Thursday, September 30, 2010

9/30 Report - Hope on the Horizon

Photo Showing Small Cut Found This Morning on a Treasure Coast Beach.

First, I have a couple interesting news items from Kovels Komments today. First, a single copper Lincoln Penny was sold for nearly 2 million dollars.

Here is what Kovel's says.

"A 1943 zinc-coated steel Lincoln penny is worth less than 10 cents today. But a 1943 one-of-a-kind copper alloy Lincoln penny struck at the Denver Mint was recently sold by a New Jersey coin dealer for a record $1.7 million. The anonymous previous owner donated the coin to a charity before the sale so the charity would get the proceeds. The new owner also owns bronze 1943 pennies struck at the Philadelphia and San Francisco mints, and will show all three pennies at a coin show in Tampa in January. (Bronze is a copper alloy—but people always refer to the pennies as "copper.") It is thought that fewer than 20 of the bronze error pennies were made, and the coin that just sold is believed to be the only one minted in Denver. A few fakes have been discovered."

So it's possible to pick up a copper penny worth more than a gold coin. Instead of of getting tired of picking up pennies, check them out. And watch your pocket change.

I've recently mentioned how well silver is doing. It seems that the price of silver is causing additional interest in silver antiques that are now considered bargains and are being purchased by weight.

Here is that story from Kovel's.

"Antiques that were very collectible in the 1950s, like Dr. Wall Worcester cups and saucers, were bargains at a charity sale held last weekend. But sterling silver buyers, mostly antique dealers, were crowding the silver tables. Many had their own scales and weighed each tray, bowl or spoon to figure the meltdown value as well as the price they would pay. Since the items were weighed and priced a few days ago and silver has gone up, they may have found some bargains. We thought the silver jewelry was priced low and the gold high. It's strange for us to think about judging an antique tray by its weight. We haven't seen that since the Hunt brothers tried to corner the silver market in the late 1970s. Thousands of antique coin silver spoons and sterling trays were melted as the price of silver went higher than the price of the antiques. Silver went from $1.95 an ounce in 1973 to about $35 in September 1979 to a high of $54 in 1980. It fell to $21.62 over the next two months and millions of dollars were lost. The Hunts went bankrupt. This week silver is selling at about $21.47 an ounce; last September it was $16.68."

That's good news if you find or collect silver.

A Typical Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

Forecast and Conditions.

As you can see from the photo to the right, Nicole didn't do much. Most of the beach that I saw, looked about like this. Not as mushy as yesterday, but still not cut.

The photo at the top of the post shows a cut that I did find. It was about a foot high on average and ran about fifty yards. It was about a mile from the beach access and not near any houses or condos or much of anything. Yet I found a number of modern coins in front of the cut. I always wonder how coins get to be in places like this which see only a few walkers with no reason to have coins out.

The main point here today is that even though conditions are not good, if you are willing to work for it, you might be able to find a spot or two that produces a few things. I have to wonder how those coins got there.

One other point worth bringing out is that these coins were under about seven inches of nice brown course sand which was over top of a layer of black sand. The coins seemed to be laying the black sand.

With the coins in a buried layer of black sand, I found that the discrimination mode on my detector, with a minimum setting of discrimination, was more effective at detecting these coins than pin point mode. Under normal conditions it seems that my pin point mode is as effective as discrimination mode, but it seemed that the discrimination mode handled the buried black sand layer better.

Nicole passed is pretty much gone and the wind is now from the northwest.

If you check the surf web sites you'll see that they are predicting eight foot seas for Monday and Tuesday. That is pretty good and with any luck at all should improve conditions. I would say that after the peak seas would be the best time.

Well, at least I am encouraged today. It looks like something could finally happen next week.

In the mean time, if you are willing to work for it, you might be able to find a few interesting spots to hunt.

Happy hunting,

Notice: If anyone tries to contact you claiming any association with me or with this blog, it is a scam of some sort. Do not open or respond to such communications. Generally, do not open or respond to messages from people that you do know.

I will never ask for any personal information of the followers of this blog. I only respond to emails by replying to the emails that I receive. And as you've probably noticed, I don't post personal information of those that contact me other than first name and last initial unless I have specific permission or unless your name is already posted widely on the internet in other public web sites. I will always honor requests to not post any information that you send me in emails. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

9/28 2010 Report - Broward Wreck Areas *Update added 6:00PM

Broward Exploration Contract Map.

