Tuesday, March 30, 2010

3/31 Report - 1715 Fleet Religious Medallion

Religious Medallion Found on Treasure Coast 1715 Fleet Beach.

This religious medallion was completely encrusted when found. There was nothing visible to give any hint of what was in the crust until after the crust was removed. I believe it was originally silver-plated. There is still a very small amount of silver remaining on it. On the back of the medallion is a complete prayer in Latin.

Yesterday I mentioned corroding of gold. Gold is well known for not corroding, yet corroded gold has been reported in the literature. Corroding gold is largely if not completely due to the fact that the gold contains alloys or impurities.

I listed a technical web site yesterday that described the phenomenon better than I ever could, but just today I found another site in which the author mentioned observing the same thing in much less technical terms. The primary purpose of this new article is to explain why test gardens for testing metal detectors are not very effective and also describes the "Halo Effect."

You might find that article interesting. Here is the link.


I've encouraged using GoogleEarth to propsect for out-of-the-way metal detecting beaches and other sites. Here is a web site that discusses the use of GoogleEarth in archaeology. Detectorists can do the same type of thing.


If you like to hunt fossils, you'll want to know about the Florida Fossil Hunter's News which can be found online. Besides learning what is going on, you can join the Orlando club and go on their outings. Check it out.


Forecast and Conditions.The wind is still from the west and the seas are still rather calm. Therefore nothing has changed much lately and, unfortunately, nothing probably will change for the next week. It looks like the seas will remain at around two or three feet. That means that conditions will remain poor unless something unexpected happens.

The Fortune Cookie Corner.

A man's failures often lay the foundation for a strong character, while his successes can become a trap.

Happy Hunting,

Monday, March 29, 2010

3/30 Report - Blob Top Bottles & Gold Topics

Blob Top Bottles Found along Treasure Coast Waterways.

Even when the beaches are poor, there are good alternatives. I personally like bottle hunting. You don't have to dig privies to find old bottles. All of the bottles I find are surface finds.

I began bottle collecting after Hurricane Andrew when I found some old bottles rolling in the surf in South Florida.

Unfortunately the market for old bottles has dramatically decreased over the past few years. A few years ago, you could sell almost any embossed bottle for a few bucks. Now it is not as easy. But even with the lower values, I like finding old bottles.

I just noticed yesterday that this little local blog has recorded over 60,000 hits. That is not something that I ever expected when I started this blog about a year and a half ago with zero readers. Someday soon I'll have to make a lot of changes to this site so that it's appearance and functionality is more consistent with the level of the information content. I think anyone would say that this is an information driven site. That is primarily what I try to do - provide good information on a daily basis.

I didn't know that I would be able to find something that I wanted to talk about on such a regular basis. Your emails have helped. Sometimes readers bring up a question or issue to be discussed and it evolves into a series of posts. And sometimes readers send photos that I can use or provide good information that I simply pass along when it seems to fit in with whatever is on my mind that day.

The thing that most surprises me is that there are so many readers and I haven't really done much of anything to publicize or promote the blog. Nonetheless it keeps growing. I can only guess that the way that happens is by key word internet searches and undoubtedly by word of mouth.

I often receive emails that encourage me to continue with the blog. I sometimes learn that people benefit from the information, and sometimes they tell me what they found useful. I've have even received emails offering to make financial contributions to support the blog. I appreciated that but did not accept the offer. Right now, I would just encourage people to mention the blog to others. When people are reading the blog I feel like I am making a contribution, and that is the type of support I need, especially until I find the time to take the site to the next level.

I want to thank all of you who read the blog and especially all of you who have sent emails, questions, information or photos. Thanks!

When considering a piece of dental gold that had been found on a Treasure Coast beach, I wondered when gold was first used in dentistry and if there might be examples from any of the shipwrecks. I found part of the answer. "There are examples of the use of gold in dental applications as far back as The Etruscans in the seventh century BC who used gold wire to hold in place substitute teeth, usually from a cow or calf, when their own were damaged. As long ago as 1530 the first printed book on dentistry published in Leipzig recommended gold leaf for filling cavities. The advantages of gold and its alloys for dental applications are its bio-compatibility, malleability and resistance to corrosion." Here is a link to the reference that I just quoted.


If you've been reading this blog very long, you know that I am often involved in trying to determine how old a particular item might be. In the process of conducting that research I often learn a lot and have come across a number of misconceptions related to gold and silver.

One thing that can confuse a person is seeing corrosion or tarnish on gold. Many people believe that that simply does not happen. But it does. I'm not talking about corrosion like you see on iron, or the tarnish that you see on silver, but there is surface discoloration that sometimes appears on high carat as well as low carat gold.

Recently there have been a number of reports of tarnishing on high carat gold jewelry from some countries, most notably India, which you might know produces a lot of very high carat gold jewelry.

The following link will take you to an article that discusses tarnishing gold, how it occurs and what you can do about it.


Forecast and Conditions.The wind is from the west and the seas are around three feet and decreasing for the next few days. The tides are pretty high, but not enough to do a lot of good. There is nothing that suggests much improvement for the next few days.

It might be a good time to work the tourist Spring Break beaches, or do something a little different.

Happy hunting,

3/29 Report - Here and Gone Disappearing Cuts

View of Frederick Douglass Park on Sunday Afternoon.

To the north up around the bend you can probably see, but not well, a pretty good cut. To the south were scallops, very much like those I talked about in a recent post.

My point today is that the beach can change quickly. Cuts can appear and disappear in a matter of hours.

Sunday I was near the beach because of other business and didn't have my detector with me but went over to see what the beach looked like. I was surprised to see the nice cut. As I said, I didn't have my detector with me yesterday, so I went out this morning, and the cut was already gone. If the beach had continued to cut, I would have probably issued a conditions rating upgrade for today, but it didn't.
The cuts were rounded off and filled in, and the scallops were markedly less distinct, and there was a lot of new mushy sand on the front beach. We haven't had any sustained northeast winds to create any real good productive cuts this year.

Last year I found cobs in both March and April. This year I'm starting to think I might not find any in March. Maybe April will be better. You never know when conditions will change.

I took a quick look at Pepper Park also this morning, and it wasn't any better.

Fred B., who commented on the metal pieces that you can sometimes find from the space shuttle on Treasure Coast beaches, sent in a photo showing a variety of pieces. Here is a melted piece - the kind that you've most likely seen if you've hunted the Treasure Coast very much.

There is one of the Treasure Coast metal detecting treasure maps listed on ebay now that only has one day left and no bids. The item number is 110511141667.

And here is a fossilized tooth of a Great White Minnow. I thought it was kinda cute. Its the smallest shark baby tooth that I ever found.

That reminds me, I saw a big bob cat this morning on Hutchinson Island. I once saw a large Florida Panther gliding across A1A up at Wabasso.

It seems I'm scattered this morning. I'm not in good form for writing. Sometimes the words don't flow well. I think I'll give up before its too late.

Forecast and Conditions. I already told you about the conditions. The wind is from the west again and the seas will be slackening for the next few days. Nothing too promising. You'll have to exercise some creativity. There aren't even many modern coins on the Treasure Coast beaches.

Do some research and try something different. It can be fun and profitable.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, March 27, 2010

3/27 Report - Technique for Seeing Small Details & Hope for Improved Conditions

Fishing Net Float.

You never know what you might find on a beach. Here is a metal fishing net float that turned up. It's not old but I thought it was somewhat interesting. Restaurants and different places use stuff like this for decor.

It might not be what you hoped to find, but sometimes some of this miscellaneous stuff that you pick up can pay for your gasoline for the day. I saw a set of five similar to this one listed on ebay for $85.

Most people aren't into metal detecting for the economic benefits alone, but if you find something that can be put to good use, why not? And you are doing the world some good. After all, picking up random stuff from the beaches and finding a place where it will be put to use is a type of recycling.

