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.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

9/29 Report - Tropical Depression 16 Didn't Do Much Yet

Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

Yale University was accused of looting by the President of Peru. Mr Garcia (doesn't sound like an Incan name) says Yale took around 40,000 artifacts including pottery, jewellery and bones from Machu Picchu.

Very interesting. I wander who Mr. Garcia thinks the artifacts belong to? Peru, which didn't' exist until hundreds of years after Machu Picchu was abandoned? Is he going to return the artifacts to the descendants of those who made the artifacts - if they could correctly be identified? Were some of those artifacts or the wealth that contributed to their creation taken from other groups that were conquered in war? Is Peru going to give credit to those who rediscovered and identified the significance of the site long after it had been abandoned and lost to modern civilization? Do those who rediscovered the site and helped it become a modern tourist mecca get any credit?

Those are just a few questions that spring to mind, but the one question that I am really curious about is, if all artifacts are returned to the localities that they were removed from, does that mean that in order to see an Egyptian artifact, or a Greek artifact, or whatever, a person would have to travel to the supposed country of origin in order to see and study the item? That would seem to me to be the end result. If all artifacts were repatriated (if that is the right word), there would be very little opportunity to study the early histories of other regions without actually going there. That just doesn't seem like the most desirable solution to me.

If you are interested in reading more about the "looters" at Yale, here is the link.

Here is a more positive story.

Dr Gethin Matthews is looking for artifacts relevant to the Welsh role in World War I. Dr. Gethin is manager of the Welsh Voices of the Great War project, and is looking for memorabilia from 1914-18.

"The project is creating an online archive of memorabilia from World War I to give an insight into what life was like for soldiers and their families."

Rather than calling anyone with an artifact a looter, it would be better if the academic and professional communities would involve the general population who would like to know more about artifacts and might even consider contributing to worthwhile projects. Both the professional and amateur communities would be better off if there was an open two-way conversation that involves and respects amateurs.

The internet now makes it easier to identify, assemble and present new collections and the resulting new information, while educating and promoting respect for the professions.

Here is the web site if you'd like to read more about the Welsh Voices of the Great War Project.

Forecast and Conditions.

You can see in the photo above that not much happened on the Treasure Coast beaches yet. I haven't inspected most of the beaches, but if this one is typical there is very little erosion to be found.

Tropical Depression 16 will pass over Florida today. Last night and this morning we were getting some heavy rain and some decent gusts.

The surf web sites show smaller waves this morning than they predicted last night. Rain suppresses wave development, though. I think that was the what was happening this morning.

I've mentioned before that the surf web sites often predict higher waves days in advance and then when the time gets closer, the predicted wave heights get smaller. I think there is a systematic error in their prediction models.

The high seas that were predicted for next week have been reduced too.

This morning the wind was from the south/southeast. In the afternoon it looks like it is now more northeast. The wind direction will probably change as the storm passes.

I think we would have possibly gotten some improvement if the depression was further out to sea.

There is another area of tropical activity down east of the West Indies. I don't know what that might do yet.

The sand on the beach was real mushy this morning. I'm not encouraged.

Happy Hunting,

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,

Friday, September 24, 2010

9/24 Report - Eye Balling Treasure Beaches & Treating Iron Civil War Relics

Gun Found by Matt O.

Great Find.

Yesterday I asked if anyone had any tips about treating and preserving rusted iron objects. I gave a few tips yesterday and a link to a conservation lab web site.

I received an email from Matt O. who hunts and collects civil war relics. Matt provided the following description of how he treats his dug iron relics.

"Most of my relics I dug were muskets and swords. They would be encrusted with rust. What I use is the zinc and lye process. Anything that has a zinc content will work. Then make a layer of zinc in a container and put the rusty item on it. Then cover it up with a layer of zinc. The more the better. Then boil water. The hotter the better. Pour the hot water into the container sub merging it. Then pour a container of lye powder or graduals into the hot water. Make sure you do this outside and wear chemical gloves cause it will eat your skin and create a nasty choking gas fume. Make sure no kids and animals can reach the area. Leave it in the solution for about 3 to 5 days. All the rust will flake off leaving the good metal safe. I scrub it with a wire brush under clean water. After its free of the rust let it dry and put a coat of polyurethane on it and its done ready for display. I usually get the lye from ACE hardware."

That is a good description of an effective procedure provided by a guy that knows what he is doing. Observe all of the precautions.

Thanks Matt.

Encrusted Object Found On Treasure Coast Beach.

Not all treasure beeps. Some treasure is not metallic. Paper money for example. There are many types of non-metallic treasure, and if you are walking around a beach waiting for your detector to tell you if there is treasure, you can miss some nice items.

I always say keep your eyes open when you detect. You can scan a lot more area visually than you can put your coil on.

For one thing, you should be reading the beach. You should be looking for any clues about what might have happened in the area in the past.

While detecting a local beach, I noticed the item in the above photo. I almost passed it up, but it just didn't look normal, if that is the right word. It didn't look like the other stones and things in the area. It somehow stood out. So I picked it up and took a closer look. Only when I inspected it closely could I see that there was a piece of fossilized bone in that clump. So I put it in my pocket to take home for further inspection.

Same Item as Above After Washing With a Spray Nozzle.

Now you can see some of the brown fossilized bone that was previously hidden.

It is not a very interesting find, but it is probably over ten thousand years old, and it illustrates how things can be found visually on the beach.

Eye-balling is a skill that can be developed. It takes practice and improves as you gain familiarity with a wide variety of types of objects.

