Monday, February 28, 2011

2/28/11 Report - The Easy Way to Find a Lot of Gold Metal Detecting

Some Class Ring Metal Detector Finds.

Everybody wants to know the easy way to find a lot of gold with their metal detector. That isn't surprising, is it? Truth is, if there is an easy way to find a lot of gold, I don't know what it is. I do know how to find a lot of gold, but it's not easy. I think the easy ways have been worked out.

Finding a little gold now or then can be easy. Just wander around the beach waving your detector long enough and sooner or later - probably later - you'll find some gold, but it is an entirely different matter to find gold on a regular basis.

It is certainly possible to find a lot of gold, but it is not easy. At least I've never found it to be easy. It takes a lot of effort.

Have you ever noticed in those stories you read about someone's first treasure coin find, that they often talk about finding a way to get on a beach just after a hurricane. That is not easy. Generally you can only get over to the barrier islands after a hurricane if you own property over there. You have to show ID and still might not be able to get over right away. Power lines are down and the bridges and parks are closed. It's not easy. It isn't the same picture that some people have in their head of leisurely detecting a beach on a nice sunny day and digging up the Queen's jewels.

I know that some people detect as a leisure activity, and they enjoy the exercise on the beach on a nice day. That is one thing, but it is not what the guy dead-set on finding beach shipwreck treasures is about. The most successful beach treasure-coin hunters are not out for a nice walk in the park.

Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with leisurely detecting for fun, exercise and social activity. But that is not what will get you a lot of big finds.

The people who are very successful are spending a lot of time, and doing what it takes to get the job done. It is not easy.

You do have a chance of finding something if you leisurely detect the beach on sunny days, but it is most likely going to take a long time and good finds are not likely to happen frequently.

The same thing goes for hunting modern jewelry. If you want to find a lot of gold, you are going to have put in more time, more effort, learn more, and do things that 99% of the detectorists aren't willing or able to do.

Here is one thing I often say to people who say they want to find a lot of gold with their detector. "If you don't want to do it, do it."

That statement is cryptic and could be taken wrong, but what I am saying is that the best finds are very often made under difficult circumstances. They are not generally made on a nice sunny 70 degree day. They are more often made when the wind is blowing so hard that the sand is stinging your face, and the rain is making it difficult to see, and the waves are knocking you off of your feet and the rocks won't let you use your scoop, etc. etc.

There is a lot that I'm not telling you here, but my main point is, that if you want to detect a lot of gold, you're going to have to do what 99% of the detectorists aren't willing to do.

I've been giving you a few scattered hints lately. One was to go out and find and hunt beaches that few others are detecting. I know it takes time to discover new productive beaches. But that is one thing that will separate you from the hundreds of other guys hunting the same old beaches over and over again.

Those places that aren't hunted by hardly anyone else are generally not hunted for a reason. But that doesn't mean they won't be productive. And if they are, you'll have it all to yourself.

Some beaches just don't look like anybody would go there. Maybe they are too rocky, over grown, muddy, small or something. That doesn't mean they won't be productive.

Some beaches that aren't used today were well used at one time. I mentioned some examples of that in another post recently.

And some are difficult to work. I said difficult, not impossible.

If you watched the Gold Rush Alaska TV show, you saw that it was not easy. The same thing applies to finding gold on the beach or in the shallow water. You might be able to get a few pieces easily, but to get a lot, is not easy.

On the TV program they were digging down to bedrock to find where the gold settled under an old waterfall in an ancient creek bed. It was no longer a creek bed and was now covered with sediment. The same thing happens on beaches. Gold settles over time until it is trapped. It often settles in pockets where several pieces can be found together.

It is not easy to find those pockets and it is not usually easy to dig the gold out of those pockets.

I feel like I've said enough about that for today.

Just to sum up, in metal detecting the easy path is seldom the most productive path.

You can learn a lot by watching that TV program. It applies to other types of treasure hunting too.

Forecast and Conditions.

Pepper Park Beach Recent Photo.

Photo submitted by Timothy T.

This beach has been like this for quite a while now. As you can see there is a broad low beach-front to detect at low tide. There are very few good targets here presently though.

Ho, HO, HO!

You have one of those beautiful days for walking the beach today. The wind is from the south/southeast and the sun is shining. Just beautiful! But look at the predictions.

The calm seas will continue for a couple of days, and then the seas will increase up to 7.5 feet. That really sounds good. I hope it actually happens. And it lasts for a few days. Not just a day. This could get good if the surf web site predictions are correct and the wind hits at a good angle.

I'm hoping this is the change we've been waiting for - not so patiently I might add.

I've mentioned before how the surf web site prediction models have a problem, so I'm just hoping they are right this time.

We'll have to wait and see. Get your equipment in order.

Happy hunting.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

2/26/11 Report - Heart Cobs, Sedwick Auction & 1715 Fleet Cobs

8 Reale Heart Cob.

Have you been watching Gold Rush Alaska on the Discovery channel? Some of you might think that mining gold in Alaska has nothing to do with metal detecting on the Treasure Coast, but there are always things you can learn.

I often say it is like cross-training in athletics. Training in one sport will help you develop skills that you can use in another sport. I believe treasure hunting is like that. You can always learn something from one type of treasure hunting that will apply to another type of treasure hunting, and I recommend participating in as many different types of treasure hunting as you can.

If you saw the Gold Rush Alaska series you saw that the bigger concentrations of gold were down near bedrock. Gold tends to work its way deeper over time until it gets trapped. That is the same whether you are hunting gold on a beach or in an old stream bed. Gold will tend to work its way deeper over time, and materials will tend to separate on the basis of density and other characteristics.

I think I would have gone about mining Porcupine Creek entirely differently from the way the guys in the series did it. I don't know if I would have been successful or not, but I know I would have gone about it a lot differently.

One thing I really enjoy about treasure hunting is the problem solving process - figuring out where the treasure is and how to get it.

People are different and they do things differently. That is the same whether it is in Alaska or on a Treasure Coast beach. On the beach, you see some people who seem to wonder around randomly, others grid out an area and work it very systematically and others use various combinations.

Detectors are different, but they work pretty much the same and have pretty much the same capabilities. They do have different strengths and weaknesses, but the differences in what they can do aren't huge. There is just more variation in how people use detectors than there is in the capabilities of different detectors. In other words, the operator generally has more to do with the rate of success than differences in detectors.

If you have a reasonably good detector, how you use the detector you have is more important than which detector you have.

I enjoy trying out different kinds of detectors. I don't know why, but I always like to use a new and different type of detector. I guess I just like to find out what they'll do and how they work. But when it comes down to finding treasure, it is more about figuring out where the treasure is.

A detector is more of a pin-pointing tool. Face it, you have to get the coil of a detector within inches of the target to detect a target. And that is the trick - narrowing down all of those square miles of beach so you have the best chance of putting your coil within a few inches of a treasure.

If you do a random search, like the blind hog that finds an acorn, you might find something, but to improve your chances and be successful on a regular basis, what you have to figure out is where to put your coil.

Four Reale Heart Cob.

Here is the schedule for the upcoming Sedwick Coins auction.




I read somewhere that there will be a lot of hearts and royal cobs in this auction.

There are two silver cobs from Corrigans and one from the Cabin wreck site in an auction on eBay. You might want to take a look at those coins.

Forecast and Conditions.
It is looking good for next weekend - the most promising prediction that I've seen for quite a while. I hope it holds. They are showing 6.5 foot seas for next Friday, but one of the good things is that it looks like a gradual build spread over a few days. I sure hope that prediction holds.

The wind is out of the west today. The sea will remain calm for a few days and the conditions will remain poor until the end of next week if the predictions are correct.

