Monday, May 31, 2010

5/31 Memorial Day Report 2010

Flags like the one shown in this photo are flying over the Treasure Coast today as a few light rain showers brought some coolness to the air in late morning.

Remembering is what Memorial Day is about. Remember those that sacrificed for our freedom.

I'm afraid there are many today that would quickly and foolishly sacrifice freedom for ease.

Here is a picture created by the Center for Military History and obtained through the U. S. Government Printing Office. The scene is a highly accurate illustration of an important moment in U. S. history. I wonder if anyone can identify it? Here is a hint. It took place in the south in 1776.

The Center for Military History provides a number of very good resources for research. Many military history resources can be obtained very inexpensively from the Center. You might want to look it up.

I was going to show a photo of the beach this morning, but that would be a waste of time because the beaches look just like they did a week ago. Nothing much has changed. There is still a lot of sand and some shells and sea weed and nothing much in the way of erosion.

There have been a lot of detectorists out to pick up whatever the beach goers drop. You'll have to use your head and maybe your feet if you want to find much.

The gentle southeast winds that leave us sanded in are good for the guys down around Key West. They are in full hunting mode.

There is some news from the Fisher organization down there. Like I said, the salvage ships are at work on the Atocha, Margarita and the Deep Merchant shipwrecks. Divers on the Blue Water Rose brought up a five pound encrusted clump containing old Spanish silver coins. Nine silver coins and a gold bead were recovered by divers on the Magruder. And divers on the Dare recovered sixteen emeralds.

Here is a video of their most recent efforts including news on some new deep water merchant vessels.

I've used a variety of detectors over the years, including Minelab, Whites, Fisher, Garrett and Tesoro, but compared to all of those detectors, there are three that the others don't even compare too. (I haven't used either the Infinium or GPX detectors, so I can't say how they would compare.) But the three best that I've used are all based upon modified Nautilus circuitry and made for beach and water hunting. Maybe I'll show them sometime in the future. Too bad that none of them are made by any of the major manufacturers.

I'm tempted to get off on some other topics today but really don't have the time. I'll have to keep it for later.

Here is something to consider if you want to know what you should do with your finds.

Forecast and Conditions. I've already mentioned that the Treasure Coast beaches are pretty much sanded in. Of course there are a good many beach goers right now, which might help out a little.

The seas are from the southeast with about 3.5 foot seas. The projections show seas decreasing for the next week or so. It should be a good time to get in the water.

I don't expect much good on the beaches until we have a good storm or something.

This is a good day to reflect on life, freedom and family.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

5/29 Report - Surprising Treasures

Wheat Penny? Who cares? What about gold doubloons?

Did you know that some wheat pennies are worth more than some gold doubloons? It's true.

It is easy to be fooled when it comes to the value of items. Most people only know about a few areas of collecting. And they let big bucks slip through their fingers while complaining about not finding anything. Knowledge is often the most valuable thing you can possess. It can make the difference in whether you make money or lose money. It is true in the stock market. It is true in the collectibles market. It is true in many places and in many ways.

I was browsing through a recent Bowers and Merena coin auction catalog and noticed a wheat penny with a bid of $54,000. Can you guess the year? Or what is special about it? Most gold coins aren't worth that much. Most diamond rings aren't worth that much.

If you are curious about that penny, here is the link.

Bowers and Merana are well-known for their coin auctions. I have an old auction catalog from a Bowers and Ruddy auction which sold a large number of 1715 Fleet coins and bars.

But back to my point. You might have picked up a penny in the past and thought nothing of it, but it could have been worth more than the gold coin that you have been desperately looking for.

A lot of people don't know that some shipwreck spikes can be worth more than some silver cobs. The thing I am trying to say, is that the more you know, and the broader your range of knowledge, the better off you will be.

Become familiar with a broad range of items and you will have more success in detecting. Learn about old and collectible bottles, gold nuggets, gems and minerals, fossils, etc. Again, the more you know something about, the better off you will be.

People get excited about gold doubloons. That's natural. All the history behind them and the drama and adventure, it's no wonder people find such things fascinating and exciting, but at the same time, you might be missing out on some great opportunities right under your nose. Maybe you've found and let a $10,000 penny slip right through your fingers.

I like to browse through my finds after I come home. Not just the real old pieces, but also the pennies, dimes and nickles and what have you.

I also like to browse auction catalogs and price guides for collectibles. I bet a few people were surprised by my post yesterday when I mentioned how much the marbles they played with as children could bring.

People tend to get fixated on one type of treasure or another. That's ok. Again, it's natural to get excited about one thing or another. If you have an interest in one thing or another pursue it to the max if you want, but don't overlook the other treasures that might be right under your feet.

If you find something that is not something that you know much about, keep the item, do some research and see what you can learn. Remember that a marble or penny could be worth more than an old shipwreck coin.

Some of the more obvious factors that determine value are rarity, condition, and demand. If it is something that a lot of people collect, no matter how ugly or useless it might seem to you, it could have good value. If something is in demand, the more rare it is and the better condition it is in, the more value it will have.
That is simple enough.

I often marvel at how often items from the seventies are worth more than things from a century or two ago. That is because of the reminiscence value. People often like things that remind them of an earlier time in their life.

It is sometimes hard for me to imagine how some old toy might be worth more than an antique gold and diamond brooch, but it often happens. There is no accounting for it other than demand - what people like and want - not all people - it only takes one group of people to create a demand.

Well, I've run on today, but I think that I presented an important and valuable thing to remember. A gold doubloon might be tantalizing, but don't overlook the other treasures that might be at your finger tips.

Here is a quick guide to wheat penny prices. Remember it is a general guide and doesn't include valuable errors etc.

You might want to browse through ebay too.

Browse through some other coin auction catalogs and do some research on the coins you find.

AFter looking at the Bowers and Merena auction catalot, I went back to take another look at my wheat pennies. As long as you keep your finds, you'll be able to do that.

If you want to do a little more research on Spanish coins, you might find this list of resources useful.

Forecast and Conditions.The wind is from the southeast now. That usually means that sand will be building up on the beaches. Watch for dips that might develop in front of the beach. I don't think there will be any improvement in the generally poor conditions found on the Treasure Coast.

Of course there will be a lot of people on the beaches on this hot Memorial Day weekend. There will therefore be a few more recent losses to be found.

I've mentioned a lot of alternatives in the past, and won't bother to repeat today.

Happy hunting,

PS: The original link wasn't working so I replaced it, but if you are still having trouble, the wheat penny in question was a 1917 double die obverse.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

5/27 Report - Marbles, Bottles & Fakes

So you think I lost my marbles. Maybe so, but somebody else evidently did too.

These marbles vary widely in condition, ranging from sea glass to almost as good as new. One in the center shows a manufacturing defect. When you inspect it closely, you can see how the glass failed to fill in one swirl.

Like I often say, I enjoy eye-balling and have found everything from watches, to gold rings and chains, cobs, shipwreck spikes, bills, Indian points, fossils and even a grape shot without a metal detector.

I got the following paragraph from Kovels Komments,an online ezine by Kovel. Kovels produces numerous books on collectibles (

"From about 1900 to 1950, Ohio was the marble-producing capital of the world. Glass marbles for children came from dozens of Ohio glass companies. ... Only two marble factories remain in the United States. This week a group of collectors bought some glass and arranged to fire up the furnace at one of those two factories--Jabo Inc. in Reno, Ohio--to make one more batch of marbles. The 1-inch marbles came out of the kiln with multicolor speckles in the glass. Each one of the 120,000 marbles is different. Value now: probably $10 to $100 apiece, but none are for sale. Record price for any marble sold at auction: $7,700 for an Indian swirl marble that auctioned in New York in 1995."

