Thursday, April 29, 2010

4/29 Report - Coin Found Attached to Encrusted Object

Photo of Encrusted Iron Find with Attached Coin.

The photo of this find was submitted by Gary D.

I haven't been to Jupiter Inlet beach myself for a long time and didn't realize that those rocks were now a common feature during low tides. Nonetheless, it seems conditions were pretty good, and even though the beach had already been rather heavily hunted, Gary D. visited the beach yesterday, and as I expected, still found some things.

I have to confess that it is not easy to assess beach conditions, especially the front beach, from photos alone. It helps a lot if you are familiar enough with a beach to recognize some landmarks and be able to assess the level of sand on tree stumps, logs, or other relatively stable markers.

You might think that when a site has been heavily hunted, it would be hunted out. That is often not the case. Most detectorists typically leave some good things behind. And the vast majority of detectorists hunt in a very similar manner, and therefore, find and miss very similar targets.

In order to clean out a productive spot, more than one type of detector should be used, and more than one style of detecting should be used. Even if a person were to do all of that, the spot will change a little from day to day, either becoming better or worse every time the tide reaches it. Even shallow currents will move sand around rocks, moving some targets within range and moving others out of range. Those remaining targets will tend to be the smaller or deeper targets that create the more subtle and easy to miss signals.

I often tell people to not use any discrimination. I know that many people will never buy that. That is ok with me. But discrimination will cause you to miss some good targets as well as the trash. That is why I don't mind hunting so-called hunted out areas.

Above is a photo of an item that Gary found yesterday even though the beach had been heavily hunted. Since many people are either missing or not interested in digging the iron items, they will miss iron artifacts and the things that are hidden by the iron items.

The item I am showing in Gary's photo is iron but has a coin attached to it. Gary didn't notice the attached coin until he got home. If you use discrimination or your detector masks iron objects, you probably would have missed that coin.

In case you are wondering, it turned out to be a buffalo nickle, but could have just as easily been a treasure coin. My point is that even though the same beach had already been hunted hard, there were still things to be found, probably because the previous hunters were either intentionally or unintentionally discriminating or their detectors were masking out iron.

I received an email from a detectorist that has a Minelab Eureka and is having trouble with it. If anyone is familiar with how that detector works and is willing to help him, I will put you in touch.

I found a web site that presents some very useful metal detector reviews. Some get good reviews and others generally poor. If you are considering a purchase, it might be worth looking at.

It appears that the old N. C. shipwreck that was recently exposed on a beach, is even older than previously thought. It now looks like it might be from around the 1640s.

Here is the story.

Forecast and Conditions. The wind is from the north northwest. Seas are calm and are not predicted to change for the next several days. The water visibility should be good. I'd still be checking out the low tide areas.

Treasure Coast beach detecting conditions are poor. Still, as I've often said, you can always find some place to hunt and something to find. It just is harder and will probably take a lot more time.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

4/28 Report - Jupiter Inlet Beach Rocks Exposed

Photo of Jupiter Inlet Beach.

The photo was submitted by Tom Gidus of Wreckovery Salvage. Take a look at his web site by using the link on the bottom of my reference link list.

The photo shows the kind of thing you dream of seeing when you walk over the dunes. It happens when an unusual set of circumstances come together to remove the sand at a particular spot way beyond what is normal.

Beach treasure hunting is always interesting. As I've said before in this blog, "There is always someplace to hunt, and something to find." Its not always easy. In fact, it seldom is easy. It takes a lot of time and effort if you want to make the most of it. But sometimes there are surprises that you don't want to miss.

Because of other repsonsibilities, I don't spend very much time hunting anymore, so I try to optimize the effectiveness of the time that I do spend in the field. That means I'll miss some opportunities, but no matter how much time you spend in the field, you will still miss some good opportunities.

The thing that most improves your chance of success is time on task. The more time you spend on the beach, the more you will find. Not everything can be predicted and there are occasionally surprises to be found, even when other spots are not producing.

Sometimes you just miss a hot spot by a matter of feet or yards. And sometimes you miss that one great find by a matter of inches. You can't be everywhere. There is simply way too much beach to cover.

No matter if you spend all of your time on the beach, or a little of your time on the beach, anyone can improve their hunting efficiency by learning to idenify the best times and places. Learn to recognize when conditions will probably be best and learn to read the beaches. But no matter how much you learn, there is no substitute for being there. That means persistence is absolutely necessary. It is not everyday that the unusual happens.

I was just talking in this blog yesterday about the strange winter and hoping for a strange summer. Usually my best months for finding treasure coins on the beach is November to April. The conditions haven't been very good this winter, so I was hoping that the summer conditions would be unusual too.

Yesterday Tom Gidus sent me a note showing what he called some unusual conditions down at Jupiter. They are unusual. Look at all of those exposed rocks! I've never seen all of that exposed like that before. That is a good place to hunt.

Despite the fact that I seldom visit Jupiter, it is still one of my favorite beaches to hunt. If I lived closer, I would spend more time there.

One thing I often say is "Follow the sand but don't catch it." What I mean by that is when sand is building up in one place, it came from someplace else. If you can find where the sand moved from, and hunt there.

One of the biggest obstacles in treasure hunting is the sand over burden. In the water, the salvage companies use blowers to remove the sand. Since on the beaches we can't use blowers or bull-doziers, we have to wait for nature to remove the sand. That is what happened at Jupiter. Nature exposed those rocks and whatever else might be in there with them.

There is a good chance to find some artifacts and maybe a Star of Lima or who knows what while those rocks are exposed.

Tom provided a link with photos of some things being found. Here it is.,318287.0.html

I like this beach best when the water is washing away the back dunes, but this could be as good or better. Those rocks have undoubtedly trapped some things over the years. After covering the area once, I would switch to a small coil that you squeeze into the low spots between the rocks to check for any small pieces of precious metals. Keep your eyes open for non-metallic items too.

Jupiter and Melbourne are the south and north extremes of what I sometimes consider to be the Treasure Coast and I don't include them in my beach conditions rating, but do comment on them at times, like I comment on some other areas around the state. I just don't get to those places enough to know what is going on there.

I have been talking about mucking around in the low tide zones when the west winds blow, and this is an excellent time and place to do it.

The conditions can change quickly though. Those rocks could suddently disappear over night. You never know how much time you'll have to work a spot like this.

Once a spot has the sand removed, even after it starts to fill, chances are slightly better than normal that it will open up again sometime in the next few weeks before it returns to normal.

I've mentioned before about how I once worked a very hot spot for two days and then in the evening I saw a front come through. As the front passed overhead, the wind changed, and the next day there was nothing but sand where the day before it seemed there was a good target on every square foot.

I'm going to leave it at that today.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

4/27 Report - Hunting the Treasure Coast - Check First

Old Button Found with Metal Detector.

I've been showing some military items that were found on the Treasure Coast recently. Here is one that I think is military, but I don't know for sure. If you know the identity of this button, I'd like to hear from you.

Breaking news. Just added to the post - The area below Jupiter inlet is unusually eroded due to unusual conditions and artifacts are being found. More on this tomorrow.

Thanks to Tom Gidus for the update.

I received emails yesterday from two people inquiring about Florida laws regarding metal detecting. I guess that means it is a good time to go over some of that.

First of all, there seems to be some paranoia out there. There has been a lot written lately about looters being prosecuted, but I have personally never had any trouble with law enforcement or government officials while detecting, and I've detected a lot of different places, including many states and foreign locations. The authorities are not going around looking for detectorists to arrest unless there are archaeological sites where looting has occurred. I guess you do occasionally run into security cop that has for some personal reason run amuck, but that is not typical. One place to be careful, though, is on state lands and Federal property, such as state and federal parks and other protected property. There you might have some problem. Still, most of the authorities you run into will simply tell you that detecting is not permitted.

The best policy is always to check first. Ask the proper authorities. On a couple of occasions I was told that I couldn't detect in a local park by lower level government employees, but when I called the right government officials found out that detecting was permitted and exactly where I could and couldn't detect.

Never create conflict. It simply does not pay to create conflict.