Happy Hunting,

Friday, February 25, 2011

2/25/11 Report - Eisenhower Dollars Found and Heart & Royal Cobs To Be Auctioned

Eisenhower Dollars Found With Metal Detector.

Second coin included for size comparison. Just kidding. They are big coins.

I know this isn't the kind of coin you go out looking for, but hey! A dollar is a dollar. The Eisenhower dollar, made from 1971 - 1978, is unusual as there are not many US dollar coins that do not contain either silver or gold.

Actually some Eisenhower dollars were 40% silver, but you are not likely to find those in circulation. It's not totally impossible though. Strange things do happen. If you found one of those BU Eisenhower dollars, it would be worth around $10 in melt value. That is still not much of a treasure, but again, a dollar is a dollar. It all adds up - even the pennies. Someone said, "If you watch your pennies the dollars will take care of themselves." I agree with that.

Tim J. wrote in seconding some of my observations on Tesoro detectors. He also said as a result of one of my recent posts, he stopped and detected a couple of local parks not expecting much but was surprised to find good targets everywhere.

Don't assume that a place that looks obvious will not hold anything just because it looks so obvious that you might think it is worked out. And don't be surprised if you find something old or valuable in such a place. Sometimes very good things are found in very surprising places.

There were a couple of vacant lots close to where I used to live where carnivals and fairs were held every year. I always looked forward to hunting those places the morning after the carnival left. It was mostly small change, but you would pick up a lot of it in a hurry. Most of it was laying right on top of the ground. It was always fun. Sometimes you just need to do something a little different.

A day or two ago I mentioned the upcoming SedwickCoins auction that will begin on April 26. I hear it will include a nice collection of hearts and royal cobs.

Heart-shaped cobs were made mostly at Potosi. They were made as votives, or as some people think, as rewards. They often have a hole so the cob could be worn as a pendant.

Of course you know what royals are.

Here is a link to read more about the auction.

And here is a helpful tip from Kovels Komments. A $10 auction bid brought over $60,000 to a Texas couple. They bought 11 boxes of old textbooks for $10 at a Texas auction. When examining the books at home, they found an old paper dollar. It was not a modern copy but a real Republic of Texas Exchequer note for 25 cents. It was hand-signed by Sam Houston, President of the Republic of Texas. The bill, dated May 1, 1843, sold at a Heritage auction in Dallas early in 2011 for $63,250. We learned early in our years of appraising estates that people hide all sorts of things in books--money, old trade cards, photographs, letters, stock certificates, and other flat pieces of paper used as bookmarks. Sometimes the book is hollowed out so jewelry can be hidden. Other favorite hiding spots are drapery hems, the back of paintings, inside the piano, under the mattress, and even in the freezer.

I wrote an article for a Western and Eastern Treasures Magazine years ago suggesting checking old books for money, old photographs, autographs an valuable papers.

Gold closed at $1415 yesterday. Up again from recent declines.

Here is the link to find out what is causing the price of gold to soar again.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is out of the south today. The seas will be decreasing. The predicted seven foot seas that were predicted for Wednesday are not as high now. I've pointe out time and time again that that often happens with the surf web site predictions. So often when a nice increase is predicted a week or so in advance, the predicted peak decreases as the time grows closer. I wish they would fix their prediction models. There is definitely a systematic error that needs fixed.

I haven't given up on next week totally yet, but it doesn't look as promising now as it did a day ago. Hopefully we'll get a surprise in the other direction.

Right now treasure beach hunting conditions are not good at all. Hopefully the earlier predicted seven foot seas will show up next week.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, February 24, 2011

2/24/11 Report - Hope on the Horizon

Stump on a Treasure Coast Beach Yesterday.

I use this stump as an indicator of the level of sand on this beach. Many beaches have stumps or rocks or pilings that you can use to judge the level of sand on the beach. You can even mark them if you want a more precise indication.

This stump showed me that there was nearly two additional feet of sand over this spot as compared to when it was eroded a few weeks ago.

That by itself indicates a lower probability of finding old items here, especially old silver or gold coins. Of course, you might still be able to find some lighter things.

North of this stump there were some nice piles of shells containing fossils and lighter materials such as pot shards and sea glass.

Remains of Very Nice Steel and Silver Vikin Sword.

That is really old.

One reader of this blog reported that they are pumping sand from the inlet onto the beach south of Jupiter Inlet. Check out the Jupiter Inlet web cam for pictures.

The same weather that has been making for difficult hunting on the Treasure Coast beaches has allowed the Magruder and Dare to spend a lot of time on the trail of the Atocha this February. 23 silver coins have been found so far and about 125,000 are still missing.

What appears to be one of the oldest human skulls ever discovered in the Americas was found in an underwater cave in Mexico. This web site shows some very nice photos of divers in this really neat sink hole. What a dream place to hunt!

Here is the link.

Underwater springs like those up in North Florida have a lot of interesting things in them.

And here is a neat video showing what turned up after a farmer noticed a pointed rock sticking out of the ground. It turned out to be the tip of the iceberg, or more accurately, the tip of a whole complex of monuments in Turkey.

Who knows what is under the ground you walk over everyday? That is another hint to hunt places besides the same old beach spots.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind has switched and is now coming out of the northeast, and the prediction is that the seas will be up to around 4.5 feet later on Thursday. That could cause a little improvement, or it could make things worse. My guess at this point would be that it won't change much at all.

The best thing I've seen in a while is the seven foot seas predicted for next Wednesday. We haven't seen anything that big all year. Unfortunately the surf sites are often wrong when predicting big seas that far in advance, but if that prediction holds up we could finally see some significant improvment in beach hunting conditions on the Treasure Coast.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2/23/11 Report - Using Multiple Detectors To Clean Out a Spot

Small Platinum Diamond Ring Metal Detector Find.

I've shown this one before, but it fits my topic today.

I can still recall the nice soft steady signal this ring gave.

Practice detecting different types of objects enough and you will learn to recognize what the signal is telling you.

There is currently an unusual number of 1715 Fleet items for sale on eBay. Everything from galley bricks to cobs to gold chains. I don't know why but it seems that a few investors, salvers and hunters have decided to sell their items on eBay.

I personally would rather buy from the upcoming SedwickCoins auction. Anyhow you might like to browse those items on eBay. Most provide decent photos. And some are displayed very nicely if you want to get some ideas about displaying items.

When you are out on the beach and find a particularly promising spot, maybe a place that has aready yielded a good number of targets, it is often a good idea to cover the same spot two or three times. Cover it at least as many times as you continue to find things and then a couple more for good measure.

Spending extra time on a good spot is often a better idea than covering a lot of ground that hasn't really shown any promise. When you go back over the same ground, try using another type of detector after you have pretty much worked the spot out with the first detector. Maybe switch to a PI detector. I think you'll be surprised how often you'll find things that were missed before.

It seems that when there are a lot of surface targets, it is natural that you'll get the good loud ones first. But when there are a number of loud targets, you
won't hear the softer signals of the deeper and better targets. After cleaning out the loud targets go back over the area listening closely for any softer signals.

If you've done your homework, you'll be able to pretty well identify signals from things like platinum or gold. They won't make the loudest signals, especially if they are deeper. But the thing to remember is that you're not as likely to notice them if there are still targets in the area that are creating loud signals. And trash that you leave can be masking good signals, so TAKE OUT THE TRASH!

I can't believe how much trash is left on some of the beaches that are hunted multiple times daily. It just doesn't make sense.

If I am going to work a particular beach very often, I am going to do my best to clean it up. Who wants to detect the same piece of trash every time they visit a beach? Not me. Remove it once and it is gone.

That isn't what I started to talk about today. What I started to talk about is detectors. There are detector fads and fashions like with cars or anything else. Twenty years ago most people on the Treasure Coast used Garrett detectors. I don't see many of them anymore. Now it seems I see mostly Minelab detectors.

