Wednesday, June 30, 2010

6/30/2010 Report - More on Treasure Coast 1715 Fleet

Photo of Brass Clip Showing Part Like the One Shown Yesterday.

I received emails from Ian A., Mitch K. and Rod M. confirming that the object I showed yesterday is a part of a brass clip. That might not seem very exciting. But it is to me. Sometimes an item that has no value of it's own tells you something valuable.

The story is that someone was trying to recover a cache and it was about it their hands when a hook broke and they lost the cache and was unable to recover it at the time. I don't know for sure that this is the hook, but it fits the story. Now, am I in the right area? I'm still not sure, but maybe.

Now for the big news on the Treasure Coast.

Everybody has been talking about the new finds from the 1715 Treasure Fleet. People have been asking about the Fisher's selling rights to the 1715 sites. While I really don't know the details I did find the article that pretty much spells things out.

I also know that the Fishers have been raising money for further exploration of the Atocha and Margarita and just as importantly and new deep water wreck that they have only talked about by code name to this point. I don't think the 1715 Fleet has been terribly productive in recent years. At least not as much as they expect the the ships down south to be. I therefore believe that they probably wanted to get the money from the Treasure Coast sites to invest in the other wrecks, especially the new deep water wreck. It could have been a good decision to focus their efforts down there.

As I mentioned yesterday, there are a lot of shipwreck sites on the Treasure Coast, but most of them were not being worked. I haven't' seen anyone on the Nieves site all year. Maybe I just missed them, but it doesn't seem anyone was working it.

Also like I mentioned yesterday, creativity is a good thing. Sometimes hunters get a little stale in their approach. Sometimes its good for a change of scenery and sometimes its good to have a change of blood and a change of approaches.

I just have to wonder if the new site wasn't discovered before the sale. I wouldn't be surprised, but am just wondering.

Anyhow, there is new life and excitement about the 1715 Fleet on the Treasure Coast as new discoveries become news.

You might want to look back through my past few posts where I've posted links to a number of articles about these new finds.

Again, you can use the search window at the top of the blog to do keyword searches. You might try "1715 Fleet," for example.

Also, if you want to invest in the Fisher organization, since they seem to be really focusing on the Atocha, Margarita and the new wreck, it might be a good time.

It looks like my hit counter will hit 80,000 before long. And all of that in less than two years. I've been planning on making some changes to the site, but haven't got around to it. It takes a good bit of time to just do a new post almost everyday.

Here is a nice chronology of recreational diving that I found. You might find it interesting.

What would a hurricane mixed with an oil spill look like?

Here are some ideas.

Forecast and Conditions. We still have those hot humid south winds and calm seas. As I predicted the the surf site's projected Monday increase is now moderating. a slight increase in seas is shown for the next few days, but not really anything significant.

Tropical Storm Alex is nearing Mexico and Texas. No other tropical disturbances are on the map.

As a result beach conditions remain poor on the Treasure Coast for the time being.

Have fun. Be safe.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

6/29/2010 Report - Vero Treasure Again & Captain Kidd's Ship

Treasure Found Near Indian River Shores.

That is the breaking news around the Treasure Coast lately.

Here is a nice article about that.

As you probably know, most of the ocean along the Treasure Coast is leased. Very little of the area covered by the salvage leases are being actively worked though. Something seems wrong with that to me.

I know what you're going to say. It is expensive to work a site.

A little creativity goes a long ways on land or in the sea.

I consider the expense side of the equation when hunting the beaches, but I make sure that the financial side of things does not become a primary factor and that I keep the fun in it, but I do consider expenses and try to keep the expense/return ratio favorable.

I was unemployed for six months once a number of years ago and proved to myself then that I could make a living with detecting if I had to. But I also found that when the financial aspect got too important some of the fun of it could be lost. I'm not sure that would be the same for everybody, but that is how it was for me.

I remember the story of the fisherman that bought a boat and all the finest equipment and was elated when he caught his first fish He didn't think about the fact that his fish cost him a few thousand dollars.

You have to enjoy the hunt.

If you look at Odyssey Marine and all of their technology and all of their great finds, there is still little to no return to the stock holders. (OMEX is trading at 99 cents per share.) Even though they are a publicly traded company, it doesn't seem they are really focused on the return to the stock holder.

They get a lot of attention for multi-million dollar finds, but they have multi-million dollar expenses. The stock holders pay for those guys to go out and play treasure hunter with all of the finest toys.

Even the beach hunter has expenses, but it is probably a good idea to keep the financial aspect secondary. First, it is very difficult and only a small percentage of people will be able to make a profit. Second, if you put finances first you will probably miss many of the more important things.

If you are going to detect, keep it in perspective. Discover, learn, and have fun. Share time with friends and family. Return lost coins to circulation. Return lost items to the people that lost them. Report historically or archaeologically significant items to the appropriate agencies. Work with the academic community and scientifically oriented associations.

You might also enjoy looking at this web site that discusses the discovery of Captain Kidds ship that sank in 1699.

It seems it's one of those days when I ramble.

This item could possibly provide a clue to a cache that I've been trying to track down. If you have any information or even thoughts about the object, I would like to hear from you. If it is what I think it is, it helps substantiate claims about the cache.

Forecast and Conditions.

We are well into summer conditions now, which usually means that it is the time for the salvage crews to be a work and making finds - as they are. With the exception of when we have a nice northeaster that erodes the beaches, summer is the typically the poorest time to work the beaches for shipwreck coins and artifacts.

We now have hot winds out of the south, and the seas are calm. Right now the surf web sites are showing an increase in seas about Monday. As you know if you've been reading this blog very long, it seems their wave models often predict an increase in seas, but as the date approaches, the predicted increase disappears or lessens.

I don't know if this is one of those false alerts or not. Only time will tell. But I'll keep watching without too much expectation.

In the mean time Alex is headed for the Texas/Mexico border area. Too bad that Padre Island is pretty much off limits for detecting. At least that was the case unless it has changed recently, and I doubt that.

There are no other significant disturbances to watch in the Atlantic right now.

A holiday weekend usually sweetens the pot on our beaches as people get out for fun and relaxation. So you might check out the dry sand areas, like I mentioned yesterday.

Or better yet, explore some new areas.

That's about it for now.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, June 26, 2010

6/28/2010 Report - Gold Bracelet Found & Portable Sifter

Gold Found in Dry Sand on Treasure Coast.

You can often tell a good bit about a bracelet or chain by the clasp. I wanted to show the safety clasp on this one in addition to the main clasp.

It was found clasped, so maybe it just slipped off.

I went out this morning and did a little hunting at some of the local sun bathing beaches. I don't do that type of hunting too often anymore, but I always enjoy exploring.

The first five or ten minutes didn't look too encouraging, but then after doing a little probing to find out what was going on, I got on track.

The first thing I noticed was not too surprising. I found that some of the local Treasure Coast beaches are way over hunted. It appears that some of the most popular beaches are detected on a very regular basis. Again, that wasn't too surprising.

The second thing that I noticed is that even though those beaches had been heavily hunted, there were still a lot of good targets left. I could tell from the coins and objects that I picked up that they had been there for quite a while. It seemed like the easy ones were gone, but there were some targets that for one reason or another were evidently missed time after time.

There are a few possible reasons for that. One is that most detectorists on those beaches use discrimination. That causes deeper targets to be missed, and it also causes targets that are close to or under junk to be missed.

One of the first things to do when you detect a beach that you haven't visited recently is to analyze what the other detectorists have been doing. You can usually tell in a relatively short time what kind of discrimination they were using and where they hunted.

After analyzing what the other detectorists have been doing, then you know how and where to hunt.

One thing that you'll want to do is to hit the spots that are typically missed. If, for example, there are beach chairs that are made of metal or have metal bolts in them, most detectorists will miss the areas right around those metal parts.

Sometimes you'll see tracks where a chair has been moved. If a chair sat in one place for a while, an accumulation of objects might have collected where the chair was.

If you run you detector around a beach chair and become familiar with where the metal parts are on that type of chair, you can get to the point where you can detect around the chair with relative ease even though there are a lot of false signals. You can learn to distinguish between most of the signals from the chair and any other signals.

On a tourist beach that has been heavily hunted, you'll find that there are some common spots that other detectrists avoid or miss, and you can learn to take advantage of that.