You might be wondering why I posted a photo of marbles. One reason is because of this article, and the other reason is that it goes along with my suggestion in yesterday's post about keeping your eyes open while detecting. All of the marbles in the photo were found along waterways on the Treasure Coast. All of them were found one at a time on different outings. They aren't impressive as finds, but they are the type of thing you might see while detecting. And they might be more significant than you'd think.

The marbles got to where they were found somehow. There were evidently people in the area at one time, and the marbles tell you that, and they also give you some idea about when those people (or should I say children) were there.

Clues like this are sometimes more valuable than gold because they can point you to multiple future finds. They can point you to an abandoned homestead, playground or recreational facility.

Here is another piece of advice from Kovels on another subject.

"...Be very careful when buying "antiques." Most countries do not allow important antiques to be taken out of the country. Many countries, like Morocco and Mexico, have been making copies of their antiquities for centuries--and that is what is found in their tourist spots. Even the letters guaranteeing age are faked. It is a case of "Buyer Beware." Be very wary of anything that's a great bargain."

And for you bottle hunter's, here is Elmer's Bottle Tree ranch. The guy inherited his father's bottle collection and didn't know what to do with all of the bottles. Of course, if you are talking about gold or silver coins or jewelry or something ike that you keep them in a bank safe deposit box. But here is Elmer's solution to the bottle problem.

What bottle hunter/collector hasn't wondered what to do with all of the bottles. I know of one collection that was stored on a shelf that crashed, leaving all of the best bottles in pieces.

Here is some good coverage of the BP oil leak. It has some interesting things on deep water technologies and sea currents that you might find interesting or relevant. I thought it was interesting. You might too.

Forecast and Conditions. I showed a good selection of beaches yesterday. As you saw nothing much was going on despite the six foot seas. I'm sure there are some new dips or small cuts somewhere if you look around enough. Nonetheless, I'm keep my 1 rating on the Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions Scale.

The wind is out of the northwest and the wind is down to about 4 feet. Seas will be decreasing through the week. That doesn't give much hope for much improvement. I would check out the beach at low tide. There are some pretty good tides going on.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

5/26 Report - Big Waves - Little Erosion

Photo Tour of Select Treasure Coast Treasure Beaches.

Photo of Beach at Sebastian Looking South Towards McLarty Museum.

We've been waiting for rough seas for sometime. Some pretty nice waves finally showed up, especially in southern St. Lucie County even though there wasn't much wind. Surfers were out in numbers around the Walton Rocks area.

Photo of Wabasso Looking South Towards Disney.

I often say that it takes more than big waves to create erosion. That was proven today. There were some pretty good waves, but they were hitting directly on the beach rather than at an angle. The best and most productive cuts, in my opinion, are those created when the wind is blowing from the north and the waves are hitting the beach at a good angle.

Turtle Trail Beach Access Looking North.

The most promising spot I saw all day was north of Seagrape Trail.

You can see here and in the last photo, where about 15 yards of sand (less at the spot of this photo) was recently piled in front of the dunes. You can see the plantings lined in rows on top.

That will keep old items from being washed out of the dunes until that new sand is gone. And that could happen in a day or two if we every got a good storm. Until then, the dunes as a source of shipwreck items has been pretty much removed up in those areas where the beach renourishment projects were recently completed.

John Brooks Park Looking North.

You can see that there is no erosion here. Notice the sea weed, which appears all along the Treasure Coast. Sea weed is a sign that light material is washing in rather than out.

Walton Rocks.

I've shown this beach quite a few times recently. Notice that it is more sanded in than it was a few weeks ago. Even though there were some really nice surfing waves there today, there was no erosion.

Well, I've pretty much given you an idea of what the beaches are like along the Treasure Coast today. I didn't show all of the beaches, of course. I have other things to do. But I think you can see that even though there was a nice increase in the height of the seas, there was very little erosion.

I won't say there wasn't any erosion. I would be very surprised if that was the case. Somewhere, I'm almost sure, you can find some erosion if you go out and scout around long enough. My guess is that the more southern areas have a better chance, and areas around obstructions like jetties. But what I showed today are some of the more common shipwreck beach sites.

I'd look for a change in wind direction. North winds coupled with these swells could do some good, but there is an awful lot of sand to be moved.

Follow the sand. Follow the sand.

Happy hunting,

5/25 Report - Alternate Treasure Hunnting Techniques

US Gold Coin Mounted in Gold and Diamond Pendant.

Yesterday I was talking about gold coins found mounted in jewelry. Here is one example that I've shown before.

Yesterday I was talking about how beach hunters often put too much emphasis on metal detectors. People were finding treasure long before the metal detector was invented. And people frequently find treasure today without using a metal detector. Granted, a metal detector can be a very important and helpful tool in the treasure hunter's arsenal. But it is not the only tool that should be considered. There are times when metal detectors can't be used, and there are times when other techniques can be more effective. And there are times when other techniques and strategies can be used together with metal detecting.

Sometimes metal detecting isn't permitted, and sometimes it isn't practical. Take for example the location of an old camp that is covered with rusted or discarded metal junk. I've hunted places like that before, and there are a variety of ways of dealing with that.

Before I get into other techniques, I want to discuss one of the skills and techniques that any detectorist should work at improving. I'm talking about eye-balling.

You might be surprised by how much you can find by simply looking. I've found cobs without a metal detector, as well as quite a few jewelry items, some made of gold, and lots of coins, and bills of various denominations. I know people that have found jars of coins simply walking the beaches and eye-balling. Some of those people don't even own a detector. Obviously they would find more if they did have a detector, but the fact is that you can learn to find a lot by just looking, and if you become good at eye-balling it will help you to improve your detecting in a variety of ways.

Yesterday I mentioned how much area there is on a beach. It would take forever to thoroughly cover almost any beach with a metal detector, but you can very quickly scan a lot of area visually. If you manage to find an area where you actually see coins being uncovered, that would be an excellent spot to spend some good time with a detector. By eye-balling you can often find a hot spot to work more thoroughly with a detector. But your vision has to be sharp, and with practice you will see a lot more.

Eye-balling is a skill that can be improved with practice. If you heavily focus on your earphones and fail to use your eyes effectively, you will miss a lot - not only coins but also clues that could lead you to treasure. Learn to see coins and targets, but also learn to identify clues to possible hot spots.

Study other types of treasure hunting. You will benefit in many ways if you learn how to pan for gold, for example. You will also benefit from knowing something about other techniques used in the gold rush. One that I'll mention is hydraulic mining.

I'm not saying you can go out to the beach and do some hydraulic mining. I'm sure someone would quickly stop you if you tried that. But you can learn from the principles. Water moves sand and uncovers heavier items. hydraulic mining is a way of speeding up erosion that wuold eventually occur by nature.

You will see some of the principles of hydraulic mining at work on a small scale when the waves wash over an area. Also when it rains. And, it happens when irrigation sprinklers are used.

I used to visit volleyball courts in the morning after a public park used their sprinklers. Often the sprinklers would uncover thin gold chains and other items. That is just one example of what I am talking about.

Another technique not requiring a metal detector is using a rake or sifter. Rakes are often more effective than metal detectors when you know that there is a thin gold chain in an area.

I've built and used two different sifters. They are made with a frame, wire, wheels, and a long handle, like a lawn mower handle. You can pull a sifter through sand and pick up coins, junk and whatever else might be in the sand. This is a technique requiring a lot of physical energy, but can be applied very effectively in the right circumstances.