People often ask how much an item is worth. There might be a reasonable range, but part of the value of the item is on what you might call the marketing side. Some items are worth more to one person than another. If you want to get the maximum value out of an item, you need to find someone that appreciates it. This float would be worth nothing to some people, but to others might easily bring five or ten dollars. I'm sure you could sell it eventually if you wanted to.

One thing they don't show on TV shows like The Pickers is the marketing side. The reason all of that stuff they pick up has any value, is that they have connections to people or know where to find people that would be interested in the items they buy. That fact determines to a large extent the prices they actually realize. If you don't know or can't find someone that appreciates the value of an item, it isn't worth much. On the other hand, if you find the person who really wants and appreciates an item, it will dramatically increase the economic value of the item. If you keep your eyes open and learn what types of things have value to different people, you can actually pay for a lot of your metal detecting expenses while at the same time saving the world's resources and cleaning up the beaches.

I have an complete article on the different types of value that an item might have, but I'll have to save that for another time.

Polynomial Texture Mapping. That sounds fancy, doesn't it. It refers to a new technique used by archaeologists to see faint details on old worn objects. But it's not as fancy as it sounds. Basically what it comes down to is shining a bright spotlight on an object from various acute angles and taking photos in a way that will pick up slight details. Although you may not have the fancy software to optimize the process and do it exactly the same way scientists do it, almost anyone can use the same basic principles if they have a good digital camera and a good light.

Here is the link if you want to read more.


Here is an lengthy article about artifact looters in the Ozarks. That seems to be what some archaeologists are interested in, read about and write about. And the state of journalism these days is something to really wonder about. Instead of informing, it seems that the primary goal is to incite an emotional reaction against one group of people or another. No wonder the country is so divided and contentious.

I really didn't know if I wanted to reference this link or not - with the comic book illustrations and characterizations and everything - but it might be worth reading anyhow. There are things in this piece that you might find amazing, surprising, or simply hard to believe. I think it will raise some questions in the mind of anyone that analytically reads this piece.


The past couple of days I talked about people finding pieces from a space shuttle on the Treasure Coast beaches. It reminded me of the time I once found a metal tag attached to a leg bone, evidently from some type of migrating bird. Ok - I don't know what the connection is, but it did remind me. Anyhow, wanting to report the find, I called everybody I could think of and all the agencies I could think of to report the tag, but I never did find out who the tracking agency was. Somehow I vaguely remember finding out that the bird came from North Carolina, but I never did find the correct organization to properly report it. I wish they would have put a phone number or email address on the tag. As I recall, there was only few letters and numbers on the metal tag and nothing that gave a clue to where to report it. If you have anything to do with tagging animals, it might be helpful to provide a little more information on the tag.

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention yesterday about scalloped beaches - in my opinion they do not produce cobs nearly as often as the good long and deep straight cuts, but they do produce cobs sometime. From my experience I'd say it is about 20/80 or less when comparing cob finds from scallops and straight cuts.

Forecast and Conditions.Winds are from the northeast but the seas are calm. I think you'll see one of the salvage ships working at Douglass Park today if you get there before 3:00 PM.

Actually things are looking like they might improve. The surf site is projecting six foot seas or more for later Sunday. They show the swells gradually increasing up to that time.

That could create the best conditions that we've seen for a while. Hopefully the wins will continue coming from the northeast. If all of that happens, there might be reason to increase my conditions rating for Monday.

At least we have some hope for next week.

Happy hunting,

Friday, March 26, 2010

3/26 Report - Gold Ring & Working Scallops & Space Shuttle Parts

Near 24 Kt Centuries Old Ring Found by a Man Working His Garden.

Nice find. That goes to show that surprisingly nice things can be found almost anywhere. You don't have to be sitting on the ballast pile of a treasure ship to find treasure.

Yesterday I mentioned someone that found a piece of metal that was identified as a piece of a space shuttle, and I just received another email from another reader that has found metal that could be from a space shuttle. He had some good information to share.

Fred B. said that he had found both melted and unmelted pieces. He said, "The non-melted piece is aircraft grade aluminum probably from the shuttle, I can tell the grade of aluminum by testing with a hardness tester. If any of your readers are interested in determining if any of their finds are Titanium, it is a very simple test, just grind on it and if the sparks are white, it is Titanium."

Fred has been in communication with NASA and they are analyzing a couple of his pieces. NASA told him they are still retrieving Challenger parts. Fred said that NASA knows that he has more of the pieces and he will get the results of the pieces analyzed soon.

I've been wanting to talk a little about hunting scallops. The conclusions are based solely on my personal observations.

The simple illustration that I made shows a scalloped beach that was created by north or northeastern winds. That means the wave action is from the north, moving up to the center of the scallops, and then taking sand on its return to the water on the south side of each scallop.

You will normally find a bunch of small shells just above the center of each dip. Most often coins will be found in the southwest corner (not actually a corner) of the scallop, where I drew the kidney bean shaped areas. When coins are found in one part of one dip on a beach like this, any other coins will more than likely be found in the same relative position in the other dips. It seems like the coins are dropped when the water slows after changing direction and starts to return down the slope. Some of the sand is carried down the slope and the heavier coins are left behind.

Scallops will sometimes (but less frequently) be created by south or southeast winds. In that case, the coins are more likely in a similar position but on the northwest corner of the dip.

The second most likely place to find cobs (typically smaller cobs) is in the shell areas just above the center of the dips.

And thirdly, but infrequently, you'll find coins on a beach like this down by the water's edge.

I would expect to find the coins by the cuts at the eastern point formed between dips, but that just hasn't been the case in my experience.

My first pass at such a beach would be to walk along the line of cuts just below the points and following the curve up into the dip making sure to hit what I have called the north and south corners. On the way back, I'd hit the shell areas, and if time permits, the wet sand close to the water.

It is easier to see these patterns in areas where there are a lot of coins. It is more difficult to originally identify these patterns on the Treasure Coast beaches where the finds are much more scarce, but I think you will see them when you know to look for them.

Forecast and Conditions. The waves actually picked up a bit yesterday for a while, but they were coming from the southeast. The winds today will be from the south and west.

Finally it looks like something will change a little. The surf web sites are predicting something above five foot seas for Sunday now. That will be a welcome change. If we can get something a little higher and with northeast winds, we might get some significant improvement in beach conditions.

Until things change, I have to stick with my 1 (poor) rating.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, March 25, 2010

3/25 Report - Old Silver Plated Buttons & Strongbox & Cannonball

Photo of Two Old Silver Plated Buttons.

I even thought of using a penny for size comparison. I usually forget to do that.

Notice that in the photo of the button backs, the smaller button plainly states "PLATED."
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might remember that not too long ago I did a series of posts talking about silver-plating, and got a number of good emails from readers telling how long ago it was done and how it was done. Too bad I didn't have these buttons to post then.

On another subject, I just learned via email yesterday that the crew of the salvage vessel Dare found an encrusted six pound cannon ball on 3/21 as they searched the debris trail of the Atocha. There are 12 bronze cannons from the Atocha still unaccounted for, and each of those could be worth half a million dollars.

The Fisher organization says that former president Bill Clinton bought an Atocha cannonball for himself in 2004, along with a beautiful one-reale Mexican silver Atocha coin for Hillary. (What? Nothing for Monica?)

The cannonball will be part of the 2010 division of treasure for investors in the Atocha/Margarita Expedition.

The winds have kept the Key West salvagers in port for a good part of the past few months. I guess the Treasure Coast is not the only place where treasure hunters have been hindered by this strange winter.

For me, one of the neatest 17th Century Spanish artifacts offered on ebay was a baroque wrought iron strong box that just sold for $1800. That is a high price, but I thought the box was worth good money.

This strong box, unlike the plain wood boxes that were used to ship many of the silver reales on the galleons, is very ornate.

Here is the link to the picture.