I always maintain a very low profile when detecting anyhow. It pays in many ways.

One of the easiest and best things to do, is if there is a life guard on duty at a beach, ask them if you can detect there. They will generally be familiar with any restrictions and will tell you exactly you can and can't do. It's that easy.

Don't be afraid to contact the appropriate high-level officials. If it is a county park, contact the county officials over parks and recreation, for example. I was once one of the first to know that a park where detecting was previously prohibited was going to be opened up for detecting because I had been in contact with the right person.

Along the Treasure Coast and around Florida in general, with the possible exception of a few government run parks, you can freely detect between the ocean and dunes with no problem. Along the Treasure Coast, you will seldom have a problem detecting the ocean beaches. There are a few busy tourist beaches where life guards are on duty where you might ask the life guard about detecting before beginning, but most ocean beaches have no life guard are open for detecting.

Water-hunting is a different matter on the Treasure Coast. Much of the ocean along the Treasure Coast is off limits for detecting because of the salvage leases.

There are restrictions in State Parks and on state property, so you should check before you detect there. Be aware that old items found in navigable waterways in Florida are considered to be state property.

The best thing to do is check before you detect. It's easy and it's safe.

Another email that I received said that some of the forums were making it sound like treasure coins were always being found along the Treasure Coast. If that is true, I'm missing it. Actually, its hard to find old shipwreck coins most of the time. It gets a little easier when we have the right kind of storm, but normally it's very difficult. It seemed like some people thought you could come down for a few days and leave with a pocket full of silver and gold coins. Again, its not the easy. And finding a gold coin on the Treasure Coast beaches is even a lot harder than finding a silver treasure coin.

A big part of what this blog does is give you a beach conditions rating so you will have some idea about when your chances are a little better. As I've said many times, I made a quite a few trips to the Treasure Coast before I found my first cob. So if you've been reading some of those forums, I just want you to know that it isn't that easy.

On another topic - I don't know if you have noticed, but towards the top of this blog is a search box. You can enter a key word to search the blog for specific topics. Since the blog is rather extensive now, I think you will find the search feature useful. Give it a try.

Forecast and Conditions. The winds are from the west and seas are calm - only about one or two feet. Low tide is around 2:00 PM.

As I said yesterday, Treasure Coast beach conditions are poor.

At this time of year, it looks like we'll have to wait for a good storm now before conditions improve.

We had a strange winter with poor conditions predominating. Maybe the summer will be just as strange.

Happy Hunting,

Monday, April 26, 2010

4/26 Report - Three Spanish Cobs

Three Spanish Colonial Cobs.

I think someone got a good deal on three cobs that were sold on Ebay this weekend. The cobs were sold by a seller in Spain and the description wasn't very good. The three cobs sold for just over $23.

Since the cobs were not well described and a couple of them were not the type that you often see, or at least rarely on the Treasure Coast, I think they didn't bring as much as if they had been identified better.

Although I don't buy coins, I was almost tempted by what I thought was a low selling price. One appears to be a Carlos half reale from Mexico. The others were even more unusual to us on the Treasure Coast.

I wonder if you know what the other two are?

If you want to take a look to see the other side of the cobs, the Ebay item number is 370367376412.

Here are my guesses.

The one with the Burger King guy, is in my estimation a 1600s half reale from the Valencia mint.

The one to the right and above is a Carlos II half reale from Mexico, most likely also 1600s.

The other one, my wild guess is 1640s 5 Sous from Cataluna. But that is just a very wild guess.

Please correct me or send additional information.

I ran across a site showing a few Spanish Colonial coins. The photos are great, showing great detail and resolution. Too bad there aren't more examples. You seldom see such good photos.

Here is the link.

Forecast and Conditions. Last night was some hefty wind and rain. I've mentioned before that wind and rain can also cause erosion enough to uncover things. It is a good idea to do some eye-balling after conditions like that. Materials will get uncovered - sometimes non-metallic items that you wouldn't see otherwise. Check any new gullies or run-off areas too.

Although the seas are calm, the tides are showing some good variation.

Otherwise conditions are generally poor.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, April 24, 2010

4/24 Report - Bullets, Dog Tags, Slabs & Canoes

WW II Artifact Found On the Treasure Coast.

Since I've been on the topic of WW II items found on the Treasure Coast, I decided to show one or two more. The shell in the photo is one of a variety of shells found at one cut some time ago.

Yesterday one of the finds in the photo was a WW II era dog tag. Walter M. sent in a link to a good web site about dog tags. Here it is.

The dog tag shown yesterday appears to be WWII. The T42 means Tetanus shot in 1942. Blood type AB. And it looks like a C in the corner for Catholic. One place where you can find numerous WW II dog tags when conditions are right, is just south of the Fort Pierce inlet.

If you feel confident that a coin is genuine because it is slabbed, don't. NGC slabs have been counterfeited. The coins that most frequently appear in counterfeit holders are U.S. Trade Dollars, Bust Dollars, Flowing Hair Dollars, and crown-sized world coins. The counterfeit coins can have accurate NGC label information, so the coins will "check out" if you check the codes printed on the label.

While some slabs are very convincing, there are some things that will sometimes betray a counterfeit. Here is a site that will help you identify counterfeit slabs.

A man found his second dug out canoe on the bank of stream. This find was overseas, but I mention it anyhow because it illustrates a couple of points that are relevant to the Treasure Coast. First, banks of waterways are worth checking. Stream banks are subject to erosion because of the slope, movement of water, and the change in water levels that tends to reveal things.

Here is a link to the story. dog tag appears to be WWII. The T42 means Tetanus shot in 1942. Blood type AB. And it looks like a C in the corner for Catholic.

Forecast and Conditions. The wind has picked up and is coming from the south, and there are some white caps on the river, but the seas are calm and will remain calm for a few days. That means that the beaches are not likely to improve much anytime soon. Like I said before, you might want to try some other things.

Happy hunting,

Friday, April 23, 2010

4/23/10 Report - Military Artifacts, Don Pedro Gibert, & Marine Explorations Inc.

A Few WWII Treasure Coast Beach Finds.

A few days ago I showed what could be a Distinctive Unit Insignia that was found on the Treasure Coast. It is not unusual to find WWII artifacts such as dog tags, ordnance., and other WW II artifacts on the beaches. Those shown in today's photo were found by Gary D.

Yesterday I mentioned Pirate Don Pedro Gibert as being associated with Gilbert's Bar. Here is a brief summary on Don Pedro. It says that his base of operations was the St. Lucie Inlet. Gibert's (also spelled "Gilbert" at times) ship was the Panda. Don Pedro captured the the American brigantine named Mexican from which was taken $20,000 in coin. He is sometimes said to be the last pirate executed by the United States.

Here is the link.

Marine Explorations Inc. has some pretty treasure pictures on their site. You might want to take a look.

They also talk about a Treasure Hunt Challenge that allows people to use various resources to identify sites to be explored by them. I don't know if this is still operable or not. Interesting idea.

You might want to check it out.

Their stock is dirt cheap. Currently around only .006 cents per share. Seems like the stockholders aren't expecting a huge hit in the near future. The stock symbol is MEXP.

They are joining with Hispaniola Ventures, LLC. and Burt D. Webber Jr., and Indiana University to identify the location of the Nuestra Señora de Begoña shipwreck from the 1700s.

For more on that check out the following link.

I got a tip today about preserving shipwreck items found in salt water environments. Stephen said that he was told by someone at the Fisher organization to put a copper item that had a little gold plating on it, in a toilet tank. As you might know, it is often necessary to soak items until the salt is leached out of the material. By putting an item in a toilet tank, not only is the item soaked, but the water is frequently changed, which is good. I wouldn't advise using a toilet tank if you use some of the toilet tank products that keep the water and toilet clean but which might harm to the item.

Forecast and Conditions. Seas are calm and will probably continue to be for a number of days. Its tough going on the beaches. You might want to try something else or do some research.

You might want to check the banks of some of the waterways. Just an idea.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, April 22, 2010

4/22/10 Report - Nails, Pirate Don Pedro Gilbert & Keys Shipwreck Action

18th Century Hand Made Nails.