Another technique I'll mention today is creating traps in the wet sand area. Some traps occur naturally and trap coins, rings, etc. Traps can be constructed using a variety of materials and designs. You've probably observed natural treasure traps without realizing it. Once for example, I picked up five mercury dimes in one scoop with my detector. They had accumulated at the base of a plam tree where the currents were dropping materials being washed out of a small sand bank that was eroding.

You can create your own strategically placed treasure traps using the same basic principles. You can use rocks, logs, or other materials to create treasure traps. Think of a sluice. The same principles will work in the wet sand on a beach. The waves will supply the water power and heavier items will settle behind the traps.

Observe the effect of groins, sea walls, and jetties. They all affect the flow of sand. You can use a few well-placed objects on a smaller scale to help trap and uncover items.

Well, I think I've given you enough for today. It takes some thinking and work, but all of these techniques can be helpful.

I found a limited preview of the Treasure Diving with Captain Dom online. This preview section talks about the ship identified as the San Miguel Archangel that is being salvaged near Jupiter Inlet. The article presents a lot of interesting little facts about the ship and the research leading up to it's identification.

You might want to take a look.

Forecast and Conditions. Seas are around 4.5 feet today, increasing to about 6.5 feet on Wednesday. The high tides, which are a little higher than usual, might help some. So far I haven't seen anything to make me too optimistic. It usually takes eight foot or higher seas to do much good, but six foot seas, or even less, can create some productive cuts when other things are right. It might be worth checking after the peak seas on Wednesday.

Happy hunting,

Monday, May 24, 2010

5/24 Report - Jensen Beach & Metal Detecting

Two Photos of Jensen Beach This Afternoon.

The top photo looks north from the north end of the pubic park. Notice the remains of a small cut to the left of the group of people

The the other photo looks south towards the restaurant. Notice the three foot waves coming almost directly at the beach at a ninety degree angle.

I recently saw a discussion on a forum where a person was saying that he wanted to know what detector to buy that would find gold coins. It was obvious this person didn't have much, if any, experience with metal detecting. Many of those that responded did. I found the discussion entertaining for some reason. I couldn't really say why I found it so amusing, but I did. I enjoyed both the novice comments and the wise advice. The answer to the novice's questions were not easy to answer, especially since there were so many misconceptions implied in his post and questions. Metal detecting, at its best, is a lot more complicated than you'd think. Of course, anyone can get a detector and take it out and swing it around, but if that is the extent of their knowledge, they'll be depending entirely on luck. And the probability is that they won't have much of that.

I've said several times before that a metal detector won't find anything. It will beep or provide some kind of signal when you put the coil over a metallic target, which is definitely some help, but the important part is learning where to put your coil.

I occasionally talk about reading beaches and things like that. A post or two ago, I posted a tip on how to work a submerged traveling sand bar.

The fact is, there are miles and miles of beaches and only a very few scattered gold coins within detector range. I don't have any idea about how to quantify the percentage of beach area presenting gold coins, but the number has to be something not too different than the probability of hitting all six numbers in the lottery.

The novice said he had heard of a detector that would detect targets down fifteen feet. There are certainly technologies that will detect some items fifteen feet, but did he want to hunt a gold coin, a cache, a steel barrel or what?

The most difficult thing about answering novice questions is that they don't know what to ask.

All detectors have strengths and weaknesses. The task is to match the detector to your goals and circumstances. An old $100 used detector might do the job, or if you are going for something more challenging, it might require an entirely different type of technology.

I think it is a good idea for most people to start with an inexpensive detector. Inexpensive detectors are often easier to use (something to look into), and then look into more expensive detectors after you have some experience. People who don't find much almost always want to blame the detector. That normally isn't where the main problem lies. Yes you do need a detector that works. You can pretty much test that easily enough at home. If your detector works and you still aren't finding anything, the next thing to consider is your strategy.

At first you should be able to find clad coins. As time progresses, you'll find some jewelry or something, and then if you keep learning, you'll start to find some older and nicer things. There is normally a progression. There should be a progression if you keep learning from your experiences. After you learn a bit, then you might think about a more expensive detector that better suits your needs. But I digress.

Yes, gold coins have been found on the beach, and more will be found on the beach - but not frequently and not by most detectorists. I do know of one lady that actually found a Spanish colonial gold coin on her first outing. But unless you are really really really lucky, it won't happen your first day out, and maybe never. Of course, your chances are better at some locations than others.

What I'm getting around to, though, is what I would consider one of the easiest ways to find a gold coin on a beach. Hunt where good jewelry is worn and lost. I believe it is easier to find a gold coin mounted in some type of jewelry, such as a ring or pendant, that most other ways. You can find anything from an almost new American Eagle gold coin to an ancient gold coin from centuries before Christ mounted in jewelry. I've shown pictures of both of those types of coins in this blog in the past. I've even shown a photo of a 2 escudo mounted in a modern ring. That particular gold escudo coin was lost in the ocean once, salvaged, put on another galleon, which sunk and was salvaged, mounted in a gold ring, and lost again in the ocean. All of that happened before it was found again. It was lost and found three times before it was shown on this blog. It can be interesting to do the research and think about how things got to be where they were finally found.

If you really want to find a gold coin on a beach, unless you have good information on where there is a sunken shipwreck that had a cargo of gold coins, or a buried cache, and you want to find a gold coin, I'd advise hunting some of the better jewelry beaches.

That isn't what I started to talk about. I might get back to that some other time.

If you want to read a good numismatic article about hoards, here is one that I just ran across.

Somebody wrote in about a beach where they found a bunch of scattered stainless steel washers. After reading my post on old-timer's tricks, he thought the washers might have been intentionally spread on the beach. It is possible. If you don't have the patience and have a detector that will "notch out" those washers, that would be a good application for "notch reject."

I guess I was rambling today. Oh, well.

Forecast and Conditions. I noticed that this evenings high tide will be higher than normal (3 ft.).

They are still predicting six foot seas for late Tuesday and early Wednesday. Whether that causes erosion, will probably depend, as it usually does, on the wind and angle of the waves. The three foot seas that we had this afternoon wasn't doing much yet.

It probably won't be until Wednesday until we know how things are going to work out this week. Again, be watching for six foot seas late Tuesday and early Wednesday.

Right now I would still rate Treasure Coast treasure beach conditions as a 1 (poor). In my opinion, there is a lot of sand that needs to be moved before the cobs start showing up. There has been so many days of southeast winds piling sand on the beach fronts, that I don't really expect much at this point. Hopefully I'll be wrong.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, May 23, 2010

5/23 Report - Jensen Beach Find & Republic of Pirates

Ring Found at Jensen Beach.

This ring was found by Gary D. some time ago. He mentioned that he was checking a web cam shot and noticed some low spots in the sand at Jensen Beach recently. Which brings up something I've mentioned in the past. It is often a good idea to check out some beaches on internet web cams before deciding where you want to detect. It's sometimes difficult to get the whole picture from a web cam, but it also can sometimes give you an idea about whether its worth the time or not.

Selections of The Rebublic of Pirates by Colin Woodard is available in part online. You can read about some of the salvage efforts on the 1715 Fleet and the pirates that attacked the salvage camps. It is all pretty interesting and you can probably find a few useful hints and tips. You'll find some mention of secondary camps, for example. You can read part of the book online, and then decide if you want to purchase the hard copy.

Here is a link to a section dealing with the 1715 Fleet and the pirate Jennings.

Concerning the recent BP oil leak, this message came from the office of Senator LeMieux.