Yesterday I mentioned how archaeologists are going to conduct a dig in the area where a detectorist found the Staffordshire Hoard. Sometimes I just give a few facts without really bringing out all of the relevant connections. I'm not really a very wordy person. But this shows one of many ways that detectors and other non-destructive modern technologies can be used in archaeology. Too bad it has been largely over-looked. If you do a key word search using "detector" and "archaeology," you'll come up with mostly cases talking about "looters." But detectors could be used much more effectively in archaeology. I'll discuss some new methods for doing that some time in the future.

I'll also have to get to my topic of working scalloped beaches sometime soon. I planned to but haven't found the photo that I want to use as the illustration.

I'll just throw in one more miscellaneous thing today. One reader was detecting in Cocoa and found a strange piece of metal. It was identified as a Titanium piece from a shuttle launch. Other detectorists have found small pieces of metal from the shuttle on the Treasure Coast. Those that I'm familiar with are small melted lumps. This was not a melted piece.

A piece of the shuttle would be an interesting conversation piece to have, but it might technically be illegal to possess pieces of the shuttle. I could see why that might be. The reader that wrote to me was told that NASA would not be interested in small miscellaneous pieces. I would also guess that that would be true. I'd like to hear from you if you know anything specific about the legalities involved. I also would be interested in the practicalities if you have any experience communicating with NASA about anything like this.

Conditions and Forecast. Winds are from the southeast today and low tides are in the morning and evening. Nothing significant or new to report. Conditions have not changed, unfortunately.

Given local conditions, you might have a good chance of picking up a shark's tooth or some other fossil or some pottery or glass in the shell areas.

I think you might see a salvage boat working at Frederick Douglass Park.

I won't even bother to give my rating.

There is some encouragement though. The seas will be increasing to around five feet on Sunday. That is usually not enought to really help out, but we'll see. The long range predictions on the surf sites tend to change a bit over time. So we'll just have to wait and see.

Happy hunting,

Forecast and Conditions.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

3/24 Report - Galleon Found Buried Under River Bank

Fortification on Pigeon Island.

I just ran across a photo I took on Pigeon Island, which I talked about a bit yesterday. The cliffs bearing the artifacts are not shown in this photo. Although the paths were covered with pottery shards, the flat areas had evidently been hunted. I spent my time on a couple cliffs that were eroding.

I've been planning on talking about working scalloped beaches, but haven't run across a good photo for that lately and I'd like a good illustration before I try to o that. I've also been thinking of talking about some other things, but just don't feel like I have it together today.

On another subject, workers digging the foundations for a new apartment complex in Buenos Aires might An 18th century Spanish galleon was discovered on the banks of the River Plate when workers were digging a foundation for a new apartment complex. With the galleon they found five cannons, two barrels of olive oil and ropes have been discovered. The shipwreck was covered by sediment created by the flooding of the river.

I'm always interested in moving sand - or earth. To me that can be one of the biggest keys to successful treasure hunting.

Here is the link to read more.


You might remember the detectorist that found the Staffordshire hoard. Archaeologists are now going to do a dig at at that site. I suppose they'll give the detectorist credit for his contribution - not likely! They aren't looking for more treasure they say, but rather trying to learn what they can about how the treasure got to be there.

Here is the link if you want to read more about that.


There are new dating non-destructive dating techniques for determining the age of artifacts. Here is the link if you are interested.

Forecast and Conditions. Its a good time to be in the water. With the west winds, calm seas and low tides, some of the salvage ships are out working.

The beaches aren't worth much. That hasn't changed for some time. As I've been saying, it would be a good time to take a little trip or do some research to find some new sites.

I don't expect Treasure Coast beach conditions to improve anytime real soon. I can't believe how poor conditions have been this winter. This time last year cobs were being found.

Maybe it will change. I'm sure getting tired of giving the same old conditions rating.

I think that's it for today.

Happy hunting,

3/23 Report - Using GoogleEarth to Scout New Hunting Areas

GoogleEarth Example.

I'll refer to this example below.

I said the other day that I might talk about finding new places to hunt. I also recently showed a GoogleEarth shot of a beach that I hunted before. One good way to find new spots is to use GoogleEarth.

I would especially suggest looking along waterways. Look for those light half-moon shaped small beaches. Especially target those that are out of the way and off of the main highways. Especially Look for beaches with some elevation at the back. A topographic map might be helpful. If there is a little bank or cliff behind the beach, things will fall down onto the beach whenever the beach erodes back. That can mean periodic replenishment of targets.

Those types of beaches might have a lot of junk at first. That could actually be a good sign. It could mean that nobody else detects there, or if they do, they don't do a particularly good job and probably left some good things behind. Light junk will tend to be closer to the surface. After you clean the junk up, then you can go after the deeper and denser targets.

Although some of those beaches might not yield anything real good, you might eventually find one that becomes your own personal treasure mine.

Junk can also discourage other detectorists and protect the deeper goodies for you or someone else that is willing to do the necessary work. Remember, if you are willing to work a little harder than everybody else, you have a chance of getting what they missed.

My example today isn't from Florida but rather a place that I visited a few times in the past. It is Pigeon Island, which you see in the picture above. When I went to this place I didn't have GoogleEarth to use to scout it out.

Let's say I was scouting for a place to detect and I saw this place and I expected to be in the area some time in the future. One thing I would do is click on the squares that you see. If you were looking at this island on GoogleEarth and clicked on some of the squares, you would see titles pop up like "Ruins" and you would see pictures of the ruins. You would learn something about how the place was used in the past. You would also see the longitude and latitude of various spots on the island, elevations and some of the place names, such as "Rodney Fort." All three of those things provide useful information. You could identify some spots that you might want to look at in person before you get there, and if you have a portable GPS system, you could walk directly to the spots that you saw.

I told you before to look for cliffs. There were two cliffs on this particular island where a heavy concentration of things could be found from the early 1800s. The flat obvious and easy spots were barren. But from the artifacts on those cliff, it appeared that quite a battle took place there, and you could find both British and French artifacts there.

I think I've at least given you the idea of how you can use GoogleEarth to scout around for promising new areas to hunt. Again, I'd recommend looking along the waterways of the Treasure Coast.

On another subject, I often get asked by people what detector they should buy? Unfortunately that is a difficult question to answer. It depends on a lot of factors, including where you are going to hunt, what you are going to focus on finding, and even the characteristics of the detectorists. For the most part, beginners should buy a relatively inexpensive detector that is easy to use. In my opinion all of the major manufacturers make detectors that will work well. Fisher, Garrett, Whites, Tesoro, and Minelab all make effective detectors. There is no reason to spend big bucks on your first detector. Some detectors cost $3000 and up. Don't spend that kind of money until you have some experience. My recommendation would be to buy your first detector at a place where they can ask you questions and demonstrate the use of a variety of detectors. Some places push one or two brands. Go to a place where they have a variety and are eager and willing to answer your questions and help you make a good informed decision.

Here is a web site where you can read reviews of many detectors. You might find it useful weather you are considering buying your first detector or your tenth.


Forecast and Conditions.We still have the west winds and nearly flat seas. I don't see anything that will change that appreciably in the next few days. My Treasure Coast beach conditions rating remains stuck on poor.

Have fun,

Monday, March 22, 2010

3/22 Report - Hunting Small Cobs & Open Stretches

Fairly Normal Size Half Reale Found on the Treasure Coast with a Metal Detector.

I guess I'll try to answer some email questions today. First, one person who hadn't found any half reales on the beaches saw some small cobs at one of the museums and was surprised by how small they are. I think a lot of people would be surprised how small cobs can be if they haven't personally had contact with a few half reales.

In the past I recommended taking an old worn down silver dime and cutting it in half to make a decent test object to set your detector's settings to make sure you are set up right for that type of target. Evidently I didn't stress the worn down part enough. When I say worn down and cut in half, I am talking about a piece of silver not more than two or three grams. I have silver dimes, or should I say pieces of silver dimes, that have worn paper thin. That is the type of thing I was thinking of when I said to use a silver dime as a test target for cobs. If the dime isn't worn down, you can cut the dime down to size.

Of course the best test target is the same type of thing you want to find, only make sure it is on the small side.

