Tuesday, November 30, 2010

11/30 Report - Roves? and Other Artifacts

Artifacts Found in Caribbean.

The item on the left is obviously a musket ball, but I have been trying to identify the other item for quite some time without any success at all. Just yesterday, though, I found a web site that shows a very similar item that was from a shipwreck of the late 18th century, which is about the same time period that a famous Naval battle was fought near the island where the item was found.

I found the similar looking item on a great webs site for viewing shipwreck artifacts. The web site shows artifacts from the HMS Sirius, which was built in 1780 and wrecked in 1790.

The HMS Sirius was commissioned as a store ship and therefore carried a lot of unused items, including those for ship repair.

Here is the gallery of artifacts. There are a lot of different items to look at but if you scroll down you'll come to what are called roves.


The roves shown by that web site are the closest thing that I've seen to my mystery item. At this point, I feel that the mystery item could well be a rove. There were a number of them found at the same location on the Caribbean Island and were associated with other items such as the musket ball.

Here is a web site that shows how roves are used.


You might also want to back up and learn more about the Sirius. Here is the link for that.


I doubt you are all that interested in roves, but it shows how you can study an item for a long time (several years in my case) before finally figuring out what it might be. That is why I recommend holding onto items until you know what they are.

I also hope you enjoyed looking at the other artifacts shown on that web site. It is always good to improve your knowledge of artifacts. You never know what you might find on a beach.

Forecast and Conditions.

From what I saw this morning I can't rate the Treasure Coast treasure beach conditions any better than a 1 (poor).

As you can see from this first beach photo, I did find a little scalloping going on, and expect that to increase a little at high tide today.

Nothing exciting, but at least there is some sand moving.

Maybe some of the other beaches are better. I doubt it though, because the water didn't get very high on the beach and the waves seem to be hitting almost directly out of the East while the wind is out of the south/southeast.

The beach photo below shows how wide the low tide area is. There is a lot of sand out in front of the beach to protect the beach.

It doesn't look like the beach will change much in the next few days.

Happy hunting,

Monday, November 29, 2010

11/29 Report - Couple Mystery Finds & Preserving Finds

Spoon Found on the Treasure Coast.

I'm trying to get information to identify this spoon. When I first saw it I thought it could be real old. I think it might be pewter. It doesn't test as high grade silver.

I don't think it is as old as it looks. I found a mark reading "ITALY." I don't know when Italy was first called Italy, but I think it was maybe in the 1860s. I'll have to do some more research on that.

Any ideas will be appreciated.

Below I have another little mystery find for the day that I'd like some help with. It is about 1.25 inches across the top, 1 inch across the bottom, and about one inch tall. It seems to be made out of a fairly rough stone like a grinding wheel, but as you might be able to see, is lop-sided and would wobble all over the place if turned on it's axis. I think that means it is probably not a grinding wheel.

I'm thinking that it might be a stopper similar to what you see on some old beer or soda bottles. What do you think?

Here is a good web site by Captain Dan Berg that gives the basics for preserving shipwreck artifacts including, wood, pottery, iron, tin, lead, glass, etc.


Preserving your artifacts will keep them nice for a long time and make them more presentable and perhaps even more valuable.

I always recommend keeping good notes on when and where items are found. That helps in a variety of ways. Not only does it add information that can actually add to the value of finds, but it also will help you figure out what if any wreck an item might be associated with, and it will help you evaluate different beaches and detecting sites for future detecting.

I recently saw a guy on a beach with a detector and s scoop and a sifter. That is a lot of equipment to carry, but it can be worthwhile.

If you find a good spot, especially one that might contain small non-metallic items, a sift screen can be a good thing to use.

You can use a screen to sift materials in either dry sand or wet. Wave action can be used to more quickly sift wet sand.

Some things are so small that you will have a hard time finding in any case. I once found a very small gold bead. After detecting the bead, it took me a long time to find it in the sand even though I was looking right at it. I finally found it after throwing a handful of sand, bead included, on the coil of my detector and moving it around on the coil with my fingers. Still it didn't really stand out from the sand very much visually.

Of course in the water you can find items that keep going though the holes in your scoop. That can make it really hard to find. A dive mask can help in situations like that sometimes.

Gold chains can be hard to keep in a scoop. At least I've had trouble with them. They tend to want to slip out of the front of the scoop. Thankfully they are usually big enough to see without too much difficulty if you have any visibility in the water.

Forecast and Conditions.

The seas are what I would call moderate this week, predicted to reach 5.5 feet on Tuesday and 6 feet on Thursday. That isn't too bad, and even if it doesn't cause beach erosion, it might move some of the sand in front of the beach.

My theory is that as the winter weather progresses, sand is removed from in front of the beach and makes heaveier items more available so that when we finally do get some good cuts they aren't buried in the shallow water. Just a theory though.

As I've mentioned in the past, my best cob hunting has typically been November through April, and my very best days have been in Decemember and January.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, November 28, 2010

11/28 Report - Found WWII Artifact and Florida Shipwreck Laws

WWII Canteen Found on the Treasure Coast with a Metal Detector.

As you can see this canteen is in unusually good condition. The chain is a little rusty but still attached. It cleaned up well.

On the bottom it is marked US Vollrath 1943.

I had a mystery item I was going to show today, but the photos turned out poor. I'll try again another day.

I ran across an interesting article from The Indian River Magazine that talks about the 20th Century history of south Hutchinson Island detailing a lot of interesting facts, especially about the WWII era. It gives a lot of specific information about how the island was used for training.

Did you know that 140,000 troops trained on Hutchinson Island in a three year period?

And did you know, "South Beach in Fort Pierce in the 1930s was a collection of ramshackle houses with a sole destination spot known as the Casino, where folks from the mainland came to gamble, drink, dance and swat mosquitoes?"

I think you'll find this article interesting. I did.


I knew a guy that lived in Fort Pierce during the war. He was a kid and sold newspapers then. He said if he ended up with spare newspapers at the end of the day he would take them down to the island and sell them to the trainees that would buy them to burn to warm up after coming out of the ocean.

Here is an article that summarizes a he variety of Florida shipwreck related laws.

You might want to give it a read.


Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is blowing from the northeast and is stronger than I expected. The surf is still relatively small. According to current projections, it will increase to 5.5 feet on Tuesday. That is a day later than the time that it was earlier supposed to increase to that height.