"If you witness oil coming ashore or impacted wildlife, you should immediately contact the Deepwater Horizon Response Line at 866-557-1401. Floridians seeking help with issues related to the incident can call my office directly and toll-free at (866) 630-7106."

One little tip. Sometimes if you can find a sand bar under a foot or more of water with a nice dip in between the bar and the shore where a lot of people swim, either the front or back of the bar might be a good place to hunt. First check out the dip to determine if it might be good. If not, check out the bar. A submerged sand bar will often be moving in one direction or another - either towards shore or away from shore. The back side of such a bar will often yield a lot of targets. By the backside, I mean the side opposite the direction of movement. If the bar is moving towards shore, the place to check would be the side of the bar away from the shore. If the bar is moving towards shore there is a good chance that targets on the back of the bar are being uncovered as the bar moves.

Forecast and Conditions. The surf web sites show seas gradually building through the weekend, peaking on next Wednesday at about six or maybe seven feet. It usually takes something around eight feet to do much good. This could be the best chance we've had for a while. I'm hoping it actually happens.

I took a look at the wind charts and the wind will usually be from an east/northeast direction if the predictions are right. I'm afraid that will not be sufficiently from the north to create much erosion.

With all of the beaches that have been recently renourished and those that might be soon, that isn't helping much either.

We'll have to wait and see if we actually get the predicted in increase in seas for Tuesday or Wednesday.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

5/20/2010 Report - Fort Pierce Treasure Hunter's Roadshow & Beach Current Conditions

I decided it was time to give you a look at the typical types of beaches that you will find around the Treasure Coast right now. This first photo shows a typical stretch where sand and small shells are building up along the beach front. It really looks like mid summer conditions. You can tell by looking at this beach that you won't find much there. Maybe a pull tab or two. Finding an old shipwreck cob there would surprise me more than hitting all six number in Lotto.

Here is a beach a few hundred yards from the beach shown in the first photo. A piece of a fiberglass boat is shown, but you can also see the remains of a small old cut that probably occurred a few days ago high on the beach. The beach front is more convex than it looks. A lot of loose material is piled up on front, just like the beach shown in the previous photo. Again, not much chance of finding anything good or old there.

Here is a pile of small shells with a steep incline on the front of the pile. An excellent place to find some pull tabs.

One thing to notice is the sifting and sorting done by the waves. It works almost like panning gold. Materials are sifted and sorted pretty much by weight. I think it would be more accurate to say, by density. But other things affect the sorting, such as surface area and surface adhesion. Materials that are thin like sheets of copper, for example, will accumulate with materials that are lighter because of the amount of surface material that have that can be acted upon by moving water. The large surface area to weight ratio also keeps thin sheets from sinking in the sand. Items that adhere to sand, and might be attached to concretion also accumulate wit less dense materials.

Like I recently mentioned watches tend to not sink, partly because of the open spaces where air is trapped.

This photo with the Polly-L in the background shows a beach that is different from the previous ones shown. You can see that it is near low tide, as were the others, but you can also see how flat the front beach is in this photo. The other beaches were more convex. The beach front has been extended to the east by this winters erosion of the dunes. The beach front here is also packed over a deep layer of shells. I suspect that most precious metals items under the beach front here are now under about six feet of sand. Some might have come from the eroded dunes and some might have been in the water. In either case, I think most will now be under a layer of shells and sand. To make matters worse, notice the sea weed washing up. That means that light materials are washing in and building the beach up.

Overall, its not a great time for beach hunting for old shipwreck coins on the Treasure Coast. A lot of sand will have to be moved before things get good.
You might find a few dips with spikes or other artifacts or a few old coins, but you will have to find those few remaining decent spots.

The good thing is that the water is very calm. I would be hitting some of the crowded up-scale tourist swimming areas. Even the dry sand will be better than most of the wet sand right now. Again, there will be a few spots in the wet sand, but they will be scattered and relatively small.

Remember, you can't detect in the water around the leased shipwrecks.

This week end the seas will increase. We can only hope that it moves enough sand in the right direction to create some good places to detect.

The Treasure Hunter's Roadshow will be at the Best Western in Fort Pierce from 5/18 - 5/22. They'll evaluate and buy collectibles, coins and jewelry. I don't know if they give you a good price or not, so this isn't a recommendation - just a heads up. Make sure that you have done your research and know something about what your item is worth before you sell anything.

Here is a link for more information.

You might want to take a look at this coin auction too.

A tabby floor of a suspected tavern was uncovered in South Carolina. One Spanish coin was found at the site dated to 1660. Too bad they didn't show a photo of that. They did show a nice pipe.

Looking for a good storm,

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

5/19 Report - Beach Renourishment Again!

Photo of some objects recently found by Robert W.

Interesting looking little nails or whatever. The red coin is Australian (1922).

The ACE meeting concerning the possible beach renourishment project in southern St. Lucie County will be held tonight at 5:30 at 2300 Virginia Ave. Beach front home owners want the sand. In my opinion anyone who builds on a ocean beach should understand that beach sand naturally moves and shouldn't expect the public to pay to maintain the sand in front of their place. I have nothing against people building on shifting sands, but don't expect everyone else to take care of it for you when the sand shifts. I've seen some beach clubs that want the public to pay for the sand in front of their club, and then try to keep the public off of it. I don't think the public should be required to continually pay to try to keep the beach from moving, but when the public pays, the public definitely has a right to play.

If you want your chance for input, here are the details of the meeting.

Archaeologists say that the biggest threat to the HMS Victory wreck site is unlicensed salvors. They acknowledge that fishing trawlers have already damaged the site, but their greatest fear seems to be "unlicensed salvors." They barely give credit to Odyssey Marine for locating the site, which was generally thought to be elsewhere.

An early Zoque tomb has been discovered in southern Mexico. It is one of the earliest pyramid tombs ever found.

Forecast and Conditions. Nothing much has changed for some time. Seas have been calm enough to make for easy water detecting and the winds have been from the west, helping with low tide hunting.

Seas will be increasing, beginning on Thursday and gradually building to about five feet on Sunday. Of course, that might change, but that is what it looks like now.
As I've mentioned before, the projections often change as we get closer to the actual date. If the seas increase more than currently projected, things might start showing some real improvement.

As usual, we'll have to wait and see how that turns out.

Happy hunting,

Monday, May 17, 2010

5/17 Report - Couple Small Finds for ID & Metal Detector Comparison Chart

A Couple Miscellaneous Metal Detector Finds from the Treasure Coast for ID.

I would guess these are pewter cuff links, but I am not sure of that. I am not sure of the metal or age. I can rule out gold and silver.

The following item is about 3/4 inch across. It is another item that I am curious about. It obviously has something to do with Tivoli, but I don't know exactly what. Again, the metal isn't gold or silver. I am pretty sure this one isn't real old and the metal doesn't appear to be as good as the cuff links or whatever they are.

If you have an ideas on either of these items, please let me know.

If you are interested in comparing metal detectors, you might like the following web site that presents a chart comparing features on what the author considers to be some of the top detectors. Their pick is the Treasure Hunter 3050. I thought that some of you might find the comparison chart useful.

Many antiquities bringing high prices these days are fakes. Some experts are finding that about half of the items that they examine are fake. One good thing about finding items yourself on the beach or in the ocean is that there is a good chance that they aren't fake. Despite numerous fake cobs that are found on the beaches, I think that most of the items found in field are genuine. Of course there is often the matter of figuring out exactly what they are and where they came from, but that is a lot of the fun of finding things.

Here is a link to one article about the prevalence of fakes.