The cob in the photo is a fairly normal size for a beach-worn half reale. I used this particlar cob as my illustration because you can compare the size of the cob with my well-manicured finger nail. Some cobs are half to one third the size of the one shown in the photo.

I always say if you are set up to detect the small ones, the big ones will take care of themselves. And with most detectors, if you are using discrimination,you will probably be missing the quarter reales and worn half reales. They can be much smaller than their expected weight due to corrosion and wear.

Another person asked me about hunting those long stretches of empty beach. Personally, I'd much rather hunt a beach where some good erosion has occured than one of spots that is known to be a hot spot if the hot spot has a bunch of fresh new sand on it. That is especially true if the hot spot has been heavily over-hunted. On the other hand, you shouldn't let heavy hunting scare you off of a beach if the conditions are right and you know what you are doing.

When hunting the long stretches of vacant beach, make sure to look for any signs of past activity. Look for old pieces of pottery, glass, brick, lead, iron or other debris that migth say that something has gone on there in the past. If you find any signs of old stuff, check the spot out occasionally. You might find your own personal hot spot.

I've never seen anyone else hunt some of my favorite spots in nearly twenty years. And those areas are close to some very heavily hunted areas. In some cases, they are beaches that were heavily used in the old days but pretty much abandoned today. \
Many people hunt the same old spots and never explore new areas.

I might talk about exploring new areas tomorrow or someday soon.

It takes time to find your own spots. You'll need patience. And you won't find those fresh and productive spots easily, but I'm sure there are still some good ones out there to be found.

If you don't have patience, you might be better off hunting the popular tourist beaches where there is always a fresh supply of new targets.

I guess I'll leave you with those two tips for today.

If you want to own a pirate cannon, one is available for $35,000 at the following link.


Here is an article mentioning a number of shipwrecks and beaches to detect. The beaches aren't only Florida beaches, but some Florida beaches are mentioned.


Forecast and Conditions. As you probably know another front came through, and the west winds have been blowing. As a result the seas have been relatively calm, and the tides have been nothing special. I don't see any significant changes in the forecast. I'll stick with my poor rating for now.

It would not be a bad time to do a little research or take a day trip. Branch out ad try a few new things if you're having trouble finding anything.

Have fun,

Saturday, March 20, 2010

3/20 Report - Prospecting GoogleEarth & Finders Keepers

Little Beach Near Pensacola that Was Productive.

If you are tired of hunting the same old hunted out places, and you have a little time to do some research, you might use GoogleEarth to find some hidden beaches to hunt. Look around bays and waterways. Look for beaches that are not heavily used today. Just because a no one goes to a beach today, doesn't mean that it wasn't popular at one time. I know of several little beaches near big metropolitan areas that when I first detected them, seemed like they were never hunted before. You can often find a lot of older US silver coins at places like that, as well as other things. Look for signs that they might have eroded in the past decade.

The X on the photo is where I found a particularly nice ring. It was years ago, but I still remember it well. I'm sure that the site has been hunted more now, but when I got there it seemed like it had never been hunted - not well anyhow.

I just used that particular shot of the beach to give you the idea. Believe it or not, there are still beaches out there that have hardly been hunted. Some of them were popular before they were abandoned for one reason or another.

As you might know, I recently discussed old crucifixes and gave you a link to a site that provides a lot of good information. I just ran across a story of a 500 year old silver crucifix was found in England, which was declared "treasure" by the coroner. I really think the British system is very nice in some regards. The finder is required to notify the authorities of a significant find and then a just value is determined and the finder is rewarded. That encourages the reporting of possibly important finds and compensates the finder.

This particular crucifix appears to be quite a work of art. I just wish that the photos in the article showed more detail. The crucifix of that age is older than you would probably expect to find on a New World shipwreck unless it was a personal possession that already had some age to it when it was lost. I think that we often assume that objects were relatively new when lost.

Here is the link.


A debate on the Finders Keepers principle as it applies to objects of cultural heritage was broadcast on public radio. You can listen to it by using the following link.


If you've picked up some old pottery or shards that you want to keep, it sounds like it is a bad idea to use any type of cleanser containing bleach. Apparently the bleach can cause the pottery to deteriorate badly.

Here is the article if you want to read more about that.


Forecast and Conditions.

Seas are decreasing. They weren't high to begin with. And the tides aren't anything special either. All together, it means more of the same for a while.
Nothing to get excited about.

Happy hunting,

Friday, March 19, 2010

3/19 Report - Investing in Treasure - Atocha & Margarita

A Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

You can see the sand. Too much of the same old thing. Not much has changed for quite a while out there.

You can be a part of the search for the treasures of the Atocha and Margaqrita by becoming an investor. Besides having the opportunity to share in the treasure, you can also visit the sites and dive on the wrecks.

The Mel Fisher organization says they are now focusing on finding the stern castle of the Atocha and the main ballast pile of the Margarita.

A lot of treasure listed on the Atocha’s manifest still remains to be found, including 100,000 silver coins, 300 silver bars and thirty-five boxes of cargo that belonged to the Catholic Church. Thirty-eight members of the Spanish Royalty were also on board and were traveling with their possession, which, as you might guess, were probably quite fantastic.

The main ballast pile of the Margarita should still hold 80,000 silver coins and 150 silver bars. And five other galleons that sank in the same storm might add to the booty.

If an investor works with the divers, you can keep the first item you find up to six times your investment. The minimum investment is $10,000.

On another subject, a very old sword was found by a detectorist in England. I found this story when looking for another story about a sword that was pulled out of the ground by an eleven year old boy. I thought this story was worthwhile for at least two reasons. First, the way it was excavated. The sword was stuck in the roots of a bush. If the finder was not careful in removing the sword, it could easily have been damaged.

I know I've broken things that I wish I didn't simply because I wasn't careful enough in recovering them. Exercise care when recovery items.

The second thing of note, was that the ground around the sword was sifted. That is a good idea when you have a location that has produced something old. Dig the surrounding material and sift it if you can. You might find non-metallic items or items that you didn't detect. And when you hole, detect the hole again.

Here is the web site if you want to read it.


I found the story about the young boy. I don't know if there is as much to learn from this story, but how can you not like a story about an 11 year old boy pulling a 200 year old sword out of the ground in his back yard. That is just neat!


Forecast and Conditions. I feel like a broken record. We just keep getting the same old weather patterns this winter. Northwest winds, mostly. That is what is out there now, and the waves and tides have been high enough to change the beaches appreciably.

Things have to change someday. But I don't see it real soon.

Unfortunately I have to stick with the same old 1 (poor) rating for the Treasure Coast beaches. Hunting the tourist beaches might not be a bad idea.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, March 18, 2010

3/18 Report - Bracelet & Drifting Shipwreck

Bracelet Found on Beach by Metal Detector.

Not brass knuckles, not a handcuff or shackle, but a nice heavy gold bracelet. Not old though.

An old shipwreck was uncovered by the December storms off the North Carolina coast. It must have been buried under sand for most of the past centuries, because from the sound of the article a lot of the woodwork was still intact. They said that since the wreck was uncovered, it has been drifting south. The floorboards and keel of the 400 year old ship came loose and disappeared. The beachcomber who discovered the wreck wants the structure of the wreck to be preserved before it is too late.

Here is the link.


It seems to me that most things in the near-shore ocean along the East Coast of Florida move south over time. If you look at any map you will see that the sand generally moves south. That seems to hold true up in North Carolina too. If you observe the shape of the barrier islands it would seem like the sand generally moves south.

Since the Gulf Stream is moving north, it might seem strange that near-shore items are moving south. The near shore currents seem to be predominately to the south even if the Gulf Stream is flowing north.

One person I knew once threw some marked tokens into the ocean and later some of them were found south of where they were thrown in. They were the general size and shape of coins.

I'm sure that there are times when some things move north along the shore, for example lighter materials when the winds are strong from the south. And of course, if items are deeply buried in sand, they probably won't move until they are uncovered.