I would guess that you can still find a few miscellaneous artifacts on the beach. Things have been showing up, but I don't know of any cobs being found recently, and really wouldn't expect that. Conditions for hunting shipwreck coins are not good. Finding cobs, especially in any numbers, requires better conditions. I've mentioned that before.

The items I showed today were not found on the beach. When conditions are not great on the beach, you might want to adapt and do something different.

Items found on the beach are often not in good condition because of the salt water and pounding they take. You can sometimes find artifacts and coins in better condition in fresh water or on land.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, November 27, 2010

11/27 Report - Vertical Concentration, Cobs, Erosion and Bottle Hunting

Van Antwerp's Pharmacy Bottle.

This one is on sale on eBay, but the reason I'm talking about it is that it is the same type of bottle that got me started in bottle hunting - a Van Antwerp's Pharmacy Bottle from Mobile Alabama.

I was hunting down south of Miami just after hurricane Andrew when I noticed some old bottles floating in the surf. I never hunted for bottles before, but I recognized that the bottles I saw looked old, so I found an old plastic bag and started picking up the bottles. I remember that day very well.

I later sold that bottle, and for a higher price than this one is listed for. The market for old bottles has dropped significantly in the past few years. EBay and other online auction and retail sites have made many old bottles easy to find and collect, and as a result, prices have dropped. That is the case for unremarkable bottles. Prices for rare or exceptional bottles remains high.

Of course, you con't find rare or exceptional bottles very often,but you can often find bottles that help pay a little for gas money.

My main point is one that I often make: Be alert to various kinds of treasure. If you are a coin shooter, study and keep your eyes open for other types of treasure. The more things you know about, the more consistently successful you will be.

Vertical Concentration.

We often talk about coins showing up on a beach. How cobs get to where they are eventually found is not a very simple matter.

When conditions are good, you can often find more than one cob at a time. And they are often found very near the surface. As I've mentioned several times, I can't remember hardly ever having to dig very deep to retrieve a cob, and I have eye-balled them more than once, obviously meaning that they weren't covered by any sand at all.

Most detectorists recognize that conditions for finding cobs are often "good" when there are big cuts on the beach.

Part of what happens when the beach is cut is what I call vertical concentration. Vertical concentration occurs when cobs from various layers and depths of sand end up laying on the same level or surface.

Let's say that there are four cobs in the sand on the beach. (Right now I'm not going to discuss how they got there.) The cobs are buried at various levels. Let's say one is at six inches, one at ten inches, one at twenty inches and one at twenty five.

When the beach begins to cut, the sand washes away and the cobs are left behind. Cobs, being relatively flat and heavy, are not washed down the slope and into the water as quickly as the sand because their flat surface keeps them from sinking into the sand. At the same time, the edge of a flat cob does not present much surface area for the receding waves to push against.

As a result you'll have cobs from various layers of sand on or near the surface of the sand at the base of the cut. Only one of the coins was easily within detector range before the erosion, but now all four are within easy detecting range.

That is one of the factors that makes it easy to find cobs after the beaches cut. Cobs that were at different depths and out of detecting range before erosion end up concentrated near the base of a cut. There are a few factors that determine how far from the wall of the cut they will be.

I must stress that what I have called "vertical concentration" is only one factor in determining where cobs are found and vertical concentration is only temporary. Those cobs will eventually be washed down into the surf or covered up by sand again.

I've watched as this process occurred on different occasions so I am pretty confident that it is accurate.

In a previous blog post some time ago, I described how the sand at the face of a cut was knocked down by one wave and then the washed away by successive waves hitting the face of the cut. When the sand was washed away, heavier or more aerodynamically shaped objects were left behind.

That is enough of that topic for now.

If you are Christmas shopping, there is a map of the Treasure Coast treasure beaches now listed on eBay. The item number is 110616713315.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is out of the west this morning and humidity is 100%. The west wind will keep the seas calm this morning. They won't increase much until Monday when they will increase up to six feet (if the surf web sites are correct) later in the day.

As I've mentioned before, six feet is about where you start to see some possibility of improvement in detecting conditions, depending of course, on other factors.

Take a look at low tide areas today and watch for possible small cuts on Tuesday.

Happy hunting,

Friday, November 26, 2010

11/26 Report - New Pirate Museum & Pillar Dollars

Part of a Coin in Concretion.

Here is an image of part of a copper coin found in concretion in the Caribbean. It was found by David S. who would like to identify the coin and would be happy to receive any help in doing that.

This was found in an area with other old shipwreck items including a brass spike and piece of an old hand-forged chain.

There seems to be block letters on the edge of the coin. See if you can see any cLues to what type of coin it might be. It looks to me like those letters might be the best clue to the identity of the coin.

A pirate museum that will open soon in St. Augustine. A British sword hilt and other artifacts were discovered during excavations for a handicapped ramp for the museum.

It seems anywhere you dig in St. Augustine will turn up artifacts.

You might be interested in reading about both the pirate museum and the artifacts.

Here is the link.


Part of some of the earliest hand guns known (from the 15th Century) have been found by a detectorist.

Here is the link to that story.


And here are two good links to sites on Pillar Dollars. The first site presents design features and terminology while the second presents photos and examples of different variations.



Forecast and Conditions.

Not much will change until after the weekend. On Monday the seas are expected to be up around six feet again. That isn't bad as far as the seas go. As I've often mentioned it takes more than rough water to cause erosion. Lately we've been having east or southeast winds, which usually doesn't do much good.

We are getting higher seas more often now, and even if it hasn't usually been causing good cuts it is helping. Any time you get churning on the beach front and movement of sand in the water, old things can be uncovered and moved into a better position to be deposited on the beach when the right conditions do occur.

I've been talking about wood washing up on the beach and am of the opinion that during our last rough spell some old things out in the water got uncovered even if the cobs didn't get deposited on the beach.

As I've detailed in the past, there are two sources for the cobs found on a beach. Some are washed up onto the beach and others are washed out of the dunes. The later requires high water that erodes the back dunes.

We haven't had that recently. We have seen some erosion, but mostly in areas where the sand was fill sand, like that in front of Disney or at Walton Rocks. The remaining fill sand in some areas is still protecting the old back dunes from erosion. Sooner or later the fill sand will be depleted and the sand that contains old objects from long ago will be washed onto the beach.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

11/24 Report - Wood Plank, Trailboard & Beachcombing

Another Piece of an Old Plank Found on a Treasure Coast Beach.