If you like a particular beach and plan to return to that beach, my advice is to remove ALL metallic trash. You don't have to do it in one visit, but over time you should create a nice clean beach for yourself, while picking up the things that others have missed. When you've created a good clean beach, you've removed any benefit of discriminating. Those who do run discrimination will continue doing it long after there is no longer much of any reason to do it.

I'm often asked about water hunting around the Treasure Coast and where you can do it. That is my least favorite question. It is a very difficult question to answer if you get into the specifics of the laws and regulations, possible exceptions, etc. And I don't like to give anything that might remotely be construed as legal advice.

Nonetheless, in various posts, I think I have answered the question fairly well in general terms.

I would advise anyone who wants to hunt in the water on one of our beaches, to ask a life guard what is or is not permitted in the area. They will generally know what is permitted, and if they don't, at least you asked.

Another piece of advice I would give is to feel free to call the appropriate governmental agencies. They are friendly and helpful when you ask. I've talk to the Dept. of Historical Resource before and posted what they said in the previous post.

One time when I called a county parks manager, no hunting was allowed at the park I asked about, but they told me that would soon change. As a result, I was among the first to get a shot at that park.

As I said, don't be afraid to ask the proper governmental agencies. It has worked out well for me a number of times in the past.

If you want to see what I previously posted on the subject, do a keyword search using the search window on the blog. Use keywords such as laws, rules, regulations.

In fact, you can search the blog on any topic that you are interested in.

A few days ago I mentioned sifting. Here is a photo of a small portable sifter that can be kept in your car. It will do the job in many instances. You can also modify it by adding two more sides and floatation devices. It is easy enough.

The boards on the two sides are about 3.5 feet long.

If you feel like going retro, here is a good article on Kip Wagner and his finds near Sebastian. Great treasure photos. The article was in the March 10, 1967 Life Magazine. I especially like the photo of the crucifix in a conglomerate of shell.

I've decided to develop a comprehensive chapter on beach hunting that will include a variety of previously unprinted tips.

Forecast and Conditions. Alex is going to Mexico. That should help the beach hunters down there. As I've been told in emails from hunters down that way, they can't detect in the ocean but can detect the beaches.

On the Treasure Coast, conditions remain unchanged. The beaches are still poor. We'll have to wait and watch for something to stir up the water up this way. There is nothing in the forecast that suggests that will happen soon, but you never know.

Happy hunting,

6/26 Report - Escudo and Other Finds Along the Treasure Coast

Google Earth Picture of Blind Creek Area Just North of the Power Plant.

This picture provides a good illustration. You can easily see how there could have been an inlet there at one time. I think (I don't know) that there probably was.

Back about fifteen years ago, the beach was cut so far back in front of the lake that it would have only taken about ten or twenty more yards of erosion and an inlet would have been opened there.

Yesterday I mentioned how the beach is composed of various layers of sand that are put down at different times. What I wanted to point out today is how the sand was pushed up and into the lake by the 2004 hurricanes. A parking lot immediately to the south of the lake was completely covered with sand and was never reopened since then. Notice the waves of sand that spilled into the lake. Of course that means that tons of sand were dumped onto the beach in front of the lake.

When it was eroded, there was about a six foot cliff just in front of the lake. Some older things were found there at that time.

I'll refer to this from time to time in the future to illustrate beach dynamics.

The hunting hasn't been good on the beaches for some time, but when the beaches are sanded in due to calm summer coditions, that is when the salvage crews are able to hunt the water. That is part of what I mean when I say there is always some place to hunt and somthing to find. When the hunting is not good one place, it is someplace else.

1715 Fleet gold and silver coins have recently been found as well as Spanish shipwreck artifacts.

Here is a link to the forum with the photos of those finds.,330318.msg2385954.html#new

Great finds guys.

I showed an escudo mounted in a ring a couple of times in this blog in the past. It is also a 1715 Fleet 2 escudo with partial date, which was found, I'd say about 20 or 25 years ago - no crew, salvage ship, tanks or blowers - just detector and scoop. So if you don't have all of that, you can still find good things.

If you hunt the beaches you obviously can't use blowers to move the sand, so you have to wait for nature to move the sand for you. That is why I spend so much time on beach dynamics and trying to let you know when conditions are good. The better you understand beach dynamics, the better off you will be. I really need to write a comprehensive chapter on that subject.

When things are slow on the beach, that is a good time to invest in reading, learning, preparing, experimenting and stretching your mind.

If you look down this beach, you will quickly notice a couple things. First the line of sea weed. Sea weed indicates that lighter materials are washing up onto the beach. That is generally not a good sign. Yet, it does not tell you how long that has been going on. If it just started, the depth of the new sand might be shallow enough that your detector can penetrate the top layer to reach older layers.

The second thing to notice is that the sea weed line is not straight. Where the sea weed line curves out more to the west, look for dips in front of that. It could be an area worth exploring.

When I looked at my photos I found that I missed getting pictures of two spots that I really wanted to talk about. Oh well.

One was to the north and marked by a number of large rocks on the beach. That is where all of the good targets were a couple of days ago. It was the only spot on this beach that gave up anything, and it was immediately obvious when I first looked at the beach even though I didn't capture it in my photos.

Although I spent the vast majority of my time at that spot, I did run my detector on the way to and from that spot, just to check and make sure. I often test my thinking. It is important to learn when you are wrong.

You can use rocks and other landmarks as indicators of what the sand is doing. Become familiar with the rocks and other objects on a beach.

Tree stumps are especialy good indicators. I sometimes cut marks into some of the better placed stumps so I can measure sand flow. That will often determine if I bother to spend time at a spot or not.

Forecast and Conditions.As much as I hate to repeat it, nothing much is happening on the beaches - at least nothing that would significantly improve conditions for hunting shipwreck artifacts. It seems like a lot of the beach hunters have given up for a while. I haven't seen many detectorists out there. It is tough going.

The people that keep at it are the ones that will likely be successful. You can always be learning, even when conditions are poor, as they are now.

Seas are from the south - usually a bad sign. Even when erosion is caused by south winds, the cuts usually aren't as productive for some reason. I have a theory on that, but it is nothing more than a theory.

The beaches haven't really changed much for a long time. That means you either have to go for some new drops or try some new things.

The surf sites say the seas will remain calm for the next several days.

It is a good time to get in the water even if it is sandy. But remember to stay out of the leased areas.

That tropical storm that I started watching several days ago has become tropical storm Alex. It is no threat to us, but a new distrubance has formed out in the Atlantic. It has a 20% chance of developing into a cyclone. I'll keep an eye on that.

It looks like the hurricane season will be active as was predicted. Things can happen quickly now.

Happy hunting,

Friday, June 25, 2010

6/25/2010 Report - Flea Market Cobs & High Price Coins

Photos of Cobs Purchased Inexpensively at Flea Market.

Jeremy S. purchased these for $18.00 at a flea market. They were simply marked "Pirate Money - Medieval." Evidently the vendor didn't know much about them. He did say they came from shipwreck in Florida.

If these are genuine, that is a great find. It pays to keep your eyes open. Knowledge and patience are the keys in metal detecting and many other aspects of life.

Jeremy is now researching these coins to identify them. I am sure he would appreciate any help in identifying these. I'd like to hear your thoughts on the subject. I haven't found the time to look at them closely yet.

A recent Bowers and Merena coin auction brought in over eight million dollars. An 1861-S Liberty Double Eagle realized $69,000. Additional highlights included a 1937-D Buffalo Nickel, FS-901 (FS-020.2), 3-Legged, MS-65 (PCGS), which realized $37,375, an 1864 Seated Liberty Quarter, MS-67 (PCGS), which realized $26,450, an 1852 Augustus Humbert $50 Gold, Reeded Edge, K-11, 887 THOUS, AU-55 (PCGS), which realized $52,900, an 1849 Mormon $2.50 Gold, K-1, VF-35 (PCGS), CAC—Gold Label, OGH—First Generation, which realized $53,763, an 1850-O Liberty Double Eagle, Open 5, AU-58 (PCGS), CAC, which realized $32,200, an 1855-O Liberty Double Eagle, AU-55 (NGC), which realized $50,025, and last but not least, a Mexico, Charles II (1665-1700), Escudo, 1879 (J), Fr-5, KM-50, Very Fine, realized $8,850 (the first dated gold coin of Mexico).

Here is a link if you want to read more about the auction results.

I was on the beach a couple of days ago and dug one target that was down about a foot. I wish I had taken the time to photograph the hole. The hole showed two distinct layers of sand. The top layer was a light grey, and down a few inches was another layer of course brown sand.