As you saw in some of the previous maps, the Treasure Coast definitely has a lot of salvage and exploration contracts. There are wrecks all around the state though.

As you might know, old silver shipwreck coins have been found in numbers around the Hillsboro Inlet down to around the Pompano Beach pier. Beach hunters know of places where shipwreck artifacts are found from North Lauderdale up to and around the Boca Raton Inlet.

On the map above, showing the area of an exploration area, the Boca Raton Inlet is just above the north end of the map. The Hillsboro Inlet is about in the middle of the exploration area. I think you can see enough landmarks to figure out where this is.

One advantage of some of these areas outside the Treasure Coast is that not all of them are hunted as heavily. A lot of the detectorists in tourist areas like those in Broward and Dade can do very well targeting modern items.

On a side note, the Fort Lauderdale inlet was not always where it is now. It was once up close to the Yankee Clipper, if that is still the name of the hotel, below the Bahia Mar, which is also the area of the old fort. Musket balls and other similar artifacts have been found around there in the past. The area above there, across from the Indian statue has long been a favorite detecting spot for many detectorists, although not mine.

One area I would recommend down that way when conditions are right, is the banks of Whiskey Creek. That is as much detail as I'll give on that.

Years ago I hunted a lot down that way, and I'm smiling as some of the real reliable hot spots come to mind.

I always tell you to keep any valuable finds safely stored in a bank lock box. One story in the local news is of a 90 pound jar of pennies that was stolen from a house in Stuart.

Here is the link to that story.

I also got an email from Jim M. who pulled into one of the Treasure Coast accesses and noticed broken window glass. He talked to the the local police man who said they try to observe those areas every half hour. The policeman said that more crime seemed to happen at the accesses when the surf is rough. His thought was that surfers would come down to surf and then try to get some easy money for the return trip. He mentioned that some people leave their car window open. You might not feel like that is a good idea, but often the biggest loss is the damage done to the car when the thief tries to get in. broken windows or locks are common. Don't get the idea that this type of thing always happens. In my experience it is relatively rare on the Treasure Coast, but you might want to exercise a little caution.

Silver has gone over $21 dollars an ounce. I think I started mentioning it in this blog when it was around 17 or $18 dollars and ounce. Of course, gold has done well too, reaching new highs recently (if you don't adjust for inflation), and is over $1300 an ounce now.

Kovels Komments says vintage jewelry is a very good investment. They say, "Estate" (pre-owned) and vintage jewelry is selling at better-than-ever prices. Dealers say buyers find it a good "hard asset" investment since gold has become so expensive and stocks and bonds so uncertain. Buyers also are afraid that new tax laws may regulate trading gold coins and bullion. (In 1933 President Franklin Roosevelt called in gold coins, bullion, and even gold certificates for a set price. The law did not have the result expected. Citizens with large amounts of gold transferred it to other countries.) The best investment jewelry has large precious stones, exhibits fine workmanship and is marked by a well-known firm like Cartier. Take a good look at any inherited jewelry. It could be more valuable than you think.

And here is a link to an article about archaeologists using ground penetrating radar (GPR).

And here is an article about "upwelling." It talks about how ocean water is moved by surface winds. I take things like this into consideration when trying to figure out what is going on with the beaches.

Here is the link if you are interested.

Forecast and Conditions.

As you know, beach conditions have been poor along the Treasure Coast. There is a good chance for a change now though. There is an area down to the south of Florida that is likely to develop and then head north off of the East Coast.

They are predicting eight foot seas around next Tuesday. We might get what we need when that storm passes by us.

Until then, there will be some rainy weather, but not anything likely to change beach hunting conditions.

Tuesday Afternoon Update: The surf sites are now expecting up to 6.5 foot seas later Wednesday and also higher seas than originally predicted for a few days later.

As a result we might actually see some improvement for Thursday, depending upon the track of Tropical Storm 16 and the direction of the winds that we get on the Treasure Coast.

Happy hunting,

Monday, September 27, 2010

9/27 Report - Galleon Galley Bricks

Brick Found on the Beach.