Yesterday I showed a photo of a recently found item that very nicely matches the nail labeled "Horse" in this illustration. Other finds that I remember showing in the past that match examples shown in the illustration include the Rose Sharp, Brad and Scupper.

This illustration was printed in the Spring 2010 Florida Patriot, which is the official magazine of the Sons of the American Revolution. This material originally was printed in Colonial Craftsmen by Edwin Tunis, World Publishing, 1965. The Florida Patriot article also showed some of the tools used to make these nails. I'll probably show some of that in another post.

Down south in the Keys the hunt is picking up. The Dare is working on the Atocha site close to where a lot of silver coins were found in the past. Sections of the sterncastle still haven't been found.

The JB Magruder will be out of the shipyard and back in the hunt in a few days. And the Blue Water Rose is back to work on the Santa Margarita.

This summer they will also be hunting for an unidentified deep water shipwreck code-named “Lost Merchant.”

I've been trying to track down a pirate ship that was rumored to have washed over Hutchinson Island in a hurricane. I haven't been able to find much of anything on that. While researching that topic, I ran across an interesting digital book on a pirate that is rumored to have Treasure Coast ties. I've read that he gave his name to Gilbert's Bar. I've also read,though, that the bar was actually named after another person. The pirate's name is Don Pedro Gilbert (sometimes and perhaps more correctly spelled Gibert). You can download a book describing his trial and piracy from the following.

The book is titled The Trial of Twelve Spanish Pirates of the Schooner Panda, a Guinea Slaver. Although Gilbert, like I said is often associated with the Treasure Coast, I haven't confirmed any details of that. Gilbert is sometimes said to be the last pirate, having committed his offense on the brig Mexican in 1832. It seems to me that that the title of last pirate is unwarranted.

In the digital book you will find details of his crew burying a treasure, but that treasure was buried on another continent. Too bad. Maybe you can find where he was working on the Treasure Coast or perhaps even Gilbert's Bar. I haven't found any details confirming that yet.

Forecast and Conditions. The wind is from the northwest and the seas are calm. Low tide is around 9:30. It looks like we will have calm seas on the Treasure Coast for another week. The calm seas will probably make for good visibiity and good water and low tide hunting.

Don't expect any significant erosion in the near future. Its time to do some research and do some other things.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

4/21 Report - Hypothesis Testing for Treasure Hunters

A Couple Recent Finds from Gary D.

As you know, it is often difficult to know what is what when it comes to detecting. In fact metal detecting is very much about the unknown. You don't know what you will find or if you'll find anything at all. And even when you find something, it is sometimes difficult to find out what it is that you found. At times its all a mystery and it takes a while to put together the pieces and get the whole story right. Sometimes you never find out the whole story and part of the mystery remains for future generations.

I often laugh at the example printed in National Geographic when an archaeologist pronounced a find to be a slave's smoking pipe when it actually turned out to be one of those items that they put in boxes of Cracker Jacks. The prizes were better in the old days.

I guess I shouldn't be so hard on the archaeologist and National Geographic. It is often hard to say what things are - especially old things that haven't seen the light of day for a long time. But it does illustrate my primary point today.

I guess you could say that life is a big mystery with many unanswered questions.

I've often said the difference between a fool and a confident fool is that the confident fool will always be a fool, while the other fool might have an attitude that allows learning and change.

Science depends upon an attitude of skepticism and objectivity. Someone trying to determine the truth needs to be open to whatever he sees - in other words the data. A scientist (someone relentlessly seeking the truth) should not be invested in preconceptions, but rather be ready to change his mind when the data suggests a better interpretation.

In recent posts, you've seen how much research it has taken to arrive at the date of manufacture of Ian's coaked sheave. He has communicated with a number of experts, even from overseas, and is still unraveling the mystery. Even though he has now pinned down the date of manufacture, the task of identifying the ship that the object came from still remains. It is not an easy task and even the best experts don't have the answer right now.

My main point today is what you learn is not the end of the matter - it is just the beginning that points you down a road that can lead to more and more learning and discovery.

What you think or believe about beaches and treasure should be held tenuously. Remain open to changing your mind and learning new things.

I have mentioned before that I once believed that the old coins I found on the beaches were uncovered rather than washed up onto the beach. In time I saw some things that made me change my mind, and I now believe that some old coins wash up onto the beach and some wash out from where they were originally deposited. Knowing that I had to change my thinking once keeps me open to changing my mind again if I see something that requires another explanation.

When you get a lead or hear of some treasure or another, don't take what you hear as absolute truth until you are able to verify it. Use what you hear, but only as a hypothesis that needs to be tested, and do that if you think it is worth your time.

I'm generally cautious about how I say things in this blog. I'll generally tell you when someone tells me something, and I try to give some indication (sometimes subtle) about how uncertain different assertions might be. I often try to give the source where I got my information or where you can check it out.

It appears that the shield identified yesterday as a DUI is now in question again and might have an alternate identity. Walter M. pointed to some Buick emblems that appear to very closely match the design of the shield, so the question is open again, although instead of having no idea about its identity, we have two good alternatives to decide between. I guess if the item is a DUI, it could have been designed using the same or similar symbols as the emblem, or possibly even copied after the emblem.

Can anyone find a picture of the same insignia? I haven't been able to yet. Again, a letter to the proper people would probably settle the matter.

Here is a link to the Buick emblems that you will see are similar in design.

From where the item was found both alternatives make sense to me. Other WWII items have been found in the area, and there are also old car parts that have been found on the beach and in the ocean around there.

To summarize my main point today, don't take anything you hear that has to do with treasure hunting as absolutely correct. Rather take what you hear and verify it yourself if it is important to you.

Most (if not all) of the books you read will include inaccuracies. Some more than others. But when it comes to old shipwrecks, it is often very hard to get everything correct and accurate, so the best policy is to make use of what you read or hear as a hypothesis to be tested. Then test it out and make up your own mind.


George L asked a workman at the FPL site what was going on and was told that the Polly-L was working on the FPL intake grids rather than a wreck. George also menitoned that coins from the 1600's were found in that area when the cofferdams were constructed to lay the power plant intake pipes.


Forecast and Conditions. The wind is out of the west now. Seas are only about 2 feet and it looks like that is the way it is going to be for some time.

The few old cuts are now stale. It looks like it is time for what I call mucking around. Of course there are alternatives to the ocean shipwreck beaches.

I have to stick with my 1 (poor) rating for now.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

4/20 Report - Polly-L & Distinctive Unit Insignia

Polly-L Working South of the Power Plant Wreck.

The photo was taken Monday morning. They were using the crane for something or other. They were at the more southern of what appears to be two separate wreck sites that I sometimes lump together and call the Power Plant Wreck because of how close together they are.

Years ago I anonymously received a map from a dowser in California pointing to a spot almost directly, but considerably, east of there. I wonder if I can find that map? I believe that one of the other boats was working that spot before the water got rough.

The Power Plant Wreck is an intriguing wreck to me for a variety of reasons. It appears to be an older wreck and some interesting things have been found on the beaches down that way. All of that construction for the Power Plant might have cut right through it.

Isn't it interesting how people can get upset by a single detectorist with an eight inch coil, but overlook the effects of massive construction projects like that. Of course anytime that much sand and earth is being moved, there is a good possibility of something turning up.

You might remember Ian A.'s coaked sheave find. He found it in Indian River County and did some good research to try to identify the find. There was some remaining question about the date of the sheave, but that has been cleared up to Ian's satisfaction now. His contacts at the Royal Dockyard Historical Society were kind enough to send him some new and very detailed information about the sheave and it's manufacturer, Walter Taylor.

Walter Taylor produced sheaves from the 1740's - 1803. "In 1775 he developed a replaceable bushing that worked so well he could guarantee the sheave not to fail for its expected service life. This guarantee led him to stamp dates on his sheaves from 1775- 1803." It is now appears certain that the "94" on the coaked sheave indicates that the sheave was manufactured in 1794. That should help in the task of identifying the ship that it came from.

The continuing research on the coaked sheave is one of my personal favorite stories of the year.