Always notice the different layers of sand when you can distinguish them. Try to identify where they came from and which layers are natural to the area, which are typically deeper, and which layers are associated with different types of objects.

Very often you'll find that coin-like objects are near the top of the second layer. I've seen times when large numbers of targets are found on the top of the second layer.

You can often tell how the sand is moving when you can identify the different types and layers of sand that are found on a beach.

The best conditions are when the top layers that have come and gone at different times have been washed away and you are down to layers that haven't been disturbed for a long time.

It is not uncommon though for old objects to be found in newer and higher layers. That happens when a relatively old undisturbed layer, for example from the back dunes, is pulled down over top of newer layers. That is just one example of how older material can end up on top of newer material.

Sometimes you can dig down through various layers and find very light and new materials such as Styrofoam cups and aluminum cans laying below older layers and materials.

You might think that old materials are deeper than new materials, but on a beach that is not always the case. Remember, a beach is a dynamic system, and changes continuously. If you can identify the layers, you can hunt more efficiently.

Forecast and Conditions. I remember that when I began this blog some people thought I was overly optimistic. They thought the chances of making finds was much less than what my beach ratings scale suggested. I haven't issued anything higher than a 1 for a number of weeks now. I don't think anyone would say that I am overly optimistic now. If you look back to when I was giving two and three ratings, I think you would have to say that there were certainly more treasure coin finds and conditions were better. Now that things have changed, I haven't been able to give any two or three ratings. When conditions are good, they are good, and when they're not they're not.

Today unfortunately I have to issue one more in a long list of 1 (poor) beach conditions ratings. Nonetheless I have to remind you that there is always some place to hunt and something to be found. It is just more difficult and requires more thinking, creativity and effort.

Now it looks like that tropical wave that I was watching for about a week will turn into a cyclone before long, but it will probably go into the Gulf and not affect us at all.

Seas are only about 1.5 feet now with little hope for change in the coming week.

Keep alert for storms forming in the Atlantic.

I think I have some photos on my flip cam that I can use to illustrate how to read a beach.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, June 24, 2010

6/24 Report - More on the Treasure Map & the Postmaster's Lost Treasure Coins

Aerial View of Treasure Map Area.

In my June 14th report, I posted a photo of a treasure map that I received in the mail anonymously from a California address. I've received a few emails concerning that map.

The picture above was submitted by Tom Gidus who added the arrow pointing to the spot marked on the treasure map. Notice that it points to a little lake which appears to have a bit of a channel leading into the lake.

Tom mentioned some of the interesting history of the area, which is near the old Fort Pierce Indian River inlet. He pointed out the fact that many of the names on the map of the area seem to be derived from the British era.

I also previously mentioned that I have explored the area and found old iron digging tools around there.

But the lake and channel looks out of place to me and raises some interesting questions. Is the lake and/or channel the the result of human activity? Could it be that the lake is the result of material being buried or removed? Could the channel be the result of transporting material or equipment to or from the area? Or could it be that a hidden lake was chosen as a good hiding place?

I don't know the answer and would like to hear your thoughts.

It's always good to do a little exploring. Most people end up hunting the same old beaches over and over and eventually get bored. I think it is good to do something different once in a while. You never know what you might find and it can be something like cross-training in sports. It adds to your knowledge base and skill level.

It can be good to exercise your imagination. Some of my best finds seemed to be the result of intuition.

One person who went to the area to do a little exploring sent me an email and mentioned a couple of unexpected benefits.

Visit Tom's web site, which is listed at the bottom of my Treasure Link List (Wreckovery Salvage).

I also received an email asking about the postmaster who in the early 1900s was found murdered in Sebastian. He supposedly had a cigar box full of Spanish silver and gold coins that he had collected from the beach. The coins evidently disappeared and was never found. I don't think anyone knows if he had them buried or if they were stolen. I've seen his name given as Larry Stokes. If you have any additional details on that story, I'll pass them along.

The Peruvian Times is doing a series on the history of Peru. You might find it interesting.

Here is the link.

I was out on a beach yesterday, saw one particularly good looking spot, and indeed, that is where the vast majority of targets were found. I might have a picture of that spot that I can use in the future to illustrate how to read a beach.

Forecast and Conditions. It looks to me like the tropical wave is going to stay south of us. I don't know what it might do if it got into the gulf and stirred up all that oil. There is now a 40% chance of the wave developing into a tropical storm in the next 48 hours.

It doesn't look like beach conditions on the Treasure Coast will be changing significantly in the next few days. Nothing better than three foot seas are expected through the weekend.

If you are getting tired of fighting the poor beach conditions, you might hunt some of the tourist areas or try something new and different.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

6/23 Report - N.C. Family Finds Treasure Coins on the Treasure Coast

Father and Son Metal Detecting on the Treasure Coast.

This photo was submitted by Christopher Baxas. It was attached to a great story of a father and son and their first Treasure Coast silver coin find.

I wish I had this a few days earlier. It would have been a great Father's Day post.

In addition to being a great story, it makes a number of important points.

Here is the story as received.


Sure – 1715 fleet – Treasure Coast. I pumped up my 10 year old as we were heading out on vacation, and as a last minute splurge – and I mean splurge – bought a metal detector.

Big deal – visions of uncovering long forgotten pirate treasure – wealth , etc. – yeah right - chances of winning the lottery.

I found $2.50 in quarters and dimes – come on – I did not have any expectations (that was cool – paid for a gallon of gas – all in one spot – probably fell out of some lovers pocket in the dunes). I however did not keep my son down – I kept his hopes up – why not?

Where am I going with this you ask? – HA!!!

6PM – tide is rising – damn thing goes off – I dig – water comes in the hole – I dig some more –

I switch over to profile one to weed out potential scrap – damn things keeps going off –

I wait till the water recedes to scan in the 5 second window (kept giving me false signals just at the surf line – oh , and my xtera 305 does work in 20” of saltwater very good by the way)

Off it goes again – “oh come on – another dime”?

Hard pings – “huh” – I keep digging – “bull shit” I say aloud – cursing the ocean as it does NOT want me to find what the detector insists is there – so it makes me keep digging – faster (says maybe 4-6 inches deep) – water keeps coming in, so I am widening the hole, and throwing the sand up onto the beach like a frantic dog digging for a bone – pathetic – I am racing the tide – then it happens – you guys know the moment -

My knees collapse and I literally fall to the ground and my head swims – I am giddy – I am rich (in my head – it’s probably worth $50, but in our heads – it’s $50,000!!!) – OMG – 1715 TREASURE!!! SILVER?! Has to be – I swear it shined (no it did not – it was dull and black – but it shined - J). If it’s not – it was fun – and we intend to frame it regardless as the memory is priceless. My wife says I was more excited than he was.

And though he does not know it – many thanks to the

Yes – beginners luck, but we were persistent – every morning and every night – water line – shell patches – dune collapses – you name it – we were on it!

My brother-in-law found two smaller pieces and has been doing this a while in Atlanta – primarily with Civil War items.

We live in Charlotte, NC – and I plan on getting my son into Civil War and Revolutionary War hunting maybe – not much in the way of Spanish treasure this far inland.


Thanks guys – wanted to share the story!

Christopher Baxas


Thanks for sharing Christopher.

I often mention how great treasure hunting is for getting young people interested in history as well as a variety of other subjects. This story shows also shows the importance of persistence, and it shows how treasure hunting can be a great family activity.

Metal detecting is a lot more than who found what, or who finds the most, biggest or best. This story shows that.

Success, especially in metal detecting, doesn't make you a better person. You can succeed in almost anything and still be a pretty lousy and unhappy person.

There is treasure and there is treasure. In metal detecting go for the treasure that lies near the surface. In life, go for the deeper treasures.

Here is a question for you. Which weighs more, a pound of gold or a pound of feathers?

Gold and silver are measured in troy ounces. A troy pound is 12 troy ounces, each weighing 31.4 grams. The more familiar ounce (28.3 grams) is part of the avoirdupois system in which each pound consists of 16 ounces.

Therefore a pound of feathers would be 21 percent heavier than a pound of gold if the appropriate units were used.

Here is the reference link.

I'll discuss the treasure map some more in the near future.

Forecast and Conditions. The wind is from the east and the waves more from the southeast. Seas are about three feet. Conditions on the beaches remain poor.

It looks like the tropical wave is heading more to the west and possibly into the gulf. It also looks like it is less likely to develop into a tropical storm. Only about a 20% chance now.