This one has what appears to be the rusted head of an iron spike to the right of the penny. The same spike seems to be broken off but visible on the other side.

You can also see a hole where a pin or something once was to the northwest of the penny in the middle of the dark brown area. There is some iron residue in that hole.

Emails that I received showed an interest in the piece of wood that I showed yesterday, so I decided to show another.

Also, I wanted to mention another wood find. One of the more interesting is an ornate trailboard found by John Brandon in the Vero Beach area. That piece was about four feet long and in very good condition.

It was preserved in such good condition because it was buried under five feet of sand and two feet of mud.

Items can remain buried for many many years. Depending upon what they are buried in, they can be very well preserved.

Beach and water hunters are very much dependent upon the movement of sand to uncover items like that.

Of course the piece of plank that appears in the photo today could be detected because of the piece of iron spike still attached to it. It could be missed by a metal detector if the detectorist discriminates iron.

Oh, the ornate trailboard is discussed as an important clue in Laura Strolia's book The Marigalera of the 1715 Fleet, which can be purchased at Amazon.com in time for Christmas. It is a nice little book with lots of good information.

Beachcombing has a long history going back at least 3000 or so years. One nice article that I found discusses how indigenous people scanned the beaches for shells, fossils, and would you believe, oil that ended up on the beach as the result of natural seepage from underwater locations.

I think you'll enjoy this article "littorally." Pun intended.

Here is the link.


It is interesting to think that people today search the beaches and find things that were found and used by people that searched the beaches thousands of years ago.

Beachcombing is an activity that seems to be natural to the nature of man and points somewhere beyond.

I've noticed that people haven't been registering as followers to this blog since I haven't been displaying the follower photos. You can still register as a follower from the main blog display. Just click on "FOLLOW" at the top of the page. Maybe I'll display the photos again. The main page got pretty full.

Forecast and Conditions.

The seas are now down to around two feet. The weather is beautiful. The high tides are still fairly high.

It could be interesting to check the beach fronts at low tide and look in the shallow water. Maybe even do some water hunting, where permitted.

Don't ask where that is. I've posted on that in the past.

Conditions won't change significantly this week. Expect calm seas for the rest of the week.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

11/23 Report - Wood Finds & Spanish Shipwreck List

One Side of Old Wood Plank Found on the Treasure Coast.

This piece of wood washed up on the beach recently along with some other pieces that appear very similar and probably come from the same site.

Below and to the right of the penny is a square hole with some iron residue remaining. It looks like something was held in place there.

Above that near the top edge is a black clump that appears to be the remains of a spike. You can see part of the same spike coming through the wood in the photo below.

Notice how where the iron leeched out over the surface of the wood, the wood was protected from the worms.

Other Side of Same Wood Plank.

It looks like this side was partly covered by a sheet or something. It also appears to show the remains of pitch tar or something like that, as well as two holes with some iron remaining in them.

My guess is that this wood comes from a 16th century wreck. If you see anything that would make you to believe that that is wrong, please let me know.

I'm still learning. And I wish I knew what I know today many years ago. I'm know that I've made many mistakes. It isn't easy to properly identify artifacts that are found on a beach. They could have been scattered for miles from the main wreck site.

While I'm on the topic of wood artifacts,here is a great web site that shows many photos of planks of a very old shipwreck. I think it is worth studying.

Notice the saw marks that are visible on one. And the wood pins and other structures.

Here is the link.


The Texas A&M nautical archaeology group does a great job of posting their studies. And in case you haven't seen it, they have a great section on preserving all types of salt water salvaged materials, including wood, iron, copper, pottery, etc.

As you probably know salvaged artifacts should usually be conserved in one way or anther. Wood is no exception.

Here is a long list of Spanish Shipwrecks to be found around Florida. Some are not identified. There are probably some wrecks liste don that site that you aren't familiar with. The list could provide some useful leads for further research.

Here is the link.


Remember to clean the sand off of your car keys before inserting them in your locks. It can cause problems.

Also remember to clean off your detector after being at the beach. Salt water and sand will cause problems on your detector over time too.

Forecast and Conditions.

Not much has changed since yesterday except the sea got a little calmer. That means that there has been no change in conditions.

The high tides are still nice and high with the full moon.

Unless you get a little creative, do some land hunting or something, there probably isn't much left to do except reexamine some places and check out the low tide areas to see what if anything was left behind from the recent rough seas.

The fact that wood that could be from an old wreck is washing up probably indicates that the most recent rough seas moved some sand and stuff that hasn't been free for some time. That is worth knowing.

Happy hunting,

Monday, November 22, 2010

11/22 Report - Gold Ring Found on Treasure Coast

Old Gold Ring Found With Meta Detector South of Sebastian Inlet.

This item is being sold on eBay out of Nevada. The ring is said to have been found after Hurricane Francis south of the Sebastian Inlet. It has been tested to around 23k, and appears according to some estimates to be from a 1715 Fleet wreck.

The seller tells a bit about the circumstances of the find and a lot about his attempts to have the ring authenticated.

Worth a read. Here is the link.


Here is a web site that tells about the copper sheathing used on the HMS Victory and shows some of the spikes used etc.

An informative site.


Did you notice the manufacturers marks and other identification marks?

Here is a photo of a beach I saw this morning. Notice the big shell piles and scalloped beach. That is the type of beach I've been seeing.

Shell Piles and Scalloped Front Beach Found On the Treasure Coast This Morning.

That isn't a good beach for finding cobs, but it isn't bad for finding other things.

I often say when conditions are poor for one type of hunting, it is good for some other type of hunting.

This type of beach will often produce artifacts of one kind or another. Today it was producing copper sheathing and some pieces of old wood planks. I'll post a photo of one or two of those in a day or two.

Become familiar with a lot of different types of items and hunting, and adapt your hunting to the prevailing conditions.

The beaches I saw this morning were poor for hunting cobs, old coins, and precious metals but there were other things to be found.


The moon is full, or nearly so, and the high tides are nice and high. The seas are only about four feet, but the sand is being moved around. I saw no cuts, but did see scallops like those I showed.