I picked up a few nice non-metallic items this morning that were in plain sight and probably have been for a few days. Well, actually, some of them were just barely peaking out and could have easily been missed - like the fossil bone.

There is one that I might show you in the near future, but I wanted to research it a little first. It could have come from an old shipwreck.

Talking about fossils, an unusual new species of dinosaur was recently found in Utah.

Did you know that dinosaurs are not found in Florida? It was undersea during the age of dinosaurs.

It took me quite a while to do this blog this morning. I had a lot of things to write about and had to decide which I would do today and which I would put off for another time.

I'll have more of those shipwreck contract maps in the future.

Forecast and Conditions.

It seems that at least one county engineer agrees with what I've been telling you - high waves but little erosion.

Thanks to Joan T. for the link.

The seas are calming down and will be down around two feet by Sunday and then increasing slightly again next week. I don't see anything that will improve conditions. I did find a few interesting little spots where the high tide was uncovering a little.

Lisa is a tropical storm now but doesn't look like she'll come our way.

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,

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

9/22 Report - Interesting Little Spots

Douglas Beach This Morning.

It doesn't look very good. Those waves didn't cause any cuts here. Notice how far out the waves are breaking. There is a lot of sand out in front of the beach, which protects the beach to some extent.

I received an email from somebody that is pretty new to detecting and who mentioned that after hours and hours of study and hunting, he had no success. I'm sure there are other people out there like that. If you began detecting recently and live on the Treasure Coast, it hasn't been easy. Don't get discouraged, It hasn't been easy. The conditions just haven't been very good.

Finding shipwreck coins anytime is not real easy, and for the last few months, like I said, conditions have not been good. If you want to hunt shipwreck coins, patience is always necessary, even when conditions are better than they have been recently. People aren't running around dropping doubloons all over the beach these days, and cobs will not usually show up on the beach unless the conditions are right.

If you are just beginning, you might want to first target modern coins. Go somewhere where the beaches are being replenished on a daily basis and learn about detecting there. It will be easier to find some things while you improve your detecting skills. Visit beaches where there are lots of people, and where they are likely to drop coins, and where the beach isn't totally hunted out every day. You might take a little trip to visit some of the tourist beaches that are crowded during the day. That is something you can do when the treasure beaches aren't producing.

It is good to try some different things. Try some different areas, and try some different types of detecting from time to time. You can often learn something useful.

Here is one spot I found this morning. You can see that the top layer of sand was exposing a more dense layer of material. Areas like this are worth checking. This type of spot could easily be a trap that would catch coins.

If you look around, even when conditions are poor, you can often find a few small interesting spots to check. It could take some walking to find them though.

Here is another spot I found.

Notice the undercutting. This type of spot is also worth checking. Again, you might have to do some walking to find these little spots.

A Southern California Edison construction project unearths a cache of fossils over a million years old. The discovery is said to be bigger than that of the La Brea Tar Pits.;_ylt=AhUvMlfbue0AypO9Wb3PQ3QPLBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTJmZDF0azM4BGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAwOTIxL3VzX2Zvc3NpbF9maW5kBGNwb3MDMQRwb3MDMQRzZWMDeW5fdG9wX3N0b3J5BHNsawNjYWxpZnV0aWxpdHk-

It is always worth checking areas where the top layers of earth have been moved. On the beaches we are usually waiting for erosion.

I'll get back to the salvage contract maps again tomorrow. I have a number more to show.

Forecast and Conditions.

The photos pretty much tell the story. Conditions are not good. It will take some work to find whatever better spots there are.

The seas will continue to decrease through the week, although not much. I don't expect any improvement soon.

Julia is a tropical storm but too far away to affect us now.

Forecasters are saying we could see three tropical storms in late September and into October.

Here is the link.

Like I said, tomorrow I'll post some more of the salvage maps.

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,

Monday, September 20, 2010

9/20 Report - Salvage & Exploration Areas for South Hutchinson and Photos of Other Beaches

Wabasso Beach This Morning.

As there has been for some time, there are some decent looking cuts up at Wabasso. The problem is that the only thing that is happening is some of the dredged sand is washing away. As a result, you aren't getting into the old sand.

Cuts in dredged sand are not often productive unless there was something in the sand that was brought in. And dredged sand is the first to wash away.

So, it looks much better than it actually is.

Turtle Trail This Morning.

A similar thing is going on here. The dredged sand that was dumped here a few months ago is washing away. Just superficial cuts of less than one foot to six inches.

The recent increase in seas really hasn't improved conditions much.

Much of the north Treasure Coast has been protected by dredged sand that is now washing away.

Where the sand was dumped, you can't expect cobs to get washed out of the dunes either. And to make it worse, the dredged sand that is washed into the surf will protect the front of the beach until it gets washed away. And the heavy deep items will remain covered, for the most part.

Turtle Trail Again.

This shot shows three turtle nesting markers. Two of them are nearly covered. That means that two or three feet of sand has accumulated at that spot since the markers were planted, and since previous erosion on the beach.

Not a good sign.

Well, Igor just didn't do us much good and as I was saying a few days ago, I will be surprised if he does.

The other day I posted some of the rules and regulations for detecting on the Treasure Coast. Today I'll give you the first salvage and exploration permit or contract map that I promised.

One of the Treasure Coast beach detecting maps is now on eBay and just has a couple of days left. The item number is 110586819532.

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

This is the first of several maps that I'll post showing the areas covered by permits and therefore the areas where detecting in the water would not be permitted. The circular areas are salvage permits with the center of the wreck presumably near the center of the circle, and the more rectangular areas show the areas of exploration permits.