Since the seas are expected to slowly decrease over the next few days, it doesn't look good.

Nonetheless, there is stuff to be found. It has been hot enough for people to be on the beach and in the water.

Happy hunting,

6/21/2010 Report - Developing Storm, Gold Coins, & More

Photo of Treasure Coast Beach Yesterday.

The top news today is the possibility of a storm developing. There is a strong tropical wave southeast of Cuba that looks increasingly likely to develop into a tropical cyclone. That seems to be more probable now than a few days ago. The Hurruicane Center says there is a 40 percent chance that it will develop into a cyclone in the next 48 hours. The wave is moving west/northwest at about 10 miles per hour.

Yesterday I briefly mentioned the payroll of gold coins recovered some time ago near the site of the old Fort Pierce inlet. In a 1968 Florida Historical Quarterly, Carl Clausen wrote "...Yellot Dashiell of the army paymaster corps arrived off the Indian River Inlet on teh east coast of floroida on May 1, 1857. Entrusted to Dashiell was a leather pouch containing $23,000 in gold which had been withdrawn a few days earlier from the subtreasury in Charleston, Sth Carolina. The mone was intended for disbursement to federal troops in teh major's pay dictric which encompassed theIndian River area."

This is the gold that I mentioned yesterday as being recovered by a couple young divers.

You can get a little more free information on this at the following web site, which provides a portion of the original article.

You might want to look further into Fort Capron and the old Indian River Inlet, both of which I've discussed to some extent in the past.

I need to talk more about that area and the treasure map in the future. If you didn't check yesterday's blog, you might want to go back and take a look at the web site on the early history of the area.

You might also enjoy the Odyssey Marine report on the S. S. Republic project. The report provides some greate information, diagrams and photos. I especially like the photos of the gold coins and casks on the ocean floor at the end of the report.

Here is the link.

OMEX stock is not doing well. It is now only about $1.07 per share.

Yesterday I posted a photo of a Walking Liberty Half Dollar. I just used the silver value calculator for coins and found that the melt value for the silver in that coin (at yesterday's silver prices) is $7.01.

Here is the link to the silver coin melt value caculator. Maybe I'll add it to my link list.

Forecast and Conditions. It looks like we can expect about 3.5 foot seas for most of the week. The surf web sites aren't projecting anything higher than that right now.

As I mentioned above, there is a storm that might develop out in the Eastern Caribbean. I think that is the most important factor for us right now. We'll just have to wait and see what it does.

As you can probably see from the photo at the top of the blog, the beaches are showing typical mid-summer conditions. There is a lot of loose sand on the beach fronts and in the water that needs to be moved.

Conditions at this time are poor, and won't change until we get some good waves.

Sustained northeast winds are most effective in slicing away layers of sand and leaving cobs.

Happy hunting,

Monday, June 21, 2010

6/21/10 - More About Indian River Area History and Other Good References

Photo of Silver Half Dollar Recently Found by Metal Detector.

This 1944 Walking Liberty Half shows a typical salt water beach patina.

I added a really exceptional American Numismatic Society article on cobs and Spanish Colonial coins to my Treasure Link List so you can easily access it any time you want. It presents a lot of great specialized information on a variety of cobs and coins. You will find it at the very top of the link list.

You might want to check out the other links in my reference list. I only include those that I think are most interesting and helpful.

Here is a great list of treasure books for reference purposes. It includes many of the common and less common references. You'll see, for example, the Alan Craig books on the Florida collections.

Somebody wrote asking what I thought of a particular scoop. The scoop in question looked like a very heavy stainless steel scoop. It was said to be made to last a lifetime. It looked like it would.

I recommend stainless steel scoops even if they are heavy. There are ways to deal with the weight. Below I suggest one way to deal with the weight of a heavy scoop.

You won't need a very heavy scoop if you work the dry sand. But if you work wet sand, or rocky areas, or areas with clay or roots, you'll want something made to last.

I use anything from a screwdriver to a monster scoop, depending upon the circumstances.

I like a wood handle. My scoop, even though it is very heavy stainless steel, came with a handle that just wasn't strong enough. I replaced the aluminum handle with a wheelbarrow handle.

I prefer to use a wood handle, because if you have a sensitive detector, it is not always easy to keep a metal handle and scoop far enough away from your detector coil. Secondly, I like the way that wood handles float standing straight up when you are in the water. Thirdly, a heavy duty handle like a wheel barrow handle will last a long time, yet when it does break, can easily be replaced. You can also easily cut a wood handle to the preferred length. Drill a hole through the top and attach a cord so you can attach your scoop to your belt or whatever. No need to keep both hands full all of the time.

But it does depend upon where you hunt. There might be times when you don't need anything more than a screw driver. There are times when it is best to keep a low profile. That applies to equipment too.

I'll throw in one more tip here that if you take it to heart, can be worth much more than you think. The very best hunting spots will test the strength of your scoop to the max.

Several people have expressed interest in the treasure map that I presented a few days ago. For one, Tom Gidus wrote reminding of the rich history and treasure lore of the area.

I once or twice mentioned the gold coins that were recovered from the water near the location of the old Fort Pierce inlet by some young divers who brought home more than they ever expected.

If you want to investigate the history of the area here is a selection from an old book that provides a wealth of information and clues.

It can get confusing, but history is often presented in an over simplified form and is often incorrect. There are a lot of good hints in the above mentioned book.

Forecast and Conditions.Once again the surf web sites demonstrated the systematic error that I've referred to in the past. Seas will not be as high as originally predicted this week. They will, though, be increasing to around four or five feet. That is usually not enough to do much good.

One pleasant surprise, though, is that they are predicting additional increases for this coming weekend. So maybe this is just a postponement. We'll have to wait and see.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, June 19, 2010

6/19/2010 Report - Finally! Tropical Wave Gives Hope of Improved Conditions & 1715 Fleet Cobs

1715 Fleet Cob.

Now on sale on ebay is this 1715-Fleet 8-reale cob from what is called the Bulldozer Hoard.

I've talked about the Bulldozer Hoard before, which was discovered when the Sebastian Wal-Mart site was being dozed. A couple hundred four and eight reale cobs were found.

Here is the link to the auction.

You might remember discussion of the salvage camp on the mainland up at Sebastian and the reports of cannon in the river.

I mentioned the Bulldozer Hoard in the Jan. 28, and April 3, 2010 posts. You can find a another photo of a cob from that cache at the following web site. I think it is probably the same seller.

If you browse that web site you will see some other nice artifacts for sale, including a sheave. You might remember the nice coaked sheave found by Ian A. that was discussed in this blog.

Forecast and Conditions. If you've been reading this blog you know that one of the main purposes is to keep you advised of hunting conditioins on the Treasure Coast. Conditions have been so poor that I have not even been reporting conditions using my five point scale. It has been weeks, even months, since conditions have been anything but poor. Finally, though, there is some hope of improving conditions.

There is now a strong tropical wave located near Peurto Rico and the Virgin Isands, and according to forecasts it could produce high waves and erosion on the Treasure Coast next week as it moves to the west/northwest. While there is little chance that this storm will develop into a cyclone, the surf web sites are predicting six foot seas around Wednesday of next week. If the waves hit the beach at the right angle, it could produce improved conditions for finding old shipwreck coins on the Treasure Coast.

Since I haven't given my Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions Ratings for some time, I'll give you an overview of it now.

The scale is designed to estimate the likelihood of being able to find an old shipwreck coin on the beach. They are most often found when there are high waves that cause erosion. Treasure coins are seldom found when sand is building up on the beaches.

A 1 rating on my scale indicates that there is very little chance of finding an old shipwreck cob on the beach even if you hunt daily for very long hours. When conditions are poor the coins are not there to be found.

A 2 rating indicates that there is some small chance of finding a cob or treasure coin on the Treasure Coast beaches. My estimate would still be something less than a 1 % chance of finding a cob during a level 2 rating.

A 3 rating would indicate up to a 5% chance of finding a cob, a 4 rating, 10% chance, and a 5 rating, a chance of 20% or more.

The probabilities are very rough estimates that assume a knowledgeable and experienced hunter who is willing and able to spend a good amount of time.

Not all spots on the Treasure Coast will be equally good or poor at a given time.

I thought I should give this overview so you would have an idea what I am talking about when I issue a new rating. Right now we still have a 1 (poor) rating, but it looks like things might improve if that tropical depression comes this way, as is predicted.