After my yesterday's comments about traveling with a detector, Lloyd D., a visitor to the Treasure Coast and resident of New York, wrote in to tell about a couple of his experiences. He said, "I was on a cruise a year ago and stopped in Cozumel, Mexico where a few of us detected a beach with no problem, found only a few coins. The next day we went to a stop on the mainland and taxied to a small village. I wandered into the water for a few moments and noticed a boat approaching the shore, the two men on board were talking in Spanish and I didn't realize they were trying to get my attention. A local man on shore came over to me to say that those men were from the Mexican Navy and were asking me to get out of the water since it was illegal to detect in the ocean but I could do it on the beach!"

So, again, it seems like you will have no problem detecting the beaches in Mexico, but will not be able to freely detect in the ocean. One of the problems with detecting in some foreign countries is the language barrier. And some of the foreign legal systems you just don't want to get involved with. So be careful when traveling, especially to other countries.

If you want to dive down there, you can contact CEDAM to make arrangements. I mentioned that the other day.

Lloyd also told of returning a class ring - a subject I mentioned a few days ago. He said, "Also in regards to the returning of rings. I found a 1931 high school ring in a cherry orchard on a friends farm at home near Niagara Falls, NY. It turned out to be his mother's ring which had been lost be her fiance in the summer of 1936. I found it damaged, but had it repaired and returned to her in June 2004. It had been lost for 68 years and returned to the original owner, so far as I know that may be a record amount of time!"

It is not often that you can return something that was lost for 68 years.

Forecast and Conditions. The wind is from the west right now. Seas are about four feet and building to about five today (Thursday). I wouldn't think that would create any significant changes. I might get to go by and take a peek later today.

For now I'll stick with my 1 (poor) beach conditions rating.

Happy Hunting,

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

3/17 Report - Nuestra Senora de Juncal

Copper Nail Found on a Beach on the Other Side of the Gulf.

I got an interesting email and was glad to hear from someone from the other side of the Gulf. The email was from Scott, who hunts the Yucatan coast northwest of Merida. He found the copper nail shown in the photo. It seems to be a different shape than those that I've seen. It could be that part of the shape is due to corrosion, but I can't tell how much.

I'd like to hear if anyone has any thoughts at all about the possible age or identity of this item.

Scott goes on to say, "There were, at my last count, over 60 or so wrecks between Veracruz and Havana or Spain routes which records showed the survivors hitting the coast of the Yucatan state. One of them was a pretty important wreck which has not been found yet, the Nuestra Senora de Juncal."

I don't know if any of you have ever detected in Mexico before, but Scott says the authorities (INAH) there never give permission for water hunts.

It can be fun to take your detector when you travel, but it is sometimes difficult to find out what the relevant local laws are. There is also the disadvantage of not knowing the beaches as well as your home beaches. Still, it can be fun to explore new areas with a detector.

Concerning the Nuestra Senora de Juncal, INAH turned down Odyssey Marine's requests to scan the possible site of that wreck, which sank in the Bay of Campeche in 1631.

INAH based the rejection of Odyssey's request on the fact that the US firm “neither has the intention to do research nor the backing of archaeologists or of an academic institution of recognised prestige, conditions without which it is impossible to authorise this type of initiative”. Somehow I don't think that is the real story.

To read more about this wreck, check out the following web site.


If you are planning a Spring Break trip to Mexico or want to dive the shipwrecks down there, be careful. Don't get yourself in trouble. You can explore shipwrecks down there by linking up with an organization called CEDAM. Here is a link if you want to explore this further.


Metal detecting, or should I say treasure hunting, is different things to different people. And it can become different for any particular person at different times ln life.

Some people are very casual about it. They might detect when the weather is nice, and they don't expect to find much, but hope they'll find something interesting. And sometimes they do.

Other people are very intense about detecting. Their mood is affected by what they do or don't find.

And some people do it primarily for financial gain.

All of those attitudes or styles have different results. If you just like getting out and poking around with the kids that is great. If you get too intense about detecting, or put too much importance on the financial aspect, you can lose a lot of the fun of it. If you don't have an intense inner drive, you'll be tempted to quit when things are not going well unless you learn to just enjoy the activity. If you enjoy just being out there and exploring, you'll probably be able to stay motivated through any those times when you aren't finding much until you find something that makes you glad you stuck with it.

One way to have fun when you are in one of those droughts, is to broaden your range of targets. Conduct research. Learn a little about fossils or artifacts. And try some different things and different locations.

I think there is s tendency for most detectorists to get stuck in a rut of one kind or another. They tend to hunt the same old spots, and when those spots quit producing, get discouraged or give up.

Different people have different personalities, or what I call, operating characteristics. Some people get discouraged easily. Some people are always optimistic. Some people have the necessary patience to spend years without any success going after that one big long-shot until they are finally successful.

It will help you to know what kind of person you are, what you want out of the hobby and what your own personal strengths and weaknesses are. Try to utilize your strengths and compensate for or overcome your weaknesses.

And, most of all, keep it in perspective. There are more important things in life.

Forecast and Conditions. We still have a northeast wind but seas of only about 2.5 feet. Thursday the seas are predicted to increase to near five feet. If the winds come from the northeast and increase to five feet, we might see some small cuts on the front beach. Until I see how that turns out, I'm sticking with my 1 TCBDC rating.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

3/16 Report - More on Hybrid Finds, French Fort & Auction

Photo of Treasure Coast Beach Around High Tide on Tuesday.

Looks like a summer beach doesn't it? That is pretty much what you will see around much of the Treasure Coast right now.

The Discovery Channel has been airing a program about The Spear of Jesus. The Spear of Jesus refers to a religious relic thought by some to be the spear that punctured Jesus while hanging on the cross. The reason I bring it up is in trying to determine if the spear in question could indeed be that famous spear, they determined that part of the relic in it's present form was manufactured in the 1400s, some of it in the 1100s, and some of it possibly much earlier. That is the type of thing I was talking about a few days ago when I talked about the heirloom crucifixes that were modified over the years as families repaired or upgraded their favorite heairlooms from time to time.

Well, concerning the spear, one scientist determined that part of the iron used in the spear was older then the rest of the item and thought it could be the remains of a nail that was used on the cross which was pounded in and fused with the spear. That could be true, I guess. There is often some truth to stories like that, but it is sometimes hard to tell just how much truth.

A few days ago I talked about a web site where they showed crucifixes from various periods, as well as things other than crucifixes, but after I talked about the web site and some of the things that I found on it, I forgot to post the link. One of the blog's readers brought that oversight to my attention. So here is the link to the web site.

When you reach the first page, you can select the time period that you want to look at first. The first section is 1700-1750, or something like that.


On another subject, the remains of an 18th Century French Fort was found at the site of the Champlain bridge. You migth wonder why I'd mention a story about a 18th Century fort in Vermont. There is good reason. There are clues in that story that will help you out no matter where you hunt. When you read the article notice where the fort was located. Why was it located where it was? And how was it found? See what you can learn from the article that you can apply to the Treasure Coast.


The Bowers and Merena Coin and Currency Auction in Baltimore realized 8.5 mmillion dollars. 20t Century US coins were among the leaders.

To see a list of coin prices, here is the link.


Forecast and Conditions. As you can see from the photo above, the Treasure Coast beaches look more like summer beaches than winter beaches. This winter just wasn't one of the better ones for finding cobs. There were just too many cold fronts and too many west winds.

The wind right now seems to be out of the northeast, which would be good if the seas were higher than 2 feet. They will increase as the latest cold front moves throught, but not by much.

I'm sticking with a 1 (poor) rating on my Treasure Coast Beach Detecting Scale.

Happy Hunting,

Monday, March 15, 2010

3/15 Report - Class Rings and Other Things

Spring Break is nearly here and students and other party seekers will be frolicking at all of the popular Spring Break haunts, including some of the beaches of Florida. Anywhere you see college kids acting up in the water or on the beach is a good place to find some fairly heavy gold.