One research tool that I often wish I had is an x-ray spectroscope. Spectroscopy can be used to create a profile of the metals used to create an object. In one example I saw on the TV show History Detectives, they evaluated the metal in the liberty bell and then the metal of a commemorative medal that was thought to possibly be made of metal from the liberty bell. In this particular case the profiles did not match and the medal was therefore thought not to be made of material taken from the liberty bell.

Wouldn't it be nice to have access to that type of technology for evaluating finds?

Here is a link to the story on the liberty bell.

Forecast and Conditions. Once again I see evidence of what I have called a systematic error in the web site projections. As usual, as we get closer, the predicted increase in seas decreases in magnitude. The time of the increase has also now been delayed until Friday.

If the projections are accurate now, the seas won't be higher than about four feet. The wind for the next few days will be coming mostly from the south and the swells from the east. That is not good for beach detecting, but not bad for water hunting.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, May 16, 2010

5/16/2010 - Pocket Watch Find

A Couple of Watches Found with a Metal Detector.

If you've done much detecting, you know that you can often find watches, especially in the water. Many are found in surprisingly good shape and can be used without cleaning or anything. Others, like the small one shown in the photo, are completely ruined. You can find anything from a Timex to a Rolex. I've shown a couple of Rolex finds in this blog in the past. In the water, watches often stay in the upper layers of sand. A watch price guide like the one shown in the photo can be helpful in identifying watches.

Not long ago I showed a photo of a cut down by the Jupiter Reef Club. I didn't give the location of the cut at the time because I didn't want everyone running down there. When he sent in the photo of the cut, Tom Gidus mentioned a shipwreck that is just offshore from the reef club. It is the Victor from 1872.

When you come across information like this, it is a good idea to keep a log of that information and mark it on a map for possible future reference.

On another subject, the scant remains of a dugout canoe retrieved from a lake bottom in the 1930s was carbon dated to around 400 years ago. The article shows how wood artifacts continue to deteriorate if not properly preserved.

Finders Keepers USA, a treasure hunting group with an optimistic name, claims to know where a large shipment of civil war gold is buried but can't get permission to dig it up. Here is the link.

China sentenced to death four tomb robbers. I wonder what the penalty would be for robbing a living person? Couldn't be much worse, could it?

Don't forget about the Treasure Site Link List on this blog under the Followers Section.

Forecast and Conditions.It hasn't been easy writing the forecast and conditions report. I don't think I've ever seen such a long period of time with such poor conditions. From last summer, through winter, and now into summer again, there just hasn't been much good erosion. It has to happen sooner or later. I hope it is sooner.

Looking ahead, there is some encouragement towards the end of next week. About Thursday it looks like the seas will begin to increase. Up until then, there isn't much to be happy about. It will be more scratching and scraping, unless you decide to try something differnet.

Here's hoping that the winds shift and we get some good ripping nor'easters in the near future.

Happy hunting,

Friday, May 14, 2010

5/14/2010 Report - Personal Submarines

Triton 1000 by US Submarines.

They didn't pay me for this commercial. Mention my name when you buy. I hope they'll give me a commission.

You say you want to find a sunken ship. Why not do it in ease and luxury. Contact US Submarines, a company right here in Vero, that sells a variety of personal submarines. If you want a small one that you can easily carry around on the back of your yacht, no problem. Or why not get one that you can use to take a few dozen of your closest friends for an underwater sight-seeing expedition. If you can't wait to buy, here is a link where you can find additional information.

Fear of the Euro's collapse has led to panic buying of gold. Several bullion sellers are running out of coins and bullion. The dollar is weak but is holding up well since it is less weak than the Euro and other currencies that do not inspire great confidence.

Current world conditions and the high price of gold makes almost any gold find worth while. It might be a good idea to get some to keep in your safe deposit box.

If you want to read about the rush to gold, here is a link.

If you want to buy some gold, there is a vending machine in an Abu Dhabi hotel that dispenses gold bullion coins and bars. They must have some large denomination bills. I'd like to see them put one of those machines in Times Square. I wonder how long it would last.

Here is the link.

(Thanks to Gary D. for submitting the last two links.)

I don't think this is the type of change that people thought they were voting for in the last presidential election.

By the way production of US pennies costs more than 1 cent, and production of nickels costs more than 5 cents. That could mean a change in the metals used before long. The only reason I believe it hasn't happened yet is that it costs so much to make all of the other changes that that requires, like changing all the vending machine sensors.

When I was often traveling on the turnpike, I could find silver coins in the old turnpike machine change slots on about half of my trips. The older silver coins and foreign coins were not accepted by the machines and often remained in the change slot, so I would always check.

Have you seen the new shield pennies? I've seen a couple that I got in change.

I wish I could put a value on all the coins returned to circulation by detectorists.
That has to be a large number.

Robert W. sent in this photo of some finds from the Stuart/Jupiter area.

Forecast and Conditions. Seas are running about four feet and from the southeast. I wouldn't expect much improvement in Treasure Coast beach conditions although you might be able to find some small scattered cuts - not the type that yield much in the way of old shipwreck coins. As I often say, not all cuts are created equal. Yet, if you are willing to put in the time and adapt to whatever is going on, you can always find a place to hunt.

The seas will be gradually decreasing over the next few days and into next week.

Happy hunting,

Remember, if you need some good furniture cheap, you might take a look at my last post.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

5/13/2010 Report - Testing Gold & Notch Discrimination

Touchstone Showing the Results of Two Tests.

I'll discuss this more below.

For a few months I've been talking about silver as a possible investment for those who want a precious metals investment other than gold. Silver is close to $20 per ounce now. Not a bad percentage increase.

Gold is now well over $1200 an ounce. Like I was saying over a year ago, I would hold onto my gold and silver finds unless I really needed the cash in a hurry.

Yesterday I showed a gold medallion. Some time ago I posted a link to a web site presenting an academic paper discussing the fact that gold does sometimes corrode, mostly because of alloys or other impurities in gold.

The medallion didn't have any markings on it and the material adhering to the surface made me wonder if it was really gold and if so, what purity.

One thing I would recommend to anyone that does a lot of detecting is to get a precious metals test kit. The cheapest would be an acid test kit. Electronic testers are nice but more expensive.

I know that most modern jewelry is usually marked, but sometimes it is faked and sometimes you find things that are not marked, especially older pieces. It is nice to be able to test your metals yourself.

You can get an acid test kit with a variety of acids for testing gold and other metals. My acid test kit has acid to test for 10, 14, and 18 karat gold as well as silver and platinum.

The photo that I showed at the top of the post shows a touchstone with two drops of acid on it. The drop closer to the top is 14 karat test acid. An edge of the gold medallion that was shown yesterday was rubbed firmly on the black touchstone leaving a trace of the gold. The 14 karat test acid was then applied to the rubbing. The rubbing of gold disappeared from the touchstone. That means that the material was either not gold, or if gold, less than 14 karat gold.

Another rubbing was made and the 10 karat test acid was applied (The lower of the two drops seen on the touchstone is the 10 kt acid.). You can see that the 10 karat test acid did not cause the trace of gold from the rubbing to disappear. That means that the material was at least 10 karat gold, but as we found out before, less than 14 karat gold. Further testing could if desired.

For intermediate karat values, you can use gold samples of various karat values and compare how the unknown sample compares to how the known sample reacts to the acid.

I can't give an entire lesson on using test acid here, but there are also ways to identify gold-filled and gold-plated items.

The silver and platinum test acids work pretty much the same way as the gold test acids, except the silver test acid causes silver rubbings to turn red.

The US debt, the threat of inflation and other threats to the US economy makes precious metals look like a very good investment even at current high prices.