Walter M. provided some good information concerning the unidentified shield that I showed yesterday. Walter says, "The shield is a US Army DUI. I don't know which one. Possibly WWII."

Here is a link to some information on Distinctive Unit Insignias.

We may be able to find the particular insignia on that site even though I haven't found it yet, or by sending a photo to the U. S. Army Institute of Heraldry.

Maybe someone knows what units were on the Treasure Coast during WW II. That could help narrow it down. I suspect the local library could help with that.

I've mentioned before the gentleman that told about the training exercises that took place south around Ft. Pierce. He was selling newspapers during WW II. If he had any papers left at the end of the day, he would take them down to the beach and cold and wet soldiers who were doing landing exercises would buy the newspapers to burn to get warmed up.

Forecast and Conditions. I downgraded my beach rating to a 1 yesterday and will keep it there until something happens to improve beach conditions again.

Right now we have calm seas with nothing promising in sight.

Low tides are around 6:30.

Happy hunting,

Monday, April 19, 2010

4/19 - Unidentified Shield Found

Shield Found on a Treasure Coast Beach by a Metal Detector.

This shield appears to me to be copper with paint - possibly enamel and gilt. The object has not yet been identified and the finder, Robert W., would like to receive any information that anyone might be able to provide about this object. It appears to be just over three inches tall in my estimation. Below is the back of the same object.

I recently mentioned that a replica of iron artifacts could be made by using the concretion to create a mold of dissolved iron artifacts. Here is a link that provides a good example of how that process was once used at the Mel Fisher Museum.

On TV you might have seen the swamp loggers recovering logs lost about one hundred years ago in the Suwanee River. I found a site that tells how they are recovering sunken logs from the Great Lakes and other sites. There is some good wood out there that can bring hundreds of dollars each.

I once mentioned how some guys got in trouble for harvesting these logs without a permit. Remember that anything found in Florida navigable waterways is considered to be the property of the state, so you need to be aware of any applicable laws.

Sunday evening at 9 PM National Geographic aired a program about the largest Anglo-Saxon gold hoard, which was found by an amateur detectorist. I missed it myself, but am sure it was interesting. I received a number of emails about this program. I was going to tell you before it was over, but didn't get it done.

Another subject I sometimes mention is the space debris, that I think someone will someday be recovering just like shipwrecks are being salvaged now. The amount of space debris is growing, and every space vessel takes some gold into space, not to mention other possibly valuable materials.|htmlws-main-w|dl1|link3|

It seems I've gone from underwater to outer space today. Quite a range!

Forecast and Conditions. The Polly-L left the Ft. Pierce freight dock where she had been tied up and is now over the Power Plant Wreck.

The seas have decreased from last weeks levels, but increased a little from yesterday. Seas will remain at about three feet or less for the rest of the week. That doesn't look very promising. The few cuts there were are now getting stale and filled in. I'm down-grading my beach rating again to a 1.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, April 17, 2010

April 17 - Iron Finds, Conservation, Beaches & Coins

Object Recently Found on the Treasure Coast.

It looks like it might be a spike. Robert W. found this one and several more corroded iron objects.

He and his wife also found a 10 foot Pygmy Sperm Whale foundering in the surf and called the authorities to assist. I beleive the whale was taken to Harbor Branch.

I received a number of emails lately about how to treat finds including iron objects. Old corroded iron objects should be soaked in fresh water until the salt is drawn out. It takes a long time, and the fresh water needs to be changed occasionally. I'll post a link below that you can consult to find out more about how to conserve various types of items.

Iron objects can be so badly corroded that it is very difficult to guess what they might be. Sometimes all that is left is a hollow mold made by the concretion. Heavily corroded iron objects that have concreted can be x-rayed to see if they can be identified. Local agencies have sometimes done that for this blog's readers when the item was interesting enough. By carefully pouring plaster into the hollow, the item can sometimes be reconstructed.

Also make sure to check iron concretions for any small objects that might be adhering to the object. Sometimes coins and things can get stuck to the object.

Here is the link to a site that provides instructions on how to treat various items including wood, iron, etc.

Robert and his wife also discovered a ten foot Pygmy Sperm Whale struggling in the surf and made a call to receive assistance.

People from out of town often write to ask me about spots where they can detect. As you know I can't predict in advance what particular spots will be good, but here are some of my favorite detecting areas.

1. South of Sebastian inlet, past McLarty Museum, and all the way down to Amber Sands beach access. This is a long strip that can keep you busy for a long time.

2. Wabasso Beach, going north for some distance and south all the way down to Turtle Trail, with Seagrape Trail in between. This is another long strip with a lot of different wrecks along the way.

3. Just south of Jupiter inlet. This strip is not as long, but has a good variety of targets in addition to the old shipwreck items.

A contractor raking fill dirt heard the clink of metal and then his son used a hose to uncover the object. It turned out to be the second best known example of an 1817 (7 over 4) half dollar. Eventually the coin was sold at auction for over $333,000.

Here is the link for more of the story.

Forecast and Conditions. There are a very few spots with cuts remaining. On the basis of those few spots, I'll stick with the 2 beach conditions rating for another day or two. That will probably be reverting to a 1 in a couple of days unless the seas pick up again.

Right now the prediction is that the seas on Sunday will be 2 feet or less. That will make it possible to do some low tide hunting.

Have fun,

Friday, April 16, 2010

4/16 Report - Philip V Half Reale & More on the Somerset

Philip V Mexican Half Reale.

This is a cob that was recently found on a Treasure Coast beach. From what I can see, I would conclude that it is most likely a Philip V Mexico minted cob. It appears to be a relatively common type of 1715 Fleet cob.

The absolute truth can be misleading if you incorrectly generalize and take the specific instance as indicating a general rule when other relevant factors are ignored.

One person said they thought the Treasure Coast beaches have been too sanded in to find old stuff. That is generally true, and like I stated a day or two ago, finding cobs on Treasure Coast beaches has been harder than finding a needle in a haystack lately. But you have to remember that when you consider the odds of hitting the Lotto Jackpot, they aren't good, yet it happens. That is pretty much the same thing.

My rating system gives the likelihood or probability of finding cobs at different times - to the best of my ability, which is far less than perfect. Yet I would bet that my beach rating predicts number of finds with a relatively good accuracy rate, and it can help you make better use of your time. It never should be taken to suggest that you can not find a cob or that you absolutely will find one at a particular time.

As I often point out, my rating system is a five point scale running from 1 to 5, and I start with a 1 instead of a 0 because there is always some chance, however low it may be, that something will show up. I've been surprised by finds before and so I know that my understanding of how things get where they are is far less than perfect. It is about probabilities, not certainties, and there are times when the odds are so long, that you have to wonder if there isn't a better way to spend your time. On the other hand, there are times when if you really want to find something, you should take advantage of the circumstances.

I started the rating system because when I first started hunting the Treasure Coast, I didn't live on the Treasure Coast and had to make a long trip to get there. And there were many times when I made wasted trips, so I wanted to come up with a way that would provide an estimate of the odds of finding cobs so a person could make a decision about how to spend their time based upon an estimate of the probability of success.

There is no denying that sometimes the probability of success is much greater than at other times and that the probability can be estimated by observing a number of factors.

I don't want to get into that in any more detail today. I feel like I could go on about that for a long time and don't really want to.

But to give an example of how a specific truth can be misleading and lead to a misleading generalization, some people wanted to know where my last cob was found - in wet sand or what. That information would not be very useful since it is only one case and if you change your hunting based upon that one example, you would not be getting enough of the truth. Consideration of additional and varied examples would be necessary. To put it in more scientific terms - you would need more data than is provided by that one observation to arrive at a more useful generalization.

For example, if you find your first cob near the water and then every time you hunt you hunt down near the water, you'll miss a lot of cobs that are found in other areas.

I think it was yesterday that I mentioned the importance of versatility. One thing doesn't always work. You have to adapt to the prevailing conditions.

I did see some improvement in certain spots this week and that is why I went detecting. And even though I had some success when the rating had improved to a 2, a 2 rating does not suggest a real high probability of success.