It is often possible to return school rings to the owners. Besides the year and name of the school on the outside of the ring, on the inside you'll often find the initials or entire name of the owner. I know that I've returned more class rings than any other kind, and I've found more of them when the owner asked me to look for one they just lost.

School rings will often weigh the better part of an ounce although there are some smaller ones. That together with all the recent drops, makes them relatively easy to find. Older school rings from back in the twenties and thirties are usually easy to identify from the distinct style that was used then. Of course, you will probably find more of the more recent rings.

When you find a ring like this, take a photo and write down the descriptive information and then take it to a safe deposit box until you locate the owner.

I wonder how many thousands of ounces of gold have been lost over the years in the form of school rings. The number has to be huge.

It is not uncommon for school rings to accumulate over the years in low spots in the shallow water, sometimes in with other rings and sometimes in with fishing sinkers of similar weight.

Partly because of the shape and weight of school rings, they are much more commonly found in the water. They will not frequently be washed up on the front beach like lighter items or things that provide more flat surface area.

In the photo you see a few that have been found in Florida. My oldest class ring find actually came from an Indian trial and old wagon trail in West Virginia that was used for hundreds of years. But in most cases, location, location, location, is important for finding class rings.

If you are finding large rings, like class rings, and not finding many small rings, I would recommend checking out your detector settings. A lot of people only find larger rings because their detector settings are causing them to miss the smaller ones. It's relatively easy to find large class rings.

On another subject, if you like seeing artifacts, including Indian artifacts, here are some from one of the more famous sites in Florida - the Miami Circle. The web site includes a gallery of indexed photos of artifacts that are worth looking at.


Receding water is often a good thing for the detectorist. Not long ago I told you about the finding of a lot of old canoes when we had a drought in Florida. Here is an entire church that reappeared when the level of a lake went down.


This provides a good tip to keep in mind for the right time.

Forecast and Conditions.We've had a lot of west winds this year and not much else. That is one thing that made hunting cobs on the Treasure Coast difficult this year. And we still have west winds today and 2.5 foot seas. That isn't anything that would improve conditions significantly. There should be some churning on the front beaches, but that is about it. Detecting conditions are still poor.

Seas are predicted to increase a little in a few days.

Until things improve on the shipwreck beaches, you might consider changing targets for a while, or taking a little day trip.

Have fun,

Saturday, March 13, 2010

3/13 Report - Fixing a Date on a Crucifix & Hybrid Finds

Part of Corpus from a Gold Crucifix Found on a Treasure Coast Beach with a Metal Detector.

I showed this corpus before, but chose to show it today as an illustration of some points made below.

Here is a great web site that shows the evolution of some Latin American crucifixes from 1700 through the 1800s. Many were manufactured in Peru. It is a good site to study for anyone who has found old crucifixes, and I would recommend that any Treasure Coast hunter take a look at the site.

Besides the examples from various periods for study, the site also gives some history on individual pieces. As I mentioned the other day, sometimes family heir looms like these are held for a number of years and undergo modifications at different periods. Of course, when that happens an item can present a confusing picture to anyone trying to determine the age of the item.

Here is what they said under one of the first crucifixes that was dated to the 1700 - 1750 period. To see this particular item, use the link below, and then select 1700 - 1750.

You will then see the item.

Here is what it says. "Each original Spanish Colonial Cross has a unique story to tell. [ This ] one is very old and has gone through a metamorphosis. It started out as a brass cross; but then the indigenous owner embellished it by having it dipped in silver. Then the corpus started coming lose,( 150 years later) and it was firmly reattached. Why am I telling you this? Because these were special heirlooms handed down generation after generations through these indigenous families. This one has a very unique personality and I would leave it just as it is."

The thing that I want to point out is that if you found a crucifix like this, you might be confused by the workmanship or features when trying to decide upon an age.
Some of the modifications were made after 150 years. One of the things I look for on a crucifix to try to determine it's age is how the corpus is attached to the cross. One good sign that indicates an older item is when the corpus is constructed separately from the cross and attached by small rivets that go through the cross. If the corpus is attached to the cross in a different manner, that might immediately make me suspect that it was not as old as I might otherwise think, especially if the holes were filled in or no longer visible.

You might also remember our discussion of silver plating of old items. It is not uncommon for people to think that silver plating is a recent (20th century) process. That is definitely not the case. Silver plating has been going on in different forms for many centuries.

I would recommend that you study the various crucifixes that they present on that web site. You will see that it was common for genuinely old items to be modified at different times. And of course, that can make the dating process that much more difficult.

The corpus shown above shows where the rivet went through the hand. It also shows a flat broad now on the corpus. If you look at the rosary site, you will see that the corpus on many of the crucifixes show some features that occur as a result of indigenous workmen. The face will be different and the garments will tend to be different on crucifixes manufactured in Peru by indigenous peoples as compared to those manufactured in Spain or Europe.

But the nose flattening is also the result of wear or use. The higher features on a corpus that was used a lot by devout supplicants will be worn down by rubbing. People often rubbed the crucifix while praying, and on precious metals that will show. You can see that on the today's photo example and on some of the examples on the rosary web site.

Crucifixes made in the New World sometimes also have a lot of copper alloy in the gold, which makes the gold more brittle and subject to breaking.

On the item that I showed two days ago, there was a pearl in the middle of a flower shape surrounded petals with turquoise. When I first dug up the item, I thought it must be an American piece from the eighties or sometime like that because silver and turquoise was very popular then. I later learned that turquoise was often used in Europe in earlier centuries and was brought from a source in Turkey. A dark blue was the favored color of turquoise in 17th century Europe.

The ear ring that I showed just yesterday, seems to be what I might call a hybrid. It appears that the wire that goes through the pieced ear was added at a later time than when the body of the earring was manufactured.

I once found an emerald ring on which the setting and stone appear to be from one time period and the band from another time period. The gold setting and stone appears to be older and tests out at a significantly different karat value than the band.

i guess my point today that any given item may be composed of elements that were created or at different time periods.

You are undoubtedly familiar with the practice of taking old coins and mounting them for use in new jewelry. Just take a look at the Mel Fisher Museum Store or Ebay and you will see a variety of examples of that. I suppose the old saying holds, "Nothing is new." They were undoubtedly doing the same type of thing hundreds of years ago. So don't be surprised if you find items composed of elements from widely different time periods.

I won't go into the practice of copying or manufacturing old items. That can also be misleading. And some styles have been used in essentially the same form for hundreds of years.

Well, I've probably gone way beyond my knowledge level. I'm just an old hunter that has observed a few things in the process. If anything I said is wrong, feel free to correct me.

Forecast and Conditions. The wind is now from the west and the seas will remain at about 2.5 feet for a while. It doesn't look like that will change until about Wednesday or Thursday if the surf sites are right. So you'll have a continuation of current conditions for a few days.

I don't have much to say here that hasn't already been said lately.

Conditions are still poor.

Change your clocks. Spring forward.

Happy hunting,

Friday, March 12, 2010

3/12 Report - Ear Ring & Skeleton Dog

On the left is an ear ring that was found with a metal detector on a Treasure Coast Beach.

On the right is a crucifix that was found some time ago at Wabasso by a reader of this blog.

I posted the reader's crucifix in this blog in the past, probably a few months ago. The crucifix I think is from the 17th Century, if I correctly recall.

On the ear ring, notice the center ornament, the twisted rope style design around the center, and the settings for the missing stones. And then look at the photo of a crucifix. I think you will see that all three of those features can be seen on both items. That of course doesn't mean they are necessarily from the same time period, but it is something to consider.

Of course I'd like to receive any ideas or information you might have about the ear ring.

I read an interesting article on the evolution, or what you might call hybridization, of Spanish Colonial heir looms. The article told about a crucifix, for example, that went through a number of transformations as it was held over time and repaired and modified by the owners. As a result the artifact in the end, had features or modifications that came from three different time periods. Talk about an identification challenge - that would be it.