A day or two ago I mentioned an old detector that has notch discrimination. As you probably know, I often discourage using any discrimination, but there may be times when you are working very junky dry ground, when you could use notch discrimination to sift through the junk. If you have the patience to pick up a lot of junk, you can often find goodies that have been hidden and missed by those using discrimination in junky areas. The next best thing to no discrimination is notch discrimination, which allows setting your detector to discriminate only a very specific type of item. You could set your notch settings to discriminate pull tabs for example, or nails, or bobby pins. Notch discrimination settings can be very precise and specific.

Usually a junky area will have one very predominate type of junk. It might be nails, pull tabs, bottle caps, or foil. Well, you can use notch discrimination to discriminate out the predominate type of junk and miss very little else.

My old machine has notch accept as well as notch reject. That means that if you are hunting a very specific target, you can select settings so that you will only find that type of item. Maybe someone wanted you to find an item they lost and that is all you are interested in finding and you want to find it as quickly as possible. You could use notch accept to discriminate out all other targets while hunting that one particular item.

Although I strongly discourage using any discrimination in most situations, there may be times when you might choose to use notch discrimination.

Select the detector that best suits the situation. It is often good to have a variety of detectors and use the one that best matches the situation. I often also recommend covering very promising areas with multiple detectors.

Different detectors have different strengths and weaknesses. By using different types of detectors to cover the same area, you will make sure that you didn't miss too much.

I just ran article on some of the history that is being preserved around DuBois Park. Here is the link.

Forecast and Conditions. The wind is still from the southeast. I'd be checking any of the spots that have been producing anything lately. I don't think anything will improve much for the next few days. Overall, conditions for finding old shipwreck coins on the Treasure Coast remain poor.

Happy hunting,

If anyone would like to get a good deal on some good furniture, I am helping an elderly lady get rid of some furniture that she can't use. The items are in great shape and you can get some good stuff cheap.

Here are some of the things she has for sale. Let me know if you have questions. the furniture is in the Port St. Lucie/ Fort Pierce area. You'll seldom be able to find stuff this good at these prices. Not all items are shown.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

5/12/2010 Report - Gold Religious Medallion and Value

A Gold Religious Medallion Found on One of Our Beaches.

I'll have more to say about this tomorrow.

I received one report of a gold nugget being found on the Treasure Coast two days ago. A number of months ago I mentioned another gold nugget that was found on a Florida beach. A photo of that nugget can be seen in my Feb. 27, 2009 post in this blog.

Both gold nuggets and gold dust have been found on the Treasure Coast. Attempts to recover the gold dust have been rather unsuccessful, as far as I know. It is sometimes found in the low spots in the water by some of the wreck sites, and people have tried to use a varous techniques, including dredging to recover it.

On another subject - Archaeologists are now using a new process to start the conservation of iron artifacts before they are removed from the water. Here is the link where you can read more about that.

A new technology (lidar) is being used by UCF professors to map a Maya site. Check it out.

Here is an article about a dig at a civil war site in Kansas. Good article. Just thought I'd throw it in.

I know that many detectorists don't sell their items, and when they do, they sell items that have no academic value - maybe things like silver dimes or other common items, but one of the questions that is often asked is, "How much is it worth." That is a surprsingly difficult question to answer. One good answer is, "It is only worth what someone will pay for it." That, of course, refers to an items economic value. There are other types of value that help determine what you can get out of an item. Understanding the various types of value will help you find the best buyer for your items.

Here are a few of the basic types of value.

Aesthetic value. An item tends to be more valuabe if it is considered pretty. I know that is a subjective thing and not everybody will agree on what is pretty, but all of these values are subjective to some extent.

Collector value. An item will be more valuable if it is an item that is commonly collected. Collector value is the result of increased demand. some people collect items on a certain topic or theme like dogs, cats, owls and pigs,trains or tractors. If you find a ring in the shape of a particular type of dog or cat, for exammple, you can get more money for it if you manage to find a buyer who is a collector of that type of item. If you list it in ebay for example, and simply list it under silver ring and don't mention the bull dog, you'll fail t attract many of the best possible buyers.

Reminisence value. People tend to like things that remind them of an earlier time in their life. That is one reason that plastic items from the nineteen seventies are often more valuable than items from the eighteen hundreds. People collect things like baseball cards and Robby Robot and will pay good prices to obtain the things they played with as children. A 1957 Chevy provides a good exammple of this type of value, and will bring a higher price than many older cars.

Historic value. An item will tend to be more valuable if is associated with a historic person, place, time or event.

Utilitarian value. Some items are valuable simply because they are useful. You might not personally use gold to manufacture anything, but a large part of gold's value comes from the properties that make it useful, such as conductivity, and maliability, and resistance to corrosion. Of course it is also considered pretty by many people and therefore contains aesthetic value.

Many items exhibit a number of types of value. Each of these types of value can add to the economic value of an item.

Of course rarity and condition cross all the above categories and contribute to the demand for and value of any item.

You can also often add to the value of an item by doing some research and providing information about the item, such as where it came from, who owned it or created it, and any historic associations. You can also add value to an item by properly conserving the item and making a nice display.

When I sell things, I enjoy finding buyers that appreciate the item and provide a good home for the item. When I first started selling some items on ebay, I sometimes had mixed feelings about letting some things go, but when I received emails from happy buyers about how much they liked the item and how they displayed or enjoyed it, I was glad that I found a good home for the item. In a way, when you sell something to the highest bidder, you are often finding the best home for the item. At the same time that you make an item available to the public it is also made available to museums and academicians, if they have any interest.

When you sell an nice item, it can be more than just an economic transaction. I know that a few items I've sold like some old prints of lighthouses on the Hudson River, are now being displayed in a museum. One old bottle that I sold appeared in a book on pharmacy bottles. I like the fact that items like that are viewed and appreciated by people.

You can, of course, also donate some types of items to museums or simply lend them for a specified amount of time and and a specified use. That can benefit you in a variety of other ways.

Forecast and Conditions. I took a quick look at the beach yesterday. It seems like the peak waves on Tuesday didn't accomplish much. Conditions didn't change appreciably. I still would rate the beaches as poor for finding shipwreck cobs.

The wind is out of the southeast again and the seas will be decreasing slightly for the next few days. That means no real changes.

I've given some ideas on what to do during conditions like this in the past and won't bother to repeat it again.

Happy hunting,

Monday, May 10, 2010

5/10/2010 - Current Conditions & Old Detectors

Monday Morning Beach Photos From St. Lucie County.

As you can see from the photo, the beach is pretty much sanded in. It looks much like mid-summer conditions.

There were enough people out at the beach yesterday on a hot Mother's Day, that the best beach hunting might actually be in the dry sand where all the sun bathers were.

You can possibly find some places that are slightly better if you look around. Here is one little cut that I saw. There are some small cuts out there, but even this spot is not as good as it looks in the photo. The front of the cut is filled with mushy sand, and it is not at a very productive place.
Even the area below the Fort Pierce jetty is pretty much filled in. The areas around the jetties are usually among the first to show erosion, but as you can see, it is not happening here.

I understand some of you were looking for the post on old-timer's tricks. That is yesterday's post. It seems people enjoyed that. I might present some more of them in the future.

One of the detectors that I own is very old detector. It is a Tesoro with a four digit serial number. It was not an expensive detector, but it was, and is, a good detector. It is not the best detector for wet sand and it is not water proof, but it has number of features that I have found very desirable.

