Friday, April 29, 2011

5/1/11 Report - 1715 Fleet Gold Escudos Bring Good Prices

1714 Mexican 8 Escudo From the 1715 Fleet

This gold escudo was one of two in the recent SedwickCoins auction that brought in bids of $13,000. The other was a Lima 8 escudo. Both of these high-priced cobs were 1715 Fleet coins from the Treasure Coast.

Nice finds if you are lucky enough to come across one during a day at the beach. It does happen once in a while.

On the low end of the spectrum for the same session were a couple of 2 escudos minted in Seville that brought in around $630. That is a big difference for gold escudos. The two lower priced cobs were minted in Seville. And as you would guess, they weren't as nice, but shipwreck cobs from the New World generally bring higher prices than those minted at Old World mints.

There were a few gold coins that brought in more than the high-priced 1715 Fleet gold cobs. One gold coin that brought a very high price in the auction was described as a Medellin, Colombia, 10 pesos, 1886/74, encapsulated NGC AU-53, extremely rare, finest known., which brought in a winning bid of $35,000.

We talk about the 1715 Fleet a lot, but there are other wrecks along the Treasure Coast that you should know about. One beach area known for the Pillar Dollars that occasionally appear on the beach is north of 510 about one third of a mile. It is a good long walk from the Wabasso beach access. The Spring of Whitby wreck is in that area, but it seems there are other intermingled wrecks in that area as well, including the Roberts, which sunk in 1810.

On another topic, a corroded sword was found south of Turtle Trail probably thirty or more years ago - I don't remember how long ago it was, but the vast majority of people that detect at Turtle Trail seem to go north. Nothing wrong with that, but a lot of good things have been found to the south as well.

The blog survey is accumulating more data. Don't forget to vote. It looks like the results could provide some interesting information.

Occasionally test your theories. A lot of people derive theories and end up incorrectly excluding a lot of good hunting area. For example, lets say your first few good finds were at one particular beach while you struck out a few times at another beach. You might start hunting only the beach where you found things in the past. That could be a big mistake. Beaches change. There are times when one beach produces and times when another will produce. Don't fall into the trap of too quickly jumping to conclusions based upon a few finds or a few failures. I believe that happens a lot.

Just the other day I spent some time checking a beach where I really didn't expect to find a thing, just to make sure my thinking was right. It was. But I have been surprised many times in the past and revised my thinking as a result. What you learn is often more important than any single find, because your knowledge can pay off over and over again.

When detecting in a trashy area, it is best to dig up everything. And I do mean everything. I've said this before, but a piece of trash can shield a good item.

If you depend upon discrimination, you could also miss important finds. Not all iron objects are trash. And any real trash can cause bad signals or confusing signals that can mask good signals. I've done tests on this before, and a detector, such as the Excalibur that I used for the test, will mask small cobs when iron objects are either near small cobs or directly over cobs, especially in discrimination mode.

One thing that I often recommend is experimenting with your detector. At first that might mean placing objects on the ground or burying objects different depths at home or on the beach and seeing how the detector reacts using various settings. More advanced testing would involve multiple targets closely spaced or even on top of each other. Some detectors will give you mixed signals when items of two different types are very close to each other, and with experience you can learn to identify both types of object from the signals. But that can take some experience.

The better you know your detector, the better off you will be. Experiment with it.

Always thoroughly clean out the test area first, whether you are at home, the beach or anywhere.

Also, the better you know a beach, the better off you will be. The main reason that I've been so slow to more thoroughly address the question of what criteria to use when sampling a beach, is that when I think of giving those criteria it becomes more complex than I can easily explain due to the fact that knowledge of the particular beach is often involved. For example, if I know a particular beach quickly accumulates certain types of targets under certain circumstances, when I sample that beach, the presence or absence of that type of target would be a single important sign that would quickly help me to make a decision about staying or moving on. Even in trying to explain that, I find myself starting to get into many different variables. That is the problem. I will however try to give the distilled basics someday soon though.

Treasure Coast Beach Conditions and Forecast.

One Typical Treasure Coast Beach Yesterday Afternoon.

Note the sand and shells pile up out front.

The wind is coming pretty much from the east now. The surf is actually a little rough in close to the shore. It looked like some sand was getting churned up. Loose sand and shells were still getting pushed up onto the beach everywhere I looked Saturday.

The ocean will remain at about four feet for until about Tuesday when it starts to slacken off. Conditions remain poor. I think there might still be the possibility of some artifacts and other old items being found in the low tide zone when the surf calms a bit. The low tides have been pretty low lately.

While it appears that many of the snow birds have gone home, there are still a good number of people visiting the Treasure Coast beaches right now.

Happy hunting,

4/29/11 Report - Front Moving Through Today

Layer of Sand and Shells Accumulated on Front of a Treasure Coast Beach.

This is pretty much the type of beach you'll see all along the Treasure Coast right now after the southeast winds.

More on beach conditions below.

The guys on the trail of the Atocha are having some luck. After the two-pound gold bar, now they just found an emerald ring. Looks like they are on a hot trail again.

A day or two ago I was talking about fake cobs and treasure coins and gave you a link to a database of fakes. The thing that set me off on that topic was an email with a photo that I received. The sender was wondering about the find shown immediately below.

As you can see, there are some red flags. But I'm never real confident when basing my judgments on photos alone. Photos can be misleading. Sometimes the coloring is off and other details can be misleading. I've seen a lot of photos of silver cobs on eBay where the lighting made the coin look more like gold than silver.

In any case, the following fake cob was recently found on one of our beaches.

Recently Found Fake Cob.

One thing that I noticed in the photos is what looks to me like the plating on the coin is pealing. Of course, genuine cobs would not be plated. Actually this fake looks like it reacted to the salt water pretty much like a zinc penny. It has a sand adhering very similar to what you would see on a zinc penny too. There are other things that don't look right on this one too.

The finder took my advice and took it to the Mel Fisher museum in Sebastian where they confirmed that this coin was a fake. Too bad.

You'll find the people at the local treasure museums to be very friendly and helpful. I often recommend that people take their finds to have an epert look at them. The people at the museum are generally interested and like to see what is being found on the beaches. Don't make a pest of yourself though. They do have other things to do and may be too busy at certain times.

In the past few days we saw a gold bar that was found on a hard bottom and a fake cob that was found on the beach, probably in new sand. Those things might tell you something. Gold works its way down to a hard bottom. Lighter objects, like this fake cob and zinc pennies, will sometimes come in with new sand.

Other Side of Same Fake.

Not only does the density of the object determine where it will end up but so will other surface characteristics and the size and shape of the object also determine where an object will end up.

A flat thin sheet of copper will often be washed up on a beach while a copper coin would not, for example. The thin sheet will offer more surface area and be more easily moved by the water than a copper coin made of the same type of copper. The copper coin will tend to lay flat and only present the rounded edge of the coin to resist the water. They will however, sometimes flip.

Watch how the water moves various objects at the waters edge.

The price of gold is absolutely wild today - up about $40 an ounce. The dollar continues to decline, which is why the price of gold continues to decrease. If this keeps up, the value of those green backs you work for won't be worth hardly anything. Think about that if you are someone who sells your gold whenever you find some.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

As you can see from the photo at the top of this blog, the beach conditions are not good. Sand and shells have accumulated on the front of the beach over the past few days and weeks.

I was going by Jensen Beach this morning and found one shell pile containing fossils. I entertained myself with that for a short while.

You can almost always find something interesting somewhere, but sometimes the good spots are rare, as they have been lately.

Renourished Beach by Fort Pierce Inlet.

As you can see the work seems to be done here. Notice the upper end where there is a little cliff - most likely totally unproductive. Also notice the accumulation of sea weed here.

About noon today the wind shifted and is now coming from the northwest instead of the southeast. It is actually blowing pretty good right now. I would expect to see a few small cuts scattered around a little later today, but only superficial cuts in the newly accumulated sand. With the amount of sand on the front beaches all around the Treasure Coast it would take more than that to create anything very good.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, April 28, 2011

4/28/11 Report - Two Pound Gold Bar & Various Other Stuff

Two Pound Gold Bar Found on the Trail of the Atocha on April 16

I mentioned this find in an earlier post and said I expected to get a picture of it. It has no markings and must have been smuggled.