If you haven't been out hunting much lately it is time to get your batteries charged and make sure your equipment is in good order. Even though we still don't know if this will turn out, it is the most promising thing that I've seen for a while.

Summer hunting usually depends heavily upon storms. Conditions don't change often in the summer on the Treasure Coast, but they can change rapidly.

Be ready or you can miss the opportunities that do occur.

Happy hunting,

Friday, June 18, 2010

6/18/2010 Gold Flies, Brass Broadway Ticket, and the United States Mint

Strange Metal Detector Find.

It looks like a brass Broadway Ticket. You never know what will pop up.

And it looks like that dime has been drilled for some reason. I've seen plenty of holed cobs, but that is my only holed dime.

If you held onto the gold you've found over the years, it was a good strategy. Gold is now at near all-time record prices.

Silver has also been doing well. In fact, percentage wise, it is increasing in value faster than gold. You can get into silver cheaper, and it might continue to increase at a faster rate, due in part to its industrial value.

The increases are not as much as they seem when you take into account the decreasing value of the dollar, which often goes in the opposite direction of precious metals.

The United States Mint is sold out of the American Eagle gold coins due to the high demand and halted production temporarily. They say,

"The United States Mint will resume the American Eagle Gold Proof and Uncirculated Coin Programs once sufficient inventories of gold bullion blanks can be acquired to meet market demand for all three American Eagle Gold Coin products. Additionally, as a result of the recent numismatic product portfolio analysis, fractional sizes of American Eagle Gold Uncirculated Coins will no longer be produced."

The fractional coins will allow you to purchase smaller coins, obviously at lower prices.

Uncertainty around the world creates a high demand for precious metals.

I've advised not selling your precious metal finds unless you really need the cash, and even at near record prices, I don't think it would be a bad idea to hold onto precious metals for the long term.

Oh, there is a relatively new way to profit from the increase in metals prices without actually holding the physical metal. Not too long ago, companies started to sell ETFs, which purchased like stocks, and go up and down something like equities as the value of the underlying metals increases or decreases. You can even benefit when the value of those metals decline, if you purchase "short" ETFs, which increase in value as the actual underlying metal decreases in value. By using ETFs you can profit from either increasing or decreasing prices of the metals, if you select the right ETF. Of course you can also lose money, when you select the wrong one.

Look into it if you might want to invest in precious metals. Make sure you do your research and understand what you are doing before making an investment.

The United States Mint web site present a lot of interesting and useful information. One section gave details on the size and composition of the different coins. They are also producing an American President and First Lady series of coins.

You might want to take a look at their web site.

You can also purchase bags and rolls from them.

Yesterday I mentioned fake coins. The United States Mint web site also posts warnings and warns about Chinese companies that are manufacturing fake pre-1950 U. S. coins.

You can read about that here.

I got an email from Meerkat Mike in Africa who wrote about the schism between archaeologists and treasure hunters that needs to be repaired. I might find time to post some of his letter someday.

He also mentioned reading back through all of the posts in this blog and said that his beach hunting results have improved since he has done all of that study.

I'm glad it is helping. Like I've said before, you can study and read, but you also have to take the next step and apply it and prove it for yourself. Meerkat has done that.

Gold miners in Alaska recently unearthed a whole Mammoth skull. Pretty neat. But it also shows that when you are looking for one thing, you can find something entirely different. Keep your eyes open. It pays to be familiar with as many types of hunting and as many types of treasure as you can.

Here is the link for that story.

An interesting 800 year-old badge was found in a retaining wall. I'm not much interested in the World Cup connection mentioned in the story. But did you notice where and how the badge was found. It was in the type of location that I am always interested in, but a location which you could easily miss if you were detecting. I often see walls and walks and things where objects could easily get trapped. Those types of places are often untouched even though they have been accessible for hundreds of years.

I still intend to get around to talking about gem stones one of these days. I just haven't taken the photos that I need to take yet.

Forecast and Conditions.Finally! The seas will be increasing around Sunday or Monday and building to around four feet. That might be enough to stir things up a little and create a few little dips on the beach front if other factors are right. I wouldn't expect much out of this, but at least it might help a little.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, June 17, 2010

6/17 Report - Fake Cobs

Two Fake Cobs Found on Treasure Coast Beaches.

The one on the left is thin and light and is marked "COPY" on the upper right edge.

The one of the on the right is thick and heavy. I didn't see any "COPY" mark on it.

As you might already know, you can find fake cobs on the beach. I don't know who puts them there or if they are just innocently lost by children playing with them as souvenirs. I suppose that every once in a while somebody just tries to play a trick on a detectorist.

Some fake cobs are convincing and others, not so. Your familiarity level will determine that to some extent.

Some of the fakes are clearly marked "copy," as they should be. But sometimes the mark is very small or hard to find, either intentionally or because corrosion has obscured the mark. I've found about a half dozen fake cobs on the beach at different times myself. I mentioned one that I'll always remember in a recent blog post.

Some fakes are meant to deceive and can be hard to identify. One thing that can help you identify a fake is having a gold test kit, as I recommended not too long ago. Most fakes are not made of precious metals.

Rather convincing fakes are being made today and probably always have been made. Some were counterfeits from back in the day, and detectorists often have questions about whether their fake is a modern fake or an old counterfeit.

It can be very difficult to identify a fake cob, especially from a photo. As a result, I would not buy a valuable coin listed over the internet unless I knew what I was doing and knew that the seller is reputable. For the average person, I would simply say do no buy coins on ebay or other similar sites.

Sometimes sellers do not intentionally misrepresent their items and will refund your money when informed of the problem.

I posted an article a number of months ago that told about manufacturers who were not only producing and selling fakes but also enclosing them in fake professionally graded coin holders.

Producing fakes has become so prevalent that some archaeologists have claimed that it has reduced the amount of looting because people are finding it easier to produce fakes artifacts than go and dig them up.

SedwickCoins provides a fake cob database and provides alerts and descriptions.

Here is the link.

Notice that many of the ebay sellers that sell fakes have Chinese addresses.

One thing that I concluded after looking at the database is that most of the fakes are higher denomination cobs, most notably eight reales. I guess that makes sense since it is about as easy to make an eight reale as a half reale, and in most cases, the higher denomination cob would bring in the most money.

Remember that cobs are all different and if you are seeing multiple copies that look exactly the same, something is wrong.

Sedwick also lists mostly Mexican and Potosi minted fakes in his database. I don't know if that represents the general market or not. Just an observation.

What I want you to know is that there are a lot of fakes out there, so you need to be careful, especially if you buy coins, and second, fakes are often found on the beaches.

Somebody sent me an email asking about reference books on cobs. Remember that besides books, there are now some very useful web sites. You will find some nice sites listed in my Treasure Reference Links on this blog.

If you want to buy some fake treasure coins or bars, there are companies that sell them on the internet, such as the Great American Coin Company. Their products include fake treasure gold and silver coins as well as gold bars. I don't know how good they are, but from the price, I would expect them to be pretty convincing. But who knows? I sure don't want any anyhow.

I sent an email to minelab to inquire about warranty repairs on an Excalibur. I didn't get any reply from the email but they did respond to my phone call. They said that the turn around time for repairs is now about 30 days.

Forecast and Conditions. The wind is from the west and the seas are still calm. One thing that looks a little promising is that next week the seas are projected to increase to around 3.5 feet. That is a bit of a change. Hopefully the projections are wrong and it will actually develop into something more. At least it is something to watch hopefully.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

6/16 Report - More on 1732 & 1733 Philip V Mexican Coins

Yesterday I was talking about the higher values placed on those round Mexican-minted milled coins produced in the year 1733, and I talked about four different varieties of that coin. I should mention that the 1732 milled Mexican minted coins are also valued highly - much more highly than the milled coins produced after 1733 and much more highly than the most of the cobs produced before that date.

Before 1732 the Mexican mint produced the unique oddly shaped monogrammed cobs. One of those Philip V cobs that brings a higher value than most, even though it still only brinsg about one fourth of what the 1732 milled half reales would bring, are the 1733 half reale cobs that were produced in the same year as the milled half reales.

1734 Mexican minted four reale.

1732 and 1733 are definitely dates to watch for in all of the Philip V Mexican minted reale denominations. Milled one reales of those dates bring about the same as the milled half reales. Two reales bring a bit more, and then there is a big jump in value for the milled four reales and another significant jump in value for the milled eight reales for those two years.

If you haven't found any Spanish silver reales yet, I guess this information is only interesting in a general sense, but if you have a collection or think about purchasing such reales, this is something to be aware of.