One make of detector that I don't see very often on the Treasure Coast is Tesoro. And there are probably a few good reasons for that. For one, the Tesoro detectors that I've used aren't particularly good at working the wet sand. They do have several good features though that can be used to good advantage at times.

For one thing, I've always found Tesoro detectors to be especially good for detecting small items made of precious metals. If you want to find a gold chain, small gold ring or even very small cobs, such as a worn quarter real, Tesoro would not be a bad choice, especially if you are working the dry sand or totally submerged if using the underwater models.

Other common advantages of Tesoro detectors are the light weight, small control boxes, and relatively fast sweep speeds. They travel well. You can break them down and pack them compactly.

Here is a link to an online review that I agree with.

Remember, every type of detector has strengths and weaknesses. Switch detectors according to the situation. If you need to economize, get one good general-purpose detector that will do a lot of things acceptably well. Select that detector according to its strengths and weaknesses and what you most want to do.

Forecast and Conditions.

Well, the wind is from the west again. That has been a bit of a problem this year. What we hope for are northeasters, and what we've been getting with all of the fronts moving through this year is just the opposite. And it takes a while for all of that sand to erode. Then on top of all of that we have all of the sand that has been dumped on the beaches in the name of renourishment. Even though the renourishment sand doesn't actually stay on the beach very long, even when it gets washed into the ocean it continues to protect the beach somewhat. Add it all up and we just haven't had very good cob hunting conditons on the Treasure Coast beaches for quite a while.

If we don't get a change before April is over, then we are into summer conditions when nothing good usually happens unless there is a hurricane or a prolonged northeaster. The window of opportunity for the first half of this years is growing slimmer and slimmer for the Treasure Coast beach hunter who wants to find some good treasure coins. If you are willing to do some other types of hunting or go after some different types of targets, you'll have a better chance.

I'm sure some people are starting to think that all the cobs are gone, and others are starting to think about hanging it up, but that's the way it goes. There are times that it is good and there are times when it gets tough. Sometimes you have to wait it out - or better yet, expand your horizons in one way or another, all the time remaining alert to what is happening. For best results, you have to adapt to changing conditions.

The wind this morning is out of the north/northwest. Seas are calm. The low tide is nice and low.

The seas will remain calm for a few days so there is not much hope of conditions significantly changing.

Happy hunting,

Monday, February 21, 2011

2/21/11 Report - How It Was & Hidden Metal Detecting Spots & Lyons Share

One of the few advantages of age is knowing how things were - not just yesterday or the day before, but a few decades ago.

I recently mentioned how I liked detecting places that few others detect. One way to do that is to detect places that are no abandoned and over grown that no one would ever suspect was once a hub of activity.

You can find places like that in the most surprising place. Who would ever suspect, for example, that there are abandoned beaches on the 28,000 acres of Disney World. That is just not the type of thing you think of when you think of Disney World. Yet there is at least one abandoned swimming beach there that doesn't look like it was ever a swimming beach.

That beach is at the camp grounds. It used to be a well kept white sand swimming beach with life guard and all the amenities. Now it is an unused weedy place. I know about it because I detected there about 20 years ago when it was in use.

And within site of that is an island that was called, I think, Adventure Island, which was where they had animals in a relatively natural setting before Animal Kingdom was built. Now that little island is like a overgrown ghost town, with many of the structures still in place, yet hard to see because of the weeds, bushes and trees.

I'm just picking those two places as examples of places that might seem surprising. The fact is there are hidden detecting spots all over Florida, and many of them are in areas that you would never suspect.

One big tourist area in South Florida has a large park where many people detect. But the detectorists now go to what is the heavily traveled spot. In years past, the heavy traffic was actually on the other end of the park. You can see that on maps that go back to the early 20th Century, and you can tell that from the older coins that are found when there is erosion.

I just wanted to give you some examples, but will leave you to find those hidden detecting spots around the Treasure Coast.

Bill P. sent in an interesting tip for treating iron artifacts. Here it is.

A number of years ago a friend gave me a small cannon ball or large grape shot that was a saltwater recovery. It was a rusty mess but was told I could "preserve" it by "cooking it in motor oil. With nothing to lose, I tried it. I filled a pot about 3 inches deep with motor oil and heated it with a hot plate being careful not to get it hot enough to boil. I let it cook for a couple of days, adding oil when needed. After taking it out I had to let it sit for weeks as it absorbed the oil. I eventually painted it with black spray paint to seal it. It has a couple places that have flaked off, but it has been 11 or 12 years and it still looks decent. I suppose if I cooked it longer it might totally preserve it but for my first and only try, I would say it was a success.

Thanks for the tip Bill.

You might want to test this out yourself.

I just discovered an interesting document discussing some of the early ventures of the Spanish in the New World, especially those of Pedro Menendez. The document is the doctoral dissertation of Eugene Lyons, whose work in the Spanish Archives helped to locate and identify some of the most famous Spanish treasure wrecks.

Being a doctoral dissertation, you will find plenty of detail, which may or may not be of interest to you. There is mention of shipwrecks, Indians, and all sorts of things of interest to the archaeologist, historian and serious beachcomber.

Here is the link if you are interested in exploring the dissertation.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is out of the south. That usually means light materials piling up on the beach front, but no very significant improvement to detecting conditions.

There is one very nice low tide coming up later today.

Conditions are poor and will remain so for a few days if the surf web sites predictions are correct.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, February 19, 2011

2/19/11 Report - Gold and Silver Purity & Artifacts

Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Metal Detector Find.Silver Bracelet Found on Treasure Coast Shipwreck Beach.

I showed this bracelet back in October of 2010. As I often do, I was browsing artifacts to see what I could learn. The more familiarity you have with artifacts of different time periods, the easier it will be to identify and date finds.

I happened to run across a photo of a gold chain (shown below) from the Atocha that has a clasp that is similar to the one on the bracelet. The fact that they made clasps like that during the 18th century adds information that is consistent with the idea that the bracelet might have came from the 18th century shipwreck that lies opposite the beach where the bracelet was found.

The clasp on the bracelet definitely appears to be hand made. And it shows more deterioration than the gold clasp, as would be expected.

Clasp of Gold Chain from Atocha.

You might already know how to calculate the value of your gold, but I was recently talking to some people that I thought would know this and they didn't. As a result, I thought I would pass this information along, even if a lot of you already know it.

24k (karat) gold is $100 percent gold. It is pure gold.

Most gold either has some impurities naturally or has some alloys added that dilutes the purity of the gold. You seldom find pure gold. Pure gold is very soft and alloys are added to make it harder (and cheaper), and sometimes alloys are added to change the color. With some practice you can learn to identify the approximate purity of gold without any tests, but if there are ways to test gold. One way is by using an acid test kit, that can be purchased at jewelry supply stores or other places.

Anyhow, what I wanted to say is if you know the karat value, you can calculate the value of your gold.

10K is 10/24 = 41.7% gold.
14K is 14/24 = 58.3% gold.
18K is 18/24 = 75.0% gold.
22K is 22/24 = 91.6% gold.

Most quality pieces of modern jewelry will be marked. Otherwise, if you lack an acid test kit, you can go to a jewelry store where they might test your gold for you free.

I've seen also lot of 9K gold lately for some reason. It seems to me that has been since the price of gold has increased, and therefore is probably just to make it cheaper.

Once you know the karat value and calculate the percentage of your item that is gold, then you can multiply the percent times the current spot price to get the value of your gold. If gold is at $1350 per oz. and your gold is 18K, multiply .75 times 1350 to get the value per oz. Then if you know how many ounces or fractions of an ounce you have, you can figure out the actual value of the gold.

Most gold buyers will give you a little less than the actual value. They want to make some money too, but don't take too much less. Find someone that will give you a good price.