I would be checking out the areas where things are piling up - eye-balling the surface and detecting where heavier rocks are piling up, also detecting the dips and down near the water.

It looks like the seas will be backing off for the next few days

Happy hunting,

Saturday, November 20, 2010

11/20 Report - 16th Century Gold Pendant Found by Metal Detector

16th Century Gold Pendant Found With Metal Detector.

A young boy found a 16th century gold pendant using a metal detector. The pendant is said to be worth over 3 million dollars. The article says the pendant shows the Virgin Mary, but it could actually be St. Helena. I would also guess the boy was receiving more than a little help with his detecting.


Nice looking pendant.

That web site seems to be a little touchy. You might have to juggle around on the page before getting the text of the story.

That story also reminds that there are places to find gold besides the beach.

Beach hunting is different than land hunting in a variety of ways. The beach is a different type of environment that requires specialized knowledge for best results.

While the constant change that occurs on a beach is sometimes a problem it can also be a benefit. Old items can suddenly surface on a beach that has been hunted to death for decades when a storm finally stirs things up. The beach is a very dynamic environment.

I received an email from Daniel Sedwick giving notice that they are currently seeking items for the upcoming April 2011 auction.

You can find information about consigning items for that auction by using the following link.


They also mention the upcoming Tampa show in January and New York coin show where you could possibly arrange a meeting.

* Here is what they are looking for.

* High-grade gold and silver Latin American coins (specially large collections)

* World Gold coins including US and early British and Dutch

* Rare early Spanish colonial cobs (collections or single coins)

* 1715-Fleet gold and silver dated cobs.

* Shipwreck coins and cobs in reasonable condition with original certificates

* High-grade silver cobs & pillar dollars

* Artifacts from shipwrecks (well documented and properly conserved)

* Silver and gold ingots from shipwrecks


Archaeologists are excavating an Native American home in St. Augustine that was part of a mission community.

Here is the link for more information.


Forecast and Conditions.

Conditions look pretty much the same even though the seas are rough and the wind is blowing. It doesn't look like the waves will hit the banks today, but they do seem to be churning up the front beach.

I got a look at a couple of St. Lucie County beaches and they were both pretty sandy yet.

I would rate conditions as being poor, however there are some interesting items being found around the Treasure Coast. No cobs that I know of.

The high tides are still nice and high.

The seas will be backing off through the weekend and the rest of the week.

Happy hunting,

Friday, November 19, 2010

11/19 Report - Copper Sheathing and Magnets

Picture of Copper Sheathing on Ships Bow.

A couple of days ago I posted a photo of a copper sheet found on the Treasure Coast. Mike T. sent a very informative email including a lot of good information on the use of copper sheathing including this picture.

One other thing that he mentioned is if you find copper sheathing make sure to clean and inspect the corners which is where you might find the mark of the manufacturer, patent information, etc.

I might include more of Mike's more detailed information in future posts.

David S. helped me to figure out the identity of the mystery disk that I showed a few days ago. He says, "The edge of the disk shown in the photo you posted looks to have the marks left by an oxyacetylene cutting torch on steel plate. Is it ferrous and does it respond to a magnet? If yes, then it may be a disk cut out of a piece of plate steel by a cutting torch."

David S. got it. I appreciate the expertise and help. One of the things I like about doing this blog is how much I learn.

That brings up another good subject. When you talk about treasure hunting tools, two that come immediately to mind are a metal detector and scoop or other digging tool. There are other tools that often come in handy though. One that I'll discuss now is a good magnet.

To test the disk, I used a magnet, and it stuck.

Photo of a Good Magnet.

You can use a magnet to help determine the type of metal you found.

I often use the magnet shown in this photo to test conglomerates. Some conglomerates will stick to the magnet, indicating iron contents. Heavily encrusted objects with dissolved iron in them may exhibit a light attraction to the magnet that you can feel even if the magnet won't pick up the object.

The photo below shows an encrusted object sticking to the magnet.

Don't forget that if there is a ferrous object inside, there could also be other types of objects inside the conglomerate such as coins or other things.

A good magnet can also be used with a cord or pole to retrieve iron artifacts from wells or other hard to reach places.

Overall, I think you might find a good magnet worth the investment.

Encrusted Object Sticking to a Magnet.

Caution: do not put your magnet close to magnetic computer storage media.

On another subject, laser scanners are being used to create 3-D images of caves. You can see how useful that might be.

This link provides some good examples.


Forecast and Conditions.

Seas are around 4.5 feet today with northeast winds and a high tide around noon. It is looking more promising than you would think with less than five foot seas. The wind is about right and the high tides are pretty high.

While I only would rate the beaches as poor right now, with tomorrow's increasing seas and everything else, that could possibly change.

I know last weekend didn't turn out as good as hoped, but there were still some interesting pieces found, although no cobs that I know of.

Thanks to all of you who have sent emails and information lately. It helps a lot.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, November 18, 2010

11/18 Report - House of Refuge & Shell Pile

House of Refuge.

I mentioned the House of Refuge yesterday. The picture above is an older view shown in a vintage postcard.

Old postcards can provide good detecting clues. They can show how an area has changed and what was at that location in the past.

One of my favorite hunting areas down south was a beach that was once popular, then abandoned and then recently redeveloped.

Also notice the rocks in the picture. They create traps for small heavy objects like coins or nuggets.

Shell Pile on Treasure Coast Beach Yesterday.

Not all shell piles are the same. Most of the time you will only find light stuff like aluminum or other junk in shell piles. Sometimes shell piles are worth eye-balling because sometimes they'll contain fossils or pot shards or other light objects.

This particular shell pile was a bit different. It was higher and more concentrated. It also had a pile of large rocks in the middle.

Although it had the typical light aluminum close to the surface it also held some heavier metal objects buried in the deeper area with the large rocks.

Old Spike Found in Pile of Shells.

I guess I should have used a different background. This spike is partly encrusted, but you can see the head and part of the spike. It is about twice as long as what is seen in the photo.

The encrustation that covered the head was already broken off when I found it. I didn't do any cleaning to it yet.

My main point here is not the object found but that a heavy older object like this can be found sometimes in a pile of shells.

The piece of copper shown below was found just a couple feet from the spike. You can see that it has been tumbled and is now shiny on the outside while the green patina remains on the inside surfaces.

I think you get the point that if pieces like these can be found in a pile of shells, it would be just as possible for a nice artifact to be found in the same type of shell pile.