It breaks down easily and packs in a very small space. If you leave off the rod, which I do sometimes when I travel, I can pack it in a 8 X 8 X 6 inch package. Using a homemade collapsible wood rod, I can pack it in a pretty small place, and when ready to detect, hang the control box on my belt, plug in some small ear phones, and have fun.

But getting to the electronics - this machine has been reliable for many years. has notch discrimination (accept and reject), allows a very fast sweep speed, is very sensitive to small pieces of precious metals, and pin points better than anything else I've seen. I often use it in all metals mode.

It is hard for me to believe how well that old detector compares to much more expensive and more modern detectors. It is really good for land or dry sand hunting, and picks through trashy areas very well.

I wish some of the manufacturers of some of the more expensive machines made today would make machines that are as reliable and effective.

One thing I want out of a detector is reliability. There is nothing that I hate more than a detector that can't take an occasional bump without breaking, or a little salt spray without corroding. Detectors should hold up under real-life field conditions without constant maintenance.

Anyhow, what I am saying is that some of the older detectors do a remarkably good job, in fact they can, in the right circumstances, be better than much more expensive or modern machines.

If you travel and detect, one thing I would advise is to get a detector that disassembles and packs well. Assemble your detector when you get to the place where you want to detect. You can often avoid unnecessary hassles by not bringing too attention to yourself and your detector.

Forecast and Conditions. I already told you what it is like out there. I can't give anything better than a 1 (poor) rating on my Treasure Coast Beach Metal Detecting Conditions Scale. It is way too much like August on the beaches.

Again, you might hunt the some of sunbathing beaches for the next day or two.

It looks like peak seas will still be Tuesday, but it looks like the seas will not be as high as predicted earlier. The peak on Tuesday will be less than five feet, if the surf web sites are correct. That won't do much of anything for us.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, May 9, 2010

5/9 Report - Old Timer Tricks Revealed

Some Metal Detector Finds That Might Make Good Mother's Day Gifts.

These are some of Lloyd D's finds. A few days ago I showed a pile of coins that he found during a one week trip. These are some of the jewelry items.

Have you ever arrived at a beach and saw another detectorist already detecting your favorite spot? Or maybe you just saw the tracks of that detectorist who evidently left the beach right before you got there.

If someone beat you to your spot, you might look to see if it looks like the other detectorist knows what he is doing, or if he is likely to leave a lot. If he is gone, you might see if you can tell what he did and how he did it.

When there are other detectorists on the beach, you might notice what type of detector they are using, if they are digging may holes, how thoroughly they are covering ground, etc.

If someone was there before you, but is now gone, you might notice where the foot prints are, evidence of any holes, and how close together the foot prints are. That can tell you something useful.

Sometimes though, if the other detectorists is one of the wise old-timers that are still around, your observations might be misleading. Appearances can be deceiving, especially if you don't know who you are watching.

I reveal the following with some hesitation, and wouldn't do it if I thought it would make the tricks any less effective. I have faith that the old-timers will be able to stay one step ahead of the pack even if some of the old tricks are revealed to the audience of this blog.

First off, some old timers would actually disguise their detector. Some have been known to paint their detector, beat it up so it looks like an old piece of junk, wrap parts of it in duct tape or electrical tape, or even change the control box housing. I can tell you for certain that all of that has been done.

You should realize too, if you ever asked some of the old timers if they found anything, they would most likely tell you that they never found anything,and they might even tell you something like they never found as much as a tin can, and they don't think that their old beat up detector even works.

Here are some other things that old-timers have been known to do.

They would carry a few pull-tabs or iron nails in a pocket, and when a good target was dug, they would leave a junk item by the hole so that anyone following would think junk is what came out of the hole.

When being observed, after digging a good target, they would make a motion that looks like the target is being tossed while palming the good target, eventually slipping the good target into a pocket unobserved.

When far enough away from other observers, after digging a piece of junk, they would stand there a few seconds inspecting the object as if it were the Queen's jewels and ceremoniously clean it off before sticking it in what would appear to be a goody pocket or bag.

They would make a show of digging some nice deep holes as if there were targets where there were no signals at all.

When nobody is observing them at the time, old timers not wanting anyone to know where they had hunted, would often hunt next to the water line or in a few inches of water when the tide is coming in so that any holes or tracks would quicky disappear.

They would sometimes spread junk over good spots to discourage others.

Those are just a few of the tricks that I know have been used. But some of the best detectorists are seldom seen and never suspected. You probably won't see them, won't hear about them, and if you do wouldn't suspect them anyhow. They are solitary hunters who tend to remain in the shadows.

There are many more old-timer tricks, but that will give you some idea.

Here is an article that shows how after sixty years a WW II fighter was uncovered by nature to suddenly appear on a beach. There are some really good photos of the emerging plane on this site.

Here is the link.

Items from the Frances Langford estate were recently auctioned in Stuart for the benefit of Habitat for Humanity. There were some interesting items in the auction. Here is the link.

Forecast and Conditions. Conditions on the Treasure Coast are still poor for finding old shipwreck coins. A few artifacts and miscellaneous things are being found though.

The wind is coming from the northwest now. You can still do some low tide hunting.

The seas are expected to increase later Sunday and into Monday, reaching a peak of about five feet on Tuesday. That is normally not enough to do a lot of good, but it will probably freshen up a few of the old dips or cuts and create a few new small spots here and there.

Happy Mother's Day,

Friday, May 7, 2010

5/7/2010 - Two Found Objects for ID, Beach Renourishment, and Coin Melt Values

Two Items Found Yesterday.

These metal detector finds were found by Robert W., who sent in the photos. I had a great selection of finds to choose from today and chose to present these two mystery items for a variety of reasons.

Robert says, "... The one piece appear to be some type of forged tool with a point on one end and a chisel on the opposite end.

The encrusted is a coin and what appears to be a copper or brass head to a small nail that have attached to a piece of iron."

If you can offer any help in identifying these items, please write me.

Here is your chance if you don't want to pay millions of dollars for more sand to be dumped on our beaches.

The Army Corps of Engineers will accept public input on a beach renourishment project that would involve the beach from the power plant to the Martin County line.

The meeting will be 6 to 8 p.m. May 19 at the St. Lucie County Commission Chambers, 2300 Virginia Ave., Fort Pierce. The sand will come from an area roughly 3 miles offshore.

Comments can be submitted to the Corps of Engineers, Attn: Mr. Garett Lips, 4400 PGA Blvd., Suite 500, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 34410; or e-mailed to: before May 20.

Here is the link.

If you follow the stock market at all, you had a big scare yesterday. The DOW fell over 900 points in a matter of minutes. I'm sure people all around the world were thinking Great Depression for a while.

And you have to think about cyber terrorism. They still don't know exactly what happened to upset the world's financial markets in a matter of seconds.

The DOW recovered nearly half of its earlier loses before the end of the day, but it was a scare that will continue to affect the stock market and financial system of the world for a while. As is always the case when there is a scare like that some people sought safety in gold, which closed at over $1200 per ounce. Gold is doing well, even though the dollar has also been doing well lately with all the turmoil in Europe, especially Greece.

If you've been keeping track, silver has been doing well too. Not too long ago I recommended silver, which I think will do as well as gold over the long term, and is more affordable.

Here is a coin that I found. It is the sort of thing that when you dig it up, you might get excited when you first see it. It's not easy to identify quickly and you might think you got something really good. But then when you have a chance to really look at it, you discover that it isn't anything very exciting.

It is a 1957 Mexican Peso, and I was able to find the silver content and melt value from a web site that I just found. Although I would not be selling either silver or gold right now unless you really need the cash, you still might find this web site useful.