Of course, condition is always a big factor in determining value.

If you are hunting cobs but haven't found many yet, I guess a cob is a cob is a cob, but after you've found a few or become more familiar with some of the old Spanish shipwreck coins, you will enjoy them more if you study a bit and get into some of the details of the different varieties.

In doing my research I found a really great web site on Spanish colonial cobs and coins. It shows many examples of half reale cobs. I always enjoy seeing more examples, because it usually takes more than one example of a particular cob before you see the entire design. You can seldom see the entire design on one cob, especially when talking about the small half reales. Of course, if you are luck enough to have found a "Royal," which is a presentation peice produced for the king, that will show the entire design. And of course Royals are worth more.

Back to what I started to say: The article that I am talking about is a very good article for anyone interested in studying Spanish colonial coins and cobs and presents many fine examples along with a lot of good information.

The article is provided by the American Numismatic Society Magazine. Here is the link.

If you are interested in cobs, that web site can keep you busy for a while.

I'm tempted to talk on another subject today, but I think I will wind it up for now.

Forecast and Conditions. The seas are really calm and the weather is hot, hot, hot. That is a good combination for getting in the water.

I probably don't even need to say it again, but conditions on the Treasure Coast beaches are still poor. There is however a little hope on the horizon. If you look at the surf web sites, they are projecting gradually increasing seas over the week and all the way through the weekend. At this point, there is a possibility that the seas will increase enough to stir things up a bit, and there is a lot of sand that needs to be moved.

Well, here's hoping. Keep watching to see how things develop for next week.

Happpy hunting,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

6/15/2010 Report - Milled Coin Values

1733 Mexican Minted Half Reale.

OM on the left of the shield indicates the Mexican mint, and the F is the assayer's initial.

According to my reference, assayers initials for 1733 Mexican half reales include, F. and M.F. Assayer initial F appears with the OM or MX mint mark. The assayer initial of MF also occurs sometimes with the OM mint mark and sometimes with the MX mint mark.

That by itself makes for four different variations that occur on 1733 half reales.

The 1732 and 1733 milled half reales tend to be valued much higher than most of the Mexican minted half reales of the period according to my references.

The general point that I am making is that you should watch out for certain years, assayers, and mints since, just like in any type of coin collecting, those details can have a huge impact on value.

While doing some research on 1715 Fleet cobs, I noticed that most of the Mexican half reales, and other denominations for that matter, made in the early 1700s and late 1600s are fairly common and inexpensive as compared to the milled coins made in 1733.

If you collect coins, you know there are certain dates that tend to be more rare and more valuable than others. Well, in Mexican minted coins of the 1700s, two dates tend to stand out when it comes to value. They are the 1732 and 1733 milled coins.

I especially like unique monogrammed cobs, and I guess everybody thinks that what they like should be valued highly by other people, but that isn't always the case. It's a matter of general demand rather than personal preference.

I'll get back to talking about 1715 Fleet coins sometime soon, but this just jumped out at me today, and I wanted to mention it before I forget.

Here is a good article on how cobs were made. The author states, and I believe, that this is one method the Spanish colonial mints used for making silver cobs. You might find it a little surprising, and if you don't, I think you'll still find it interesting.

There are new laws against metal detecting on Hilton Head Island. The beat goes on. Artifacts and sites could be better identified, preserved and studied before they are lost if archaeologists would simply include detectorists in their circle of friends instead of continuing to vilify and alienate people that are interested in what they do.

I remember looking over the shoulder of some grad students doing an excavation in Yosemite National Park. I overheard one student make a comment about the tourists that would soon be there to see what they were doing. What the goofy grad students evidently didn't understand is that many archaeology projects are funded by tax payer money and if there wasn't any interest in history and archaeology among the public, they probably wouldn't have their grants.

I know something about grad students because I was one three different times.

The archaeological community could have an army of people that would fund, assist and support them, but instead of creating that army, they insist on alienating those that could be their best friends.

Here is the link to the Hilton Head article.

If you are interested in numismatics as many detectorists are, here is a nice blog by an expert in numismatics. Take a look if you'd like to read a little more about coins.

The Ocala coin club ran into trouble because it seems that many of the members were supposedly cleaning coins and then calling them uncirculated and selling them to new and less informed members.

You really have to be careful in the numismatic world these days.

Here is the link.

Forecast and Conditions. Again, nothing much has changed on the Treasure Coast. There was a low pressure zone that seemed like it might form into a storm, but then dissipated.

Conditions are still poor with no obvious immediate relief in sight.

Happy hunting,

Monday, June 14, 2010

6/14 Report - Treasure Map Leads to Buried Millions

This doesn't happen very often, but a treasure map actually resulted in the recovery of millions of dollars of stolen gold, jewels, diamonds and other valuable items buried in a PVC tube. Of course everyone was skeptical of the map, but it turned out to be very accurate. That is unusual.

Here is the link.

It would be quite a thrill to stumble upon a treasure like that, with or without the map. It could happen.

Treasure Map Pointing to Spot on the Treasure Coast.

Talking about treasure maps, here's one that I received a number of years ago anonymously from California pointing to a cache of old Spanish shipwreck treasure buried on the Treasure Coast. I spent some time checking it out and there appeared to be some evidence that there could be something to it. I did find some old iron digging tools in the area, but very little else. The tools might have been more modern than the rumored treasure though, which might mean that the treasure had been recovered. But that is just my guess.

Check it out if you want. The area has changed in the last few years though, so the map isn't entirely current.

Don't ask me anything else about it. I've already given you more than anyone could possibly expect. Take it as a lead and check it out if you want.

Be sure to respect private and pubic property and obey all applicable laws.

Not often, but every once in a while you find a product that is simply impressive. One that I have been impressed by is my flip cam. That little camera is very well designed and very often comes in handy. I usually take my beach photos with that camera now.

Another is my motion activated security cams. When I'm not home or simply don't get to the door in time, I can see who has been there, whether it is the neighbor, Fed Ex man, or whatever. One day my neighbor told me a red truck went up my drive way when I was out. I took a look at the pictures and saw that it was the meter reader. It is just a neat and handy device that I can recommend.

A third device that I can recommend is my portable wilderness GPS system. Although the one I have is not as well designed as the flip cam, it is still very useful. It is good for marking and relocating specific areas.

I've heard other people say that the warranty service provided by Minelab is very slow. I have a machine in for repairs now, and it has been a while already. I'll report on how long it takes.

I've been noticing that some publications and web sites are now starting to mention some of the strategies and techniques that I first talked about in this blog.

I don't know if you saw 60 Minutes last night, but they were talking to Bob Ballard. He said that when they were hunting for the Titanic they used a trick they learned while working on a project for the navy. Instead of trying to cover a large area completely, they used a loose scan pattern first, hoping to hit a part of the debris trail. (He describes the search pattern in the video below. I think you'll enjoy the video.)

That is a strategy that I use on the beaches and have taught in this blog. First run a loose but systematic scan pattern until you hit an object or two and then tighten up your scan pattern in areas where targets have been found and try to identify any target dispersal patterns.

Here is \the link to the Ballard video.

Forecast and Conditions. When I started this blog, all I was going to do was give the forecast and conditions of the Treasure Coast beaches, which as you probably know is a very important thing if you want to find old shipwreck coins. There are times when ccbs can be easily found, and there are times when it is really tough.

I used to live down south and would drive a couple of hours to get to the Treasure Coast, sometimes to find out that the conditions were poor and the trip was a waste of time. That is why I decided to start doing this blog.

Conditions have been so bad for so long this year, and even into last, that this section has become pretty boring. I even stopped giving my ratig scale numbers since all I've seen for a while are 1 (poor) conditions.

We have had level 4 conditions only once since I've been doing this blog, but no 5s.

If you don't know, my rating scale is a five point scale, running from one to five, with one indicating poor and five, excellent conditions.

Anyhow, conditions right now remain poor for finding shipwreck coins on the Treasure Coast beaches. As I started to say, that could change quickly if we get a nice storm. It doesn't take a hurricane, just some nice northeast winds that sustain a while.

It looks like there will be some increase in waves in the beginning of next week. Until then, you'll have to use your head, and maybe use some of the suggestions that I've provided in the past.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, June 12, 2010

6/12 2010 - Beach Orientation, Cutting, and More

Photo of Directional Indicator Carved on Beach Acces Walkover.

Recently I mentioned the compass carved into the rail of the crossover at John Brooks park. Here is is. It gives you an idea of how far off of North/South the beach is there.