This is part of the information pointed to by Mr. McClarnon of the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research.

I'll continue with this and additional maps in the near future.

Forecast and Conditions.Seas are supposed to start decreasing today and continue through the week. I can't give any better than a 1 (poor) rating for treasure beach detecting conditions.

Both Igor and Julia are north of us now. There is one new area forming far out in the Atlantic. It's too early to say much about that yet.

Tomorrow I'll have more of the maps.

Thanks again to Jon M. for forwarding those to me in a convenient form.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, September 18, 2010

9/18 Report - Rules Regulations and Permitted Areas

Beach Sunday Morning.

One question that I frequently receive, is what are the rules and regulations regarding metal detecting on the beaches and in the water, and another is, where can you hunt in the water.

I've attempted to answer those questions in the past with varying degrees of success.
Thanks to Jon M., who contacted Daniel McClarnon of the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research, I'll do that again today, perhaps adding some to what I've presented in the past.

Before I get into that in any more detail, let me say that every time I have contacted a person in the Florida government about detecting or related matters, no matter what level, the response has always been friendly and helpful. Jon's experience was similar.

I think that too often detectorists have the perception that the government is out to get them. I can see how that perception was born. Too often there are cases in which lower level officials for one reason or another act in a way that does not represent the government agency well. It might be that they had a bad day, have a poor perception of what is taking place, make a mistake, or simply have their own problems to deal with. Whatever it is, things happen, and too often detectorists develop a poor opinion of archaeologists and related Florida agencies.

On the other hand, detectorists too often do things that cause problems for themselves and the hobby. For example, it is simply stupid to leave a battlefield of holes in wet sand when detecting a public beach where someone might easily sprain an ankle or worse. It is stupid to detect in areas where detecting is, for whatever reason, specifically off limits. It is stupid to trample protected plants and abuse private property.

I am eager to see better relations between tax-payers who are interested in history and archaeology and who fund those endeavors and the government and academic professionals. That would be good for both sides.

Jon was told that Florida is currently in the process of updating their web page "to help clarify the confusing issue of metal detecting on public lands."

I'm not going to get into a lot of detail today, but here is more of what Mr. McClarnon said. He said, "If you are out in the surf metal detecting (other than in the admiralty areas mentioned), and find modern items, no one will bother you, including law enforcement. If any questions arise, even concerning complaints or law enforcement, feel free to contact me."

If you ask me, that is pretty nice.

In the near future I'll post some charts he provided, which show the current salvage and exploration permit areas. Those are the admiralty areas he refers to.

Mr. McClerndon also said, "Metal detecting is generally prohibited on public lands with the exception of some beaches between the high water mark and the toe of the dune; you can keep what is found on the beach."

He also provided the following link and suggested browsing it to find the rules and regulations.

I think I posted this link before sometime in the past, but I'm not sure, and there are often questions about that so it won't hurt if I did.

Anyhow, I hope this helps clarify things a little. I'll follow up with more on this in the future.

Generally speaking if you do your best to do the right thing, you won't have to worry much about getting in trouble. Sometimes a little common sense or wisdom will go a long way.

Don't do things to cause conflict or bring negative attention to yourself or the hobby.

Do report finds that you think might be of particular interest to the archaeological community. Those are things that might in some way add to the body of knowledge of the discipline. It doesn't happen very often, and I think you'll enjoy the results if you are lucky enough to find something important.

Well, tomorrow I'll probably post some of the charts showing the both salvage and exploration areas.

Forecast and Conditions.

The sea will be increasing to about 7.5 feet late Sunday and through Monday, and then gradually decreasing again through the week.

It looks like winds will remain from the East during most of that time.

As you might be able to tell from the photo, there is no improvement yet - at least not where I looked. Mostly I saw sand building up.

One positive thing is that the water got higher up on the beach than it has been for quite a while.

I did see about a six inch cut at one spot. That's not much, but it is going in the right direction.

You might be able to find a spot or two that has improved a little. I'm keeping my treasure beach conditions rating at a 1 though.

I see that the wind is supposed to be switching around and coming more from the northeast. That could help.

Happy hunting,

Friday, September 17, 2010

9/17 Report - Happy Birthday Constitution & Dunking for Emeralds

Emerald Found on Seas Floor.

I received an email from the Fisher Organization showing this emerald found by an investor diving with the crew of the Magruder on the Atocha site. As I understand it, investors can keep finds up to a certain value if the state does not select the item for the Florida Collection.

Investor distributions occur once a year in Key West.

I just found a neat hurricane tracker. I don't know how much additional information it actually provides, but it looks interesting at first glance.

Here is a site that you will enjoy taking a look at. It's the web site of Seven Seas Search and Salvage. Browse around and make sure to take a look at the photo gallery.

Quite a variety of finds and things to browse.

In my opinion one of the best books on cobs and treasure coins is Cobs, Pieces of Eight and Treasure Coins by Sewall Menzel. This is a sample page.

The page shown happens to show a variety of Lima Star half reales. The book shows more examples of cobs than any that I've previously seen. The trouble is, it seems you can't find this book for under $125.

Forecast and Conditions.

The beaches haven't improved yet. They are no better than yesterday - some worse.

This is by far the longest period of time with the poorest beach metal detecting conditions that I can remember. It has to break someday. It is really getting to be a test of patience.

I really hate to say this, but I would not be surprised if Sunday and Monday brings no improvement. It is not so much saying it, as it is thinking that it is possible, that I don't like. But when I look at the projected wind direction, I'm not seeing anything much except for direct East winds. That won't do it no matter how high the seas are.