Piece of Copper Found in Pile of Shells.

Again, not all shell piles will hold heavier metal objects like these. This particular shell pile was a bit unusual. Nonetheless, it does show that it might sometimes be worth detecting shell piles.

A Chinese vase found in an attic recently was sold at auction for 83 million dollars. It was probably brought to England after the Second Opium War.

Here is the link for the rest of the story.


Don't break a leg running up the stairs to the attic.

Forecast and Conditions.

Tomorrow seas will be peaking at about 5.5 feet. The wind is from the southeast and the low tide will be around noon.

Conditions won't be great but I'd still be checking the low tide areas for items left over from last weekend. Also it might be worth looking for some of the spots that aren't detected much that might have little washouts that haven't been thoroughly hunted.

I have a lot more to talk about but will hold it for tomorrow.

In the mean time,

Happy Hunting,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

11/17 Report - Copper Sheet and Copper Rim?

Wabasso Beach in Front of Disney.

This photo was submitted by Pete V. a couple of days ago. He also reported, "Ambersand showed no cuts and neither did an area just north of the Salvors camp."

I appreciate reports like that because, as you know, I can't be everywhere. I would have posted it sooner but like I said yesterday I was busy and neglected my email for a couple of days.

And Jon M. said, "I went to Corrigans at 3PM to Sunset on 11/13/2010. Sand from
restoration was washing out of back dune. The brown restoration sand was
covering middle and front beach."

It looks like those seven foot seas just didn't do much to most of the beaches this time. From what I did see, it looked like the waves were hitting the beaches straight on a 90 degree angle, and that just doesn't usually do it.

Photo of Part of Copper Bowl or Something.

This ornate piece of copper appears to be from maybe a rimmed bowl or large cup. It was found yesterday.

I did a little scratching around on the beach today and picked up a couple things I'll show sometime.

Clean your car keys before you put them in the car door or ignition. Sand can stick to the key and get in the locking mechanism.

I got a couple of emails about the disk I showed yesterday and I think it I got it figured out.

Piece of Copper Sheet Found Yesterday.

Notice the penny for size.

One area that I haven't mentioned much, down around the House of Refuge has been producing both shipwreck spikes and a few gold nuggets that test out in the 18 to 22k range. Be careful where you detect down there though. If you get on the protected archaeological site, you could get arrested.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is from the west and the seas are around four feet now. One beach, the one at John Brooks, was really building. Tons of sand piled up in the past few days.

Another beach was getting stirred up on the beach front. Shells were being exposed all along the front of the beach where the waves were pounding. And there were some piles of shells pretty far back on the beach. I'll have more to discuss about that tomorrow.

I'll downgrade my treasure beach conditions rating to a 1 (poor) for now. However there are some good places to check. One good place to check would be the low tide areas below recent cuts, especially where sand was removed because of obstructions - like rocks, jetties, etc.

It looks like the seas will increase again a little around Friday.

It will take a lot to really improve the beaches because of all the accumulated sand.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

11/16 Report - Pistol Found on Site of 18th Century Wreck Near St. Augustine

John Brooks Beach This Morning.

It has really filled in again. It looks as bad as it did back in August.

On the other hand I did find some washed out spots this morning. One is shown in the other photo.

I picked up a few interesting things today. I'll show some of them some time.

Despite a few spots that did improve over the weekend, the high seas this weekend generally didn't help much as you can see from the first photo.

I'd give a beach conditions rating today of a minimal two (on my five point scale) for today, most likely dropping back to a 1 (poor) in a day or so.


There have been a few mystery items popping up in a few select spots lately. The photo below shows one.

I don't know what metal this is. Unfortunately I am out of silver test acid. I don't think it is silver anyhow though.

It is very heavy, maybe lead or bronze, appears harder than silver, about four inches across, and over a quarter inch thick. If anyone has any ideas, I'd sure like to hear what you think about this item.

Strange Heavy Metal Disk Find.

I talked about encrusted lumps just a few days ago. Today I ran across an article describing a concretion found on the site of an 18th Century shipwreck off of St. Augustine. When the MRI was done on the lump, it was found that the concretion contained an ornate pistol.

Archaeologists will now work to free the pistol from the encrustation. That effort could take up to two years.

Here is the link to that story.


Forecast and Conditions.

The seas will be backing off this week and remaining relatively calm for the rest of the week. That will give you a chance to check the low tide areas to see if anything was left behind that you couldn't get at during the rough seas.

I'd also check for any washouts that haven't been thoroughly detected yet.

As I said, I'm giving a minimal two rating for now, which will probably drop back to a one in a few days.

Here are photos from 11/13 sent in by Tom Guidus of Wreckovery Salvage. Unfortunately I've been busy and I didn't get my emails soon enough to get these posted on a more timely basis. You can see that the water got pretty high down there. Maybe they actually did better than us last weekend.

The first photo is from Jupiter. Notice how high the water got.

The second is from Juno.

Tom sent a number of nice photos and a video.

I wish I got to these sooner.

Happy hunting,

Monday, November 15, 2010

11/15 Report - Diminishing Seas

Beach at Rio Mar This Morning.

I've been busy with other things and didn't get out to see the beaches yesterday. I did get a peek at two Indian River County beaches this morning.

Above is Rio Mar. As you can see, it is not good at all.

The other beach that I got a look at this morning was Corrigan's. Nothing much good there to report on either other than a decent slope to the front beach and a little scalloping.

It just goes to show once again that it takes more than rough seas to cause cuts. From what little I've seen it looks like nothing much happened and I didn't miss much yesterday. I'll hold off on giving a rating until I get a chance to see a little more.

Beach at Turtle Trail This Morning.

According to the surf web sites the seas will diminish for the next few days before increasing again. I'm not encouraged at all at this point. It seems that very little happened to the beaches this weekend, but then again, I didn't see all of them.

A couple of days ago, I showed the cut just south of Fort Pierce inlet. Below the cut the beach was pretty steep. Working a steep beach requires a few additional precautions. When you dig a coin or gold ring you have to be careful that the item does not roll down the incline to disappear into the surf. It does happen. At least it has happened to me. Good thing I'm experienced at working the roughest surf to refind things like that. It can be difficult.