The next photo shows the beach looking directly north as indicated by the carved compass. I think you can see that be beach runs about 30 degrees off north/south.

It is good to know the oreintation of different beaches. More often than not, those beaches that have nearly the same orientation, cut at the same time, while those that have a different orientations, often cut at different times.

I've said it before, but it takes more than high waves to create productive cuts. The waves generally have to hit at an angle to slice away sand. Very big waves often create nothing in the way of cuts when they wash directly up on the beach at a ninety degree angle.

Photo Looking Directly North Over the Compass Today.

Hurricane Andrew, for example, created virtually no cuts on the Miami beaches even though the water came up very high. Andrew did create some cuts on some of the keys, which being more-or-less circular, have beaches at all different angles.

Below are some spikes found on a shipwreck in Canada. The ebay seller has a number of these similarly bent nails listed for sale right now.

The shape reminds me of one found on the Treasure Coast that was posted in this blog back in December 9th, 2009.

I believe these might be bent intentionally. In the previous post that I just mentioned, I explained the term "door nail" and how it was made "dead."

Photo of Some Shipwreck Spikes.

Most of the people that hunt the Treasure Coast beaches know to watch for storms and erosion. When the waves aren't cutting the beaches there can be other types of erosion. There is erosion from the wind and rain, and there is erosion wherever water is running, like along creeks and rivers.

Any erosion can be helpful. Wind and rain exposes coins and various items on the beach. The partial mastodon tooth that I showed a few days ago was eyeballed and had been exposed by rain.

The cliffs on the dune faces are almost continually sand-blasted by the wind. The wind also drys out the sand on the cliffs, causing the face of the cliff to eventually fall. Sometimes that will be enough to cause old items to fall out of the dunes. It does not involve the quantities caused by big storms, but when it comes to items being released from the dunes, the effect is the same, even though on a much smaller scale.

As I've mentioned before, some of the items that end up on the beach after a storm, come from the back dunes.

That is not my main point today though. When you aren't getting erosion on the beach, you can often find some other type of erosion. Often things will be washed out of the banks of waterways, for example. One good thing to do is to check the banks of waterways, especially right after heavy rains.

In the days before garbage pick-ups, people used to dump their garbage in a hole or depression. People used to throw their garbage over the hills on the Indian River. As a result, at one time you could find many old bottles there.

At one time the waterways were the highways. People settled along waterways and visited the banks because of the availability of water, fish, and for general convenience. As a result items were often lost or buried or along our waterways. Those items could be exposed whenever a layer of the bank is washed away.

If you look along the waterways, make sure you get permission when on private property.

One thing you should remember is, erosion is erosion. When it comes to treasure hunting, erosion, no matter how much or little, can always be a good thing.

If you know where to look you can often eyeball old treasures.

I received some questions recently about using a metal detector and I thought one thing I should repeat is the importance of sweep-speed. If you sweep your coil too fast or too slow, you can miss a lot.

Before hunting, determine your optimum sweep speed on a test object. Get an object similar to what you most want to find, put it on the ground, sweep your coil over it at various speeds, and observe the change in signal. When you get the best signal, practice sweeping at that speed. You can also vary the height of the coil over the object when testing your sweep speed.

A lot of people make big investments and do everything they can to get the deepest seeking detector, but then go out and reduce depth by half or more simply by swinging the coil either too fast or slow.

I'll repeat one more time something that I've said in the past. Detecting depth is way over rated. I'm not saying it isn't anything. I'm just saying that people often put way too much emphasis on depth and neglect much more important things.

You can determine for yourself how important depth is in your particular style of hunting. Simply keep a log of your finds. Mark down how deep they were found. Count how many of your best finds came from various depths. I think that most of you will find that most of your good finds come from the top three inches of ground.

There is a time for digging deep targets, but for me, the best time for that is after I've found an area with high surface concentrations of targets and have already cleaned out the top layer.

When you hunt the right spots, I think you'll find little correlation between the age of the target and depth. I've seen times when heavy old targets are closer to the surface than other levels containing pull-tabs and other modern junk like plastic bottles and Styrofoam cups.

90% of the cobs I've found have been within three inches of the surface. Some were eyeballed on the surface. That happens when you find the best areas to hunt. Let nature do the digging.

Some people detect for old coins in areas where the earth has not been disturbed much for a long time. That is bit different, yet you will still benefit from hunting erosion even in those types of areas.

Forecast and Conditions.The wind is coming from the East and the seas are calm. According to the surf web sites the seas will remain calm for the next week.

As hot as it is, I'd have to guess that there will be some storms coming before long.
Keep alert. They don't always give a lot of warning.

Until then I've given you a lot of hints concerning what to do until the beaches become more cooperative.

Happy hunting,

Friday, June 11, 2010

6/11/2010 Report - Silver Mexican One Reale Cob

Photo of a Common Type of Treasure Coin Found on the 1715 Fleet Beaches.

This particular silver cob is a Mexican one reale. Some beaches typically yield a high percentage of smaller denomination cobs. The Chuck's Steak House site is known for small worn half reales, for example. Even though there is no known wreckage at that site, the small cobs occasionally show up there.

The summer treasure hunting season is now in full swing. The Fisher organization has five boats working on the Margarita and Atocha sites and is offering a gift of a silver or gold coin to new investors. The gift coin will be valued at %15 of the investment. $10,000 is the minimum investment.

When you read books or articles about the Treasure Coast, you'll probably read a lot that isn't up to date. Books are pretty much set in stone and can't really be changed quickly and easily.

If you live on the Treasure Coast it might not seem like much has changed. But things have changed in recent years, especially on the beaches. Like I always say, "beaches are dynamic systems, and they are always changing." So I guess it is no surprise that many of the books and articles are no longer up to date.

I was looking through one popular book and noticed where they were talking about the Chuck's Steakhouse site where cobs are often found. Chuck's Steak House has been gone for some time now. Not only has it been gone, but if you were to read the book and go looking for it, you'd have a hard time seeing anything to suggest that it ever existed. It was torn down and new buildings now stand on the site. The dirt parking lot that stood to the south of the Steak House doesn't exist anymore either.

If read one of those books that talks about Chuck's Steak House, that spot of beach can now best be reached by parking at Bon Steel Park, which is relatively new. The old Steak House was to the north, I would say roughly about 100 yards.

Some of the books talk about the old range markers. Most of them are gone too, and have been gone for some time. They used to be in the pine trees or on poles in the dunes at various salvage sites along the Treasure Coast. They had letters or numbers on a red or white background. They were used by the salvage boats to determine their position.

I think there are still a few around.

And of course, the famous Christmas tree that used to be a very prominent landmark. The Christmas tree was nothing more than a bunch of junk that people piled up around or hung on an old tree stump that was to the north of the beach walkover at John Brooks Park. Again, roughly estimating, I would say it was about 100 yards north of the beach access. It was landmark that pretty much defined the north end of the a cob hot spot.

There are some new Christmas trees, if you want to call them that, around John Brooks, but none of them are in the location of the famous Christmas tree that you might read about in the treasure hunting books.

I don't remember which hurricane took it, but the Christmas tree disappeared after one of the hurricanes of 2004.

Those are some of the things that I've noticed reading about lately that are no longer accurate. I'm sure there are many more. Just be aware that things that you read that were written some time ago, especially before 2004, may no longer be accurate.

On the topic of things that have changed, a good distance north of where the Christmas tree used to be, there is a concrete foundation that is buried on the beach very close to the waterline. It has been exposed by erosion a few times. I don't think too many people know about that. I've only seen it a couple of times myself.

If you are up that way and your detector goes crazy, it might be the rebar in that foundation.

There was also at one time a tower of some sort across the new parking lot from the condos that are to the north of John Brooks. There was a lot of old stuff around that old tower.

And to the south of Frederick Douglass, back in the trees, there was an old spotting tower during WW II. You can still find a little evidence of its existence.

On a completely different topic - Kovels Komments reports that "A copy of Flash Comics No. 1 (the 1940 comic book that introduced the Flash and Hawkman) in pristine condition sold privately for $450,000. It had been sold in January 2006 for $273,125."

Forecast and Conditions. There is a little wind out of the northeast and the seas are calm and will continue to remain calm for a few days. There is really nothing much new to say on this. We're are really in a rut, with continuing poor conditions on the treasure beaches. You'd probably do better hunting the tourist spots right now.