I hope I'm wrong about this. I want to see improving conditions for a change.

Time will tell.

Both Igor and Julia seem to be headed north.

It seems they are pretty good at predicting the tracks of these things anymore. That's good.

Happy Constitution Day. (Poor thing sure has been taking a beating lately.)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

9/16 Report - Not Yet, Gold & Coins

Small Dip in Front of Bar Protecting Beach

September 17 - 19 the Florida Nautical Flea Market will be held at the Martin County Fairgrounds. Buy, sell, trade or just browse.

See for more details.

You might remember a year or two ago I was recommending a find and hold strategy when it came to gold. As it turns out, if you did that you would be ahead.

I found an article on gold that provides a lot of good and useful facts.

For example, the peak year of new mine production for gold was 1999 when 83.b9 million ounces were produced. As hard as it is to believe the price back then was under $300/oz.

Even though the price of gold has been soared, less gold is being produced today.

Scrap gold seems to be becoming more scarce too. Many people have already converted their scrap gold.

"In 2008, while new mine production inched up by 1.38%, scrap gold soared by 34%. Scrap sales equaled nearly two-thirds of new mine output."

"Still, though, put new mine output and scrap gold together and you get a total of new gold available to buyers of 128.09 million ounces."

If you want to read the entire story, here is the link.

Do you know what the Health Care Bill has to do with coin collecting? Nothing? Nope! There is a sneaky provision in the bill.

"Section 9006 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Health Care Reform Bill) will cause a change in the Internal Revenue Code that will expand the scope of Form 1099. In 2012 dealers will be required to report to the IRS via Form 1099 the purchases of all goods and services by small businesses and self-employed people that exceed $600 in a given year. Collectible coins and bullion fall under this new law."

That means if you sell more than $600 in coins to a dealer within a single year, that have to give the dealer your social security number as well as your name and address. Just what the ID crooks need.

I think that one very big problem we have in this country is congress's tendency to hide unrelated provisions in deceptively named bills. A Be Nice To Grandma Bill might contain a provision to outlaw use of metal detectors without a license, for example. And the fact that the provision could be embedded in a 2000 page bill that your representative finds impossible to read makes it all the worse.

Here is the link if you want to more read about how the Health Care Bill affects the sale or purchase of coins or bullion.

Forecast and Conditions.

The seas haven't increased much yet and the beaches are still not very good. As of this morning there is a lot of sea weed and other light materials spread over the beach. Not really very promising.

In the photo above, you can see how a small dip as forming and you can see the sand that is protecting the beach.

The waves are breaking quite a distance out from the beach because of all the sand piled up on the shallow water. That is not a good sign either.

The seas will be increasing a little the next two days, reaching a peak of about 7.5 feet Sunday and Monday. The best chance will be after that, but as you saw with Earl, 7 to 8 foot seas don't gaurantee good beach hunting. A variety of factors have to occur for the beaches to erode.

Not much news with Igor and Julia, which still seem to be following about the same path.

Karl has formed down by Mexico.

That is about it for today.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

9/15 Report - Beach Detecting Conditions & More

Photo of Green Turtle Beach This Morning.

Notice that there are some superficial cuts (just above the center of the photo) and some scalloping high on the beach. Also notice the sea weed washing up, which is not a good sign.

There was some slight erosion here, it looked like it would have been yesterday sometime. And then some filling again.

Also notice the zone where the shells are.

Below is a closer view of that. In this photo the sea is to the left because the view is looking south, unlike the first photo which looks north.

Areas like that often have small cobs. I don't know if this one did. I doubt it due to all of the mushy sand on the beach front.

But sometimes these high shelly areas do contain small cobs. In this photo, you can see that somebody had covered it pretty well before the last high tide.

I don't know how cobs get to spots like that, but they do. They have to wash up to get there, but it is so hard to find them while they are washing up. That is one of those things that I simply don't understand. Maybe it is so hard to find them while they are coming in because the water that brings them in is so rough. I suspect that is the reason.

On some beaches cobs wash out of the dunes, but on this beach the dunes are too far back and too low for them to come from there during conditions like we have now.

Some are saying that gold might hit $1600 an ounce. Who knows, but it already hit over $1200 and a new record (if inflation is not taken into account).

Here is the link.

Here is a story about Mayan aquadas covered with pot shards.

I once mentioned that I was looking for photos of Star of Lima half reales. I have found some good ones, and while the star is in various locations on different examples, my suspicion was correct. Sometimes the star is to the right of the S.

I might have some photos of that in the near future.

Forecast and Conditions

The seas haven't increased much yet, and there is just a little movement of sand alog the beach fronts. I would still give a Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Conditions Rating of no better than a 1 (poor).

It usually takes six to eight foot seas to do much good and we aren't there yet. And there is still a lot of sand on the beach fronts to absorb a lot of the energy and protect the beach.

It looks like Sunday will be the peak. Up until then, you can expect gradually increasing seas if the surf web sites are correct.

Igor is now a category four hurricane, and still predicted to head towards Bermuda. It looks like Julia might go the same direction.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

9/14 Report - Igor and Julia on the Way

St. Lucie County Beach This Morning.

Ed B. sent me an email with a great tip. Here it is.

Go to Google and do a search using the name of a storm.

When the search results come up, click on videos. What you'll find are videos that people have made of the storm including pictures of the beach.

As Ed said, people seem to like to record events like that.

I tried the procedure using "Earl" and "Outer Banks" as a test, and it worked. There were a number of people who made videos of the storm and the beach.

