on the other hand is a bunch of coins in an area roughly the shape of an oval.

In both a wide coin line and a coin hole, zinc pennies will generally be higher on the beach and further away from the water, while heavier coins, such as quarters will be generally be found closer to the water and lower on the beach.

The point I wanted to discuss now is how to identify a coin line when you do run into one.

First, the best thing to do when finding a coin that might possibly be part of a coin line, is to check around the found coin in all directions. If another coin is found above or below or to the left or right of the first, then there is a stronger possibility that the find is a part of a coin line. Again, check in around the latest find and see if there is another.

If you find two or three about the same distance form the water, check on either side of those to see if the line continues. Make sure to cover the area in between coins and the area above and below to see if the line is narrow or wide.

Just the other day I found a very narrow, or what I would call a "tight," coin line.
There were a number of coins roughly equidistant from the waterline in a line that ran for 70 to 100 yards. Very few other coins were found other than those in the line.

I use a few different scan patterns to quickly identify coin lines, but I'll have to continue with that some other time.

The main point is, when you find one item, check to determine if it might be part of a line or hole. If you find that it is, then you know where to spend your time, either following the line or working the hole.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is now from the west and the seas are calm. It is a good time to check the low tide areas and get into the water where that is permissible.

If I was going to get into the water I would be looking for places where the sand was recently removed, like dips or where there were rip currents that moved the sand.

Sometimes the dips below old cuts are good.

There is no tropical activity to speak of.

Remember where cuts and holes appeared last week. Certain holes tend to reappear seasonally year after year.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10/10/10 Report - 1715 Fleet Artifacts & More

Jupiter Inlet Beach.

Photo submitted by Mike D. As you can see the beach at Jupiter Inlet did not cut. I appreciate receiving photos like this because I can't be everywhere myself.

I received an email from the Fisher organization about the fact that they are going after new deep water wrecks. They found a Swedish wreck, the Briggen Hialmar, three miles deep that sank in 1831 in the North Atlantic. It had a cargo of tropical hardwood and is the deepest wreck to ever be salvaged.

They've recovered the ship's bell, a blue and white chamber pot, a beer mug, a copper pot and a piece of the hardwood.

Here is a web site showing some artifacts from the Queen Ann's Revenge, Blackbeard's ship.

You might want to take a look.

And here are a couple artifacts for sale on eBay said to be found within walking distance of the Sebastian Inlet.

I believe I've seen photos of a pipe tamper and a similar religious ornament found on a 1715 beach before, maybe in the Fisher artifact database. I wasn't able to find them when I just looked though. If any of you know where I can find photos or mention of similar items from Treasure Coast shipwrecks, I'd appreciate hearing from you.

And here is an article about some historic artifacts that were "stored and forgotten for decades."

Sometimes private individuals make artifacts more available to the public than the archaeologists and museums. In this day of the internet, I think projects funded with taxpayer dollars should post their finds and findings on the internet for public viewing.

Forecast and Conditions.

Jensen Beach lost a lot of sand a few days ago. It, like many of the beaches are now refilling. There are a few spots where the water continues to erode a little as the high tide hits the banks, but more often the beaches are rebuilding.

I'm going to downgrade my Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions Scale Rating from a 3 to a 2. Like I said there are a few spots out there that are still worth hunting, but many spots are deteriorating.

The seas are now becoming calm and expected to be less than two feet for the next week or so. That should give you a chance to check out the low tide areas to see if anything remains in the area close to the water below the old cuts. Undoubtedly I'll be downgrading my beach conditions rating to a 1 very soon.

I'd also think about taking some long walks to find any remaining cuts that haven't been hunted out.

Happy Hunting,

Friday, October 8, 2010

10/8 Report - Watch Those Cliffs

12 Foot Cliff.

This cliff was being eroded today. It was actually very dangerous, which is one reason I decided to post the photo. I was walking along the beach next to this cliff and big chunks, some of which must have been around a ton containing some very hard packed material, would suddenly fall off. And I do mean without warning. A person could easily get seriously injured or even killed if they happened to be close enough to the cliff when it collapsed. I wanted you to be warned. If you are walking along this beach, stay out a ways from the cliff and be alert. By all means, do not get focused on the ground while digging a target at the base of the cliff.

The second thing I wanted to point out with this photo is the blue/green layer. That layer was about seven feet from the ground at the spot of the photo and about a foot and a half wide. The green shows where the bottom of a pond, lake or lagoon once was. The color is the result of algae or other flora on the bottom of the body of water.