Below is a part of the story of the find as told by diver Tim Meade who found the bar. (The photo and story was received by email from the Fisher organization.)

I finished my sweep around where the bedrock meets the berm. I didn’t have a single hit; I was re-tuning my detector to go across the bedrock, and I glanced over my left shoulder and saw about 4 inches of the bar sticking out of a solution hole. And I swear, it was glowing like neon green. I kept staring at it, and I had no idea what it was. I had seen gold underwater before, but I had no idea what this was. I grabbed my detector and I was going to poke it to see what it was and about two feet away from it the detector rang. I just dropped the detector, and my hand started shaking. And then it changed colors from green to gold! Then I swam over and I grabbed it and it started coming out of the solution hole and it kept coming and coming and coming and coming. When it came all the way out, I turned it once or twice in my hands and grabbed it.

Congratulations guys. Neat looking bar.

A heavy piece like that is going to work it's way down through the sand over time and end up on a hard surface under all of the sand. It is not going to get washed up on the beach or onto a sand bar.

I just added a new survey which should prove interesting. It asks where you have found your shipwreck cobs or treasure coins. Basically I've divided the beach into a five or six areas going from the edge of the water to the back dunes. Although I know that cobs have been found in all of those areas, I believe more have been found in one of those areas. I won't say which yet because I don't want to influence the results of the survey.

Thanks to one of the blog's readers for suggesting this question.

This Saturday there will be a big treasure hunting party where a lot of the guys (and probably gals too) will be gathering. I just wanted to give a big shout out to all who will be attending. Have a ton of fun.

Yesterday I talked about fake cobs after someone sent me a photo of a find and from the photo I thought it could possibly be a fake. I told the finder to take it to one of the museums where they could have someone look at it.

Sad to say it was a fake, but my advice proved good. The folks at the museum were helpful and gave their expert opinion. The folks at the museums on the Treasure Coast are good people - always helpful and friendly and willing to take a look at a find. I've also found the State of Florida people to be helpful too. So don't be afraid to contact the experts when you have a good reasonable question.

Gold and silver continue to increase. Or should I say the dollar continues to go down the drain.

If you've dug any Morgan dollars, you might be glad to know that the price of the lower quality Morgan's is doing very well. Some think too well. But isn't that what you would expect with the rapidly increasing price of silver?

Odyssey Marine stock is also doing very well. It hit above $3.95 yesterday, and in a few weeks has appreciated around 30%. Not bad. It seems the minerals exploration business helped them overcome some of the problems in the treasure business.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

I got a bit of a surprise yesterday. The wind picked up a bit in the afternoon and the seas were coming in from the southeast with more gusto than I had expected. There were whitecaps on the river.

The wind has decreased a bit for now and the river is smooth, but there is supposed to be a cool front coming. That means the wind will be shifting and coming in from the north for a short while. Unfortunately the seas are expected to only reach about four feet. As you know that isn't much and won't change conditions much.

I'd keep on checking the bathing beaches for modern jewelry and the low tide areas for coin holes and older junk with the hope of picking up a possible artifact of some sort.

May all your treasures be real.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

4/27/11 Report - Fake Treasure Coins Found on Treasure Coast Wreck Beaches

Two Fake Treasure Coins Found on Treasure Coast Wreck Beaches.

The one on the right was originally heavily encrusted, the other is almost as found. The one on the right is way too light for a treasure coin of the same size. Both would have been quickly identified as fakes by a simple acid test. You might not want to risk that though on a genuine coin.

Is there anything worse for a treasure hunter than hunting a wreck beach day after day and not finding a single treasure coin? I think the answer to that might be an emphatic yes. For those of you who have had the experience, isn't it worse to think you have found maybe your first treasure coin, only to find out later that it is fake. Not only a fake but a cheap fake made as a souvenir for tourists! It happens. And if you are not experienced you can be fooled - especially when you are out on the beach and see that treasure coin as it emerges from the sand in your scoop. To make it more difficult, it might obscured by encrustation.

Sad story, but I've found my share of fakes. The first was the worst because I was less experienced and it took me a while to figure out what was going on. Now I would quickly identify a lot of the fakes. Some are pretty good fakes though. Some are even made of real gold. But when you first see the emerging form of a treasure coin in your scoop, you might get excited for a few seconds even if it is a cheap fake. Then the reality settles in.

I've found a few fakes over the years. I'm not sure of the number right now, but I vividly remember that first one. I found it on the beach by the Jupiter inlet quite a few years ago. It was heavily encrusted. I took it home and painstakingly cleaned it. And I do mean painstakingly. I used a dental pick to remove grains of sand. Don't do that. There are better ways. But again, this was back when I knew even less.

Well, I cleaned it somewhat. I looked it up in the books that I had then - which were not nearly as good as the books that I now have. And the internet didn't have all of the information today. I don't think the internet even started yet, although I was on a world-wide computer network because of my work, but few other people were, and it wasn't a place where treasure hunters had any forums or web sites that - at least not that I knew of.

Well, the stupid thing looked like silver, but the design on it was of an escudo, so I was left wondering why the metal didn't match the design. I guess I didn't have my metals test kit yet either.

What I eventually learned (I don't remember exactly how) was that it was a base metal replica coin that was at one time plated with a gold-colored plating. You can imagine how disappointed I was to learn the truth of my first treasure coin after all of that.

There are a number of lessons there. First you should be aware that there are a lot of fakes out there, and they can commonly be found on the beach. To get an idea of how many fakes treasure coins there are, just browse eBay and you'll see tons of reproduction or replica treasure coins for sale. Or go to some of the beach souvenir spots, and you'll see a bunch of cheap fakes. There are tons and tons of them made.

Second, fake treasure coins vary widely in quality. Some are very cheap obvious fakes and others are more realistic looking. Some are even marked "COPY." But some that are marked are marked in such small print so that you need a magnifying glass to see that mark. I've seen one like that in a retail jewelers case mixed in with what appeared to be genuine cobs. And I saw another very convincing copy that was marked, but I didn't see the mark until inspecting the coin very closely for quite a while. It was in an area on the cob where both the cob's design and copy "mark" was very faint. Somebody really new how to comply with the law technically while making the mark very hard to see.

Besides some knowledge of what the real deal looks like, a metals test kit can be very useful tool. I think any serious detectorist should have a metals test kit of some sort. You might not want to do an acid test on a fine example of a genuine cob because you have to do a rubbing, which leaves a bit of the metal on the touchstone. There are other tools and ways to test metals. But I think you'll find a metals test kit useful for other things such as testing modern jewelry.

One thing I often recommend to detectorists when they have a find that they are not sure about, is to visit a museum and have experts personally view their find. They will do it. Call and ask first. Most of the people that are associated with the museums are happy to do it. Or, visit a good archaeology or detecting club such as the Treasure Coast Archaeological Society. They have experienced people that can help you properly identify finds.

People often send me photos, and I'm more than happy to see them and offer my comments, but I am not an expert and it is difficult to identify items from only a photograph. The Florida Museum of Natural History will tell you the same thing. They can tell a lot more about an item when they actually see and handle items in person than they can tell from a photo, no matter how good the photo is.

One more recommendation: you can take certain types of items, including but not limited to modern jewelry. to some of the local retail stores and they will test gold an silver and other precious metals for you. These days when so many people are selling and buying precious metals,that is not uncommonly done, but be sure to visit a trustworthy establishment.

One good thing to do so that your realize the magnitude of the problem is to visit Frank Sedwicks fake coin database. Hopefully you won't find any of yours listed there, but it better to be informed.

Here is the link to that database.

Did you notice that even Sedwick admits to being fooled? See the note by his #FC53624 in the database. If experts like that can be fooled, almost anyone can. So beware.

Send me good survey questions that you would like to know the answer to.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Up until around the weekend seas will remain at about 2.5 feet and coming from the southeast. On Friday the wind direction will shift to the north/northeast for a while, and then around Sunday the swells will increase to close to five feet.

Watch the beaches for small cuts right after changes in wind direction. Things can happen quickly out there.

I remember one evening when a front came through and the next morning the area that previously had good targets under every square foot of sand, had virtually nothing remaining. Good spots can appear or disappear that quickly or even more quickly. And changes often come when the wind shifts direction.

Of course right now the seas are pretty calm, so any changes will be rather small.