You should also weight your item in grams and troy oz. before going to sell so you will have an idea of the weight of the item.

One error that many people make is when they see 14KP, for example, they think the P means the item is gold plated rather than pure gold. The P actually stands for "plum," not plated. 14K and 14KP, in general terms, means about the same thing.

To get a more complete explanation of plum, you can use this link.

When not having the markings or not trusting the markings, and when using an acid test kit, you'll have to scrape deep enough to get through the plating to make sure the item is not plated. You can tell "gold filled" items because the gold rubbing on the touch stone will have a milky appearance when tested.

By the way, some unscrupulous people will stamp items with the wrong karat ratings. So be careful not to simply accept the markings.

By the way, gold and precious metals are measured in Troy Ounces rather than the system we usually use to weigh groceries and the like, which are measured using what is called the avoirdupois system. There are 12 troy ounces per pound rather than the 16. As a result, an ounce of gold is actually heavier than an ounce of soup.

Gold is measured in Troy Ounces, so it is best to weigh precious metals on a scale that will give you the weight in Troy ounces.

What started out to be a very simple topic, has become a bit more complicated. That is the way it usually goes - the more you get into something the more complicated it becomes.

The silver and gold bars found on the Spanish galleons were marked for purity with what is sometimes called a "fineness" number, which was in the form of a Roman numeral expressing the purity as a fraction, with 100% pure gold or silver being 2400 of 2400. 75% gold or silver would be 1800(in Roman numerals)of 2400.

Forecast and Conditions.

The weather is simply beautiful. Just a touch of chill in the morning.

The wind is out of the northwest and the seas relatively calm. I would expect no change in conditions. Seas will be around 2.5 feet throughout the weekend. That is nothing that will change anything much.

Happy Detecting,

Friday, February 18, 2011

2/18/11 Report - Full Moon High Tides & Fake Cob Resources

Typical Treasure Coast Beach This Morning

The newest TV rage seems to be all of those shows about antiques, pickers, auctions and the like. If you watch those shows, you know how much some people have stored away in all types of odd places. I just ran across a story where removal men found a cache of coins in an old oven. Other things that were found in the estate of the deceased history teacher included ingots, sovereigns, fossils, Neolithic and Bronze Age arrow heads, arms and armour and medieval manuscripts. and a World War II bomb, grenade and a German gas canister that caused the bomb squad to be brought in. It seems he had a bit of everything.

Here is the link to the original story.

Sometimes I mention or show Spanish Colonial coins that are being sold on eBay. I've also mentioned how many fakes there are and how careful you have to be. I don't really recommend buying treasure coins on eBay unless you really know what you are doing. If you do decide to buy coins on eBay you might want to check out some of the following resources that can help you avoid mistakes.

Coin Forgery eBay.
Fake Ancient Coin Reports and Discussion
Forvm Ancient Coins.
Fake Ancient Coin Reports

Here is the link to the article where I found these resources. It provides more detail on all of those resources.

After showing some spikes recently, I received some additional questions about how to treat such things. One of the best resources for information on cleaning and conserving nautical artifacts is the following.

You will find information on how to treat all kinds of materials in this manual.

Unfortunately conservation of such materials is not always simple, but you have to do it right if you don't want your finds to deteriorate over time.

The same thing is a problem in museums where things were stored before so much was known about the need for proper conservation.

Conditions and Forecast.

Beach conditions remain poor for finding shipwreck cobs and treasure coins on the beach. I saw a lot of seaweed on the beaches. That is a bad sign that tells you that light materials, including sand, are building up on the beach.

There weren't any shells or shell piles, although I did find one piece of a stray pot shard.

Even though the water levels got pretty high at the last high tide, it wasn't high enough to hit the back dunes.

Full Moon Last Night - Tide Mover.

(Its hard to get a good full moon photo.)

The one good thing about calm seas that build beaches, is that the water is often calm enough for shallow water detecting.

Remember when the sand is building at one place, it is leaving another. Where you want to be is where the sand just left.

The full moon scrambles my brain too. It makes me creative but messes with my writing.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, February 17, 2011

2/17/11 Report - Bulldozer Hoard Cob & More

Sebastian Bulldozer Hoard 8 Reale.

I noticed this cob from the Sebastian Bulldozer Hoard for sale on eBay.

This is a reminder that treasure coins can be found at other places than the ocean and beach.

While the water level on local waterways is down, it would be a good time to explore the banks of some of our waterways.

I think I have the answer to the Juno Beach pole mystery. David S. says, We see wrecked Haitian boats in the Bahamas and they have masts and boom that look just like the photos you posted. They are made up of natural timbers that are mostly straight but not machine milled and have iron fasteners.
One time I saw a bottle tied into the top of a mast on a wrecked boat like it was an offering to the Gods of winds and waves. Or perhaps a drink for the last guy left as the boat goes down?

Thanks David, I think you got it.

Odyssey Marine's SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure Exhibit will be on display at the Science Museum in Sarasota Florida on March 3, 2011. The exhibit is a multi-media travelling exhibit that will be open to the public at G.WIZ – The Science Museum in Sarasota.

If you are in the area, you might want to see that.

Here is the link for more information.

"Odyssey and Spain are battling in U.S. courts for ownership of sunken treasure found in 2007. The U.S. government filed a "friend of the court" brief in the case in support of Spain. Some Florida lawmakers are urging the US to side with Odyssey rather than Spain. Good for them.

By the way, Odyssey Marine stock has been doing well over the past few months. It is trading at well over $3.00 per share. That is better than I would have expected and not a bad investment if you bought a few months ago.

I had some questions about the spikes and conserving items, particularly iron. A lot of things in the past were poorly conserved and are falling apart. If you go past the park across from the Fort Pierce police station you'll see some of the old cannons and how they deteriorated.

On the east side of A1A as you go north of Pepper Park you'll see an old anchor on the east side of the road up by the condominiums and trailer park on the west side of A1A. Does anyone know what wreck that came from?

One lady bought a shoebox full of coins and medals for $5 at a church flea market and struck gold. The box contained three ounces of gold in the form of a distinctive medal that was presented in 1928 to Charles M. Schwab.

Here is the link for more of that story.

Coins recovered from the 1846 Gulf of Mexico shipwreck of the SS New York included some of the finest Southern branch mint gold coins and a nearly complete set of Bust half dollars. The side-wheel steamer was found in about 60 feet of water.

Here is the link to that story.

Don't forget there was steamship service down the Indian River. I'm sure there are some things to be found around where the old docks and service points were.

Conditions and Forecast.

Not much has changed. The wind is now out of the southeast and the seas around four feet. The surf web sites are predicting decreasing seas for the next few days.

Conditions for finding treasure coins on the Treasure Coast treasure beaches remain poor. Yet some interesting things can still be found in the low tide areas.

As I already mentioned, you might want to explore some of the local waterways while water levels are low.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2/16/11 Report - Spikes Recently Found on Treasure Coast Beaches

Dug Encrusted Object Recently Found by Metal Detector on a Treasure Coast Shipwreck Beach

This was found two or three days ago. I didn't know what it was so I started cleaning it. The small part that wasn't crusted over (middle of the object in the photo) led me to believe that it was probably something other than a spike.

I wasn't really expecting to find anything identifiable under all of that rust, but decided to clean it anyway.

Below you will see a photo of the same item after it was cleaned.

The first thing I did was to knock off as much of the sand/shell concretion as I could while being very careful to not damage the item.

After that I used a combination of muriatic acid and electrolysis.

This is the same item I showed yesterday in the photo labeled Rust Soup.

Now that the item is cleaned, it can easily be identified. Notice the piece of wood adhering to the spike. I tried to make sure that I didn't knock that off. That is a nice detail but one that totally fooled me before the spike was cleaned.

Same Object After Cleaning.