Erosion like this is what treasure dreams are made of. It exposes ground that has not been available for detecting. If it was the site of a salvage camp or cache, the goodies would come tumbling out.

I'd sure like to know the age of the various layers. This is old undisturbed ground being exposed.

Other erosion in the same general area exposed dirt that had been brought in as fill. You can often tell fill-dirt because it does not match the surrounding earth and contains items layered in the wrong order. For example you might see a ten thousand year old fossil in what appears to be the same layer with plastic bags or Styrofoam cups. That tells you that the layer has been disturbed.

When you see erosion, look at the layers to see what you can learn about the age of that layer and the items in it.

The erosion that I showed yesterday at John Brooks didn't continue to erode much since then, in fact it began to fill a bit. Near high tide it had a lot of sea weed on it and the beach in front of the cuts was very mushy.

Bathtub Beach is closed again due to erosion. You can't expect that dredged sand to stay on the beach very long. Some of those beach renourishment sands is like pumping money into the ocean.

Silver hit a new 30 year high. It hasn't been that high since the Hunt brothers tried to control the silver market back in the eighties.

Maybe you heard about the message in a bottle that was put in the ocean on the Treasure Coast and was found about a year later in Ireland.

Here is the link.

Here is a reminder. If you use a waterproof detector and it gets salt water on itbe sure to wash it off with clean water as soon as possible.

I had an interesting day. The finds varied from a working dive watch to an old square nail and included a loose coin line that ran about a quarter of a mile and included some older coins. Quite a hodge podge. It was fun even if I didn't find the cache of gold escudos that I was looking for.

I could have missed a lot of the items if I didn't know about coin lines and how to identify and follow them.

There are different metal detecting scan patterns that can be used to identify coin lines. I don't know how much I've talked about that in the past.

Forecast and Conditions

I only looked at a couple of beaches this morning, but from what I saw, I'd say that the cutting will decrease over the next few days with the decreasing seas. Although I saw one beach that was still eroding, it looked to me as if most beaches would begin to fill soon.

If you look at the beaches a day or two before the seas get high, you'll see which beaches have the best chances of cutting when the seas increase. If the beach has already been cut back and a lot of the beach is already low, that beach will tend to erode more when the seas increase, while beaches with more sand on the front will be more protected.

Wabasso for example, with all of the past erosion, is vulnerable to new erosion. Also the fact that the dredged sand is in an unnatural and unprotected position makes it more vulnerable.

Anyhow, I think the next few days will show little if any further erosion, and many beaches will start to rebuild.

I'll maintain my level three rating through today at least, even if it is a minimal level three.

It is nice to see the beaches changing from a summer beach to a winter beach configuration.

As I said, yesterday, a few cobs were found the past couple of days.

Even though the seas will be decreasing for the next few days, the high tides are still unusually high and the wind is out of the northeast.

The next few days will provide a good opportunity to check the low tide areas.

Happy Hunting,

Thursday, October 7, 2010

10/7 Report - Another Beach Conditions Upgrade & Spanish Wrecks

Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

The photo shows a three to four foot cut that ran pretty much the length of the beach.

Yesterdays cuts continued to increase through this mornings high tide and I suspect will continue through the day.

I'm increasing the rating on my Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions Scale from a 2, which I issued yesterday, to a 3.

I don't think any beaches that were not cut yesterday will be cut today. The action remained pretty much the same through today, and it looks like previous cuts were further chipped away at and increased.

It would be good if the northeast winds continue for a few more days.

I would expect a few (not many) more cobs to be found today. We still have the problem of all of that dredged sand protecting many of the beaches up in Indian River County and the Sebastian area. Yet, as I mentioned yesterday, at least one shipwreck coin did surface up that way - I would suspect more than one.

I saw some pretty big cuts today, but again, they were in areas where cuts had already begun.

I thought it was interesting how the beach in the photo was eroding. A wave impacting the front of the cliff would cause a crack a few inches behind the cliff. The next impact would cause the sand in front of the crack to slide down into a pile in front of the cut. The next big wave would then wash the sand of that pile down the slope.

As I've often said, cobs are normally not found deeply buried in the sand. The reason for that, I believe, is that they are not washed away as quickly as the sand for two reasons. First, they are heavier than the grains of sand. And secondly, they lay flat and the receding water washes over them instead of pushing them.

Cogs and other coins might get covered when the next pile falls, but they don't wash down the hill as quickly as the sand. The result being that the cobs tend to be found near the surface of the sand. That pertains only to those that end up in front of the cut.

I've mentioned this before, but I've seen cobs fall out of the cliff where I saw them before putting the detector coil over them.