I'd be checking the low tide areas, especially a few hours after the wind changes.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

4/26/11 Report - Old Gold Crucifix, and Regla

Part of Gold Crucifix Found on a Treasure Coast Wreck Beach Some Time Ago.

The crucifix was heavily used. The face was rubbed a lot and the nose flattened. It appears to have a lot of copper in the gold, which makes it more brittle. You can see that it is broken. Part of the chain was found as well.

I should have used this photo or a similar one on Good Friday.

The last survey is over and the results are in. These surveys have had some surprising results. I think some of the surprises come from the fact that although most regular readers of the blog live close to the Treasure Coast, many do not. I often hear from people from all around the country. And some of them are regular readers.

That is why I think the survey about favorite detectors turned out as it did. I usually see a large predominance of Minelab detectors on the beach when the snow birds are not in town. I'm still convinced that more people on the Treasure Coast use Minelab's these days than any other brand. And like I said, that is what I most often see on the Treasure Coast beaches - not exclusively of course, but predominantly.

There are trends, many of which are local. Back in the eighties it seemed almost everyone on the Treasure Coast was using Garrett detectors. What detector most people use doesn't tell what detector is best. In fact, I used to take advantage of the fact that most people were using one brand. It left a lot that I could detect with an alternate brand.

On these surveys, though, there are a lot of people from out of the area that vote. In this survey, the results showed that for those who answered the survey (less than a third of the daily readers) the biggest find was a piece of modern jewelry.

Modern jewelry finds can be big. Let's say you found a two carat flawless solitaire diamond, a Rolex watch, or some other high end piece. That is a big find. But not only are modern jewelry items valuable, they also being constantly replaced. Modern jewelry items are lost on the beaches daily. That, of course, is not true of of old shipwreck coins or artifacts. There is no continuous new supply of old cobs or artifacts. That all happened some time ago and even though new items sometimes become accessible because of erosion or whatever, there is no new supply.

For beach hunters, we are very dependent upon the weather. If we could bulldoze the beach, or blow it away there would be a lot of finds, but right now we're waiting for nature to wash up and/or uncover some of those old items.

I'm convinced that a lot of those old things are laying under tons of beach sand. I don't know where the shoreline was when those ships wrecked. I wish I did. It could have been way further to the east than it is now, but I doubt it, or it could have been further to the west, or nearly the same. I think it is nearly the same, but I do believe it has moved more in some places. And that exposes old items. I'll talk about that more some other time.

From where the ballast piles, cannon, etc. are found, I would guess that the shoreline has not changed a great deal in either direction in most places along the Treasure Coast.

Just south of the McClarty Museum, for example, on the site of the presumed Nuestra SeƱora de la Regla, the main pile seems to be about 900 feet off the beach in abut 20 feet of water, but a number of cannon are much closer in. Cannons were found in about 5 to 7 feet of water just north of the wall of rocks. Anchors were also found east of the main pile. And a lot of treasure has been found between the first and second reefs.

Of course at a location like that, where there was a lot of early salvage efforts, you don't know how much was moved by the salvage teams, and of course we can't forget that there is a lot of scatter in a wreck like that anyhow.

I got off on a tangent and need to get back onto my original discussion. I'm not really surprised that modern jewelry is the biggest find for a lot of people. Some modern items are worth tens of thousands of dollars and many of the centuries old items are not worth nearly that much. But I'm only talking about monetary value.

The second greatest number of respondents gave "other" as their biggest find. That could include a lot of things, such as historic items, nuggets, etc. etc. I guess it isn't surprising that such a large undefined category might get so many votes, especially when you consider the number of out-of-area blog readers there are.

About the same number of people selected, silver coins, gold coins and precious metal artifacts as their biggest finds. Caches seem to be rarely found. I would guess that if someone found a large cache that it would likely be their biggest find. It just doesn't happen very often. I do know of people that have found chests of coins, bars, and things, but like I said, it is relatively rare.

I heard on the Swap Shop on WPSL this morning that somebody had a Amphibian (I think that is what they said) under water metal detector for sale for $300.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

We've been having some rain. That can affect beach hunting in a variety of ways.

The wind is from the southeast. The seas are running about two or three feet. I'd expect continued development of near shore bars and dips. I think there are some nice beach fronts where artifacts might be found now. Cob hunting remains a challenge, to say the least.

It would not be a bad time to hunt the low tide areas and the dips in front of the beach.

Happy hunting.

Monday, April 25, 2011

4/25/11 Report - Figa & Wet Sand Areas

Figa Found Some Time Ago on a Treasure Coast Beach.

A figa (or Higa) is a good luck charm of sorts. They have been used for centuries in this form. I ran across one today in the Florida Museum of Natural History Database that is made of wood instead of ivory and silver like this one. There is one that is more like this one in the Mel Fisher artifact database.

I provided the link to the wood one below.

This is the week of the Sedwick Auction. There isn't much time left to register. Here is an excerpt from their latest press release.

Our latest auction closes in six sessions LIVE on the Internet over three days, Tuesday, April 26, through Thursday, April 28. The first day is all gold coins, the second day is shipwreck ingots and coins plus all cobs, and the third day is world silver coins, artifacts, documents and books. Now is your last chance to get on the phone bidding list, as our phone lines are limited. No matter how you bid, you must be registered for our auction on iCollector prior to bidding, so please do not wait till it is too late for that.

The Florida Museum of Natural History has a nice web site and a good artifact database. You can search the database looking for various archaeological sites or types of materials or artifacts.

The St. Augustine exhibit is nice to.

Here is the link to the database.

And here is the link to the wood Higa.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

I got out for a little while this morning. There were some scattered showers. For me, they were too scattered. We can use the rain, and I really don't like the hot humid weather that is coming.

It seems the tide had been up pretty high. There was a lot of seaweed though. And the sand was accumulating. The tide was out pretty far this morning and there are some broad flat beach fronts when the tide is out.

The sand bars and dips are forming like you would expect from the summer and the south and southeast winds. Some of the dips looked tempting as did the flat bottoms out to the water.

I didn't have enough time to try all of that though. And unfortunately I forgot my camera.

I felt like a fish in a bowl. Two people off a few yards and watching every move I made. Reminded me of that old barracuda that would watch me for hours on end at one spot down south.

One fellow, who had a detector, asked me some questions. His name was Moe. Hi Moe!

Anyhow, I found a lot of coins mingled with junk in one of the flat beach fronts. It was a decent coin hole. If you've been reading this blog very long, you know what a coin hole is.

First I checked the dry sand and found very little. It had obviously been hunted, so after I sampled the area briefly and determined that it wasn't very promising, I dropped down to the wet sand and started finding things, including the coin hole.

That is what I've been talking about. Sampling spots and moving on until you find a spot that is worth spending some time on.

I had to move quickly because the objects were being found near the water line and the tide was about to start coming in. I actually used a little discrimination, which again, if you've been reading this blog very long you know that I generally discourage. But I didn't have time to really clean out the hole, so I got as much as I could as quickly as I could. I know that if I go back, I will find some more to clean out of that hole.

I saw some rocks that I haven't seen for a while where dips were forming. That is worth noting.

What I'd recommend right now is hunting the flat bottoms down to the dips, and where you're allowed, check out some of the dips in the water. It seems there was enough recent sand movement to freshen up some of the wet sand areas.

The sea will be slackening off the next couple of days, so that will be a good time to check out those wet sand areas that were replenished.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, April 23, 2011

4/23/11 Report - Treasure Hoard Found & Hunting at Hone

Backyard Finds From Fred D.

Hundreds of pieces of centuries-old jewelry and other precious objects were found by a man turning dirt in his own back yard. The trove consisted of more than 200 rings, brooches, ornate belt buckles, gold-plated silver plates and other pieces or fragments, many encrusted with pearls, fossilized coral and other ornaments that were judged to be about 650 years old.

Here is the link to that story.

Can you imagine digging up a hoard like that in your own back yard. It happens. I've posted other stories like that. One that I recently posted described the finds made by a lady in her garden.

It's not likely that you'll make a find like that, but i highly recommend thoroughly and repeatedly hunting your own yard. It is good practice. And you might be surprised by what you find.

You can learn something by covering and recovering the same old yard. Use different detectors. Use the same detector again and again using different settings.