The sand and shell crust would create a barrier to treatment by muriatic acid or electrolysis. I think it is generally a good idea to carefully remove crusts like this mechanically before using other cleaning methods, but utmost care should be exercised to prevent scratching or damaging the object. In this case a scratch is no big deal, but you sometimes don't know how important that will be until you have it cleaned enough to know what you are dealing with.

A wire brush, dental pic, water nozzle, or tooth brush can all be useful. I like to use instruments that allow you to feel the amount of pressure being applied and how the crust is responding.

After the bulk of the crust is removed, you can then use acid or electrolysis or whatever method is most appropriate. Definitely consider the type of material and how fragile the object is.

Some items should probably not be cleaned - especially if you don't really know what you are doing. And some might make a better display in their original condition if they won't continue to deteriorate. Don't automatically assume that all dug items should be cleaned.

Another Similar Spike.

Here is another very similar spike that was found in about the same area around the same time. This spike is also broken but doesn't have the head. This one is in more fragile condition. It will take more care to clean. It also has some attached wood that I wouldn't want to knock off. Only some of the crust has been removed so far.

A sunken 19th Century ship was found in lake Erie. They are thinking of raising it and relocating it to an underwater aquarium where it could be viewed by the public. That would be different.

The cold fresh water kept the wreck in remarkable condition.

Here is the link to the entire story.

I always enjoyed detecting the lakes up north. The coins generally come out in very nice condition. The silver US coins would often have a nice blue patina.

Concerning the identity of the large wood object found at Juno Beach that I posted a few days ago, the majority opinion is mast.

The majority opinion on the small copper object I've been showing is lid for something like a jewelry box.

Conditions and Forecast.

Conditions remain the same - poor for finding cobs and other treasure coina, but as I've been showing, not impossible for finding some types of shipwreck artifacts.

The wind is now out of the southeast again. The surf web sites are now predicting that the seas will only reach about four feet later today and then decrease again over the next few days. That doesn't suggest much of a change.

I'm just hoping for a little well-placed erosion so I can remove some of those deeper objects that I haven't been able to dig out yet.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2/15/11 Report - Cleaning Objects

Rust Soup.

I've found that plastic ice cream containers are good containers for doing electrolysis on small items. They come in a variety of shapes. I find the rectangular shaped ones like this one most useful.

You can find instructions on the web on how to create and use an electrolysis system.

Electrolysis is not the best method for everything, so study a bit before deciding to use electrolysis. It can severely damage some items. I would not use electrolysis on nice coins for example.

One of my first experiments with electrolysis was with a Buffalo nickle. I damaged it pretty well. It was no big deal, but be careful, and do your first experiments on things that don't matter.

You might want to look at Bill's coin cleaning instructions in my treasure reference link list. Bill tells how to use muriatic acid to clean treasure coins.

Some coins should not be cleaned at all, so again, study before proceeding.

Yesterday I showed a copper object that I needed help in identifying. I cleaned it and got some better photos. Here they are.

The item in the rust soup above turned out to be a spike. I'll show it when it gets cleaned better. It was found not far from the unidentified copper object on the same day.

I thought I was going to show a video today, but that got more complicated and time consuming than I had time for. Hopefully I'll get that mastered some other time.

People sometimes only think of gold or silver coins when they think of treasure, but relics and artifacts can be interesting too. For some, they are more interesting than coins. They can tell something about the daily life of the people who once owned and used them.

I noticed this set of nails for sale on eBay. They already have a bid of $25 and haven't been listed very long. I bet some people have found old nails like this and thrown them away. That would be a shame. One thing I try to do in this blog is provide some education about such things. People need to be aware of the possible value and interest of the things they might find.

Nails From Whydah for Sale on EBay.

The value of these nails undoubtedly comes in part from the fact they were found on a famous shipwreck - The Whydah, which sunk in 1718, and the seller says is, "... the only known pirate wreck on the us mainland."

My main point here is learn to recognize a broad range of the various types of artifacts that you might see on a beach. The more you learn about things like this, the better chance you have of being successful. Items like these can provide information and clues that will lead you to other finds.

Forecast and Conditions.

As I've bemoaned, conditions are poor. Yesterday I expected to dig up some things I detected on another day but couldn't get to. Well they were even deeper yesterday so they remain to be dug some other time when conditions improve.

The wind is out of the north/northeast today and the seas remain calm. Tomorrow the seas are going to increase to 5.5 feet. That could stir things up a bit. At least that is what I'm hoping.

We'll see.

Happy hunting, cleaning, examining, and identifying.

Sheeesh. How do people ever find time to get bored?

Monday, February 14, 2011

2/14/11 Valentine's Day Report - Copper Object and Conditions Downgrade

Same Beach That I Showed Yesterday When It Was cut.

Friday there was the beginning of a cut on this beach. Sunday it was cut more. The cut was then two feet or more,as I showed yesterday. Today it is filled in again. The remains of the cut are only about six inches now.

That is what happens. Sometimes a cut will only last a couple of hours before the wind changes and the cut disappears. We just haven't had very good conditions hardly at all this winter.

As a result I'm downgrading my conditions rating back to a 1 (poor) again.

The other beaches that I saw this morning were also building again.

Pepper Park This Morning.

It wasn't any good here either.

You need patience these days.

Sometime it will change. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

I was thinking this morning what I liked best. My favorite hunting is when I explore totally new places that I have never seen before, or when I hunt places that are not hunted by anyone else. Those are usually out of the way places that are hidden in some way and not known to be good spots for detecting.

Some of those spots are my absolute favorites. And some of them are in places where there are many detectorists but for some reason those spots remain overlooked. There usually is a reason they are overlooked. Some of them are abandoned. Some of them are hard to get to or hard to detect for any of a variety of reasons. And some of them just don't look like they would be any good.

It is surprising that there are places like that left, but there are. Everybody seems to hit the same old spots over and over again. It takes a little investment to find those other places. You'll have to invest some time and experience a lot of failure before you find them, but when you do find one of those places it is worth it. They might not always be the most productive spots, but they can be very productive, and are always fun to hunt.

Copper Object for ID.

As I've mentioned, I've been digging deep targets near the water's edge. This is one that I dug yesterday. I don't have any idea what it is yet and hoped someone would give me a clue.

It is roughly two inches across,thin concave copper, with at least three holes in the cap arranged in a triangle,and two cylindrical hinges at the top.

The rust towards the bottom of the item, seems to obscure a third hole.

On this side it appears that there were possibly some small items attached by rivets. At the top and in between the hinge joints, is a tab that is attached at the bottom, which it appears was movable between the hinges.

Well if you have any ideas what this might be, let me know. It was found in an areas where items of various ages are found.

Forecast and Conditions.

I already mentioned this. After seeing the beaches this morning, I had to drop my beach conditions rating back to a 1.

It looks like the seas will remain calm today and into tomorrow, beginning to increase later tomorrow and reaching five feet on Wednesday. With all the sand, not too much good will happen too quickly, but maybe things will work out to improve conditions a little again on Wednesday.

Here's hoping,

Friday, February 11, 2011

2/13/11 Report - Report Updated ***Conditions Upgrade***

*For Updated Conditions Report See Forecast and Conditions Section Below.*

Pull Tab Bracelet

If you are a teenage girl, you're probably not reading this, but if you are a teenage girl, you would probably already know about this object. It is a pull tab bracelet. And they have become the rage in some limited circles.

I just learned about them myself. It seems that actress Kristen Stewart, and actress in the vampire movie Twilight that was made in 2009 and now showing on one of Comcast's channels wore a bracelet like this, and so are some of the movie's followers.

They actually sell them at craft's places like this.

You can get instructions for making your own at this web site.

If you know someone that has too much time on their hands, you can save your pull tabs and let them make bracelets.