Forecast and Conditions.The seas remain calm for the time being even though the wind has shifted. It looks like the seas will increase to about three of four feet by Monday. That will stir up the front beach ever so slightly. It won't improve conditions much, but if you've hunted out your favorite low tide areas, it might do enough to make them worth checking again.

I don't expect anything better than continuing poor conditions for the next few days.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, May 6, 2010

5/6/2010 - Coin Toning & Beach Cuts

Cut From May Fourth.

I recently mentioned that southeast winds can also cause cuts. I also mentioned some differences in cuts caused by southeast winds as opposed to northeast winds.

Showing that I was right about southeast winds causing cuts, Tom Gidus sent in this photo of a cut created by a southeast wind where he found some modern coins, primariy in the area circled. (Photo cropped by TreasureGuide.) It is a rather typical type of southeast wind cut. You might notice some similarity between that cut and the dip I showed from Walton Rocks the other day.

Cuts created by southeast winds tend to be relatively low on the front beach and much less often produce shipwreck coins. I have some theories on that, which are based entirely upon my personal observations. Maybe I'll talk more about that some day.

Cuts created by southeast winds often depend upon the existance of some rather obvious obstacle to the flow of sand such as rocks or inlets along the beach. When the groins were still along Miami beach you could see how the sand would leave one side when the wind was from one direction and then leave the other side when the wind changed. The same thing happens near inlets, rocks and other obstacles.

A few days ago I talked about silver coins and the different patinas that they can acquire. I just found out that toning can add considerably to the value of certain coins. In fact, some people intentionally and artificially tone coins. Everything is faked these days! Artificially toned coins are generally avoided by those that collect toned coins.

I didn't know that people actually try to tone coins. I always assumed that a coin was best in its original mint state. Live and learn. I guess the fact that I like toned coins, even though I didn't know that is what it is called, would suggest that at least some other people would like it too. Very interesting.

The following article tells how to identify artificially toned coins and talks about coin toning, how the different numismatic metals tone differently, and mentions some interesting detais such as the fact that Morgan dollars and Peace dollars tone differently due to differences in manufacture.

Here is the link.

You can always learn something new.

A Picasso brought $106 million in a Christie's auction Tuesday night. Other paintings and bronzes brought similarly high prices. Could the art market be headed for a boom and bust like the housing market? Or are investors betting that high-priced art is a safe haven that beats gold?

Here is the story.

I've answered most of the common questions at one time or another. Remember that this blog is searchable and you can browse through previous posts.

Forecast and Conditions. Conditions haven't changed. Cob hunting on the Treasure Coast is still poor. You can find some spots that are a bit better than others, where you might find an accumulation of modern coins and some spots where you might find a spike or other artifact. Low tide hunting would not be a bad choice and water hunting might not be a bad choice if you are somewhere where there is not a shipwreck lease.

Low tide is around 9:00. Right now the surf web sites are predicting that the seas will start to increase on sunday. The increase probably won't be very significant though. It looks like seas will only be aruond three or four feet.

As I always say, there is always some place to hunt and soomething to find. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder. Remember that I also recommend research and creativity. You might try some of the inland waterway banks. Remember the guy that not long ago found what appeared to be two musket barrels.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

5/5/2010 - Hundreds of Dollars of Coins and Things

Here is a photo of the coins that Lloyd D. found in a week in the Bahamas. He said 95% came from one 100 yard stretch of beach. The coins totaled over $200.

Lloyd said the guidelines that I present worked in the Bahamas, including what I have been saying about erosion and beach scalloping. Most of the coins were found where the beach had been cut and were very close to the surface - some he said were uncovered by the waves.

To me one of the keys to recovering a lot of targets is learning to stalk the prey, or to put it another way, finding those hot spots where targets are accumulating close to the surface. I might liken it to how an old Indian might hunt at those spots where the herd crosses the stream or grazes.

On the Treasure Coast it is not generally as easy as it is in some of the other areas. There just aren't as many people on our beaches. And if you are hunting the shipwreck coins, they are even more elusive. Even the salvors with all of their equipment and research spend a lot of time digging empty holes.

On another subject, an archaeological dig in St. Augustine shows that Aviles St. is the oldest street in the United States, and from pottery shards and other analysis, appears to date back to the early 1600's. A layer ashes found under the 1600's layer might have been formed in 1586 when Sir Francis Drake and his men burned St. Augustine. That is some pretty neat history.

Here is a link to the story.

I just found a web site that might help me predict beach conditions. It is a site maintained by NOAA which shows the currents around Florida. Maybe if I keep an eye on it as it relates to our beaches, I'll learn how to use it to better predict beach conditions. You might find it useful. Here it is.

Forecast and Conditions. Conditions on the Treasure Coast remain poor for finding shipwreck coins. Nonetheless, you can find things. I looked for about an hour yesterday and found a variety of things. Besides the junk there were heavy bronze and brass items, so I know there is the possibility of coming up with an artifact or two, and some modern coins. It is hot enough that people are visiting the beaches of the Treasure Coast, so you can also easily pick up a few modern items.

For the next few days seas will remain calm - below two feet. That makes low tide ad water hunting easy. The surf web sites are predicting an increase in seas for nest week. We'll have to see how that works out.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

5/4 Report - Beach Conditions and More

Photo of John Brooks Park This Morning.

This looks bad. The front beach has more new sand on the front beach than shows clearly in the photo. I figured out why it is so difficult to tell the condition of a beach from a photo. It is difficult to see the level of the front beach from a photo. In person, you could easily see how the sand was building up on the front beach. The sand was very loose sand and obviously recently deposited.

Photo of Walton Rocks Morning.

On the other hand, the front beach at Walton Rocks was pretty low even though the last tide or two had evidently piled some new sand on the front beach, but not as much as at John Brooks. This photo shows what I was talking about yesterday - how southeast winds often create dips on the front beach between a sand bar and the beach. And how southeast winds tend to pile up shells and other light materials in addition to sand.

About a hundred yards to the south, the beach at Fredrick Douglass Park looked more like the beach at Walton Rocks. The front beach was lower than that at John Brooks.

I've mentioned before that the numbers of fake items listed on ebay is increasing both in quantity and quality. Some believe that when it comes to antiquities, as many as 95% are fakes. In the following article one archaeologist applauds this increase in fakes because it is easier and more profitable to create fakes than to loot. Since the internet makes it so easy for forgers to find a good supply of buyers, he believes ebay is putting many "looters" out of business.

Here is the link.

There is a Treasure Coast shipwreck map now listed on ebay that only has about a day left. The Ebay item number is 110526018471.

Speaking of eBay. Well, not quite, but PayPal is a tyrant that will hold the money in your account hostage unless you link your account to another bank account or a credit card. That should be illegal. I think it is.

Over 130 apparently sixteenth century Christian burials are being studied in Mexico City. For more on that, here is the link.

Pigs, blind or not, can find more than acorns. If this story had been just a little different it would have given new meaning to the phrase "blow your nose."

Gary D. originally submitted this one.

Forecast and Conditions. There are some spots that are slightly better, but none are great. I was surprised how much is still out there to be found even on heavily hunted beaches. I am usually surprised by how much is left behind. And I'm not talking about just iron and aluminum. I don't know why some of those things are still on the beach.

At a place like Walton Rocks this morning, the area just above the low tide mark held a lot of aluminum where the new sand had accumulated. Just a litte farther from the low tide mark was heavier stuff. Iron and bronze and other good materials, generally down a bit deeper.

Overall, beach conditions for finding cobs on the Treasure Coast beaches is still poor with little prospect for improvement for the next several days.

Happy Hunting,