One thing I think most detectorists do not do enough of, is simply play with their detector, experimenting and practicing.

And if your yard is junky, so much the better. Learn to work in and around junk. Learn how different types of junk sounds. Learn how junk can mask good targets. All of that experience is good and will help you on the beach.

Too many detectorists simply do not experiment enough with their detector. And too many detectorists set their detector to detect coins and discriminate everything else. That is a big mistake. If you do that, you're going to miss a lot of different kinds of artifacts - and some artifacts can be worth more than those coins you are looking for.

Check to see if your detector would discriminate a watch or a shipwreck spike. Learn what they sound like. I don't know of any target ID system that handles all of those kinds of things well. The result is that you can miss some of the best finds.

I've talked about this a lot in the past, but the presence of junk can provide important information. It can tell you about the area you are in and what types of materials are being deposited in the area. Take advantage of the sifting action of the waves. It sifts and sorts, but if you are not seeing what kinds of materials are being deposited in a given area, you are not fully using that information.

I was talking about hunting your own yard. Not only can that be informative, but you might also find something interesting. Finding your old toys can be a lot of fun. you can some by Fred D. above.

I once went back to the place that I grew up and dug up a number of the metal toys that I and my childhood friends played with about fifty years ago. It can be fun and a sentimental experience to dig up pieces of your own past and the fond memories that go with them.

Some of the toys from my past that I dug up are shown in my 5/23/09 report.

While I was going back look for that post, I noticed a number of other posts showing things that I forgot about. You might want to browse some of the older posts if you haven't done that.

You can also use the search box on the blog to help you find specific topics.

If you've found Indian artifacts or other items that might be of interest to the Florida Museum of Natural History, don't be afraid to contact them. I've found them to be both friendly and helpful.

Treasure Coast Beach Conditions and Forecast.

It looks like we'll have five foot seas on Monday, slackening off on Tuesday. Five feet isn't usually enough to do much good, but it should at least bring some small improvement in conditions. Unfortunately the prediction is for then is winds from eh east, which is not real good either. As I've often mentioned, it seems to take north/northeast winds for the best effect on the beaches.

I'm curious to see how the new pile of sand on the Fort Pierce beach will respond to the five foot seas on Tuesday.

To sum it up, nothing exciting in the forecast that I'd expect to improve detecting conditions on the Treasure Coast. I do, however, think there could be some slight improvement on the beach fronts where some artifacts might become accessible.

If you are somewhere where you've been doing some water hunting, you'll probably see some sand movement in the shallow water.

Happy hunting,

Friday, April 22, 2011

4/22/11 Report - Aquarina Beach & Fort Pierce Sand

Your Tax Dollars at Work.

That is not a very big pile of sand yet considering all the fuss and muss.

The sand that is being trucked in and dumped on Fort Pierce Beach is coming from out west of town. It is a very fine silty sand with very few shells or much of anything in it. I could see where a little of it had already been washed south. It is a white sand that contrasts with the sand that is already there. I would not expect it to last very long. Somebody is making some money off of it anyhow.

There is a treasure detecting site that I haven't mentioned much that is just to the north of what I consider to be the Treasure Coast. The beach produces coins presumed to be from the 1715 Fleet. I'm talking about Aquarina Beach. The place to detect is directly in front of the Aquarina Complex and also a little to the north. The Aquarina Complex is just under 11 miles south of Route 192. No shipwreck has yet been found in the area that could be a source of the cobs.

About 2000 people are expected to gather on Jensen Beach 6:30 AM Easter Sunday for Sunrise Services. I'm sure they will have services at some of the other beaches.

One of the Fisher boats, The Dare, was hit by lightening last Friday. No one was hurt, but some of the electronics were damaged. They are now repaired.

Be careful on the beach or in the water during the summer when thunder showers are around.

Here is an older story, but amazing just the same. A housewife who had never found anything worth anything all of a sudden hit the jackpot.

Here is the link.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The low pressure system that I showed yesterday is heading north. It looks like it won't develop into much of anything but might send us slightly higher seas for a day or two.

The seas will be increasing a little this weekend and then up to about five feet on Monday and Tuesday.

A Treasure Coast Beach Near Low Tide This Morning

This beach, and others that I saw this morning, were accumulating sand. Also, as often happens in the summer when you have a lot of southeast or south winds, a dip and bar develops in front of the beach. Here the bar seemed to be about thirty yards from the beach. The dip was still very shallow.

I found the object that I tried to remove a couple of months ago. It was still buried but had moved about forty yards north since I tried to dig it up in the past. I'm pretty sure, but of course not certain, that it is the same object. It is the same size and shape, and in a location where it very well could have been moved.

I might still be able to get it someday when I take better digging tools and am there when the tide is good and low.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

4/21/11 Report - Things Heating Up In the Tropics

NOAA Imagery of New Tropical System Developing.

Well, well, well! Here is the big news for today. I've been mentioning my feeling that something would happen to knock some of the sand off of the beaches before long, but I really didn't expect this. Jim M. alerted me to a NOAA report about a system developing in the Atlantic already. It has been warm lately.

We sure could use something to stir up the beaches. It has been a long time since Treasure Coast beach hunting conditions have been much good. In fact, the last year has been pretty much of a bummer when it comes to hunting shipwreck coins on the beaches. And on top of all of that, it seems they are committed to trucking all of the sand in Florida and dumping on the beaches. Somebody is making some money.

This system has a low probability of developing very much, but it does show that things are beginning to heat up out there. Now they are predicting that it might bring us some wind and rain about Tuesday. You never know.

It doesn't take a hurricane, as I've mentioned before. All we need is a storm that sits off the coast churning up some nice waves for a while. I'd really rather not see any more hurricanes. I do love those nice nor'easters though.

I've mentioned the treasure of the Black Swan before. It is the treasure found by Odyssey Marine that Spain claimed. Here is a good article on that.

Gold hit over $1500 per ounce yesterday. And it looks like it might keep on going. At least some people think so. The following article gives some reasons why you might consider eithering keeping your gold or buying more.

Silver and other commodities are doing nicely too. What do you expect when the dollar keeps losing value. The way they are going, it will take a ten dollars to buy a cheap loaf of bread.

Did you know that they don't include food prices in the measures of inflation that they often give? One way they can report no inflation is by taking the items that are increasing in price out of the index. Tricky son-of-a-guns.

While geocaching a man discovered a rare Indian jar in Arizona's Prescott National Forest. The Daily Courier says, When Dave was a kid exploring the hills north of Prescott with his friends, he was bummed out when they would find arrowheads and he never did.It took him until he was 43 years old to find an Indian artifact, but he's made up for it by finding an amazingly rare ceramic jar ...

Neat story. Here is the link.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is coming from the northeast, but there isn't much of it. Seas are around 2.5 feet. Nothing to get excited about yet, and the surf web sites aren't showing anything more than about four feet for the next few days and into Tuesday. I guess they aren't expecting the tropical system to really do much for us. Maybe it won't come this way and maybe it will fall apart. I guess it is just too soon to tell.

Anyhow the fact that we have this beginning of a system does suggest that the season is starting earlier than normal. and something significant might develop before long. I haven't totally given up on this one, but the probabilities are low, I guess. It is time to start watching the NOAA maps for tropical activity.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

4/20/11 Report - Rio Mar and Auctions

Rio Mar is one of those shipwreck treasure beaches that I consider to be a secondary treasure beach. In my opinion it is not one of the top five or six, but still good. I like it because you can sometimes find older US coins and modern jewelry besides the rare cob. Unfortunately it was cut pretty nicely years ago but they fixed it up and it now has a lot of sand.

The treasure ship there is thought by some to be the Nuestra Senora del Carmen. The main part of the wreck site seems to be over 1000 feet south of the beach access in front of the golf course.

The ninth Sedwick Coins auction is only a week away. Here is a nice clip showing some of the interesting lots that will be included.

The auction is coming soon. Go to for more details.

I found a web site that shows local auctions that are going on. I thought it was pretty neat. You might find it useful too. Whether you want to buy, sell or just browse, put in your zip code and see what auctions are going on in your area.

Some beaches produce a quantity of things an other beaches produce high quality but not as many finds. Of course there are all the different combinations, quantity and quality beaches, neither, and middle of the range on both quantity and quality. I prefer the quality beaches. As I mentioned the other day, one good item can be worth more than thousands of pennies, dimes and quarters.