Here's another little tip. When the surf is rough, you can diminish the annoying splashing by lifting one leg as the surf comes up on you. Do the flamingo stance. If you have both legs planted on the ground you'll get much more water splashing up on you.

And if you sometimes empty your scoop on the ground to separate or look for the dug item, be careful that the next wave doesn't move the item down the slope and into the surf. When the wave comes up you can put your foot over the object to hold it in place until the surf recedes. Keep your coil moving over it so you can track it if it does move.

Always watch how the waves more your objects when they do. You'll learn how objects are moved up and down the beach by observing that.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, November 13, 2010

11/13/10 Report - Still Waiting and Watching

Half Dozen People at the Wall at Walton Rocks Friday Afternoon.

These folks weren't detecting, but they were inspecting the old wall at Walton Rocks. It didn't erode any during yesterday's high tide. In fact the water didn't even hit the bank here very much. It had eroded there a good bit a few days ago.

As I think I've mentioned before, this eroding wall is fill dirt and not the natural dune. You can see plastic bottles and other old junk all the way down through the layers. The locations with fill sand like this seem to be eroding. The next photo is more typical of the more naturally shaped beaches right now.

I saw a lady detecting a little south of here yesterday morning. She was swinging an Excal with her left hand and carrying a shovel in her right hand. Looked like she knew what she was doing.

Beach at John Brooks Park Late Friday.

It looks like the increased seas aren't doing much here - at least not yet. That isn't bothering the detectorist you see in the photo. I'm not surprised that he isn't digging though.

I found another web site where you can browse some shipwreck coins that are on auction. Many are poorer quality but still worth looking at.


You might also want to look at the shipwreck artifacts on that site.

I'm afraid there hasn't been much erosion yet. Hopefully with a few more days of high seas, we'll get some more action. I really wasn't expecting the best until around Monday so I'm not too disappointed that we aren't seeing more yet.

I haven't seen or heard how the beaches in Indian River County are doing so far. I'll try to get a chance to take a look before long. I'd also like to get a report or two on that if anyone has been up that way already.


Peak seas of 8 feet are still predicted for Saturday evening/night. High tides are around noon and midnight.

The one thing I see that I don't like is the time period for the predicted eight foot seas has been narrowed down to Saturday night. I don't like to see any decrease in the predictions at all. It could mean there are more to come.

One thing that is encouraging, is that the predictions show another bump at the end of next week following the early week slackening. Like I've said, I think it will take a while for all of that sand out front to be moved enough to make the beaches more vulnerable to erosion.

I'd very much like to increase my treasure beaches condition rating, but I just haven't seen enough to justify doing it yet other than the cuts at the inlets etc. like I mentioned yesterday. Hopefully it is still ahead of us.

We still have a some high surf ahead of us - at least if the surf web sites are right. I have been pointing to next week as the most probable time for good action and I'm still hopeful about that.

Happy Hunting,

Friday, November 12, 2010

11/12/10 Report - New Fresh Cuts Beginning to Pop Up

Photo of Beach Just South of Fort Pierce Inlet This Morning.

I checked three beaches this morning. From what I saw I would have to say that not much has happened yet, but there is a little erosion beginning. The cut in this photo was a little over two feet high at its highest point. There were a number of modern coins there in a relatively wide line running along the cut. As usual, zinc pennies pretty well defined the top and ends of the line. Heavier coins were towards the middle of the cut and a near the lower edge of the coin line.

You usually will find erosion first in areas where there are obstructions such as jetties, inlets, seawalls, or rocks that obstruct the normal flow of sand and in areas where the sand has been brought in from somewhere else to build up the beach. That was the case today. South of the Fort Pierce inlet, you have three of those things - an inlet and jetty to the north and dredged fill sand on the beach.

Erosion will most often be on the south side of any such obstructions. On the north side of jetties, for example, you will most often see the beach building up rather than eroding due to the obstruction. The normal flow of sand along most of the East Coast of the US, and certainly Florida, seems to be towards the south.

John Brooks Beach Looking South This Morning.

In contrast to the beach just south of the Fort Pierce inlet, here is another photo, which shows the beach at John Brooks. There was no new erosion there this morning. In fact, the sand seemed to be building up. You can see the sea weed, which is one sign of that. The sand there was also very mushy. Something will have to change before that beach erodes. I think it will take more than higher seas, most likely a change in how the waves are hitting the beach.

I believe,that most of the treasure beaches around the Treasure Coast will look more like this beach until something changes, so you might want to check out the beaches with obstructions to the flow of sand first.


Now that I've already talked about the current conditions, as much as I know about them, I'll jump ahead to the forecast.

Today the seas are supposed to increase to 7.5 feet this evening. Saturday it is supposed to increase from 7.5 feet to 8 feet, and then start slacking off a little Sunday.

The wind is going to be north/northeast through the next few days. That could make for improving conditions.

Right now, I've not seen enough yet to raise my conditions rating from a 1 yet.
There are some cuts out there, but I don't think that they are cuts that will produce cobs yet, and that is what my conditions rating system is focused on.

You can find modern items and old shipwreck artifacts with conditions that are not as good as those required for old silver and gold cobs. I just don't think things have improved enough yet to have a good chance at cobs. Hopefully that will come. I would say the chances of improvement are very good if the surf web sites are correct.

Happy Hunting,

Thursday, November 11, 2010

11/11/10 Report - Cleaning Off Conglomerates, Artifacts, & Weekend Projections

Photo of Square Nail Found in Conglomerate.

I didn't post this item just to show a square nail. The reason I bothered to post it is to bring attention to items that are encrusted.

You can find a lot of items on the beach that are completely encrusted. Instead of simply discarding them, I would highly recommend looking into each and everyone of them. Coins and other valuables, as well as artifacts can be found in unidentifiable clumps.

Some people simply bust them open. I saw where a museum was doing that and I was shocked. Maybe they x-rayed the item first and already knew what was in it, but I don't think that busting a clump is a generally a good thing to do, at least not when you don't know what might be in it.

There are a variety of ways that you might treat an encrusted object. One of the first things I generally do is use a hose with a spray nozzle to wash off as much of the crust as will come off by simply spraying it.

After spraying the object, a little soaking might help. People use different things, like vinegar or other weak acid solutions. In any case, check the item frequently to make sure the desired effect is being achieved.