When cobs are found under low rating conditions, they will often be smaller cobs like half reales, rather than large cobs or gold. Again, there can be exceptions.

I've also said this before, that the greatest predictor of success, other things being equal (and it never is), is amount of time on task. The other most important factor, in my opinion, is the knowledge and skill of the detectorist.

As long as you are using a decent detector, such as those made by any of the major manufacturers, I do not believe that the detector you use will be a big determinant of how successful you will be. In my opinion, how well you use a detector is much more important than the particular detector you use.

On another subject - I recently mentioned the emergence of the HMS Somerset on a storm eroded beach. I found an account of the original wreck and some photos of the timbers as they appeared on the beach back in the 1970s.

Here is the account of the wreck.

And the photos.

Forecast and Conditions. I will stay with my 2 beach conditions rating for now. The seas will be decreasing the next couple of days. Sunday should be a good day for checking the low tide areas.

Good luck,

Thursday, April 15, 2010

4/15 Report - First Gold Ring Find for One Reader & HMS Somerset

First Gold Ring Found by Ian A.

First finds of different kinds are often memorable. This is Ian's first gold ring - and a very nice one at that. I'd guess he'll remember that for some time. He said he took my advice and tried some of the tourist beaches while the treasure beaches were sanded in.

I believe that versatility - the ability to adapt to prevailing conditions and do different things according to the changing conditions - is one thing that can really help your productivity.

The wreck of the British warship, the HMS Somerset III, which sank in 1778, resurfaced in Cape Cod's shifting sands. This is the ship that Paul Revere evaded as he started his historic ride.

This is the first time the timbers of the wreck have resurfaces since it was last seen 37 years ago. After sinking, a storm drove the wreck onto the sand bars.

I think it is interesting how wrecks sometimes get washed up on the dunes and then get covered until a storm or something comes along to uncover them.

Here is the link if you want to read more.

I mentioned some time ago that many of the wrecks that have been found are south of present day inlets. I offered my opinion that there are probably wrecks under the sands just north of some of our present day inlets. My thinking is not that the wrecks wrecked near the inlets, but that wrecks that did wreck south of where the present day inlets are, are more easily found because of the interruption in the flow of sand caused by the presence of the inlets and efforts to keep them open. On the other hand, any wrecks to the north of the present day inlets, if they are close to shore, are probably under a lot of sand due to the build up of sand that tends to accumulate north of intets and jetties. If you look around any of our inlets, I think you will find that the sand has built up north of the intlets and tends to erode to the south of the inlets, making hunting generally better on the south side of the inlets. the hunting is not as good there. That is just my observation and thinking on the subject.

One detectorist told me how he was scoulded by people for profiting from other people's losses. The person who did the scoulding evidenty didn't know how many people get lost items returned because of a detectorist. I've returned everything from eye glasses, to car keys, to gold rings and chains. And other detectorists do the same. I would ask the person doing the scoulding how they were helping people by doing nothing to find those lost items. If you are so bothered by someone's loss, get out there and help them find it. How does leaving the items buried in the sand for eternity help anybody?

Forecast and Conditions. One beach that I saw, which eroded earlier this week, eroded back about two feet more since yesterday. It was still not yielding a lot and had a lot of mushy sand on the slope.

For now I'll stick with my 2 beach conditions rating. I don't think things will improve much after today because the seas are expected to decrease.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

4/14 Report - 1715 Fleet Half Reale Found on Treasure Coast Beach

Half Reale Found on Treasure Coast Beach Yesterday.

This is a Philip half reale cob from a 1715 Fleet Beach.

Finding cobs right now makes finding a needle in a haystack look like child's play, yet it does happen.

Today the water was just barely washing a little off the face of existing cuts. I don't think it will improve much if at all the next few days.

Its good to put some markers out on the beach so you can see what is happening to the beach - strategically placed rocks or something.

Usually when I find a cob, I find one in the first twenty minutes of hunting. If I don't find one in the first twenty minutes, it seems like I don't find any at all.

I don't hunt long any more. Not like I did in the past. And I don't really hunt often. Most of the time I just take a look at the beach so I can report on what is going on.

Sometimes I wonder why all of the cobs I find, I find in the first 20 minutes of hunting. My guess is that I start at the best looking spot, and it seems that is where I find things if I'm going to find anything. When I hunt for cobs and don't find anything in the first half hour, I guess I should just quit. But I don't do that. I hunt for a while thinking that something might pop up.

I don't really put too much stock in the idea that I can tell the best place to detect. That could be a mistake.

Anyhow, as you know, things haven't looked too good lately, but there was this one spot that I thought I should detect yesterday. So I did.

After about fifteen minutes, I would guess, I got a signal that sounded like a half reale. I scooped it out and dumped it on the ground. All of a sudden a wave came up and went over the material I just dumped. I scanned the area again, and the target had moved about a foot down the slope. I scooped it up again, and dumped it out. This time, being more alert for rogue waves, a wave came up and I quickly put my foot over the target to hold it in place. That is something I do when working at the waters edge sometimes. It generally works. While the water is passing over your foot, you can detect over your foot to track any movement of the target just in case it moves.

This time the water didn't move it, so I picked my foot up, pin-pointed the target, put my fingers in the sand and picked it up.

The P of a monogrammed half reale was clearly visible as was the cross on the other side.

When it comes to cobs, I got skunked in March. This find isn't anything remarkable, when it comes to cobs, but at least I didn't get skunked again this month. It is something to think that this little piece of silver managed to hide out there for nearly three hundred years before being found.

If you didn't see yesterday's post, I'd recommend you go back and use the link to the video on air testing. Like I said, it is a good idea to do some similar air tests with your own detector.

Here is a cool link submitted by Gary D. An old Roman wreck site was discovered. It has some nice photos.

Forecast and Conditions. I would not rate the beaches today any higher than a minimal 2 on my five point scale, and I don't think the 2 rating is going to last very long before reverting back to a 1.

The seas are predicted to remain at about 5 or 5.5 feet through today (Wed.) and then gradually decrease until Sunday, when the seas will be pretty calm and you can get out to check the low tide areas.

Today and yesterday, most of the beaches didn't in my opinion qualify for any more than a 1 rating, but there were a few better spots to be found.

Sometimes I miss things, of course. I can't be everywhere.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

4/13 Report - Air Tests and Conditions Upgrade

One of the Few Decent Spots on the Treasure Coast.

It has been tough going on the Treasure Coast lately. The beaches weren't eroding and there was way too much sand to find cobs easily. I didn't find a single cob in March and I thought I might get skunked in April too.

Yesterday I mentioned that while most of the beaches didn't look very good, I found one spot that was cutting. It was sort of strange. The waves didn't seem to be coming from the right direction, and the seas weren't very high - nothing that would usually release the treasure coins. But since that one beach was eroding yesterday and the winds were still coming from basically the same direction this morning, I decided to go back to that one spot.

The photo shows what I found. Even though not too many spots look any good, and I didn't see any others that looked as good as this, this one is good enough to raise my overall Treasure Coast Beach Detecting Conditions Rating to a 2. The 2 rating might be one of those that only lasts a few days.

Warning - this is an pretty unusual situation and even though, I upgraded my rating, you'll have to really search to find the few good spots.

I ran across a very good YouTube Video that showed some air tests using gold chains. As you probably know, many detectors will miss a lot of the smaller gold chains, and many chains that are found are found because of a medallion or something that was on the chain. This air test shows that and much more.

I highly recommend looking at this video, and even more, I highly recommend that you conduct this sort of test with your own detector. Become familiar with the effect of different sensitivity and discrimination settings upon your detectors ability to detect different objects.

This type of test is a very good thing to do when you get a new detector and it is a very good way to learn more about your detector if you are a beginner.

One caution - the results you obtain in an air test will not be exactly what you would see in actual field conditions. That is ok. You will still learn a lot by playing with your detector before you go to the beach.

An air test will not be affected by salt water and other things that you might encounter at the beach, but at least you will be more familiar with your detector when you actually do go to the beach.