So far in the blog survey, it appears that a lot of the readers who responded considered their best find to be a piece of modern jewelry. Modern jewelry can be worth quite a bit, especially if you find some nice quality diamonds or a Rolex or something. It takes one heck of a lot of coins to match that kind of thing. Even a lot of the cobs that are found on the Treasure Coast are not in great condition and therefore sell for less than $100. That is the way it is.

The coins and cobs that are most valuable are rare. That means that you most likely won't find them very often. Strange things do happen once in a while. You might stumble onto a fantastic find, even more than once, but it often doesn't work that way.

Most people simply have a passion for one thing or another regardless of the monetary value, weather it is gold coins, cobs, gold nuggets, fossils or Indian artifacts. I really like some of the junk I find even though it isn't worth two beans. Sometimes I like some of those strange items more than some of the more valuable things that I've found. I just find a lot of things interesting.

You have to consider your personality too. If you go for the highest value finds, it isn't easy. You might have to hunt a long time to find a gold coin from a shipwreck on the beach. Most of us don't have the patience of a Mel Fisher. Most people don't want to invest their entire life in going for the big one. That is fine. The entire range is out there. One of the big keys is to match your goals with your abilities and personality. If you are only interested in finding the mother lode, you better be willing to invest a lot and make the gamble. If on the other hand, you want to find a little bit of something almost every time you go out, you better set your sights a little lower.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is still out of the southeast. The tides are respectable. The surf is running around two feet. That isn't much and won't help us much.

I expect continued building of the beaches and perhaps a few shell piles developing in places. Cobs are very rare now, and artifacts are increasingly rare.

We are well into summer conditions already. I'm expecting a decent sand-moving storm before long. We need it, and it is long over due.

The weather is warm enough for people to be on the beaches. If you are somewhere near a swimming beach where you can get in the water, that might be a good idea.

Also remember the banks of the local waterways while the water levels are low.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

4/19/11 Report - Gold Atocha Bar Found & Wedge Wreck, and More on Hunting Tourist Beaches

Walking Liberty Half.

Even 20th Century coins are affected by the salt water. Here is a greenie. Sorry for the poor photo.

I just received news that a two-pound gold bar was just found on the trail of Atocha. Unfortunately it has no markings to speak of. Must have been smuggled.

I expect to get a photo of that before long.

Yesterday I mentioned that I would be giving some details on some of the secondary treasure beaches. Today I'll talk about Pepper Park and the Wedge Wreck, or the Urca de Lima. You probably all know that the Wedge Wreck is named that because of the large silver wedges that were found. Relatively few coins have been associated with that wreck. You might also know that this wreck is in a protected State Preserve.

Anyhow, it seems that most people that go there to detect, park at Pepper Park and detect the beach directly in front of the park. That is OK of course, but there are cannons and an anchor that is located further north in front of the condo. You might be able to see marker buoys if you stand in front of the condo and look out to the east.

To give GPS coordinates, four cannon and an anchor are located at around N 27 30.312.

So if you've always been detecting down at the park, you might want to try a little further to the north sometime.

I mentioned a find that I made yesterday, and after I thought about it I realized that it very well illustrated the things that I have been talking about lately. I've been talking about sampling sites before deciding where to spend your time, and how often good finds are made around the border areas of the most densely populated beach spots.

Yesterday I decided to hunt a tourist beach because the nearest treasure beaches were looking pretty poor. I went to a place that is often heavily used by beach goers and sampled the area directly in front of a hotel and between two beach walk-overs where a lot of people go. After running a very loose scan pattern for a short while, it looked like there wasn't much to be found there. The area directly in front of the hotel and between the walk-overs were very clean. I therefore moved a little to the north of that area and found a few coins right off the bat. I therefore felt that I was now outside the area that had been cleaned out. The next thing I found as a very nice item. It was outside the area where most of the beach goers settle and outside the area that had been heavily hunted.

That is often how it works. On the Treasure Coast there are so many detectorist, and many of them hit the same areas over and over again. Sometimes it is worth following other detectorists,(You can check to see if that might be worthwhile.) but sometimes it is better to simply move to the border areas where, as I recently explained, many of the better items are lost. That certainly worked for me yesterday.

Don't forget: one good find is often worth more than a bag full of coins and junk.

I am not usually very much interested in the modern coins except for what they tell me about the area and what how it has been detected.

Again, I've not yet talked about my sampling criteria. I'll do that someday.

If you still have some US silver coins around, you might want to check the melt value of those coins. A walking liberty half like the one shown in the photo above would be worth close to $15 today in melt value.

Here is the link for the calculator.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions

The seas are running about two feet today with the wind coming from the southeast. I heard on the radio that the wind is to reach up to 20 knots today. I found that hard to believe, but who knows. Right now there isn't any wind to speak of.

By Sunday (Easter, and a good day for a hunt.) the prediction is for five foot seas.

There is a nice full moon approaching too.

Detecting conditions remain poor on the Treasure Coast Beaches when it comes to hunting shipwreck cobs.

As I've been mentioning, there are other things to do if you make the proper adjustments.

There is always somewhere to hunt and something to be found.

Don't forget to enter your vote in the survey.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, April 17, 2011

4/18/11 Report - Fort Capron Gold Coin, Ambersands, Treasure Shores & More

Gold Coin Found Just North of Fort Pierce.

This gold coin is one of the coins from the lost Fort Capron payroll that was found up by the old Fort Pierce inlet. It is one of the coins now listed in the ninth Sedwick Coins auction. You can see more of the details in the auction catalog. Most of the Fort Capron gold coins that are listed in the auction have starting prices of around $2000.

If you sold most of your gold or silver and with the rising prices and wish you had held on to it, there is still a way to participate in the rising metals prices without buying coins or jewelry. ETFs are Exchange Traded Funds and trade like mutual funds. There are ETFs for gold, silver and many other metals and commoditities.

Talking about investing, I mentioned that the Odyssey Marine common stock has been doing very well. If you don't know, Odyssey Marine is a Florida based treasure hunting company that has found some big name treasures. You might also know that they are in litigation to keep one big treasure find that is claimed by Spain. And our federal government has sided with Spain! I believe that the Odyssey Marine stock is doing so well now despite their troubles in the treasure business because they are now using their equipment to provide services to mining and drilling companies and have obtainted some very nice contracts.

Odessey Marine Common Stock Prices for Past Year.

As you can see they were once down to around $1.00 per share but are now up near $3.50. Their stock symbol is OMEX.

This is not a recommendation to buy or sell this stock, but you might want to take note.

One beach access that occasionally produces some cobs when conditions are right is the Ambersand Beach Access, which is almost 3.5 mi north of CR 510 and a few hundred yatds south of the McClarty Museum. I don't think I've mentioned it much in this blog, but I have posted a few photos of the beach there to show the conditions. The Ambersand Beach Access has just a few parking spots and isn't really well marked. 1715 coins and artifacts can sometimes be found there, and of course also basicly all of the way up to the museum and beyond.

Treasure Shores Park, which is south of the Ambersand Beach Access has at least two wrecks that are located near the park - the Cannon wreck(N27° 48.202) and the Anchor wreck (N27° 48.199).

I've never found Treasure Shores Park to be one of the more productive, but maybe that is just me, or maybe it is because of the amount of sand that usually covers the reefs. I don't know, but treasure coins have been found there.

From time to time I'll give you some of the secondary spots like this as well as additional or less known details on some of the major treasure beaches.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

I went out a little this morning and decided to hunt a hotel/condo beach because what I've seen of the treasure beaches hasn't been very encouraging.

Most Treasure Coast beaches are continuing to accumulate sand for the most part. The beaches that I saw had a lot of soft sand on the front beach with a sea weed line behind that. None of that is encouraging.

Anyhow, like I said, I decided to go for the modern stuff and managed to find something that starts with an R and ends with an X, so it paid off. Sometimes you have to adjust. I always say take what the beach is giving.

The ocean was pretty calm this morning. The tides are pretty good now too. The prediction is that the seas will get higher as we get closer to next week, but even then won't be too big - about five feet by the weekend.

That is about it for now.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, April 16, 2011

4/16/11 Report - Upcoming Auction and Fort Capron Treasure

Overhead View of Turtle Trail to Seagrape Trail From Google Earth.