Here is one example (not necessarily the best) that I found.

I'm sure you'll be able to find more of your own.

Thanks to Ed B. for the tip.

A study found that cannon balls hitting a ship at low velocity caused more damage than those hitting at high velocities.

Here is the link if you are interested in learning more about that.

You might remember the old ship uncovered at Ground Zero. The study and conservation of that ship is continuing.

In the ship was found the "lucky coin," which is a part of an old tradition.
To read more about the ship, its lucky coin and conservation, here is the link.

Forecast and Conditions.

As you can see in the photo at the top of the post, the seas is increasing as predicted. At this point the seas are only about three or four feet, and I didn't see any signs of erosion yet. I didn't really expect any this early.

According to the surf web sites, we can expect the seas to gradually increase this week, peaking at about 7.5 feet this Sunday. That is about what happened with Earl. Hopefully this time the angles will be better and we'll actually see some cuts.

At this point, it looks like Igor will follow a path similar to Earl's.

Behind Igor, a new hurricane has formed, named Julia.

Once again, it is time to get your meta detector and other equipment in good order. It could happen this time. It has to happen sooner or later. It has already been a number of months since the beaches have produced cobs in significant numbers.

There have been some nice October and November storms in the past.

Happy hunting,

Monday, September 13, 2010

9/13 Report - Igor & Francis Drake

Part of Map of Francis Drake's West Indian Voyage From the Kislak Collection in the Smithsonian.

I gave a link that will give you access to this map in my last post.

For your convenience, here is the link again.

Inspect it for yourself. I'm not absolutely sure of my interpretation.

I want to thank you to those of you who contribute information and material that I use in this blog. And I want to thank those of you who ask questions or let me know what you are thinking. All of that helps me.

The other day I evidently wrote "Pensacola and Cape Cod" as stopping points on Francis Drake's voyage. I remember editing that before posting it, but evidently the edit didn't get saved. Sometimes I have trouble keeping the latest version of my post when using the blog editor. In any case, I meant to write "St. Augustine and Cape Cod" instead.

I'm usually in a bit of a hurry when I write my posts, so I don't really give it the time that I would if I were publishing an academic article or something of a more formal or professional nature. And I don't have editorial assistance or fact checking by experts except for those of you who are kind enough to contribute. I'm not making excuses for the errors I make, but I want you to know that I do make mistakes with more frequency than I'd like. I am also asking for you to let me know when I do make a mistake, and feel free to provide any corrections.

As far as I know, there is no body of academic or professional literature when it comes to metal detecting. I guess that is up to the archaeologists and historians that make a living out of studying and reporting the relevant evidence and facts. My blog posts, on the other hand, needless to say, are generally hurried and not of the same quality. If they were I wouldn't be able to post nearly as often.

If you've ever written professionally, you know it is very time consuming. Again, I'm not making excuses, just letting you know how to take my posts and asking for help in identifying and correcting any errors.

I might go on to say that when you read most of what is written about metal detecting and treasure hunting, you should always evaluate it for yourself. You have to test it, sift it and keep what you can verify or what simply makes sense to you. I guess that also holds for much of the academic and professional literature, but perhaps to a slightly lesser extent.

I always remember when National Geographic published a photo of a pipe that was said by an archaeologist to be a slave's pipe, and what it actually turned out to be was an old prize from a box of Cracker Jacks. If archaeologists and publications of that status can make a mistake like that, you know I will make my share.

Siskiyou Dragon Gold Nugget.

The Clars Auction Gallery's Fine Estate Sale in San Francisco, California held on Sept. 12, featured a gold nugget named the "Siskiyou Dragon." The nugget is seven inches long, 2.25 inches high and 2.25 inches wide, and was expected to bring from 100 to 150 thousand dollars. I haven't seen how much it actually brought yet.

Here is the link to the story.

Forecast and Conditions.

Metal detecting conditions on the Treasure Coast's treasure beaches could be improving soon. This week the seas will be increasing, now starting Tuesday.

A number of factors play a role. It doesn't take too real high waves if the water hits the beaches right. The projections show a slight northeast direction to the wind early in the week. That could help. The high high tides could help at all. I believe the biggest factor though in addition to the waves is wind direction.

For Earl, the waves hit the beach directly from the East, and that is why we didn't get much erosion.

IF the surf web sites are correct, evenutally the seas will increase this week to between six to eight feet for the coming weekend. That is getting up to the height that could, if other factors are right, create some good cuts. There is still that big "if."

Igor is now a hurricance, but is expected to remain in the Atantic.

Behind Igor, is tropical storm Julia, who shows a similar track right now, but is also showing a tendency to turn more to the West. It is too early to say much about Julia.

Igor is now a hurricane and heading east/northeast. That is undoubtedly what will be creating the waves later this week.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 Report - Maps, Documents, Illustrations & Sedwick Coins October Auction

Very Old Map of St. Augustine.

This map is found in the Kislak Collection of the Library of Congress. If you want to view a larger image, use the following link and scroll down to the maps. You find other early nautical maps too, and a lot of other old references. A map of Francis Drake's voyage is shown, including stops at Pensacola and Cape Cod. You'll also find a number of photos and illustrations related to Mayan culture, and even a few Atocha artifacts, like the silver spoon pictured below.

I received a Press Release from Augie of Sedwick Coins for their upcoming auction. Here it is.