We need one of those many storms that are predicted for this hurricane season, although I really don't want to see a hurricane. A storm that just sits and stirs can be just as effective.

Good luck,

Thursday, June 10, 2010

6/10 Report - After the Find and Before the Hunt

I found this on a Treasure Coast beach recently. When I first picked it up, I thought it could be a fossilized tooth of some sort.

After I took it home, washed it off and took a better look at it, I then decided that it probably wasn't a fossil, but more probably just some type of rock. But it didn't look like any rock that I had seen there before.

When you find old mysterious things, half the fun is in the research that comes after the find. After posting photos of the item in rock and fossil forums, thanks to the experts on those forums, it now seems that the item has been positively identified as a piece of a mastodon molar. That would make it not hundreds, but thousands of years old.

You can find all kinds of things on Treasure Coast beaches.
You may or may not know about the world famous carved mammoth bone that was found in Vero. That now famous bone, was in a collection for a long time before the carving was noticed and made headlines.

If you don't know about that find, here is a link.

Here is another web site that I found useful. It consists of a gallery of aerial photos of Florida, including inlets, beaches, etc. Notice how on the East coast, the south side of the inlets are generally more to the west than the north side where the sand builds up. I've mentioned that and the significance of that a few times before.

If you are thinking of visiting some of these areas, you might want to inspect them before you go. Here is the link.

You can also use to scan areas for detecting.

Here is something that I think is really cool. This is a very neat and different way to make a ring out of a coin. I'm almost tempted to take the time to learn how to do it. Actually they show you how in the video.

Here is the link.

I hope that girl is grounded in case she ever goes out in a thunder storm.

They are mapping Robin Hood's prison cell using laser technology.

Where are they digging up archaeologists these days? Geez. Read this and you'll know what I'm talking about. Crazy!

I just can't buy that. It makes me think of the archaeologist that was mentioned in National Geographic who identified an item as a slave's pipe when it actually turned out to be a Cracker Jack prize.

Get a grip guys.

Forecast and Conditions.Conditions haven't changed. They beaches on the Treasure Coast remain poor.

The water will be even calmer the next few days and through the weekend.

We'll just have to work hard until a storm comes along.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

6/9 2010 Report - One More Top Detector, Spain, and Silver

Mac Turbo Metal Detector.

I previously showed two of the other detectors that in my opinion are in the three top beach and water detectors. As often happens, I get onto other topics and don't finish what I started. Well, I decided I better do it now, or I'll never do it. So here is the third. I don't think they make these any more, but it was a very very good detector. I certainly wouldn't mind having another. I think it was replaced by the last model that I showed a few days ago.

The Sons of the American Revolution is an active and respected organization that prints a magazine which tells about events of the organization and the history of the Revolutionary War.

In the last issue there was an article on Spain's contribution to the colony's independence. Spain provided assistance by providing blockade runners, such as those Spanish ships that ran the blockade off of Charles Town S. C. in 1776. Also in 1776 Diego de Gardoqui, Spain's financial intermediary with the colonies, provided the patriots with 215 bronze cannons, 4000 field tents, 12,868 grenades, 30,000 muskets, 30,000 bayonets, 30,000 uniforms, 51,314 musket balls, and 300,000 pounds of gun powder.

Much of their assistance came up the Mississippi River through New Orleans, where Spain was still in control.

La Florida was not ceded to the United States until 1819.

In Philadelphia there is a statue of Diego de Gardoqui, which was given to the city by King Juan Carlos of Spain as part of the United States Bicentennial celebration.

You can join the SAR if you can document your ancestry back to an ancestor that fought in the Revolutionary War. Otherwise you can find the magazine through your library.

The price of silver has continued to increase at a nice rate. If you want to invest in a metal cheaper than gold, you might consider silver. I think you might get a better percentage return in the near term, because silver hasn't received as much attention as gold.

I found a nice simple calculator that tells the value of the silver in coins. You just verify the spot price of silver, enter the type of coin and the number, and it tells you the value of the silver content.

I looked up a silver Eisenhower dollar, for example, and the calculator said there was $5.80 worth of silver in that coin.

Here is a link to the calculator.

Use the strengths of your particular detector to greatest advantage. Like I always say, different detectors have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Many detectors, especially beach detectors, have a lot of trouble with ambient electrical interference. I have some detectors though that are not bothered much by things like power lines. Since those detectors do well around power lines and many detectors do not, there is an opportunity. If you have a detector that does especially well under power lines, for example, hunt promising sites under and around power lines. The electrical interference will serve to protect the area to some extent.

That is just one example of how you can use a particular detector's special strengths to good advantage.

Some detectors handle black sand especially well. Detectorists with other detectors who have trouble with black sand, might avoid those areas, therefore you have another special opportunity if your metal detector does well in black sand. Just another example.

Actually I've never found black sand to be much of a problem, even though I often hear from people who find it difficult to deal with. I could get into how to handle that, but I don't think I can generalize well about that at this point.

Forecast and Conditions. Conditions remain poor along the Treasure Coast beaches. The wind is from the East again and we'll have three foot seas through today. Then they'll decrease for another few days. Nothing to write home about for sure.

You'll have to work for your finds. Maybe make a day trip out of the area.

We'll see if we get all of those storms that they are predicting.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

6/8/ 2010 - Numismatic Tokens Found and More

Two Tokens Found in the Atlantic Ocean.

You never know what you are going to find. There are plenty of surprises out there.

These two tokens are the same. One shows the front and the other the back. I've been told that the shop that issued the tokens are still in business although I've attempted to contact them without success.

I received a couple emails from people today who had just started detecting. I always benefit from the emails that I receive. It lets me know who is reading the blog and what they are thinking about. I'd have to say that I am probably a little odd in more ways than one. Some of my views are different and I sometimes go about things differently. That makes it important for me to find out what other people are thinking about.

One thing that I was reminded of is that even though a lot of my interest is in advanced strategies and techniques,I need to repeat some of the basics every once in a while. Not only is it useful for beginners, but sometimes experienced detectorists fall into bad habits or just need a reminder. I know that is true for myself.

I wsa browsing the web and noticed that the title to one web site presented by one of the largest detector retailers said "Treasure Hunting is Easy." I guess that is true. But it is not true that finding treasure is easy unless you mean a little loose change or something like that.

Occasionally people find a gold coin or something really nice on their very first outing. It happens. But it doesn't happen often. It would be something like getting all six numbers in the lotto.

To make good finds on a consisstent basis over a long period of time is not easy. It requires a lot of time and work.

I think it is good for beginners to know that they are not going to go out and find gold coins and diamond rings all the time. If that is your expectation, you might get discouraged and give up before you learn enough to hunt effectively.

I dare say that most detectorists don't cover expenses. But that doesn't matter if they enjoy what they are doing. And if they keep at it long enough, they have a chance of making that big find that they dream about.

I'm not saying that treasure hunting, or metal detecting, is a business. It can be, but only a very few can really make a living off of it. The few that can make a living out of it, make a large investment in both time and money.

If you look at metal detecting as a hobby and go out simply because you enjoy the activity. Then anything you find is all to the good. That is the way to do it.

If you enjoy being out in the fresh air and enjoy occasional finds, that is the way to do it. Looking at metal detecting as an economic activity will take a lot of the fun out of it. Enjoy yourself, enjoy learning and eventually you'll learn enough to be able to find a lot of interesting things.

Be willing to put in the time learning to use your detector, do some research, and put in a lot of time in the field. All of that can be a lot of fun if you maintain a good attitude. Just enjoy yourself, be kind and considerate, and who knows, you just might make that big find when you least expect it.

This is far from the Treasure Coast, but I foud it interesting. Apparently a cemetary for gladiators has been found. At least that is what it looks like.

The article also mentions some gold finds made by Israeli archaeologists.

Here is the link.

Forecast and Conditions. The wind has shifted and is now out of the northeast. Unfortunately seas are predicted to only reach abut 3 or 4 feet tonight and tomorrow before slacking off again. That probably won't accomplish much.

As you know not much has been happening on the Treasure Coast that would reveal any shipwreck items. You really have to work for everything out there now.

Forecasters are now saying that 18 named storms are predicted for this hurricane season. That is quite a bit above average. Almost twice, I think.

It has been so hot lately that the water has to be heating up. I wonder what affect the oil slick spill will have, if any?

If you want to read more on the projections for this hurricane season, here is a link.

It seems I always forget to mention some things that I planned to talk about. I'll have to pick up with that some other time.

Happy hunting,