On another subject, the North Carolina Office of State Archeology is trying to find descendants of Edward Salter, one of Blackbeard's crew, to decide how the pirate's remains should be disposed. The remains, believed to be those of Salter, were unearthed near Bath Creek in 1986. To read more this story, go to


I usually don't use snipped photos from other sites, but since I'm not doing anything commercial and am sending you to the original site, I guess there would be no harm.

This old sea dog skeleton was found nearly complete on the site of the Mary Rose. I just thought it was really neat. You could easily imagine this dog guarding an old pirate chest or something.

If you want to read the article about the Mary Rose and the old sea dog, here is the link (Submitted by Gary D.).


Forecast and Conditions. The seas will remain about 2.5 feet until next week when the will increase up to about five feet. Of course that is assuming that the surf web sites are correct, and as I've said, the forecasts that go out several days tend to drift.

I was out this morning for a little while checking out the rain eroded areas on the back beaches. Some old things were exposed by rain.

One of the nice things about swinging in the rain, is that the beaches aren't busy. In fact, I didn't see a single soul.

One of my favorite metal detecting moments was a day when the sea was calm and I was water hunting and the rain started to pour down. I couldn't see but a few feet around me and nothing but the rain drops on the mirror calm surface. It was a beautiful sight. I just wish I had a photo of it.

On the front beach today, there was very little new to note, other than a few newly scalloped areas - certainly nothing to change my 1 (poor) beach conditions rating.

For the next few days, you'll have easy access to some of the low tide areas.

It is tough out there on the Treasure Coast beaches now, but if you really work at it and use your head, there are few things to be found.

Right now I'm hearing thunder. Be careful when lightening is in the area.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, March 11, 2010

3/11 Report - Ear Ring? Chain & Sheave

Silver Ear Ring or Something?

I was assuming that this silver item was an ear ring, but I just realized that it could easily be something else. I don't know why I was thinking it was an ear ring. Just the right general size I guess. It is silver, and although the photo doesn't show it very well, the item in the center of the flower, is a mounted pearl.

I haven't found any markings on it even tough I've used a high-powered loop. Of course it needs cleaned. It is about an inch from bottom to top - a very dainty little piece. I'd like to hear if anyone has any information or thoughts on the item.

Concerning the piece of chain I posted the other day. I have to eat some crow. I was thinking that it was probably a type of safety pin or something like that instead of the links of a chain. What i showed yesterday I now think is actually a single link that was broken in half. Each whole link is actually about four inches long. There is a good chance that it is not very old, but some slim chance that it is. Sometimes it is pretty hard to tell.

Sometimes our questions about found items can never be answered - not completely anyhow. And even the top authorities make mistakes. I always laugh about the item shown in a National Geographic (a pretty reputable publication) that was identified by an archaeologist as a slave's pipe. It turned out to be a prize from a box of Cracker Jacks.

I guess we all mistakes. At least that is how I'll console myself on this one. Context is very helpful, but often not conclusive.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might remember the sheave that Ian found not long ago. I followed the unraveling of the mystery of the sheave in this blog, and the mystery is not completely unraveled yet. Ian is continuing to research the sheave and has received some good information from both the Mel Fisher Museum and the McLarty Museum. In fact the McClarty Museum has a similar sheave on display. Here is a photo of the McLarty sheave.

The McLarty sheave is displayed with items of the 1715 fleet, but from what I've heard and what Ian has learned, there is a good chance that it is actually from a later date.

The Mel Fisher Museum did some research for Ian and found a similar sheave listed in a database. The report they found on the sheave did not completely coincide with what Ian learned from an expert on naval history in England. This report suggested that the DR 94 marking stood for "Deptford 1794." Ian learned that Deptford was the first shipyard for the Royal Navy.

You can do a keyword search on this blog if you want to go back and read more on this. Enter "sheave" or "coak."

Ian got some additional good news. He was also told that the lignum vitae wood is not prone to warping or cracking so he is going to start letting it dry out soon. He'll eventually have a very nice display piece.

Forecast and Conditions. The wind picked up today. This afternoon (Thursday) the seas will be about 4.5 feet. That isn't really much, but with the south southeast winds, I suspect more shells will be piled up and a few, very few, select spots will lose a little sand while most places will not.

Like I've said many times, this winter has been tough for hunting shipwreck items on the Treasure Coast. One guy emailed me and said he wasn't finding anything. Don't feel bad. It has not been easy this winter. But keep at it. You have to find those few spots that do have something to offer.

Perseverance is required and will eventually pay off. Things have to change sooner or later. Scout out the beaches and learn as much as you can in the mean time.

I'm sticking with my 1 Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detectng Rating for now.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

3/10 Report - Shark Tooth & Iron Artifact

Fossilized Tooth of Great White Shark Found Today.

I often say that there is always some place to hunt and something to find. When conditions are bad for one thing, they'll often be good for something else. Lately the cobs have not been washing up, but other types of materials have been. This shark tooth was laying in a pile of shells this morning.

Some time ago I posted a shark tooth identification guide if you want to go back and look at that. Meg teeth generally have two cusps - one on each side of the main tooth.

The iron objects shown below were completely covered with concretion when dug up. I was able to remove most of the concretion without damaging the items too much. Some of the concretion remains on opposite ends of the two links. At least they are recognizable. They are fairly large and appear to me to be hand made. Each link is about two inches in length.

You can see that they are made something like safety pins. The iron is simply bent over on one end and the other end goes through. I found them linked together (inside the concretion), but maybe they were just put together for storage and weren't used that way.

If you have seen items like these before or have any idea of what they might be, I would like to hear what you know or think they may be. At first I thought they were chain links, but now I'm thinking now that they are probably utilitarian pins. They were found on a Treasure Coast wreck beach.

An Agatha Christie (mystery writer) fan paid 100 british pounds for a locked trunk and found a hoard worth 100,000 pounds. Here is the link to the story. (Submitted by Gary D.)


Very rare gold coins worth millions were found in safe deposit box. This is an interesting story. The coins originally were owned by the man's grandfather and left to him in a safe deposit box. The gold coins are each worth millions and only one other like them as been sold before, and that for millions of dollars.

The mint claims the coins were stolen by the grandfather and now claims ownership of the coins. The other side is saying "prove it."

So there it stands. An interesting story about some very very rare coins.


I have some more finds that I'll post in a day or so. I hope someone can provide some information about them. I also might talk about the different areas of a beach where cobs often are found. I'd like to have an illustration for that, and don't know if I can find the types of photos that I want.

Anyhow, those are things for the future.

Forecast and Conditions.I'm hoping to get some reports from Jupiter and the beach renourishment areas up north soon.

On the Treasure Coast, low tide is around 11:00. Seas are down to around 2.5 feet. That isn't much. And the tides aren't big. That isn't good for finding cobs, but it will give you a good chance at some calm water and searching the low tide areas. Water visibility has been pretty good too.

I'm sticking with my 1 beach conditions rating. I explained about my rating system some yesterday.

Have fun,

Sunday, March 7, 2010

3/7 Report - Shipwreck Cobs in Outer Space & Jupiter

Small Square Copper or Bronze Nail or Spike Found this Morning.

It is small and has a different head. Instead of being square, the head is rectangular and only extends out on one side. I'm sure that is not really unusual, but it is different than most.

The best news that I have for you today is that Tom Guidus, salvor and dive writer, says that Jupiter beach is cut way back to the dunes. I appreciate reports like that because I can't be everywhere. But that is exactly what was going on at Jupiter when I found the Potosi half reale that I posted before and after cleaning to illustrate the results of using muriatic acid to clean cobs.

Jupiter Inlet beach is one of my favorite beaches. I like it because you can get such a variety of things there. When cobs aren't showing up you have a good chance of finding old US coins or modern jewelry.

Did the 1715 Fleet cobs travel by galleon or space shuttle? Sounds like a stupid question doesn't it. But actually there is a silver cob from the 1715 Fleet that has been to outer space.