You can see the two beach access in this picture, one very close to the top and the other very close to the bottom. That has been a very good stretch for shipwreck coins and artifacts over the years.

Here is the latest press release for the upcoming SedwickCoins auction.

Scheduled for April 26-28 (Tuesday-Thursday), in six sessions LIVE on the Internet, our Treasure and World Coin Auction #9 is ready for viewing online (click here). You can also view the lots, register and start bidding at Note you will need to register for this auction even if you already have an iCollector profile and bid with us in the past. The first 30 bidders to register and place bids online at will receive a FREE collector's edition disk of all of our auction catalogs to date (#1-9)!

For those who missed the lot viewing at the Whitman Baltimore Coin & Currency Expo we will be showing all the coin lots again at the Chicago International Coin Fair (CICF), April 14-17. In addition, all lots will be available for private viewing at our office in Winter Park, Florida by appointment only.

Printed catalogs (424 pages, full color) will be available starting Monday, April 4. If you are not a prior bidder or on our mailing list already, please click the button on our website to order the catalog.

Treasure and World Coin Auction #9 is perhaps our most well-balanced world coin auction so far, with interesting offerings from all the regions of the world, as well as significant sections of ancient, medals and tokens, and even paper money. Once again there is something for everyone.

The highlight of this auction is The Dr. Frank Sedwick Collection of Colombian Republic Gold Coins. Dr. Sedwick (father of Daniel Frank Sedwick) wrote the first definitive book on the complex Colombian Republic gold series (The Gold Coinage of Gran Colombia [1991], available upon request for this auction only at the special price of $10) as an outgrowth of two decades of collecting the coins. Along the way he gathered several of the most important coins in the series, some of which are appearing at auction here for the first time ever. In addition to the rarities, Dr. Sedwick's collection features dozens of coins that are the finest known graded by NGC, and each coin in the collection has been encapsulated by NGC with the pedigree stated inside the slab. There has never been an offering of Colombian Republic gold coins like this before, and we have already been told this sale will be THE reference for the future.

But let's not overlook all the other important "treasure" items in this sale, including several "Hearts" and "Royals," a Cuzco 1 escudo cob 1698, a Brazilian 12800 reis (dobra) 1730-M, a Chilean 2 escudos 1758, and a Cuban proof peso 1915. There are also significant selections of US gold coins from the "Fort Capron treasure" of 1857, several large silver bars and emeralds and over 230 coins from the Atocha (1622), over 130 1715-Fleet cobs from the State of Florida collection (Bamberg division), a collection of more than 40 dated Mexican cob 8 reales, and dozens of top-quality Lima cob 2 reales. Rounding out the auction are significant offerings of general world coins (including ancients), artifacts (including fossils), documents and books (both antiquarian and modern).

telephone: 407.975.3325

The catalog is a good resource for simply browsing treasure items.

You might remember that I did a few posts on the Fort Capron Treasure. If you missed that, you can look it up in this blog by using the search box. Just enter "Fort Capron."

And here is a good article on that find of gold coins which was made just north of the Wedge Wreck area near the old Fort Pierce inlet.

That is a really cool local treasure story. I once read that they made the initial find when they were hunting lobsters. I don't know if that is true. Their accounts got a little messy.

As you might have noticed, some of those coins can be found in the auction catalog.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The platform boat moved off of the Power Plant site a few days ago. It was in port for a while and then I think I saw it going south.

The recent rains uncovered some old items along the Treasure Coast, including some Ice Age fossils that I eye-balled yesterday. Wind or rain is often enough to uncover some old things on a beach. Of course they normally have to be close to the surface, but not always. Sometimes rain will cause bits of the cliffs in the back dunes to fall in, and that can release old things, and sometimes some of the cliff falls in when it gets dry. But sometimes rain or wind is all you need to blow the sand off of surface items laying anywhere on the beach.

Otherwise not much has changed. We still have some very sandy beaches, mostly building, and some beaches where renourishment continues.

Shipwreck items on the beach will be harder to find than hens teeth. Use your head, scout around some different places, and try some different things.

Happy hunting,

Friday, April 15, 2011

4/15/11 Report - Estimating Size, Shape and Depth of Targets Using Pinpoint Mode

One Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

Notice the sea weed on the beach and rain showers in the distance. There was rain along much of the Treasure Coast this morning. Sometimes clearing and sometimes really pouring. No thunder or lightening.

I've mentioned before that you can learn to tell the approximate size and shape of detected objects with many detectors using pin-point or all-metals mode. Although I often don't have any use for that because the best procedure in my opinion is to simply dig it up to see what it is, this procedure can come in handy when you are limited in time and want to be more selective in what you dig.

If you are hitting gold items or old coins or something interesting all over the place, like you might when you find a good hole, you might want to use your time on digging only those types of targets. Or if you are working close to the water and can't get to the big deep targets without wasting a lot of time, you might want to take note of where they are and leave them for some future time and move on to the things you can quickly remove before the water gets any higher. In situations like either of those it might be helpful to figure out how deep, how big, and what the shape the target is before deciding to use your time to dig it up.

Knowing the approximate size, shape and depth of an object can also help you dig it up more efficiently.

Picasso - Just Kidding.

It is actually a diagram that I'll use along with my explanation immediately below.

If you get a signal and want to estimate the size, shape and depth of the object, first switch over to all-metals or pin-point mode. Then sweep back and forth using a tight sweep pattern but covering the area where you get the signal plus some additional area on each side. This step is represented by the left to right and right to left lines going from top to bottom. Notice where you get the signal and where you don't. Does the object seem to be long and narrow, square or what? Is it perpendicular to the water's edge, more parallel to the water, or at angle?

After covering the area where the signal is plus some, cover the same area, but this time sweeping at roughly 90 degrees to the first sweep pattern.

In the diagram above, second overlapping sweep pattern. In the diagram, this is shown by the second pattern, criss-crossing the first.

The illustration also shows the area of the signal coming from a hypothetical buried object that is longer than wide and lies at a roughly 45 degree angle (The oval in the illustration.). It also shows a coin size object near the surface (dark circle).

You can mark in the sand roughly where you get a signal from the first sweep pattern if you want. I usually don't, but sometimes do.

If the object is deep, in all-metals or pin-point mode the signal will be less distinct when the object is deeper. And the edges of the area where you get the signal seems more fuzzy.

You can learn to estimate depth from the crispness or softness of the signal. If the object is a smaller coin-like object near the surface (shown by the small filled-in circle on the drawing)the signal will be loud, but also crisp and well-defined. If the same small object were deeper the signal would cover a small area, but be softer and seem less distinct. It's not easy to come up with the right words to describe this but I hope you are getting what I mean.

If you practice in all-metals or pin-point mode with a few different size and shape objects buried at differing depths, I think you will quickly learn to accurately estimate their approximate size, shape and depth without digging them up.

The brain is a decent signal processor.

Some detectors may not provide a mode that will be effective for this purpose but many do.

On a different topic, the survey is complete and the people have spoken. Most of this blog's readers (around 45%) most like the local conditions and news reports. Following that in popularity is information on detecting techniques and strategies. Treasure stories and articles came in next to last, and information on coins and artifacts, last.

Odyssey Marine stock has been doing very well - better than I expected. I think I found out why today. If I got this right, their research vessels are now being used for mining and drilling operations in addition to locating treasure ships. One of these mining ventures paid off well an will be the source of continued royalties.

Here is a story on that.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The photo at the top of the blog shows one beach. There was sea weed and more sand. It wasn't looking good at all, and to top it off, there weren't even any shell piles left.

Another Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

However a few miles away I found this beach that had scattered small cuts of up to slightly over one foot. They are superficial cuts in recently accumulated sand, but cuts nontheless.

It is usually a spotty thing. One spot will be building while another eroding.

I suspect these cuts came from the off-shore rain storms. That is all it takes sometimes.

The seas were rougher than I expected. It was more like four feet than two and a half.

Anyhow, all together, nothing has really changed significantly. Conditions for finding old shipwreck coins remains poor, and the chance of finding artifacts has now diminished as well.

Maybe we'll get a storm of some sort that does some good sometime this summer. It looks like things will be slow on the Treasure Coast until then.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, April 14, 2011

4/14/11 Report - Assessing Coin and Gold Beaches

Found Gold Coin Pendant and Chain.