The nail in the photo above was completely encrusted. After spraying off the loose material, I used muriatic acid to remove more of the crust. It generally doesn't take long for muriatic acid to remove encrustation.

Don't put the item in muriatic acid and leave it unattended for very long or you might end up damaging the object. Again, check it frequently. It doesn't take long.

You can see that most of the crust was removed from the nail, but there is still some remaining. I wanted to see what was in there. Now that enough has been removed for me to identify the object, I can better decide what I want to do next.

Always be very careful with muriatic acid. It is powerful and can hurt you or almost anything it makes contact with. Keep it away from children, pets, etc. It can also give off very noxious fumes.

Muriatic acid can be used for cleaning silver objects such as coins. See Bill's coin cleaning instructions in my reference link list.

Here is a great web site that presents a large selection of photos of shipwreck artifacts. The first group is from the El Gran Griffon. Click on the arrow at the top of the display to page through the photos.


It is a really good idea to become familiar with a large variety of artifacts. You'll find a lot of different kinds of things and it helps to be able to identify items when you find them.

A good part of analyzing a detecting spot comes from the information you derive from your finds.

The more you know about a wide variety of artifacts the better off you will be.

Forecast and Conditions.

Well,the surf web sites are not backing off on the weekend predictions. They are holding at 7.5 feet for Friday and 8 feet for Saturday. And the wind has shifted a bit, now coming more from the northeast than the northwest. It seems to be setting up for something good. At least I hope so. If the seas are that high and the winds are right, things should get good for later in the weekend and early next week.

For today, I am rating beach conditions as poor. That should change soon.

It will take some good action to move the sand that was dragged down and deposited at the front of the beach on most beaches.

I'm hoping for strong north/northeast winds and a wave angle that slices at the beach.

Happy Veteran's Day,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

11/10/10 Report - Shipwreck Artifacts for Sale and Big Seas Predicted

Collection of Shipwreck Spikes and Artifacts for Sale on EBay.

An interesting grouping of the type of thing that could be found recently around the Treasure Coast. The seller lists a Treasure Coast location and says the items were found near a 1715 Fleet site near Vero.

The Coast Guard has a web site that gives information on researching shipwrecks. You might want to check it out.


Common stock of Odyssey Marine (symbol OMEX) has increased nicely lately, hitting above $2 per share. That is a nice increase, although I wouldn't necessarily expect much more in the near future.

You've probably heard of their work on the HMS Victory, as well as their work on some Spanish galleons. You might not know the variety or extent of their projects though.

Here is a detailed report from June 2010.


You might want to take particular note of the expenses involved in an operation like this.

A couple of days ago, there was a spot where what looks like very old shipwreck wood with some badly corroded spikes and hardware attached was washing up on the beach. Like I always say, "Keep you eyes open when you metal detect."

Forecast and Conditions.

Conditions have deteriorated a little. I'm dropping my beach conditions rating back to a 1 (poor) for now even though you might be able to scratch around and find something.

The big news now is the 8 foot seas that are predicted for Saturday. Before Friday, the predictions were decreased. That makes me wonder if we won't see the all too common decrease in the predicted seas for this weekend. I hope not. It sure would be good to see eight foot seas. And it will take every bit of that to move the sand off the front of the beaches. And also, hopefully the north winds will continue.

I'm getting very tired of waiting for something really good to happen. It has been a long time since I've been able to rate the conditions as being worthy of a four rating. I think it has been about two years since the last real good conditions.

Here's hoping.

Happy Hunting,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

11/9 Report - Indian River County Beaches

Ambersands Beach This Morning.

This is looking north towards McClarty. As you can see, it doesn't look very good.

Wabasso Beach This Morning.

Here you have the eroding fill, especially in front of the Disney resort.

Seagrape Trail This Morning.

This is one of the better looking beaches this morning.

Turtle Trail This Morning.

The beach here doesn't look very good right now. In the recent past, the finds came from down around the water line at low tide.

Rio Mar didn't look any good. And neither did Pepper Park.

Like I've said before, most of the place that are eroding are places where they have been filled at some time and it is the fill sand that is eroding. That eroded sand is now on the front of the beach at most places.

I just thought I'd give you a look at some of the beaches that I haven't showed much lately.

Gold is over $1400 an ounce. I can remember when it was under $300. That is a big difference. If you have been holding any that is good appreciation, and I don't see any signs of it slowing as long as the dollar keeps falling.

Forecast and Conditions.

The seas have decreased but will be increasing again up to 8 feet on Saturday. Any beaches that are currently any good should be improved more then. It looks like we'll have three days of high seas.

The effect should be cumulative. I think the reason more beaches haven't done more at this point, is the amount of dredged sand at some spots and accumulation of summer sand at other spots is still protecting the front beach and causing the force of the waves to be spend on that sand. As the winter weather continues, a lot of the sand on the front of the beach should be swept away, uncovering items and leaving the beach more open to cutting.

If you look at a place like Seagrape Trail, you'll see a sand bar forming on the front of the beach. That will keep old things buried and keep the waves from hitting the back beach with force.

I'm maintaining a 2 rating for now. It is a minimal two now though, since conditions have deteriorated a little and probably will continue to until Friday.

Next week could be good. It has been a long time and the pickings have been slim and not easy to come by. You have to be at the right spot at the right time.

Happy hunting,

Monday, November 8, 2010

11/8 Report - Good Action on Some Beaches

Photo of One Treasure Coast Beach This Morning

The beaches are getting worked over. Some are cutting. Some are just changing.

The top photo shows the beach at John Brooks or Green Turtle Park this morning. Doesn't look very impressive. Below is the same beach a day or two ago.

Notice in the lower photo the two steps. The bigger cut at the back was made a few weeks ago and the front cut more recently.

What happened is that the sand from the front of the ledge behind the front cut first was pulled down into the water, and then one of the next high tides took the sand from the remaining ledge and pushed it up to fill in the area in front of the back cut.

It goes to show how a beach can change from one high tide to the next. One cycle can cut it and the next fill it in, or vice versa.

Photo of the Same Beach a Day or Two Ago.

Anyhow, the result is that that particular beach is not very promising right now.

There are other beaches along the Treasure Coast where the beaches are cutting. Again, it is still mostly where there has been some artificial fill at one time that is now eroding.

The high tide this morning was hitting higher on many of the beaches than it has for weeks.