Conduct your tests with different objects. Try to use the type of objects that you want to find. If you don't have a good example, try to come as close as you can to the type of object you want to find. If you want to find gold rings, use gold rings. If you are hunting cobs, use cobs or something similar. Generally use a small example rather than a larger one. If you can detect the small ones well, the big ones will take care of themselves.

When you go to the beach take your sample, put it on the ground where you are going to detect, and test your detector and set the settings before you start.

I am sure that many targets are missed because people are using the wrong settings. You can avoid that to a large extent if you test your detector's settings before you begin.

I think you'll benefit from this video and conducting a similar test on your own.

Here is the link.

Tomorrow I plan to show you a new find or two.

Forecast and Conditions. As I said, I'm upgrading my rating from a 1 to a 2 based upon one or two good spots that are out there, but many of the beaches are not that good.

Tomorrow we're expecting to see about five foot seas and that will be it. Its not predicted to get any higher for the next frew days, so after the high tide Wednesday the beaches should be as good as they'll get for a while.

Happy hunting,

Monday, April 12, 2010

4/12 Report - Fake Gold Bars & Slightly Improving Conditions

Photo Looking Toward Turtle Trail from Seasgrape Trail.

In the distance in the photo you can see a dark object, which is a dump truck dumping sand down at Turtle Trail. There were trucks and other earth moving equipment working at that beach access this morning. Beside Turtle Trail, the Wabasso Beach access was also closed.

They are sure moving a lot of sand around. I didn't walk all the way down to Turtle trail so I don't know if they might have uncovered anything. I suspect they are just covering stuff with all of that new sand.

From Rio Mar to Seagrape Trail the beaches seemed to have only some insignificant scalloping.

I saw one lady detecting at Seagrape Trail. She had a Minelab Xterra.

I don't know if conditions are any better up at Sebastian.

Although most of the beach in St. Lucie County was not looking very good, I did find one area down south where there was a two to three foot cut that ran for over a hundred yards.

It is surprising how you can often find one or two spots that cut while the rest of the beach does not.

The one long cut didn't have any shells and was fairly mushy. If I was grading on a beach-by-beach basis, I would give that one cut beach a 2 on my five point scale.

There were a number of healthy Portuguese Man-O-War floating in the surf. If you don't know about them, and I would guess that most of you do, they have long tentacles that can give a pretty good sting, especially if the tentacles get wrapped around your ankle. So watch out if you are walking bare foot close to the water.

You really have to be alert to fakes and fraud these days. One of the largest private refineries discovered a 500 gram gold-plated tungsten bar that they received from a bank. Tungsten is the only cheap metal that has a specific gravity close to that of gold.

Here is the link to the article.

Forecast and Conditions. As I said, I only found one spot that was starting to show any serious signs of improvement today. I would rate that one beach as a 2 and the others as a one on my 5- point Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions Scale.

For the most part, the improvement has not really started. Stronger northeast winds are predicted for Tuesday. That should help, but the surf sites are predicting not much more than five foot seas for Tuesday and Wednesday now. I've been telling you that the surf sites tend to decrease the predicted wave heights as the peak days get closer, and they did it again. It looks to me like we will see some improvement, but not much now. Nonetheless there may be a few spots out there that will see more improvement.

Happy Hunting,

Sunday, April 11, 2010

8/11 Report - Slightly Improved Conditions Just Beginning

Beach on Sunday Before Low Tide.

The ocean is beginning to chip away at the beach at a few spots. Here are a few unimpressive scallops shown in one photo and one of the more extensive cuts in the other photo. The cut is actually slightly better than it looks in the photo.

Up by the bend the cut was over occasionally over a foot. As you scan see, the wave action has only been towards the front of the beach at this point. The cut is in an area where the beach runs more southwest to northeast. I would suspect other spots where the beach runs in that direction would show similar cuts. Some of our beaches don't produce much until the water hits the dunes at the back of the beach and that has not come close to happening yet.

Unfortunately once again I'm seeing what appears to me to be a systematic error in the surf site predictions. The wave heights that were originally predicted for Wednesday are now a little less than what was predicted a day ago and two days ago.

There weren't a lot of 1715 Fleet escudos in the auction this time. Neither did I see many of monogrammed half reales, which are among my favorites. I suspect that some people are holding onto their gold now, but I don't know why there weren't more monogrammed half reales. Maybe other people just don't find them as interesting as I do.

The one escudo that went to the moon on Apollo 14 brought $7500. You would think that cob would be a real rarity.

The bronze astrolabe brought over $32000. I think that sometimes guys get fixated on coins and gold and silver and forget about some of the other types of treasures that can be just as valuable.

Even iron objects can bring a good price at times. Yet there are people disciminating iron.

You might have also noticed the spikes that sold. They can bring a nice price.

But as you know, this isn't all about making money. Some people - many people - have no interest in selling their finds. Some people even donate their finds.

Before someone is willing to part with their money, they have to have an interest in an object. That means that someone has to value the item. It is not so much that the item has value. It doesn't have any value unless some one values the item.

What you saw in this auction is that people are interested in these items. Some people work hard to recover these items and make them available to whoever values them the most and is willing to trade their dollars (which also have no inherent value unless someone is willing to accept them) for the items. So what the buyer is saying when he buys an item is that he or she values the item as much as the money.

I had some old toys and things from my childhood and once decided to auction some of them. The reason I did, is that the person that was willing to pay the most for the item was a person that valued the item, and I liked to see those items go to a place where they were appreciated and would most likely be cherished and taken care of.

We should thank those who have worked to uncover those treasure items before they deteriorated further and made them available to the world before it was too late. It is because of thosee who uncovere them and made them available that we can look at the photos, or in many cases the items themselves, study them and learn from them.

When the items were auctioned, anyone who valued them highly enough, had the opportunity to purchase them. A museum could have purchased them. The state could have purchased them. A professor could have purchased them. Anybody that really wanted them could have purchased them.

By putting items up for auction, you make them available to the world and the most interested individuals or parties. That pretty much guarantees that the items will go to a place where they will be highly valued and appreciated. If you think they were just being purchased for resale, that might have been the case in some instances. But that means that someone will be paying even more for them when they are resold. Why would some one do that? Because they value the items. When they are resold, the seller finds some one who wants them and is willing to pay even more.

I assure you, that if a society can pay millions of dollars to some one that does nothing more important that play basketball or football or act, that tells us something about our societal values, whether we like it or not.

If the museums want the "treasures" and can't afford them, they have a problem with the prevailing societal values, not the treasure hunters. The treasure hunters through hard work and wits make these historic and treasured items available before they are lost forever.

Forecast and Conditions. The beaches are showing some small improvement - not enough for me to upgrade my conditions rating though. Maybe that will come Tuesday or Wednesday if the seas continue to increase as was predicted. We'll see.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, April 10, 2010

4/10 Report - World's Only Gold Bar Clump & More

Advertised as the world's only gold bar clump, these two coral encrusted gold bars sold for over $112,000 this week at the Sedwick Coins eigth treasure auction.

Here is the link.

I received a number of emails last night. Some of the people that wrote saw the Travel Channel TV program about treasure hunting on the Treasure Coast, which showed the big find by Mike McGuire and also the McLarty Treasure Museum. No wonder people got excited.

If you want to learn more about the gold box, rings, and rosary that was found by Mike, here is a link.

Talking about TV programs - I don't know if you've ever saw the program, but sometimes they show what are called aqua loggers. Aqua loggers salvage sunken logs that have mineralized to some extent and have other qualities that make them good for various high-end purposes. One place where they get these sunken logs is on the Suwanee River where loggers lost logs that were being transported down the river in years gone by.

Well, some of the aqua loggers were seen on TV by the authorities and are now in trouble for taking the state's property. I wonder if they were watching TV on state time?

In one post I once mentioned how some very old canoes were found by some guys doing aqua logging in Florida.

When metal detecting in the past, I often noticed some of the nice wood that washed up on different beaches, especially after a storm, and I thought it should be recovered and used. Some of the buildings on the Treasure Coast were constructed using wood salvaged from shipwrecks.