On another subject, the Spanish Navy is using its minesweepers to look for historic shipwrecks. They want to keep organizations like Odyssey Marine from finding and salvaging any more Spanish wrecks. By the way, that case is still pending.

It seems they have identified hundreds of possible shipwreck sites but have done little to verify them. They have found one anchor, and I'm sure a bunch of other junk.

Here's the link to the story.

I have a lot to talk about but have to keep it short again today. I'll get to some of the other topics on another day.


The swell is decreasing and will continue to decrease into next week. That will give you a chance to check out some of the low tide areas that it is difficult to get to under present conditions.

The wind is also continuing out of the northeast for now and the high tides are unusually high. That might help even if the swells do decrease.

I saw one spot that was continuing to cut today well after high tide, so conditions might stay good through at least tomorrow and maybe longer.

That is all for today.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

10/6 Report - Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions Upgrade

Wabasso Beach This Morning.

I don't have much time but wanted to get the report in this morning. I suppose I'll make my a number of typos.

The big news today is the upgrade in beach conditions. About half of the treasure beaches are cutting. I am issuing a treasure beach upgrade to a level 2. If it wasn't for the amount of dredged sand on the northern end of the Treasure Coast, I would probably raise the beach conditions rating to a 3.

As you can see Wabasso Beach has lost a lot of sand and looks great. If it wasn't for the dredged sand, I would give this beach a 4 rating. But as you know, conditions there are improving, but it is not as good as it looks when you take into account the dredged sand

Underlying Layer of Brown Sand at Wabasso.

This photo shows a layer of brown sand under the dredged sand at Wabasso. That is good news. the beach is starting to get eroded down to the old sand.

Not all of the beaches are eroding as much. Rio Mar is not cut and neither is Amber Sands, for example.

I heard that the beach north of Sebastian Inlet is eroding, but I didn't see it myself.

Seagrape Trail This Morning Looking South.

Seagrape and Turtle Trail both were cut but nothing like Wabasso. Those two beaches had some large scallops along with smaller cuts. It wasn't bad, but again, the problem was all of the dredged sand.

I know of one shipwreck coin that came from an Indian River County Beach yesterday.

Overall, as I said, I'll issue a Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions Scale rating of 2 with the possibility of an upgrade to 3 in the next day or two.

I haven't given my numeric ratings much lately and so I'll remind you that I use a five point scale going from 1 to 5, with 1 being poor and 5 excellent. My rating is based upon the probability of finding a shipwreck cob or coin.

My rating scale starts with a 1 instead of a zero because there is always some possibility even when the probability is very low.

If you want more explanation of my rating system, use the search box on this blog and enter Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions Scale. I know that is a lot, but it is relatively precise.

It is so nice to see the boring summer beach start to leave, and it will be nice to see more of the natural sand up in Indian River and Brevard Counties when the dredged sand gets removed again. I don't know why they think it will stay to begin with.

If you do find a nice cob or shipwreck coin here is a nice web site that might help you identify the coin. It explores the evolution of the royal shields that you will find on many coins. If you don't find the information elsewhere on the coin, you might be able to identify the reign, or at least narrow it down, by studying the shield.

Silver is really increasing nicely in value lately.


I've already talked about the current conditions so I'll just do the forecast here.

The seas will remain at about current levels through the day. High tides are still good and high, and the wind is coming out of the northeast. As I hoped, this did result in some erosion on the Treasure Coast, and it might increase a little more at the next high tide or two.

I don't think conditions will improve much more than that though, as the seas are expected to begin to decrease tomorrow. Later in the week, you'll have a chance to explore the low tide areas to see if anything got left behind where the rough water was.

I saw a lot of people hunting today. Conditions are as good as I've seen on the Treasure Coast almost all summer.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

10/5 Report - Gold, Shipwrecks, Cobs & Watching for Erosion

Early Mexican Minted Cob.

It's not likely that you'll find one of these Juana and Carlos cobs on a 1715 Fleet beach, but you can find them at the SedwickCoins auction.

Archaeologists are learning more about the 18th Century ship that was discovered at Ground Zero. They also have a nice photo of the timber at the following web site.

Some of the richest investors are buying gold by the ton.

Her is the link for more of the story.

I found an article about a man that found a Neolithic tomb in a garden under a big slab of rock. He said, "There is a big slab of stone about eight foot by eight foot and I had always wondered what was underneath it. I had a bit of time at the end of the summer and I thought I would take a look."

The fellow "...pushed a piece of wire down a hole at the side of the stone and discovered a cavern underneath it. He then pushed down a rod attached to an underwater camera he used for looking at wrecks and discovered a chambered cairn with skulls against the edge."