Sedwick Auction #8 Biggest Yet

Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC has announced the dates for their fall Treasure and World Coin Auction #8, comprising nearly 2800 lots with a pre-auction estimate of about $1.3 million. Session I will take place on Thursday, October 21, followed by Sessions II and III on October 22-23 respectively. Times and contents for each session are to be announced.

"This is our third auction in a row with over $1 million in lots, and it is over 600 lots more than our last auction in the spring," says managing owner Daniel Sedwick. "And the diversity of material this time is astounding."

Highlights include:

* Probably the finest known Lima cob 1 escudo 1710, encapsulated PCGS MS-64 (plus more than 50 other gold cobs, mostly from shipwrecks)
* The finest known Mexican 1 escudo 1733/2, recovered by Marty Meylach from the 1733 Fleet and the inspiration for his book Flash of Gold
* Unique Santiago, Chile, 1 escudo, 1755/4, ex-Eliasberg
* A collection of well over 100 Spanish colonial bust 8 escudos
* A collection of large, natural gold nuggets
* A unique silver "pina" ingot from the Atocha (1622)
* Hundreds of Atocha (1622) silver coins, both rarities and wholesale lots (plus two collections of coins from dozens of different shipwrecks)
* Four Lima and Potosi cob Royals (round presentation specimens) in various denominations
* A collection of dated cobs from mainland Spanish mints (rarely seen at auction)
* A Santo Domingo 4 reales of Charles-Joanna (one of very few ever offered at auction)
* A collection of English hammered gold and silver coins by type and other general world coin rarities
* Ancient and US coins (a first for Sedwick)
* Large gold-and-emerald pendant and a gold religious medallion and chain from the 1715 Fleet
* A unique Tarascan (Mexican) silver plate from the "tumbaga" wreck (ca. 1528)
* A large selection of colonial-era weapons (mainly cutlasses and flintlocks)

Printed catalogs and website viewing will be available around October 1. Coin-lot viewing will be offered at the Long Beach Coin & Collectibles Expo September 23-25.


Photo of Atocha
Silver Fork.

I can't close today without mentioning that once again it is 9/11. Hard to believe it has been so many years since watching people jumping out of windows before those buildings collapsed into a cloud of dust.

It is one of those events in life that most people will remember so vividly that they still remember exactly where they were on that day in 2001.

But we do move on. And to some extent the feelings fade away. Things, even disasters, lose their impact on our psyches.

On the Treasure Coast, a disaster occurred in 1715. Some of the residue of that eventful day is still found, although most of the time we don't approach it with due respect to what actually happened and we forget all of the lives lost and how the world was changed.

The financial impact on the world was probably similar to what happened as a result of 9/11.

I'll just remind you briefly today, to remember what actually happened there and why those cobs and artifacts are there still today. They weren't spread out there by the Easter Bunny. They represent real lives and real history as it was made.

It is worth thinking about.

Forecast and Conditions.

The seas are still calm, and we're still having some good high tides. If the surf web sites are correct, that is about to change. Around the middel of next week seas are projected to start increasing. I suspect that has to do with the approach of Igor. I'll keep an eye on that one for you.

There is also a low pressure zone closer to us but to the southeast. It could develop and head north. We'll see.

For now, conditions remain at a 1.

Happy hunting,

Friday, September 10, 2010

9/10/10 Report - Water Scooping & Bonhomme Richard

Gold Corpus Metal Detector Find.

Notice the wear to the face and the worn nose. That indicates it was probably worn for some time and perhaps handled during prayers. At first glance items like this might look crudely made, but it is more from wear. I think I showed another photo of this item in the past.

September 10, 11 and 12, Stuart will host a three day pirate fest.

Turn your volume down before trying this link.

As Ian suggested, maybe the pirate from Archie's will show up there.

Someone from Cocoa wrote asking how to recover objects when detecting in waist deep water. First, if you wade, I'd suggest a long handled scoop. Of course there are a variety you can buy. I always prefer a wood handle and a stainless steal scoop. If a scoop comes with a metal handle I usually replace it with a wood handle. Browse your hardware store for find the handle you want. I don't like having unnecessary metal with me, but a good stainless steal scoop can last decades.

Learning to scoop up targets in water takes a little practice. I personally like to use my scoop like a hoe rather than a shovel. That means turning the open end of the scoop back towards me. But how you scoop will partly depend upon your scoop and the handle it has, as well as personal preference.

Another technique I recommend when items are deeply buried or the bottom is rocky is foot fanning. Just move your foot back and forth rapidly until the item is uncovered and then scoop it out. That takes some practice too.

If foot fanning, wear dive boots or something on your feet. Foot fanning can result in a fishing lure popping up and becoming lodged in the bottom of your foot. It happens. I know.

Foot fanning takes a little practice too.

Of course, if you snorkle or dive, you will probably use hand fanning.

If the water is rough, it can be difficult to detect and difficult to recover targets. You can learn to do it with practice though. One trick is to use the hole created by your first scoop as a marker to where you are. You can either use your foot and relocate the hole by feel, or stick the scoop into the sand at that spot to relocate the hole after each wave passes. Don't fight the waves. Learn to lift your feet at the right time. The wave will move you off of the spot and then return you to it. This takes a little more practice.

Remember that you can't hunt around the leased wrecks in the water along the Treasure Coast. I know someone will ask how you know where the leased wrecks are. I've given GPS coordinates in the past, but one thing to do if you are in a swimming area is ask the life guard. They will generally know, and if they don't, at least you asked.

"Four Naval Academy midshipmen and a professor, along with Navy scientists, are getting the chance of a lifetime as they head to the North Sea on Wednesday to search for the remains of Capt. John Paul Jones' ship, Bonhomme Richard."