You might be wondering why I am showing a stupid brick. In one of my recent posts, I mentioned using your eyes and scanning the beach for non-metallic objects. Not only can non-metallic objects sometimes be valuable, but they might also provide important information about the site or what went on there in the past.

A brick could indicate an old home or other structure, or it could even indicate the presence of a shipwreck.

If you know what you are looking for you can often get an idea of how old a brick is or where it might have come from.

Bricks are often found on old shipwreck sites because they were used in the galley.

Of course not all bricks come from shipwrecks, but there are some signs that will help you determine if it might be.

Brick Shown in the Mel Fisher Artifact Database.

Here is a brick found on either the Atocha or Margarita site. I forget which now.

Notice the black areas and the course materials in the brick. It shares many features with the brick in the first photo. Unfortunately the photo doesn't show the first brick well.

You can see that the brick from the database has a broader and flatter shape

The Mel Fisher artifact database also shows some bricks that seem to be modern bricks that were mixed in with the wreck debris.

I wonder if the black areas could have been created by smoke from the galley. I don't know.

The Exploring Florida web site mentions galley bricks found on the wreck site of the San Pedro. The web site says, "A Florida Underwater Archaeological Preserve is open at the San Pedro site for divers. The San Pedro is among the most picturesque of the 1733 wreck sites. She is located in a white sand pocket surrounded by turtle grass. Abundant marine life inhabits her grave. A large pile of ballast stones contains flat, red bricks from the ship’s galley."

That is another example.

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

I've mentioned the Queen Ann's Revenge before. It is a wreck that has been studies a lot. I found a pdf file containing information on the bricks and tiles found on that wreck site.

They also show a picture of a ship's galley. Here is the galley.

The study mentions a variety of types of diagnostic information that could help determine the source of old bricks. Some have quartz inclusions, for example. And the dimensions of sample British and Spanish bricks differ, as do French, I believe.

You might want to take a look at the study. Here is the link.

I understand that bricks in Spanish are called ladrillos, which is also a word sometimes used to refer to more flat and broad bricks.

In summary, some bricks come from shipwrecks. Keep your eyes open for possible clues like that.

On a different subject, researchers have found that the Biblical account of Moses crossing the Red Sea is possible. They discuss how the wind could have affected the water levels, which were considerably different back then, to create a land bridge across the sea.

If you'd like to read more about that, here is the link.

I don't know if you've ever seen the photos of what appear to be chariot wheels under the Red Sea. I think they were in National Geographic as well as other publications.

Forecast and Conditions.

Seas are relatively calm now with winds from the south. The high tides are still pretty high.

There is nothing much in the topics to watch.

Next weekend might have higher seas again. We'll have to wait a few days to see about that.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, September 26, 2010

9/26 Report - Jupiter Wreck Salvage Area & 1715 Fleet Artifacts

1715 Fleet Grenade for Sale on eBay.

This grenade is said to have been found on the Anchor Wreck Site in the 1990s and is now for sale on eBay. An unusual item in good shape.

There is another group of munitions from the same site also on sale on eBay. You might want to read the item descriptions.

A man bought a huge 840-pound emerald that was found in Brazil for the bargain price of $60,000. After he paid for the emerald, but before he received it, the emerald was reported stolen. It seems the seller had second thoughts about selling the emerald, which is now appraised at $372 million dollars. A judge will determine ownership.

Here is the link.

I found a nice web site that includes an account of a project investigating The Kinlochbervie Shipwreck thought to have possibly been from a ship that as part of the Spanish Armada in the 16th Century.

The results are not conclusive, but it is an interesting article (written by Isobel Patience) and includes some great photos of the project and artifacts.

Use this link and scroll down to the second article.

I meant to start on another topic dealing with a local beach find, but my research is proceeding more slowly than expected. I still hope to be able to present that topic soon.

Jupiter Wreck Salvage Area Map.

Unlike on the beaches of Indian River County, which has a continuous series of salvage and exploration contracts covering most of the area, there is only one contracted salvage area near the Jupiter Inlet.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is now from the southeast and the seas are down to around 2.5 feet. The high tides are still pretty high.