I believe there is a lot more treasure around us than we realize. Let's face it. We aren't the first people to walk this earth and trample the ground we live, play and work on. It's all been here for quite a while.

But the technique mentioned in this story is why I posted it. Mr Mowatt used a video camera on a pole. That is something you can easily do today with all of the new small video cameras - including waterproof. You don't have to stick your head into every nook and cranny. I think that is worth remembering.

Here is the link to the rest of that story.

Forecast and Conditions.

We are close to a new moon and the high tide will be unusually high. The seas are predicted to be highest on Wednesday. The prediction now is for 7.5 feet. Combined with the tide and northeast winds, I'm hoping and have good reason to expect some improvement on the beaches.

I got a quick look at a couple local Treasure Coast beaches, and it wasn't very exciting yet. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera along.

There was some slight improvement. At spots where there was some erosion in recent weeks, like the spot that I recently showed that was undercutting the bank, there was a small amount of additional erosion but not enough to really do a lot of good.
There were cut at some places up to about a foot on that beach.

On another beach there were places here there was a cut almost two feet high, but the cut was only a few feet long. It was more like a scalloped beach with the front edge of the scallop cut off.

As I said, I wasn't really excited by what I saw even though there was some improvement. I am not increasing my beach conditions rating yet, based upon what I saw.

The good news is that there were some small cuts and they were pretty high on the beach. The bad news is that the cuts weren't very significant, and the waves seemed to be hitting the beach straight on.

Maybe when the seas get up to 7.5 feet, if they do, we'll see a more significant improvement.

There is a tropical disturbance down by Puerto Rico that has a %50 chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours.

Happy Hunting,

Monday, October 4, 2010

10/4 Report - Lima Star Half Real & Labeling Finds

Clump Containing Several Cobs.

This clump is described in the catalog of the upcoming SedwickCoins auction as holding several cobs. I posted the photo because I think you should always be aware that clumps can hold a variety of things. The auction catalog also shows an eight real that is stuck in a clump along with a small shipwreck spike.

You can learn a lot by browsing auction catalogs.

One thing I highly recommend is labeling your finds. When you find something worth keeping, particularly old coins and artifacts, make sure to record when and where the item was found. Not only will that information help you in the future, because you can look back and see what places have been productive, but it can also help you identify the item, and it can the added information can actually add monetary value to the item.

When I began detecting, I kept detailed records of all of my finds. I wrote down the location, number of various types of coins and other interesting finds. I could then look back over my records when deciding where to detect next.

Sometimes you don't know if an item came off of a shipwreck or what. By keeping records and being able to review what types of items have been found at a particular location over time, you might start to see some patterns and be able to figure out something about the history of the beach and the source of the items.

An artifact is an artifact, but it becomes more interesting and valuable if you can document where it came from and if it can be associated with a particular shipwreck. Provenance is important. Even a musket ball is more interesting if you know it was associated with a particular battle or shipwreck, for example.

Over the years you might forget where an item came from. If you carefully sort an store and label the item, that won't be a problem. And the information might help you or other experts eventually figure out the identity of previously unidentified items or their source.

If you have the information, you can also mount and attractively display some of your nice finds complete with attractive labels. Informative labels makes any display more interesting.

Well, those are some of the main reasons you should clearly label your finds, even if you positively identified them yet.

One story I read said there is a lot of interest in bags of 90 percent U.S. silver coins. One dealer, for example, was selling bags containing $1,000 face value for close to spot melt price. The dealer said he would sell a $1,000 face value bag of quarters for $15,600 and a bag of $1,000 face value halves for $15,700.

Here is the link for more of the story.

Another Photo From the SedwickCoins Auction Catalog.

You might recall that in the past I posted photos of a Lima Star half reale found on the beach near Jupiter Inlet that looks very much like this one. It is not from the same die, but the design is very similar.

This example shows the star to the right of the "S" in the monogram. I had been looking for examples like that.

Again, you can learn a lot from browsing the auction catalog.

Forecast and Conditions.

The surf is about four feet today with winds out of the north. 7 foot seas are still predicted for Wednesday. I don't like how the predictions are shaping up and am afraid that they might be dwindling. Hopefully, we'll actually see those seven foot seas. Combined with high tides and north/northeast winds it still looks promising, even if I am a bit worried about those predictions holding.

There is a storm in the northeast Caribbean. I suspect that is what is supposed to cause the rough seas as it heads this way. It doesn't look like it will develop into anything much stronger.

The next couple of days should tell the story.

Happy Hunting,