It goes to show once again that one man's trash is another man's treasure.

By the way, you don't often find those older pull tabs that looked something like obese upside down exclamation points. I've found a few strands of them. They were bent to make interlocking strands. You've heard of soldier art, I think that was drunk art.

I did dig one of those old tabs up this week. Can you believe I'm talking about old pull tabs? In a way it seems fitting. Every detectorist that has been at it for any length of time has a relationship of some sort with pull tabs. I guess someday they'll be artifacts.

Did I ever show the Sterling silver pull-tab that I have? I don't remember.

I do like to find ways to make something useful out of the junk I dig. I'm usually not very successful at that though. Some things can be cleaned up and brought back to life as home decor.

Enough of the pull tab talk.

Indian Shell Tools.

Here are a couple Indian artifacts. The top is said by experts to be s haft scraper. Notice the groove on the upper right side of the top object.

The second is said to be a punch.

I can find these things but don't really know much about Indian artifacts.

It's almost Valentines Day, so you need to go out and find someone a nice present.

Engineers working near Candlestick Park drilled deep into the ground for soil samples and pulled up chunks of wood that turned out to be from a flat-bottomed scow schooner that was one of hundreds that moved goods around the bay after the gold rush.

"... as excavators clawed at the bottom of the trench, archaeologist Nick Longo noticed an abrupt change in soil color - red fill dirt giving way to shells and dark beach sand. Then a wooden beam and a hunk of metal emerged."

This is a good opportunity to remind you to pay attention to the various layers that you dig through when digging on the beach. That information can be very helpful. Some layers will be productive and others not.

The past few weeks on the Treasure Coast there have been a few distinct layers near the surface of most treasure coast beaches. Most of the items I've been digging lately are pretty deep and laying at the top of a shell layer down near the water table. On top of that, you'll usually see two or more layers of sand, and sometimes another layer or two of shells. These layers are obviously created as the beaches erode and then build again.

I'm also convinced that there are wrecks buried under some of the Treasure Coast beaches, and if you were able to remove enough sand you could find them. As it is, we'll just have to wait for time and erosion to eventually expose them. that may never happen if they keep on dumping new sand on the beaches.

Here is the link if you are interested in reading more about the San Francisco discovery that I mentioned above.

Read more:

If you take a look at the Daily Jupiter Beach Photos link that is in my Treasure Link list you can see the new sand being dumped by Jupiter Inlet.

Forecast and Conditions.

We've been having some pretty gusty winds lately. The wind is out of the north. I would expect some action somewhere.

Before the wind picked up this was about the best I could find, and it isn't much. Nothing really. Very insignificant with all of that mush in front.


The above beach now looks like the following as of Sunday after the low tide.

The cuts have increased to about two feet.

As a result I am upgrading my conditions rating to a 2 on my Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Conditions Rating Scale.

This weekends wind actually did a some good. Hopefully the trend will continue even with the decreasing seas.

Those north winds can do some good even when the seas are relatively calm.

******** End of update************

The seas will be decreasing today and be quite calm for the next couple of days before increasing a little again on Wednesday.

I'm not expecting much improvement, but will be watching for any possible slight improvement.

I've been doing some inland hunting lately. That is fun too.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

2/11/11 Report - One Whale of a Gold Nugget

100 Oz. Gold Nugget.

A 100 oz. gold nugget was found with a metal detector and will be auctioned. The expected price is over $130,000.

Here is the video.

Nothing much prettier than a big raw gold nugget.

The Atocha, Santa margarita, and the Rosario are three of the eight Spanish ships lost during the hurricane of 1622. The other five still guard their treasures.

Before long the "Dare," which has been testing out new survey equipment in the calmer waters down south, will be ready to begin the search of for deep water wreck code-named "Lost Merchant." The Mel Fisher organization says, "Key West weather is not a good indicator of weather in north Florida, so we need to wait a little longer for a good weather window." After studying historical data they figure the weather should calm down enough in North Florida to begin the search for the Lost Merchant in March.

Treasure Hunting in the ocean and on the beaches is heavily dependent upon the prevailing conditions. I pointed out in a recent post that keeping records can be helpful. Here is one example.

I've also mentioned that for hunting treasure coins on the Treasure Coast beaches, my best months have been November through February, with October, March and April being not quite as good. Typically the summer months are poor unless there is a hurricane or prolonged northeaster. That is different from deep water salvage work, where you want calm seas.

I've found that the best beach and shallow water hunting is during periods of rough seas when the sand is being moved around. Of course, shallow water hunting can be difficult during rough seas, but it can also be productive when you can do it.

Site of original lighthouse on Sapelo Island has been found.

Here is the link to that story.

A sperm whale sank a whaling ship commanded by George Pollard. That was the inspiration for the novel Moby-Dick.

Pollard commanded another whaler after the whale attack, and that ship was lost on a coral reef during a storm.

Marine archaeologists have found the second vessel which sank in 1823.

Here is the link to that story.

They've found a nice lot of artifacts from that ship.

Forecast and Conditions.

I went out to take a look at the beaches this morning. The air was nice and cool, but I didn't find any beaches that looked much good. Most were building. Sand was piling up everywhere.

One spot did have some scalloping and very small cuts. Nothing to get excited about.

The winter conditions have been generally poor for finding shipwreck cobs on the Treasure Coast and remain so. It has been an unusually poor year. Maybe the summer will be unusually good. March and April last year turned up some 1715 Fleet cobs on the Treasure Coast beaches.

I'd like to find some space big debris. Boy do I have a picture to show you. Sometime I'll get around to it.

Happy hunting,

2/10/11 Report - Titanium Finds.

1 Oz. Titanium Bullion Bar.

A bar like this can be purchased for a little under $7.00 at current prices.

Things fall from the sky all the time. I saw a TV show the other day where a meteor fell in a small town and everyone was running around picking up the pieces and selling them to collectors who came to town to buy the pieces. Some people were getting thousands of dollars for the pieces that they found.

But were you aware of the range of space debris that has been found and can be found? I wasn't. Occasionally some big identifiable structures fall to earth when pieces of satellites or rockets return to earth.

Here is a fascinating article that shows a bunch of different types of space debris that has been found, and some of it is really fantastic.

And here are photos of a couple of large pieces of the Challenger that were found along the beach.

Next time you find a metal sphere on the beach, you might think twice about what it might be. It might be from outer space instead of the ocean.

I've received a number of reports of people finding pieces of titanium from the Challenger space shuttle on the Treasure Coast this year. Here is one that I found a couple of days ago.

If you want to know how to identify titanium, here is a web site that tells how to do it.

There are other reasons to be able to identify titanium these days. Titanium is used for a lot of applications. Everything from wheelchairs and bicycles to wedding rings.

That's right. Titanium is being used in jewelry. If you find a ring that doesn't test gold or silver, it might be titanium.

I found a large man's ring made of titanium on the Treasure Coast beach a couple of weeks ago.

Also, did you know that Ballard used a bathyscaph made of titanium to explore the Titanic? He did.

Titanium isn't a very expensive metal. You can find current prices online.

Since it is just a bit heavier than aluminum it is found with lighter materials such as aluminum rather than with silver and gold.

Since titanium is being used more in jewelry now and since it has been showing up on the beaches in other forms, I thought I'd spend some time making sure you know something about it.

I'd still like to hear comments on the mystery object I showed yesterday.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is from the west today and the seas are beginning to build a little. Although I don't expect conditions to improver much, the seas are going to increase to around 4.5 feet tomorrow, which should help stir things up a bit.

Happy hunting.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2/9/11 Report - Unidentified Artifacts & Around the Treasure Coast

Artifacts Dug at Late 18th Century Battle Site.

For some reason this photo rotated 90 degrees and I couldn't get it straightened out.