Seas will remain under five feet for the next several days.

Lisa is a tropical depression, but doesn't look like she'll come this way.

It looks like you'll have to really work for any old finds.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, September 23, 2010

9/23 Report - Treasure Coast Salvage/Exploration Maps & Rusty Items

Salvage and Exploration Contract Maps for Indian River North and South Brevard County.

This map continues to the north where the previously posted maps end.

The four contiguous semi circular areas is the area below the Sebastian Inlet. The area where the island becomes very narrow would be the area where the salvage camp was located just above the McClarty Museum.

The most southern semicircular salvage contract area would be Corrigans.

The most northern bridge shown on this map would be at Eau Gallie.

You can see that most of the area on this map is covered by a contract.

You'll be able to match this map up with a larger map of your own to more accurately identify the areas.

You'll also be able to match up the contract areas with the GPS coordinates that I've supplied in the past.

On another subject, I received an email asking how to treat rusty iron objects to preserve them. The email wasn't asking about things that had been immersed in salt water, so the process is a little easier.

First, Kovels Komments says, "Never store an iron pan while it's damp. To be sure it's dry, heat it on a stove burner for a minute."

The main idea there is to make sure any remaining moisture has been removed. Having done that, you would want to prevent moisture from returning. Keep the pan dry and moisture free if you can. A light coating of oil would help.

Tannic acid is a commonly recommended treatment for iron. There is a product called Rust Reform that uses tannic acid. I suppose there are others as well.

Here is a link to that.

If any of you have any favorite tips for preserving dug rusty iron items, please send me an email. I can add that information later.

Here is a web site that discusses treating objects that have been immersed in salt water. Some of the procedures described here might be a little too involved for home use, but the information is good.

One additional tip I'll add today is that some of the museums and institutions will treat found items with their equipment for a small fee. That applies to cobs as well as other items. If it is an item you really like, it might be worth making some calls to find out.

Forecast and Conditions.

The seas are down to around five feet now and will continue decreasing through the weekend. The tides are still pretty high, so the water will be hitting fairly high on the beach. The wind is now a little more from the south.

I wouldn't expect much change in the next few days. Check for those little spots like I showed yesterday. The high tides might create a few of them.

If the surf web sites are correct the seas will start increasing again next week.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

9/21 Report - North & South Hutchinson Island Salvage and Exploration Area Maps

Map Showing North Hutchinson Island From Fort Pierce Inlet North to Vero.

Before I get more into the maps, here is something from the Hard To Believe Department. A reporter who wanted to show how oil was buried on the beach was told by a Federal official that he could dig no more than six inches deep.

You'll want to see this video. Here is the link.

On a side note, did you notice how some of the oil was covered by the sand?

Back to the map - the south end begins at the Fort Pierce Inlet and the north ends near Turtle Trail. You can see the airport on the map to the west of US 1. That will help you get your bearings.

The circular areas show areas covered by recovery (salvage) permits, with the center of the wreck being presumably near the center of each circular area.

The more rectangular areas are covered by exploration permits.

On the above map, the two semi-circles labeled S23 would be the Sandy Point and Rio Mar wreck salvage areas.

One exploration area is on the south of those areas and goes down towards the Pepper Park area.

Pepper Park is an Underwater Archaeological Preserve so would also be protected.

As you can see, there is not much area that is not protected north of the Fort Pierce Inlet.

I know that it is not easy to see much detail on this map. If you want to get a clearer idea, get a good map and match it up with this image. You'll be able to get a good idea of where the boundaries of the areas are if you do that.

Map of Salvage and Exploration Areas Between the Fort Pierce Inlet and St. Lucie Inlet.

Here is the area from the Fort Pierce Inlet to the St. Lucie Inlet that I showed yesterday.

S26 would be the Nieves wreck site at Douglas Beach. The other two semi-circular areas would be the Power Plant wreck site and the Unknown wreck site.

There is some unprotected area down towards Jensen Beach and so

Forecast and Conditions.

Yesterday I showed some of the beaches. I doubt that much changed since then. The wind kept coming from the East.

Peak seas are over for a while and will be decreasing through the rest of the week.

A new tropical storm has formed and is named Lisa. She's too far away to consider now.

Happy hunting,