Here is the body of a press release that I received from Augie of Sedwick Coins. The text is followed by a photo provided by Sedwick Coins showing one of those cobs.


Mexico City, Mexico, cob 1 escudo, (1711-13), oXMJ, from the 1715 Fleet, professionally engraved in small characters with CARRIED ABOARD APOLLO 14 on one side and 31 JAN and 9 FEB 1971 on the other side.

Before this coin came along, we had no idea there was ever a connection between the space program and the 1715 Fleet, apart from the obvious geographic proximity and the fact that several of the original Real Eight divers had "day jobs" at the Cape. But space-memorabilia collectors have known about the connection for years, specifically the existence of two series of silver "Robbins medallions": The first series included 82 medallions that were struck from a melted-down 1715-Fleet silver ingot and were flown to the moon on Apollo 12 in 1969, and the second series included 177 medallions struck just after the Apollo 15 mission in 1971 from silver that came from another 1715-Fleet silver ingot actually flown aboard Apollo 15. These treasure-silver medallions, which fetch upwards of 5-figure premiums today, were the brainchild of Apollo 12 astronaut Pete Conrad and Jim Rathman, a race car driver who had won the Indianapolis 500 prior to opening a Chevrolet dealership on the space coast, where he provided the hotshot pilots (most notably the Mercury 7 men, among whom was Alan Shepherd, the commander of Apollo 14 mission) with Corvettes. Jim was also in a partnership (known as Doubloon Salvage) with Kip Wagner and the Real Eight Company, who were salvaging the 1715 Fleet at the time. Significantly, the ingot for the Apollo 15 mission (supplied by noted salvager Art Hartmann) was originally supposedly to be a gold ingot, but that was deemed too heavy for the flight. Now, for the first time, we know that Fleet gold DID go to the moon after all in the form of this one coin, which must have been carried among personal items (in a "PPK," or Personal Preference Kit, as confirmed by expert Larry McGlynn) by one of the astronauts on Apollo 14 (Alan Shepherd, Stuart Roosa and Ed Mitchell), on the Apollo program's third manned lunar landing (and of course the first after the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission), then engraved with the memorial and probably given to that astronaut's wife to wear in jewelry. The coin itself is a fairly typical Fleet 1E, with bold full oXMJ, nearly full but off-center shield and cross, much legend, XF or so for wear, a unique item with crossover interest in two hot and fascinating fields!

Estimate: $3000-up.

Photo by SedwickCoins.com.

Take a look at SedwickCoins.com and sign up for the auction.

Forecast and Conditions. Most of the Treasure Coast is not very good. I don't consider Jupiter Inlet to be a part of the Treasure Coast proper. It might actually be, but I don't include it, partly because I just don't get down that way enough to cover it.

As you know from yesterday, a few things have been found up north where the beach is being renourished. I've heard of a link from a 22k chain that was found.

Most of the beaches are not really very good. The beach by the Nieves site had so much sand piled up on it this morning that it looked like mid summer. What a bunch of mush!

There are one or two places that I know of that aren't that bad, but they aren't the most productive places for finding cobs either.

As you may or may not know, my beach conditions rating is rated for finding shipwreck coins or cobs of silver or gold and other artifacts of precious metals. Those are what I call primary targets. Other things, like spikes, pottery, and items of iron are what I call secondary targets. My rating system is structured to report on the probability of finding primary targets on the Treasure Coast beaches.

After saying all of that, I am sticking with my 1 (poor) rating.

Notice that my rating system is 1 to 5. At the low end is a 1 instead of a zero, because there is always some chance of something good popping up. Actually, I am close to changing my rating to a 2, but just don't feel that conditions are quite that good.

The seas will be decreasing over the next few days. I would be either checking our the renourishment areas, going down to Jupiter, or simply mucking around at low tide.

Happy hunting,

3/7 Report - Florida Canoes & Beach Closings

Closed Again.

As you might know Wabasso and Golden Sands beaches are closed for renourishment. I mentioned that before. The sand is being trucked in from around the Canaveral area. That last renourishment must have lasted all of a few months. At least the people in the renourishment business are making money.

I often talk about visually scanning an area. You can cover a lot more area visually than you can with your coil, and you might be surprised what you will see. Not only will you sometimes see undetected finds, but you will also see clues to where you should be detecting.

The May 5, 2008 TheLedger.com reported a story about Harry Koran who in April of 2001 was out looking for old bottles on the beach when "he noticed a strange line in the sand.

Now right there are two good hints. First, when you are looking for one thing, keep your eyes open, and you might find something else. And second, be alert for anything that might look unnatural. That skill is improved with practice.

Back to Harry. Harry said, "I was amazed at how straight it was." "At first I thought it was an old pipe." He got down on his knees and dug with his hands. "I knew it was wood," he said. "I could feel the curve of the hull.""

As it turns out Harry found the earliest seagoing vessel ever discovered in Florida. Archaeologists think it was used more than a 1000 years ago. Older canoes have been found, but only in fresh water environments.

To read more about this find, visit the following link.


Concerning fresh water canoes - a large number have been found in Newnan's Lake. Some professional sources say over a hundred were found there, other sources give other numbers.

You might know about loggers that harvest timbers that were lost years ago in the depths of waterways by the loggers that used the waterways to transport the logs. I think there is now a TV show about that.

One fellow in Florida had a permit to recover logs from Newnan's Lake. He started back in 2000 when Florida was in a drought. Well, when the water level dropped and the canoes were discovered.

Carbon dating of a number of the logs puts them at 500 to 5,000 years old. I can't seem to find some of my links to that story now, but here is one of them.


Turtle Trail Sunday.

You can see that there were a few small cuts and a little scalloping and a nice dip or two. Yet the front beach is relatively steep for this location and there is a ton of sand out front.

As I mentioned above, Wabasso Beach is closed. Golden Sands is too.

A few interesting old Spanish era things have been found up that way around where the work is going on.

Forecast and Conditions. I'm sticking with my 1 rating. The more northern beaches seem to be in slightly better shape than the St. Lucie County beaches. And don't forget that there is always the possibility of things being uncovered when sand is being moved.

It looks like peak seas will be later Sunday, remaining around five feet on Monday, and the slacking off, and becoming calm later in the week.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, March 6, 2010

3/6 Report - Cobs, Coins & HMS Victory Video

This is what one Treasure Coast beach looked like around high tide on Saturday. There were some nice looking waves, but they were washing straight up on the beach instead of hitting at an angle despite the north northeast winds. As a result, you see all the accumulated sand on the front beach without any erosion. The water was just breaching the front beach, but nothing more.

I'll get the forecast and conditions report out of the way right away today.

Seas are about 4.5 feet. Like I often say, it normally takes something on the order of six to eight foot seas to do much good. We are supposed to see about 5.5 foot seas tomorrow. We'll have to see how that works out. For now, I've seen nothing that would change my 1 beach conditions rating.

There are a number of silver cobs from the 1715 Fleet on sale on ebay. One being sold out of Davie Florida, one out of Miami, one out of Illinois, one out of Canada, and one out of California. The California seller has four for sale as one lot and lists them as a 1, 2, 4 and 8 reale. However if you look at the photo, on the small one you'll see the Philip monogram. That means to me that it is actually a half reale instead of a one. The seller said that might be, and that he didn't know how to tell the difference. The item number for that lot is 330410577983.

Here is a web site with a nice underwater video of Odyssey Marine working on the HMS Victory. What I liked most about the video was seeing the dexterity of the robotic hands at work. Also the piles of coins.

Notice the cost they give for on working the site - $35 thousand per day. That is a big reason that investing in omex is not in my opinion a great idea. They can eat up everything they make in expenses leaving little of anything for investors.

Here is the link.


Here is a nice web site for a store located in Spain were they sell old Spanish coins, cobs and a few artifacts. You might want to take a look.


And on the topic of Vero Man again, here is an article that talks about the archaeological site and the carved fossil bone.


Well that's about it for today.

Happy hunting,