Anyhow, it seems that just like on every other issue in this country these days, there is a lot of strong feeling about this on both sides of the issue. Some people think that these guys are stealing public property, and other people think that the government is getting way too big, restrictive and intrusive. I, for one, appreciate the work of people who by effort and skill recover resources that would otherwise not be serving any useful function.

If the current trends continue, it looks to me like one day the air we breathe will either be taxed or require a permit.

You can read the comments to the article by following the link that I'll post below.

It is interesting to me that some people call these guys lazy thieves while others point out that these aqua loggers are doing hard dangerous work and recovering resources that were otherwise not being used and should be commended.

The only thing that got them in trouble is that the Dept. of Natural Resources was watching TV and one of the loggers evidently mentioned that they didn't have a permit or something.

If you read the comments to the article, I think you'll clearly come down on one side or the other of the issue.

Here is the link.

Forecast and Conditions.Whoaaaa! Look what the surf sites are projecting for Wednesday - seven foot plus seas. If that happens there is a very good chance that conditions will significantly improved and I can get off that stinky 1 Beach Conditions rating.

Keep watcing for new developments. It might not turn real good real fast because there is a lot of sand to be moved, but if we see winds from the north/northeast that continue for a while, and the ocean actually gets that rough, we should definitely see some big improvement.

Happy hunting,

Friday, April 9, 2010

4/9 Report - Hope for Next Week

Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

As you can see the water didn't get up very high on the beach. The sea weed is a bad sign, not to mention all of that soft mushy sand.

There was the very beginning of a cut that ran for a couple of hundred yards, The problem is that it was only a few inches high and wasn't going to get any higher. At least not today.

So it still looked pretty bad.

Check out the auction going on today at Sedwick Coins. Today I think they are auctioning the artifacts, which is my favorite part.

It is so hard to identify some artifacts that I like to take a look at any that I can so I can learn to identify them better. If there was one thing that I would consider bidding on, it would be that nice gold restored box. Second would be the chain. Those are my favorites.

Of course, I also like to look at the coins. They had two large lots of half reales that could provide hours fun and study.

I'll talk about some of those things in the future, maybe.

You can get to the auction through

A very old Indian settlement was discovered on Hilton Head. If you want to read more about that, here is the link.

The price of gold is approaching $1200 again. That in part is due to the waning dollar again.

Forecast and Conditions. I'm sure getting tired of the poor conditions on our Treasure Coast beaches. I'm sure that everybody is. As I mentioned yesterday, there is hope that things could improve.

Unfortunately I'm seeing a very familiar pattern on the Surf Web sites. So often when you see high surf coming several days in advance, as the actual time nears the projected swells tend to decrease. I've mentioned before that there seems to be a systematic error in their models. Of course, I am just going on casual observation, so don't take me to serious on that.

At this point it looks like this weekend will have only three to four foot seas, not reaching six or seven feet until this coming Thursday. That is a week away and already it seems like the projections have decreased a bit. If the current projections are accurate we might see something improvement in conditions later next week. Only time will tell.

They are saying there will be around 15 named storms this season. Surely one of them will move some sand.

Well, I'll keep it short today.

Have fun,

Thursday, April 8, 2010

4/8 Report - Ships, Dredging, Indians & Improving Conditions

Dredge Ship Between Canaveral and the Treasure Coast.

You can find some neat things on the internet these days. Just a couple of days ago I learned that you can track marine traffic on a variety of web sites. The photo to the right shows a dredge ship that is being used on a Treasure Coast beach renourishment project. Just click on the ship on the map and you get the information.

Here is a link to an interactive site where you can check up on current marine traffic, including the ships involved in the dredging operations.¢ery=25&zoom=2&level1=140

Volunteers are trying to save the old shipwreck that recently was uncovered on a beach in North Carolina. I've posted a couple of other links to articles on this same shipwreck. It seems they are going to try to save it before it is too late. I think it is interesting that it stayed together under the sand for all those years before being exposed. It is also interesting to see the techniques they are using to attempt to save the wreck before it falls completely apart.

I suspect that we have some shipwrecks buried under sand along the Treasure Coast, most likely in my opinion, in areas north of the inlets. Many of the found wrecks are south of the inlets. I believe that is because the inlets and the projects to keep the inlets open interrupts the natural flow of sand to the south and that leads to greater loss of sand to the south over time.

I read an interesting report on the GPX 4500. Unfortunately something seems to be wrong with that site now. A couple of things in that report stood out to me. First, the GPX 4500 seemed to be best suited to conditions in Australia U as compared to England were the test was being conducted. They found it advantageous to use an alternate coil type in England - one that was actually less sensitive, if I remember what I read correctly.

That emphasizes an important point. Different detectors are better suited to specific environments.

When they compared the Explorer and GPX 4500, the GPX often went deeper, but not by much considering the cost. Considering cost and some other factors, there would be situations in which I think a person would be better off purchasing the less expensive detector. But that is a complex matter, those are just a few things to look into and consider if you are thinking about pruchasing a new detector.

Yellowstone Park is a great place to visit. Men visited there 10,000 years ago. Why wouldn't they? There are lots of animals, thermal vents, etc. It's just a great place.

Everyone should visit Yellowstone at least once.

Here is a link about ancient man in Yellowstone.

There is a Treasure Coast Shipwreck Beach Map on ebay with only a day or two left and no bids. The item number is 110515386965.


I can't believe I forgot to mention that the 8th Auction is underway at Check it out.


Forecast and Conditions. It looks like conditions may be improving. A front will be coming through this weekend. We'll have northeast winds for a while and six foot seas. That could be a good combination.

If things continue as predicted now, we'll see about five foot seas on Sunday and seven foot seas by Wednesday. That could be enough to result in improved beach conditions.

As you may know I've been stuck on a "1" (poor) Beach Conditions rating for a long time. Hopefully I'll be able to give an upgrade after this weekend.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

4/7 Report - Keys and Things

Gallons of Older Keys.

This isn't nearly as pretty as the nice pearl and diamond ear rings and matching ring that I showed a few days ago, but I started to look through a bucket of old found keys this morning. You never know what you might find. I didn't really sort things very well. I just dumped the keys into buckets when I found them without too much notice.

There were several things that I noticed this morning. There were a few clumps of keys completely encrusted. They were not particularly old, but were keys that had some type of iron object on the key ring. That seems to cause the encrustation.

You can see a hotel key card next to the bottom of the bucket. That would have to be one of the early ones that I found when they first came out because nothing has been added to this bucket in at least fifteen years.

If you go on ebay, you'll see that there is a very active market for hotel key cards now - mostly those with neat graphics or a well-known name or something like that. But I would guess that early key cards would be of interest to some collectors.

I particularly like the big brass keys with the hotel name and graphics. The one stack of big square brass keys has about 25 stacked vertically. You can't really tell that from the photo I don't think.

You can also find some nice key fobs. I noticed a few from Disney and a variety of others. Most are rather plain.

Some of those key chains have so many keys and things on them that you wonder how they ever got lost. I was thinking how many people had their day at the beach ruined by not being able to find their keys.

Not long ago I showed a photo of a gold ring on a key chain with some keys that Gary D. found. You never know what might be on a key chain - another reason I discourage discrimination.

And I found some old pad locks in the bucket. I didn't remember that they were in there.

It can be entertaining to go through a bunch of old miscellaneous finds. You never know when you will notice something that you never noticed before or previously failed to recognize the value of. Sometimes it can be like finding an object all over again.

Some people will do anything for a smoke. What would you give for a pack of cigarettes? One guy gave a ancient gold manuscript worth a lot of money for a pack of cigarettes. Here is the link submitted by Gary D.

That story also goes to show how the value of an item is only in the mind. Nothing is worth anything unless someone thinks that it is.

The internet has a lot of interesting tools on it anymore. there are a You can obtain details about a ship and its position. Here is one sample that I captured for you. It shows the dredger that is working between Canaveral and Sebastian.

Inca Skeletons Show Evidence of Spanish Brutality. That is the title of an article. The title and conclusions might be misleading or maybe just incorrect. Too often politics and political correctness is put ahead of science these days.