Can anyone tell me anything about this coin? If I correctly interpret, the letters running vertically down behind the seated figure is "Alexander."

Gold is almost to $1470 today.

I'm getting better at playing my new found Horse Conch horn. I didn't know how popular it was to play conchs.

When you learn how hard it is to cut shells like this, it is amazing how much time and effort it must have taken for the Native Americans to manufacture things like this, especially when you think about the tools they had. People of all times have managed to figure out how to do the things they really wanted to do.

I've been talking about how different areas of the beach are different when it comes to detecting. Yesterday I showed a rather typical dry beach find - a small pendant that would easily get lost in dry sand. The photo above shows a water find - good heavy long chain and large pendant still on it. That wouldn't be lost too easily in dry sand. And it wasn't eye-balled, it would easily be detected by most detectors.

Often when small gold chains are found, it is because of a medallion or something that is still on the chain. Some small thin gold chains will not be detected by many detectors.

You might want to take your detector and test it on a variety of gold chains. Test different settings and see how well you can detect small chains. You might try to test your detector on a single link and see how you can do with that.

A lot of the heavier gold chains are found in the water. Sometimes chains will get hung up on sea weed or something else and you can detect them visually. I always recommend keeping your eyes open while detecting. Sometimes you'll see only a part of the chain sticking out of the sand.

The finds that I showed the last two days provide some idea of how the different beach zones are different and how the finds in the different zones will tend to differ.

The wet sand area is also different. The highest proportion of gold items compared to coins is found in the water, then I would say the second highest proportion of gold items to coins is found in the wet sand, but only if you know how to hunt the wet sand, and last is the dry sand that produces a high number of coins relative to gold items.

As I've also indicated, certain areas of the dry sand will have more gold relative to coins.

Higher coin concentrations are found on beaches where admission is charged, especially when the admission charge requires change or when there is a concession stand in the area.

On the other hand, condo beaches do not produce many coins, because people that live in the condos seldom need to carry change.

I'm providing some background for when I talk about the criteria I use when I sample a beach. Some beaches will have more coins than others, but if you are targeting gold, the number of coins on the beach don't matter much, except as a possible sign that people have been there and no one has yet cleaned up the area.

Also in pointing out some factors that make some beaches produce more or less coins, you need to realize that coins and gold are two different things. Some beaches that produce a lot of coins do not produce much gold, but some that produce very few coins can sometimes produce a good bit of gold. There isn't a perfect correlation between the two.

There are really a lot of factors to consider.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Bathtub Beach Renourishment.

I've been mentioning some of the beaches that are being renourished (or ruined, depending upon how you look at it). Here is a picture from the Bathtub Beach web cam showing the progress there.

In the photo you can see the new sand that they are dumping on the south end of Bathtub Beach, and just beyond that you can see where the beach was eroded back. That area certainly has a lot of history. You might know that just to the north is the House of Refuge near where gold nuggets and a variety of other things have been picked up by detectorists in the past.

As you probably know, we haven't been having enough wave action to really change much of anything on the beaches lately. The seas are still relatively calm, but building just a little to about 2.5 feet where it will stay for a few days.

It's more of the same. I've offered some alternatives to try out in the past, so I won't go over that again.

I've been talking a lot about the dry sand and tourist beaches lately.
I'll have more on the different types of beaches and different types of hunting in the future.

For now,
Happy hunting.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

4/13/11 Report. - Sand, VolleyBall Courts and Diamonds

A Typical Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

I saw a tv program where they talked to a fisherman that found an old pot underwater. He brought it to the Antiques Roadshow. He had only one question. What was the pot worth. He made it clear he didn't care about anything else.

Well, it turned out the pot was medieval and turned out to be worth a good bit, but after the fellow learned more about the pot, his attitude completely changed. He said he wouldn't sell it for anything.

That is what happens. When a person learns more about the items they find, they often develop a completely different attitude towards the objects. It becomes more personal. They realize that the object is a link to the past and people and times of the past.

This particular fellow went out and found more pots and accumulated a very nice collection. As he discovered additional pots and relics, he developed a totally new relationship with those items. Not only did he discover these items, returning them to humanity, but he also cleaned, restored, protected and shared these items. That is what happened, and all mankind benefits when that happens.

People told me that the squid that I posted a few days ago was not a squid at all but rather a cuttle fish. Cool.

I'm trying to learn to blow that bugle Horse Conch. I can't do it consistently yet but get it right every once in a while.

Some people thought the encrusted object was a bullet. I thought so at first too, but I have my doubts about that now for a variety of reasons.

In talking about the dry sand area lately, I mentioned how the areas bordering the most heavily used areas on the beach often have more gold than where everybody sits or settles. I also mentioned volley ball courts as being good spots. Here is a volley ball court find.

Gold Thirty Three with Twenty Two Diamonds.

Unfortunately the photo didn't come out too good. There was too much sun and reflection from the stones and then I over sharpened the photo.

It is the kind of thing you might find on volley ball courts. Charms from chains are relatively common. Often chains break or open and the charm is lost. While the chain is sometimes also lost, it sometimes sticks up enough to be seen, while the charm is harder to find.

There are a number of things I've recommended for hunting volley ball courts. If the court is sprinkled, hunt it just after the sprinkling. You can often then eye-ball small chains etc.

If you know a small thin chain has been lost and that your detector is not good at detecting chains with small links, a rake or sifter often does the job.

In fact a good sifter can work well where detecting is not permitted. One fellow, named Merkitch (last name if I spelled it correctly) wrote a small book that tells how to construct and use a sifter with wheels on the beach.

There are many good strategies and techniques for specialized situations.

I'll get into some others some other day.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Trucks Dumping Sand on the Beach Just South of the Fort Pierce inlet.

The front beaches continue to build all over the Treasure Coast with small shells and sand. The high tide got higher on the beach last night than I expected.

Conditions are very poor for finding cobs on the beach. The water is pretty nice for water hunting though, if you are somewhere where you can do that.

There were a good many artifacts on the front beach for a while, but it seems they are disappearing.

I've seen some places where the cliff in the dunes at the back of the beach is falling. Sometimes items fall out of the dunes when that happens. On some of the narrower beaches, it might not take those items long to get washed down to the front beach or into the ocean if there are some good waves and erosion. Of course, we've had neither of those for quite a while.

Seems like we should have a storm or two that rips the beach this summer. Until that time, you might be better off in the water or at some of the good tourist beaches in other parts of Florida.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

4/12/11 Report - Horse Conch & Internet Tools

Interesting Horse Conch Found on Treasure Coast.

This Horse Conch was found most likely on the Treasure Coast. The person who found it is unsure of where it was found because it has been sitting around with other shells, probably for years. Fact is, it could have been found on his own property. He doesn't remember and is simply unsure.

You might wonder what is interesting about this shell. Well, one day recently the shell was moved for some reason and it was noticed that the shell had a slot in it. You can clearly see that slot in the photo. Upon closer inspection, the slot appeared to be man-made. The shell also appeared to be an older shell, exhibiting the chalky-like surface that old shells often have.

The first reminder that I'll give here, is that you should record your finds. It can come in handy when you go back and discover something new about a find no matter what it is. Also if you have records, it helps to document your find and could help you to determine where different kinds of objects have turned up in the past. In this case, as I said, the finder didn't know that the item had any significance other than being a nice shell, and it might have been laying in his back yard for a long time, maybe even before he lived at that location. The origin is simply unknown at this point.

Secondly, I've mentioned how it can be fun to go back and review your finds from time to time. Here is something that wasn't noticed before. It doesn't matter what kind of object it is, you might notice something years later that you didn't notice at first. Maybe you've learned something that makes things more significant and noticeable.

With this shell, the discovery of the slot was only the beginning. After the shell became an object of attention and research, it was discovered that not only did it have a slot in it, but the top was also cut or knocked off. So what? Well, after blowing through the slot and then through the top of the shell, it was noticed that now the air passed easily through the shell and sometimes made a sound. A little more research on the internet showed other shells that were used as bugles. About the same amount of the top of the shell was missing on those shells.

Now it seemed like maybe this shell was actually modified to be used like a bugle. After a number of tries, the shell actually did issue a nice loud and clear blast.