Like I showed, not all beaches are cutting.

I would rate the Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions right now as being a solid 2 on my rating scale.

Interesting stuff can be found at both high tide and low tide at some spots.

I know of shipwreck spikes, sheeting, and shards and other artifacts that are being found. You'll have to hunt for the right spots though. It is not consistent throughout the Treasure Coast.

Tomorrow and Wednesday the seas will be decreasing to down around four feet, but by Friday they are predicted to be back up to 7.5 feet and even eight feet by Saturday. So next weekend should be interesting if the predictions actually work out.

My tip for this week is to check those few spots where the water is hitting the old cuts after high tide and then the low tide area at low tide.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, November 7, 2010

11/7 Report - Mystery Small Silver Rectangle Metal Detector Find

Small Rectangular Piece of Silver Found on a Treasure Coast Shipwreck Beach Yesterday.

This is one of those types of finds that will probably never give up its secrets. It is definitely silver. I could tell that when I inspected it with a high power loop and when I did an acid test on it.

And it has definitely been exposed to salt water for some time. Close inspection of the considerable surface corrosion shows that. It has some age to it. I can tell it has been exposed for some time, but can't tell if the time period is years, decades or centuries.

The other side of the object is about the same and presently shows no markings.

The long oval mark in the middle of the object is where it could have been attached to something. The oval area is slightly raised even though you can't tell that from the photo. It could be a sprue if the item was formed using a mold. I don't know if that is the case, or, like I mentioned, it might have been attached to something else.

I suppose I will never know the age or identity of this little silver rectangle. The best chance of learning more about it is to clean it and see if there are any marks underneath the green. I'll probably do that someday, but won't hurry into it.

If any one has any ideas about this little silver piece, I'd appreciate receiving an email.

Metal Sheet With Square Nail Hole Found on a Treasure Coast Shipwreck Beach Yesterday.

Another of the mystery items found yesterday includes this thin lead sheet with a square nail hole in it. It is something else that will probably keep most of its secrets.

The square nail hole does give some information about its probable age, but that is probably about all I'll ever know about this item.

Until I learn something more about these items, they simply tell me that the area is giving up some older items. Exactly how old? I don't know, but it's worth continuing to explore that area.

Forecast and Conditions.

We still have northwest winds and big high tides. That is good. And the 7.5 foot seas are still expected for later today.

The new good news is that next weekend is expected to have high seas too, with only a small drop-off during the middle of this week.

Things should be improving.

I have no qualms or reservations about my 2 beach conditions rating now, and would not be surprised if it is increased after this evenings high tide.

If you don't know, my Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Metal Detecting Conditions Rating Scale is a five point scale, with 1 being poor and 5 excellent. I can only recall having a four rating once or maybe twice in the past two years. Things just haven't been real good during that time period. Maybe that is about to change this winter.

A cheerful countenance is a great treasure which people with many possessions often do not possess.

Happy Hunting,

Saturday, November 6, 2010

11/6 Report - Slight Beach Upgrade & Gold News

Treasures Found on the Atocha/Margarita Site.

Photo received via email and from the Fisher organization. They are still heavily working that trail.

Gold ended at $1297 per ounce yesterday. That is a pretty lofty price and nothing says that the increases will end now, especially if the dollar is continually devalued.

Three characteristics have made gold desirable for centuries.. It's lustre, malleability,and noncorrosive nature.

Speaking of gold, did you ever see what was believed to be the oldest gold artifact found in the Americas. It was a gold bead necklace found in Peru.

Here is a link to that article.


Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is out of the northwest. The high tides are still nice and high, but most importantly, the seas are predicted to increase to 7.5 feet late Sunday. That gives a very good chance of significant beach improvement for next week. I hope it actually turns out that way.

This morning I found the cut shown in the photo here. The cut was up to two feet and pretty close to the back dunes in places, although one other beach that I looked at was not cut at all and still had tons of mushy sand out front.

On the basis of the only two beaches that I saw (both in St. Lucie County), I'm upgrading my beach conditions rating to a two. I didn't see what the beaches to the north were doing, but am going partly on how high the water was getting and the nice cut that I did see. There has to be a few more around somewhere. I would call this a minimal two for now. If I saw more beaches like the one that was cut this morning, I could perhaps give the upgrade with more confidence.

Oh, I did find one mystery obejct and some other stuff that I might show later.

Happy hunting,

Friday, November 5, 2010

11/5 Report - Predictions Look Promising for Improved Beach Conditions

Admiral Gardner Coin Clump for Sale on Ebay.

It's always nice to see a good clump of coins.

I was mentioning yesterday about insulators that you might find. Even if you are hunting shipwreck coins and artifacts, you can cover some expenses by picking up other things.

A few years ago you could get some money from almost any old embossed bottle that you might find. It's not so easy to sell old bottles these days unless they are in a popular collecting category such as Coca Cola bottles. Old Coca Cola bottles still sell easily. I found one nice straight-side Coca Cola bottle, which was my favorite Coke bottle.

You can find a lot of non-metallic things if you keep your eyes open. I mentioned insulators yesterday. Sometimes they are still attached to wire or metal mounting hardware, so can be detected with a metal detector.

Here is a photo of one of those.

You can also find old porcelain dolls or parts that can be easily sold.

I always say it pays to know about a little about a lot of different things. You can easily pass up something ore valuable than what you were looking for if you don't recognize the value of different things.

The first time I picked up some old bottles was after hurricane Andrew. I was hunting silver coins that day, but the bottles, which I noticed floating in the surf, were worth more than the coins that I found. When I notice how old the bottles looked, I found an old plastic bag and started to collect the bottles.

Anyhow, below is a photo of an clay face that I found in the water one day and haven't been able to get any idea of its age or function even though I've posted it various places. From the back, it looks like it was mounted on something flat.

What do you think?

One of the Treasure Coast treasure beach maps is now available on eBay. Item no. 110606933309. These are especially good for those of you who visit the Treasure Coast and don't know all of the beaches.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is out of the north/northwest as the cold front comes through. The tides are nice and high.

It looks like things could get good. The seas will be building to about 7.5 feet on Sunday if the surf web sites are right. At that time, Tomas will be heading north and out into the Atlantic.

When we get something near 8 foot seas, it normally causes some improvement. How much improvement will depend upon other factors, but right now it looks very promising.

Happy hunting,