Here is a link to more of the story.

A woman taking a walk in the Gila National Forest found a Mimbres pot. She marked the site with a stake and informed the authorities.

Here is more of that story.

There are two good tips in that story. First, keep your eyes open. Erosion by wind or rain or other sources can expose old items.

Second, it is often a good idea to mark areas where things are found. It is often more difficult than you might think to refind items or locations, especially if you don't have a GPS.

Personally I like to mark things with stones rather than stakes. It seems that stakes often get knocked over or removed. People seem to less often bother stones.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is from the south/southwest and the seas are calm. There is still good tide action.

The surf web sites are projecting increasing seas towards the end of next week. We'll see if that actually happens.

It is too early to say much about Igor, but it is now a tropical depression and seems to be curving towards the north a little.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

9/9 Report - Can You Find the Kidnapped Pirate?

I heard on the radio that someone took a 1000 pound ceramic pirate from Archie's Seabreeze. If you've ever been to the Nieves site, you probably went past Archie's, which is just a few miles to the north.

Last seen, the pirate was wearing a blue and white striped shirt and black pants.

Here is a link to the story.

I've mentioned before that the location of our inlets have changed in the past. I just ran across a nice history of the Sebastian Inlet.

You'll see how many times it was opened just to be closed by nature, often in a matter of a days.

Here is the link.

You might have noticed that there is an older history link from that page.

Also, did you read about how the inlet was opened by men working with shovels. I think people were more robust in days gone by - at least not spoiled by modern machinery.

One thing you might notice is the flow of sand. As a beach detectorist, it is very helpful to observe how nature moves the sand (and other things along with the sand).

I received a few emails about sharks and gators in the Indian River. It sounds like there are more of them than I've seen, and it seems there might be more of them up towards Melborne and the Banana River.

I heard on the local news that an 18th century shipwreck coin was stolen from a coin dealer and was sold to a pawn shop for around $160. The coin was recovered when the pawn shop owner took it to the original shop for an appraisal.

Last month, you might remember, a gold bar was stolen from the Mel Fisher Museum in Key West.

That provides a good opportunity for me to remind you once again to keep any valuable finds safely stored in a bank deposit box. I've done that for years - ever since Dave, who hunted Jupiter beach back before the Jupiter wreck site was discovered, had a jar full of cobs taken from that beach stolen from the trunk of his car.

Talking about Mel Fisher, Mel Fisher Treasures says, "This week, both the Magruder and the Dare are working the southern part of the Atocha trail where bronze cannons were once found, in the deep mud. Two weeks ago, we found a 60-pound copper ingot in this exact area.

So far this week we have recovered more pieces of the Atocha and her cargo – wooden timbers from the ship itself, spikes that held the ship together, pottery shards from the ceramic pots that once held the food and water for the passengers and crew, and one “piece of eight” silver coin."

They are on the trail.

I'll soon post a list of some of the highlighted items that will be in the October SedwickCoins auction.,

I saw a Presidential Rolex valued at around $50,000 sell for $15,000 at an auction at the Courtyard Marriott last Saturday.

Forecast and Conditions.

The seas are still calm and expected to remain that way for several days. The high tides are still unusually high.

There is simply not much to report on conditions. I guess the best shot is to detect the dry sand for modern stuff or hit the low tide areas in the hope that something might have been turned up by the high tides.

A new topical storm named Igor has formed. It won't be anywhere close to us for several days. Right now it looks like it might turn north, but it is too early to tell much about that one.

Happy hunting,

9/8 Report - Metal Detecting the Beach & Atocha Gold Chain

Atocha Gold Chain.

I noticed this one on eBay listed for over $300,000. If you can't afford that, there are a couple said to be from the Margarita that are listed for less.

I've noticed that a number of this blog's followers are women. I'm not usually very gender sensitive when I write, and I seldom see women detecting on the beach for some reason. I know there are more female detectorists that I see. I guess I'm just not out there at the same time.

My wife doesn't detect often. The only time she'll detect is after I've already found a real hot spot. Then she'll turn on the detector and pick up some easy finds.

That leads me into my topic for today.

Some detectorists have one style of detecting. They go out and they either use a loose of tight scan pattern, but they hunt basically the same all of the time.

There are about four stages to my hunting.

First, there is a visual scan. I'll go look at a beach and see if there are any promising spots. I'll look up and down the beach for any cuts, dips, or anything that tells me what is going on at that beach.

You can visually scan hundreds of yards of beach in a few seconds.

Second, if the beach looks like it is worth the time and effort, I'll take out my detector and do a loose scan. I'll move quickly and cover a lot of area, making sure to check out any areas that look particularly promising.

That will give me a better idea of what is going on at that beach. Not only will it tell me what types of targets are on the beach, but I also pay attention to how loose or packed the sand is and look for any other indicators.

When doing this type of scan, don't use any discrimination. The junk you find will provide information. If I'm finding aluminum and foil that tells me something important. It tells me where the light stuff is accumulating. If modern and light materials are found deep, that is even more indication that that spot is probably not much good. (This applies most accurately to a sand beach and does not work exactly the same for hunting on a mainland.)

If I see anything during the loose scan to suggest that any areas are more promising than others, I'll detect those areas more thoroughly.

If I find an area that is producing the types of things I am looking for, or similar items, I'll start mining the area.

When I mine an area, I'll use maximum sensitivity, no discrimination, cover it thoroughly, even covering the same ground more than once, and often with multiple detectors.

When I find a spot to mine, that is when my wife might jump in - after I've done all the hard work.