The article states that the wounds were not caused by the type of weapons that they would most expect the Spanish to use. They admit that other Inca warriors could have caused the wounds. And the dates they obtained for some of the artifacts suggests a date that would be very early, almost too early, to be attributed to the Spanish. I really question the conclusions they came up with and the basis for the title of the article. It seems to me to be just as possible that the brutality was caused by warring Inca groups. But that doesn't follow the preferred story line.

Nonetheless, it is worth reading. Here is the link.

In my last post, I discussed the results of metal detector ID tests. Tomorrow, or sometime soon, I'll discuss the results of some more computer tests.

Forecast and Conditions. The winds are from the south and the seas are around three feet. Beach conditions have been poor lately, but it actually looks like we might see some significant improvement in the near future.

Seas are expected to increase this weekend, but not enough. Yet, next week things look even better. It looks like seas will get up to about six feet. If that trend continues for a little while, or we have sustained northeast winds along with the increased seas, we might actually see improved conditions.

Stay tuned for developments.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

4/6 Report. Old Wreck & Target ID Test

I mentioned this old wreck before, but here is a better article on it. It appears to be a very old wreck put together with wooden pegs. Coins and musket balls have been found at the site. One coin was dated 1601.

Enjoy the article. (Submitted by Bill C.)

Below is a link to a report of a metal detector ID test in which a number of different detectorists, varying in experience from 1 to more than ten years of experience, tried to ID a number of targets using a variety of detectors.

Three conclusions stood out to me. One, detectorists with little experience often did as good as detectorists with a lot of experience. And two, no targets were identified with anything close to 100% accuracy. And three, silver and other targets were more often identified correctly than gold.

I'll comment on those three findings.

First, the detectorists experience level didn't seem to determine the results. One of the detectorists who most accurately identified targets had only one year of experience.

How a person detects is largely determined by personality characteristics. Some people are systematic and some people are intuitive. Some people are meticulous and some people are impulsive. I'm not saying that one style is necessarily better than another. I don't think that is the case. Some people do well running a tight grid and others do well wandering around. There are ways to utilize a variety of methods with success. It is necessary though, to understand yourself and to compensate for your weaknesses while taking advantage of strengths. No matter what your style is, you must do it well.

Some people, for example, can hunt all day and find nothing and not get discouraged. Other people will quickly get discouraged and give up when they don't find anyting for a while. The first person could go after big low probability targets, because they have the necessary patience for that type of hunting. Less patient people need to hunt where they can find something once in a while, even if it isn't the most fantastic find.

And another thing - very experienced detectorists can get lack-a-daisical or simply fall into bad habits over time. I think all detectorists tend to get into a rut of one sort or another after a while. And they tend to start detecting according to the theories that they accept, and those theories might not be the best. That is why I recommend doing different things every once in a while and testing out your ideas. You migth be surprised every once in a while and that is a good opportunity to learn something new.

I know that I held one central belief about beach detecting for a long time, but I have changed my ideas about that. I found evidence that that idea was not true, so I had to change my thinking. It is important to be open to learning. And learning means changing.

The second major finding of the test is that targets were often misidentified. If you've been reading this blog very long, you know that I recommend not using discrimination and digging everything. That is especially true in wet sand areas and in the water were items are pretty much sorted by the water action.

Junk can be your friend because it tells you something. In wet areas, it tells you what kind of items are being deposited in that area, and in any area it might give you information about what went on there in the past. Also, and what the study shows, you could be wrong about what you think the target is, and when you dig the target you test your ideas.

Junk can also mask good targets, so it is better to remove the junk.

If masking and misidentification weren't enough, gold targets were among those that were most often misidentified. And gold targets are often among the more desirable targets.

Many detectors don't detect small gold very well. I suspect that the smaller and deeper gold targets are also more frequently misidentified than the larger pieces. Anyhow, most people don't want to miss gold, and this study shows that it is most likely to be misidentified. It is better to dig than be sorry.

If you work an area over and over, before long, the amount of junk will slowly be reduced to a very acceptable level.

Here is the link to the study.

Well, that is about it for the study.

I'm running late today, but I want to get this in so I'll leave it at that for now. More tomorrow.

Forecast and Conditions.Unfortunately there has been no significant change and I don't see anything significant on the horizon for the next few days.

I have more planned, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, April 3, 2010

4/5 Report - Wrecks, Artifacts & Metal Detector Finds

Previous Daylight Shuttle Launch as Seen from the Treasure Coast.

This morning's launch was much more spectacular.

I hope you had a Happy Easter. It was a beautiful weekend and most people were out celebrating rather than reading a blog.

The space shuttle seemed to come right over the Treasure Coast this morning. I suppose someday there will be people who salvage satellites and space debris and possibly even space pirates. All of the space vehicles have some gold on them in the electronics, and there are undoubtedly more valuable things than that on them.

Here is a web site that offers a variety of shipwreck artifacts and coins for sale. A good number of them have already been sold but are still pictured. Of special interest to me was the lignum vitae sheave, the pottery shards from the 1715 fleet and the coin from the Ribault expedition.

You can often find pot shards on the beach when the shells and sand are being washed up. Looking at the examples offered for sale might help you.

I really like the Ribault coin.

And here is another site with a lot of nice photos of shipwreck artifacts. These are from Nags Head N.C.

And here is another site showing coins, artifacts, etc. I especially like the artifacts section, but the site also shows some of the coins from the Bulldozer Hoard which was found when the Sebastian Wal-Mart was being built.

Items Found at Different Beaches at Different Times.

Sometimes you will find things at different times and places, but they can match up well to make a set.

Tomorrow I'll discuss a detector test that reports on the accuracy of ID meters. I don't think you'll want to miss that.

Forecast and Conditions. the wind is from the Southeast and the seas are running about three feet and probably will stay at that level for about a week. The full moon is gone and the tides are nothing special. That means that Treasure Coast beach conditions will remain poor for finding shipwreck coins.

I've given you some ideas on what to do at times like this and won't bother to repeat it today.

I think you'll want to check the next post for the detector ID test.

Happy hunting,

What you find is not who you are. Who you are is the real trash or treasure.

4/3 Report - Easter Cobs To Be Hard to Find This Year

Four Reale From the 1600s.
I was wondering what I would show that has a connection with Easter. I thought about a crucifix and some other things, then I realized that cobs often feature a cross of one type or another. The cross was a very prevalent symbol with a lot of meaning.

Sometimes we look at the marks and symbols on our finds and miss what was going on in the world when the those things were lost. We can forget that when those objects were lost, so were many lives. And many lives were spent and lost in the pursuit of those objects. They were real people with real lives, living very much as we do today - not the same in all ways, but with the same kinds of thoughts and feelings and struggles.

The marks and symbols were all put on the objects for a reason. They were selected intentionally and carefully. The symbols could have just as easily been any of a million other things. But the cross was chosen for a purpose, as were the other marks and symbols.

Symbols can lose their meaning unless they resonate somehow in a person's awareness. When symbols lose their power, as they often do, they're dead. Sometimes symbols come to stand for something other than what was originally intended.

You'll appreciate your finds more if you dig into their original meaning. Think about the lives that touched these objects. If you do, you'll rediscover something about yourself.


A 400 year old wreck recently discovered on a North Carolina beach is moving south and in danger of being further destroyed. This is a wreck that was uncovered by a storm and discovered by a beach comber.

Here is a web site that talks about a local Treasure Coast salvor. Also featured is one of his beach finds worth really big bucks. The gold box is really nice. Take a look.

Did you know that Easter is on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox?

Fortune Cookie Corner.

A man who shines in darkness, does not live in darkness.

Forecast and Conditions. Sometimes conditions have been good on Easter for hunting things besides eggs. Not so this year if you are talking about the beaches on the Treasure Coast. But the weather is beautiful and it is nice to be out.

There will be a low tide just after sunrise. The seas will increase slightly today to about three feet, which is what we'll have for the next few days. The beaches look pretty much like mid-summer beaches. My conditions rating is poor.

Don't forget that you can explore around some. I've talked about that in my last post. Put the hunt back in your treasure hunt.

Maybe drive to a place where you can do some water hunting.

Have a happy and meaningful Easter.