Dead fish are stinking up Sebastian Inlet State Park. I don't think they know what killed the fish. A similar thing happened in the Amazon River.

For more on the Sebastian Inlet story, here is the link.

And the St. Lucie Inlet has been declared an emergency as sand continues to build up making it hard for even small boats to safely navigate.

I just read an article that mentions how important play is in all cultures and how archaeologists often misinterpret such things. It reminded me of the National Geographic article in which an archaeologist claimed a dug pipe was a slave's pipe since it was dug in an area where there were slave dwellings. It turned out that the supposed "slave pipe" was actually a Cracker Jack prize of much more recent vintage. That one always amuses me, but I suppose it is not uncommon for toys to be misidentified.

Just think about it, when you dig up an unidentified item, you, or should I say I, tend to think about what it could possibly be used for. Serious utilitarian purposes are the first thing that I consider. I don't know that I think about things that are simply toys or even decorative. I first think of utilitarian functions that the object might serve.

If you look around your house, a large number of items have no real utilitarian purpose. There are many things that are decorative or for amusement. I can see how someone digging up these things in a couple of centuries might easily misinterpret how some of these things were used.

Here is the link to the article on playful artifacts.

That article reminded me of an artifact that I found a number of years ago on an 18th Century battlefield. It was found along with musket balls, military buttons, and other military objects. I thought for a long time that it was probably a finial. I don't think that now. Now I believe it is what is sometimes called soldier art.

The Item I am talking about is the one at the top left of the above photo. It is made of lead and ornately carved. I think it is a miniature carving of a cannon instead of a finial, but I don't know. It was found right beside a real cannon, which of course proves nothing.

Unfortunately my photo is not very good, but I think you can see most of the detail, including the hole for the cannon and a lot of the ornate carving.

Tilin F. submitted the following photos of a very interesting item that was found on Juno Beach. It is 24 feet long.

I'm not saying what it is yet because I want to get your ideas.

Let me know what you think this might be if you have any idea at all.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is from the east today. The sea is still calm. There still isn't much change expected except for Saturday when the seas will be up to around 4.5 feet. The surf sites predict that the increase will only be for that one day and then return to calm again.

Someday things will improve. It has been a long time, and it is long overdue.

Happy hunting,

Monday, February 7, 2011

2/8/11 Report - Choosing a Metal Detector & More

One Typical Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

There is a lot of sand out there.

I don't talk too much about detector technology in this blog. I know there are differences, and I know that some are vastly superior to others even though most detectors made by any of the major manufacturers will do a satisfactory job of doing what they were made to do.

The question is then, "Do you have a detector that will do well what you really want to do."

What do you want to do? Do you have defined goals? Or do you go out and look for whatever might pop up?

Detectors are different. Some are particularly good for one thing and others for other things. It is not always easy to know exactly how good an advertised detector is for a particular task. Advertisements don't give you the most detailed information. And it usually takes quite a while to really get to know a detector and all of its strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies.

If you already have a detector, you should spend time just playing with it to explore what happens under different circumstances when using different settings and targets.

I have one detector that is about thirty years old that I still use when the situation is right. It is very good for some purposes.

Some of the most popular detectors today are not very good at some things and have what I consider some very serious weaknesses. You can often mitigate those weaknesses if you really know the detector very well. But for the absolute best results, you definitely need to know your detector.

What got me started on this topic today is an ad that I read. It was an ad published by one of the major mail-order detector retailers. The ad was for the Technetics G2.

Here is what the ad said.

The New G2 is unique among gold prospecting metal detectors for its combination of high sensitivity to small gold nuggets and its versatile function as an all-purpose treasure detector.

The controls and features are tailored to gold prospecting, including a sophisticated ground balancing system, separate control over signal gain and threshold, and a unique discrimination control system. These features also make for a great relic-hunting detector. While the G2 makes for a highly competent coin-shooting detector, its user interface and features are not specifically designed lor this purpose. As a coin-shooter, you will notice that the G2 exhibits slightly lower sensitivity to high-conductivity coins, like a U.S.quarter; this is a result of its specialized design to emphasize sensitivity to small low conductivity metals like gold nuggets.

The new G2 with 19kHz is an extremely sensitive unit able to find the smallest gold and silver targets at extreme depths that other units have missed. The unit has the ability to find good targets in iron. It is superior to any detector made, even those selling for 2-3 times the price.

The G2 is made for nugget hunting and finding small gold nuggets. It sounds like that is what it would do best. Of course the detector manufacturers don't want to unnecessarily limit the possible number of buyers and say that it would also do well at relic hunting, which is probably true.

Manufacturers normally tell what their products are good for but seldom tell what they are not good for. It is commendable that the ad actually says that the detector is less sensitive to highly conductive coins.

There is probably a good reason for telling about the lower sensitivity to some coins in addition to honest disclosure. Many people test a metal detector by doing an air test with a coin such as a clad quarter regardless of what they really want to do with the detector. So the retailer and/or manufacturer, knowing that, is letting you know out front that if that is how you test this detector, it won't test out extremely well, but that is not what it was made for anyhow.

There are some important points to mention here. First, test your detector with the type of target that you want to focus on. Don't just pull out a clad quarter if you want to hunt gold nuggets or gold jewelry. Test a detector with the type of target you want to find.

You need to know what your primary target is and then select your detector and then set it for that type of target.

I've said before that if you want to find silver shipwreck cobs, use a silver cob to test and set your detector. If you don't have one, cut a piece of an old silver dime in quarters and use one slice of the dime to test your detector.

Silver cobs are often small, especially half and quarter reales. And you want to be able to detect the small ones. The larger ones are easy enough to detect if you are set up for the small ones.

Remember, it won't matter much if you miss some clad coins if you are targeting something else.

It is natural for manufacturers and retailers to advertise what their detectors do well. They are obviously trying to sell their products. Realize that they will tend to make their products sound as broadly appealing as possible without being down-right dishonest.

It is up to you to get the best information you can. Don't totally rely upon ads. And try to figure out what you really really want to find and what you are willing to give up to focus on that particular thing.

For a first detector, I recommend a good but inexpensive general-purpose detector. After you gain some good experience and you decide you need something else, then you will be better able to select a more specialized detector, and you will still have your first detector as a back up. If you get serious about detecting, it is good to have a back-up. You can occasionally have technical difficulties.

That reminds me of one poor lady that was hunting a treasure beach during very rough seas and lost here detector to the sea when a rogue wave took it. Talk about bad days.

I saw another ad for another make of gold detector that used almost the same wording that I quoted above for the G2. It was said to be unique too, and also said to be superior to any other detector.

On another topic, the site of the Lacy Hotel has been found. The Lacy Hotel is where the engineer and passengers of the Civil War locomotive were eating when The General was taken at the beginning of what was to become Great Locomotive Chase. Research and underground radar helped find the site.

Here is the link for more of that story.

Forecast and Conditions.

Not much new again and not any significant change in conditions unfortunately. Still a lot of sand on the beaches.

The wind is now out of the northwest and the seas are still calm. It looks like Saturday the seas will increase to four feet. That is something, but probably not enough.

Happy hunting.

2/7/2011 Report - Mystery Artifact, La Galga Shipwreck, & Artifact Conservation

Bronze Artifact Found with Metal Detector on a Treasure Coast Beach.

This item appears to be bronze. If was not broken, it would have a diameter of about four inches and maybe a very slight funnel shape. It has a good heavy fluted rim that varies from about 1/8 to 3/16 inches across. It is a little less than four inches long or deep. The metal on the end opposite the rim seems thinner.

When I first saw it I thought it might be a scupper. I've seen 1715 Fleet scuppers, but the ones I've seen are lead. I've read of scupper liners, but I don't know what they look like.