After asking about the shell in a treasure forum, it was learned that the shell is a Horse Conch shell.

It is not clear if the shell was made to work like a bugle, and if it was, when it was made. The time of any workmanship remains unclear. But now that the type of shell is known, a little more research turned up the following on Wikipedia.

In classic Mayan art, the Horse Conch is shown being utilized in many ways including as paint and ink holders for elite scribes, and also as a bugle or trumpet.

In southern Florida, Native Americans, including the Calusa and Tequesta, used the horse conch to make several types of artifact. The whole shell, or more commonly only the columella, was attached to a wooden handle and used as a hammer or woodworking tool. The body whorl was used as a drinking cup. The columella was also used to make plummets or sinkers.

So now it is known that the shell is a Horse Conch, and that Horse Conchs were used as bugles, and additionally, that they were used by the Calusa and Tequesta Indians.

The evidence is building but not yet conclusive. It was also found that locals used conch shells as horns in the 19th century when they hunted possums with dogs. So even if the item was intentionally modified to be used as a horn, it might have been made either many years ago, decades ago or just a few years ago. That has not yet been determined. The horn, if that is what it is, could have also been created accidentally or naturally by the top simply being broken off.

So here we have an item that led one person to do some research. He learned a lot in the process, but there is more to learn.

This story reminds me of how the story of Ian's coaked sheve unraveled as he did his research. I covered that story in this blog in a number of posts in the past. You might enjoy looking it up by using the search box on the main page of this blog.

It should also remind you how you can notice something you didn't originally notice about an item years later and how helpful it can be if you keep good records.

Beach Seen From Google Earth.

There are so many wonderful tools on the internet these days. The above is a beach I recently visited for the first time. I looked it over before the visit.

You can use Google Earth and other programs to locate new beaches or scan beaches before a visit.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

I'm afraid to say it looks like we are already well into summer beach conditions. The wind is out of the south and the seas are calm. As you know the weather is already very warm as well.

The south winds and calm seas probably means added sand and shells to the beach front. These conditions also usually lead to dips forming immediately in front of the beach, with sand accumulating to form a bar just after that.

Those are not good conditions for finding shipwreck cobs. It probably also means that the artifacts that have been found along the beach fronts and near the shell piles will probably be decreasing. There will not be enough water force on the front beach to bring up new artifacts and not enough to erode or churn up new items.

The water will be calm enough for easy water hunting and the front beach will be in easy access but not very productive.

If this weather pattern continues, the biggest hope is for a storm that sits just off shore and sends in bigger waves from the northeast. But, as I've mentioned before, even southeast winds and local storms can cause a little erosion.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, April 10, 2011

4/10/11 Report - The Eyes Have It.

Dug Mystery Object.

I really like these kind of things. It can take years to figure out what they are.

I was just reading about a guy that picked up a lot of stones when he began collecting Indian artifacts and he had these old buckets of stuff that he brought home. He was going back through them and finding all kinds of neat stuff that he originally didn't recognize and over looked. Everybody else in the forum thread chimed in and mentioned the good artifacts that they overlooked when they just began.

I suppose that everybody misses some good stuff or throws good stuff away when they begin detecting. I remember the first piece of shipwreck silver that I found on the Treasure Coast. After several trips to the Treasure Coast without finding anything, I detected this flat thin black piece of metal. My wife was with me and she looked at it and started to throw it away. I told her to keep it. It wasn't until after driving home and testing it, that I found out that it was indeed silver and I had finally found a shipwreck item of some kind on the Treasure Coast.

I often remind people to keep things when you don't know what they are. I've thrown away some pretty good stuff in years past. Now I keep things that make me wonder what they are until I know I can throw them away without later regretting it.

It is still worth going back and looking through old stuff. I still often find things of interest that I overlooked before. In fact, just yesterday I noticed something about an old find that I never noticed before and after I did some additional research, now regard that item as one of the potentially most exciting of all my years. Too bad I don't remember where or when I found it although I can narrow it down quite a bit.

Maybe I'll show you that one after I get confirmation on some things.

Anyhow, here is an object that I picked up this week. It gave me a signal and I put in it my pocket for more detailed inspection after I got home. When I did get it home and took the time to look at it closer (I don't like to spend too much of my limited field time standing around examining things that I've dug.), I noticed a couple things that I didn't see while on the beach.

This object is about two inches long. You can see in the crust of stone signs of iron. But what I noticed when I inspected it at home, is that when I shook it, it rattled. It sounds like a piece of lead in a hollow piece of stone.

And then I noticed that the object on the inside,whatever it is, actually sticks out of crust a little when the object is oriented in the right direction. You can see a little of the point of the inner object protruding in the top photo within the circle.

Inner Object Protruding Through Hole.

In the photo you can also see a circle of what appears to be thin oxidized copper, which has been broken by the point that the point sticks out of.

It appears that inside the stone crust is a thin copper shell which has broken through both the copper and stone. Turn it upside down and the inner object disappears, and then turn it the other way and the object sticks out of the hole a touch.

Well, now I'm intrigued. I wish I could x-ray this object to see exactly what is in the encrustation. I'd like to hear any ideas you might have about this object.

The main point here again, is to keep things until you have a chance to study them and determine what they are, and secondly, closely inspect all found objects.

I believe that most detectorists do not use their eyes enough. Develop your observational skills. You can scan a lot of area much more quickly visually than you can cover with a detector coil

Sometimes it is worth looking where you are detecting, but other times it is worth scanning around while listening for your detector to let you know what is immediately under the coil.

You might be surprised by how many objects you can find just walking around eye-balling. I've found watches, gold chains, rings and all kinds of stuff, even cobs, eye-balling. You might have read the stories about how after storms the locals would find cobs after a storm, and not knowing what they were, skip them back into the ocean. At least that is the story.

Visually scan the beach for any signs that might tell you where you should be detecting.

Since I was talking about hunting the dry sand area at tourist beaches just the other day, I'll talk about that some more.

When I walk onto a beach, I first take an overall view, looking to see where the sand has been moving. Then when I decide if I'll stay at that beach or move on, if I decide to detect the dry sand area on a tourist beach, for example, I'll look for more detailed information about where the people have been and where they might have lost something.

You can tell a lot about how many people have been in an area of the dry sand from the tracks. Of course, after a rain, you can tell that somewhat more easily.

Look for where the towels were. Look at the junk. Look to see if other detectorists have been there and where they detected. Sometimes you can see their track and holes. Look to see where activities were taking place. You can very often tell where people were running around and falling. There are a lot of clues left in the beach sand.

This is all before actually taking the time to do any detecting. I previously mentioned sampling areas by detecting a loose pattern through different areas, but I'll put more discussion of that off for some other time.

I think I also recently mentioned that the areas where people are more likely to lose jewelry in the dry sand is not necessarily the areas where the most people congregate. Volley ball courts, for example, are a good place to look.

Around cabanas and beach chairs is a good place to look too. Often the chairs or cabanas will be difficult to detect around well, but you can do it fairly well if you learn how. For one thing, run your sweep parallel to any metal items instead of toward and away from metal rods and the like. A lot of things are dropped around and under the chairs.

When the beach chairs are moved, another thing you can see, check where the chairs were before they were moved.

You might want to go back and check the socioeconomic factors that I previously mentioned for evaluating a tourist beach.

I think I need to move on for now. I'll get to the discussion on sampling criteria some other time.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

It's beginning to look a lot like summer. East and southeast winds, calm seas, down around 1 to 2 feet, and beaches building.

The soft sloshing of water on the beach front tends to build up shells and leaves a little dip in front of the beach.

As you know the good thing about calm seas is that it makes for easy water hunting. And also it makes it easy to check out the front beach area.

I've mentioned in the past that it is not illegal to snorkel or swim in the leased areas, but it is not legal to detect. It might be nice time to go snorkeling and see what you can see. Or just wade around in the shallow water anywhere and see what you can see.

The water levels in our local waterways is very low, which means it wouldn't be a bad time to take a walk around the banks of lakes and streams. The Peace River water level is very low.

It seems to me that the miscellaneous pieces that were showing up on some of the beach fronts is now diminishing. Like I said, it is getting to be more like summer conditions.

The snowbirds and Spring Breakers have already started to decrease. Make hay while the sun shines.

There is always some place to hunt and something to be found.

Happy hunting,