When I'm mining an area, it will often be what I've called a coin line or hole.

Remember, there is simply too much beach to cover completely, so the idea is to narrow it down so that you spend more of your time on the most promising spots.

The same procedure works in the surf as well but not so much on dry land.

Two very old gold (almost 3000 years old) bracelets were found in England during an excavation prompted by a road construction project.

Here is the link.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is from the southeast and the seas are calm and projected to remain calm for several days.

The high tides today will be unusually high.

The remains of Gaston seem to be headed for the Gulf, but there is a new disturbance coming off Africa that appears likely to form. After watching Gaston, I'd have to say that the next storm has a good chance of staying to the south rather than going up into the Atlantic like Earl and some others recently.

The new one is still far away but worth watching.

My Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions Rating is only a 1 (poor).

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

9/7 Report - Star of Lima Cobs & More

Photo of Small Worn Half Reale.

One thing about Mexican cobs is that you can almost always quickly identify them as being minted in Mexico if any of the cross is visible at all.

The one above shows the balls on the end of the cross, which makes Mexican minted cobs so easy to identify.

As I've said in recent posts, the 1715 Fleet wrecks primarily yield Mexican cobs. Very few Lima or Potosi cobs are found on those wrecks - I would say something like 1% or less are from other mints.

As you probably know, the Jupiter wreck is the source of many of the Lima cobs that have been found. I've shown one that came from Jupiter beach.

The side of the cob that bears the cross is almost the same for Lima and Potosi cobs of that age.

Probably the most famous Lima cobs are the star cobs.

Star of Lima Philip IV 8 Reale.

Here is a good example. Notice the eight pointed star.

And contrast the cross with that of the half reale above.

Unfortunately, I haven't found any photos of Lima half reales minted earlier than 1660 (The Jupiter wreck is thought by some to be from 1659.). I think that the star on those half reales might actually be to the right of the S on Philip IV half reales where the assayer mark would often appear. In examples that I've seen, it appears like nothing more than a dot, due to the size and space limitations combined with wear. I could be way off base on that. Let me know if I am wrong.

In the 2000 book, I could find no Lima half reales listed in the Florida collection, and I have not been able to find any other good examples to examine.

It appears that the Star of Lima cobs were assayed by Fancisco de Villegas using "V" as the assayers mark.

Another characteristic of the Lima cobs is that the planchets are very round. You might also notice that any "N"s are reversed.

On another subject, gold recently set a new record price (not adjusted for inflation), which signals a probably upward trend.

Here is the link.

The Outer Banks got some high water from Earl, but I haven't received word on finds yet. You can get out on the islands again now.

You can see the high water in this photo.

Anytime the water gets to the back dunes, that is a good sign.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is from the southeast and seas are running two and a half feet and under. The high tides are higher than normal.

The seas are projected to remain calm through the week.

There are a couple of low pressure zones in the Atlantic. Nothing real developed yet, but something to watch.

Texas has a tropical storm off just off the coast.

I'd have to rate local conditions as being a 1 (poor).

You will need your rain gear this morning.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, September 4, 2010

9/6 Report - A Couple Shipwrecks, A Rapier, and Conditions

Photo of Old Rapier.

This one and another one currently listed on ebay appear to have been excavated.

Down at Key West the Fisher group is attempting to identify a new deep water wreck.
When identified they will file an admiralty claim on the new wreck and then turn their attention back to surveying another deep water wreck identified as "Lost Merchant."

Of course work continues on the Atocha and Santa Margarita.

Somebody asked the other day if there are gators in the Indian River. While I would say there aren't many, there are some. I had a close encounter with one hiding in some muck. There are also occasional sharks in the Indian River, but as much time as I've spent in the Indian River while fishing, I've seldom noticed either gators or sharks.

The USS Scorpian which sank in a river while fighting the British during the War of 1812 is going to be excavated.

Here is the link.

The site of the 155 year-old HMS Investigator has been found in Mercy Bay.

Here are the photos of the wreck site.

And here is the story.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is now from the south. The high tide is going to be unusually high but there are no waves to speak of. We are back to two and three foot seas again for a while.

The remnant of Gaston is about 500 miles East of the leeward islands and has about a 70% chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours. Only time will tell what this one will or will not do.

As you know Earl didn't cause much erosion on the Treasure Coast. I've often talked about how it takes more than waves to create erosion. One of the most important factors in my opinion is the angle of the waves as they hit the beach. A good north/northeast angle generally causes the most erosion. Waves driven by a south wind can also cause cuts but does not seem to wash cobs up on the beach as often as the north/northeast winds.

A slight angle or sometimes a changing angle causes the scallops that you often see.

Waves washing directly up onto the beach without much of an angle seldom causes any erosion. That is mostly what we saw with Earl. The waves were hitting the beach pretty much directly from the east.

Of course the coast is not a straight line and sometimes a nearly East wind will cause erosion where the coastline curves one way or the other.

Very large surges and very rough seas often don't cause any cuts at all. Such was the case where Andrew came ashore. The water got really high, but didn't cause any erosion along most of Miami. I've mentioned that before.

Of course when the seas are higher, the water will travel further back towards the dunes. That will in part determine where on the beach any cuts occur. Waves that are relatively small and that occur during low tide will cause cuts that are near the waterline.

Very high seas can cause cuts in the back dunes. That doesn't happen often and it produces the best hunting conditions. In general, the further back on the beach and the deeper the cuts, the better.

I'll get back to my discussion of cobs and other things another day.

Happy Labor Day,