If you have any ideas what this might be, I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Congratulations to the Packers. I thought the Steelers did a great job this year even though most of the world is probably tired of them. They were supposed to come in third in their own division, but despite all of the suspensions, fines, injuries and everything, they managed to go to the Big One, and even though everyone was picking the Packers, they still made it close at the end.

The difference between winning and losing in athletics and treasure hunting is often a matter of inches. You can miss a TD pass by a matter of inches and you can miss a find of a lifetime by a matter of inches.

Skill is doing things in a way that improves the probability of success. Skill proves itself over the long term even though luck blows one way and then another from time to time. In the long term luck evens out.

I found a good digital book on conservation of artifacts. It is a very complete work that probably tells more than you will ever want to know. It is very technical too.

If you find something that you don't know how to treat, you will be able to find the answers in this book.

Here is the link to that book.

Knowing how to treat finds can be important. Often you can't see the information on coins or artifacts until they are at least partly cleaned. And if you find something, you want it to last. It is no fun to watch nice artifacts deteriorate.

The book above will tell you how to clean, treat and store all kinds of materials.

A North Carolina man thinks the Spanish wreck La Galga is buried in a marsh on Assateague Island. Despite his evidence, he is having trouble obtaining a permit to explore.

The Spanish say they have never abandoned any of their shipwrecks. That is easy to say, and it is also laugable.

Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is from the south and the seas are calm so conditions remain the same. There hasn't been a change for quite a while.

The surf web site is predicting calm seas for the next few days, so there is not much immeidate hope for any significant improvement in conditions.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, February 6, 2011

2/6/11 Report - Rill Cove Shipwreck & Moving Sand

4 Real From Rill Cove Wreck for Sale on EBay.

Artificial light can give a strange color to photographed items.

I ran across an interesting site concerning the "Rill Cove Wreck," sometimes referred to as the "Lizard Silver Wreck." It isn't a Treasure Coast wreck, but reading about it is instructive and provides information that anyone hunting the Treasure Coast beaches should know.

The wreck remains a bit of a mystery. What is known is that it was a 17th Century merchantman that wrecked in 1618.

The coins from this wreck are Philip II and III Mexico, Lima and Potosi cobs. The cob shown above was originally purchased from Sedwick Coins.

The web site says that the site of this wreck (the Rill Cove wreck) is one af the hardest in the area to work with enormous movements of sand so much so that the site is now totally unaccessible under no less than 20 feet of gravel and sand, surveys identified the extent of the site but soon the sand started to return and within a few months, it was necessary to dig a hole 50 feet in diameter and 15 feet deep to survey one square metre.

Here is the link if you want to read more of the article.

I talk about sand and it's movement a lot in this blog. One of the big differences between beach (and water) hunting when compared to hunting on stable dry land is the dynamic nature of the environment. Sand moves in the water almost constantly, and just slightly less on the beach.

Of course the front of the beach moves around the most. The sand on the very front of the beach moves almost as much as that in the water. Sometimes it moves more than the sand in the water, depending upon exactly where and how deep the sand is.

On the beach, the further back on the beach the coins are, the less they will be moved and exposed. It takes very high seas for the water to hit the back dunes in most places. Coins can remain buried in the dunes for decades or centuries before being washed out.

Where the waves hit the front beach with a lot of energy, there is a lot of churning and sifting. You can see that at different times, different types of items will be washed up onto the beach. Sometimes it will be small shells, sometimes rocks, sometimes sand and seaweed, and sometimes coins. You can tell a lot by watching what is being washed up and deposited.

Cobs don't just show up on the beach and then lay there for days, weeks, months or years. Items that wash up can disappear just as quickly as they appeared. Sometimes the open window is a matter of a few hours and sometimes weeks.

I've mentioned before one very good hole that I worked for two days and while I was working it, I saw a front move overhead. The wind changed and the next day when I went back to continue working that hole, where there was a target on every square foot of ground, it had all disappeared. It was that quick - going from more than I could dig to nothing.

That is one thing that caught my attention in the article about the Rill Cove Wreck. Discovery depends heavily upon the movement of sand and being in the right place at the right time. The Jupiter Wreck was discovered one morning when the life guard was out for his morning swim, looked down there was a cannon. He'd been in the same spot before, but this time the cannon had been uncovered.

Before that wreck site was being worked by salvage crews, the beach was giving cobs to a few detectorists that worked that frequently worked that beach. (Let me give a shout out to Dave who worked that beach back in the eighties and who I haven't seen for a number of years. While I'm giving shout-outs, I'll also send one out to Arkansas Bill, who used to travel around in his van and sometimes worked the Ft. Lauderdale beaches in the winter.)

I'm sure there are still wrecks that have not been discovered, simply because no one was at the right place at the right time. And I'm sure there are still good beach spots that are little known or unknown. And I'm sure that some of the dunes are protecting hoards that have not yet been discovered simply because they've been covered by tons of sand for at least the last few decades, if not centuries.

What I often say, and have said in this blog a few times before, is "follow the sand." The sand moves. When it moves, see what if anything it uncovered.

Forecast and Conditions.

Summer beach conditions persist. Unbelievable! I really didn't expect to see such a long period of calm seas this time of year.

The wind is still out of the west and the seas are still calm and will continue to remain calm for some time. It seems we are having a steady stream of fronts and west winds passing through. The low tides are still good and low.

Did anyone get down to work the cut at Juno?

Well, not much of anything to say other than we really need to see a strong northeaster.

Happy Super Bowl Day.

Friday, February 4, 2011

2/4/11 Report - Mexican Reales & Crystallized Shells and Fossils

A Guatemala 8 Reales That Sold for Over $35,000.

Photo from web site linked below.

A lot of Mexican coins did very well in the Stacks-Bowers numismatic auction held in January of 2011. The 4200 lots brought in a total of 7.86 million.

A Mexican 1823 MoJM "Hookneck Eagle" 8 Escudos in NGC AU-55 — the first gold coin of the Mexican Republic sold for $35,400.

A Guatemala 1854 A.E. 8 Reales certified AU-55 by NGC,said to be the only 8 Reales produced by Guatemala, sold for $70,800.

Other Mexican coins that did very well included a Proof 65 Pattern 50 Centavos that sold for $28,320, an extremely fine 1784 8 Escudos that sold for $35,400, and a
1860 Au-55 4 Escudos that sold for $30,680.

Here is the link for more of that story.

The bad thing about most shipwreck coins, especially silver, is that they usually aren't in very good condition.

The other day I started talking about non-metallic treasure that you can find on Treasure Coast beaches. You might not know about some of the things that are interesting and also can have some economic value.

Crystallized Shells.

Old shells can crystallize. You might know about the famous clam shells that are found at Ruck's Pit, which is up by Fort Drum. It is nationally know for the calcite fossil clam shells that are found there.

I think you can still visit the pit, pay a price and hunt for your own shells.

If you don't know about the calcite clam shells, you can search for them on eBay and learn more about them there, or you can find Ruck's Pit on the internet.

All types of old shells can cystalize and you can find nice examples on some of the Treasure Coast beaches where fossils are found.

Fossil Bone with Crystals Inside.

I've found a fair share of crystallized shells before, but here is something that I never saw before. It is a fossillized mammal bone with crystals inside.

I don't really know if it is really that unusual or if I am the only one that never seen it before. But in any case, I think it is interesting.

Same Fossil Bone.

As you can see there are a lot of things to look for on the beaches. I might show some more of this kind of thing in the future.

Forecast and Conditions.

There isn't much new to say here. Conditions haven't change for a while.

The wind is still out of the south/southeast and the seas are calm, and it looks like they will remain calm for several more days.

The low tides are really nice and low. That is one of the few positives I can mentinon.

I know from my email that some of you have been hitting the low tides and digging up some stuff.

Just added Friday evening: Tilin F. says there is a big cut down at Juno Beach

Happy hunting,