Monday, April 4, 2011

4/5/11 Report - Keeping Records on Unidentified Items & Investing in Pirates

Nice Lima Escudo from the Upcoming SedwickCoins auction.

I simply couldn't pass up this story. It seems you can invest in the Somalie pirates. Give them weapons or cash and share in their booty. Can you believe it?

Here is what one entrepreneur said.

Four months ago, during the monsoon rains, we decided to set up this stock exchange. We started with 15 "maritime companies" and now we are hosting 72. Ten of them have so far been successful at hijacking,' Mohammed [a wealthy former pirate who took a Reuters reporter to the facility] said. ... Piracy investor Sahra Ibrahim, a 22-year-old divorcee, was lined up with others waiting for her cut of a ransom pay-out after one of the gangs freed a Spanish tuna fishing vessel. 'I am waiting for my share after I contributed a rocket-propelled grenade for the operation,' she said, adding that she got the weapon from her ex-husband in alimony. 'I am really happy and lucky. I have made $75,000 in only 38 days since I joined the "company."

Here is the link.

I don't even know what to say.

And here is another story from Kovels Komments that has all kinds of implications and says a lot about today's world of treasure.

A Mayan warrior statue said to have been made between 550 A.D. and 950 A.D. sold at a Paris auction for $4 million on March 21, 2011. The experts at Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History said, after looking at pictures of the object, that it was a fake. The figure’s height, posture, flexed legs, and boot straps are not "characteristic of this (Mayan) culture." Giquello Binoche, organizer of the auction; Jacques Blazy, an expert; and Drouot auction house were all involved with the sale. They claimed the stucco figure is authentic. They said the figure has been publicly known since 1976, was exhibited in a museum in 1998, and has been examined by other experts. They claimed the Mexicans are trying to ruin the market for pre-Hispanic artifacts. There have been problems with sales of artifacts between Latin-American countries and France before. A 1972 Mexican law limits private collections of antiquities. Anything found since 1972 is national property and pre-Hispanic artifacts cannot be exported. This is an expensive debate. The sale included 66 other pieces from the same collection that have been called fakes. The auction galleries' expertise has been questioned and could cause a loss of business. Mexican officials judged the figure from a picture, not the object itself, which is something that is usually not acceptable for an appraisal. The buyer now owns a piece that could be worthless or could be a $4 million prize. Whatever happens with lawsuits or scholarly opinions, the "fake" Mayan pieces have a blemished history that will affect any future sale.

My tip for the day is to do a good job of record keeping - even including found mystery objects. Sometimes things get forgotten, neglected or even lost and then you realize you wish you had them and all the details pertaining to their discovery.

I was reminded of that this morning. For some reason I decided to look into some percussion caps that I found on the beach. I've found a good number of them over the years, especially at one location. After looking into it I discovered that percussion caps were used from 1850 to 1860 and of course probably after that, including those manufactured today for antique guns.

I know I have some good examples with good readable markings on them, but I couldn't find them this morning. What I should have done, and what I recommend for those of you who don't want to learn the hard way, is keep unidentified objects, filed away where you know where they are at, and marked with details about where and when they were found.

I've learned this lesson the hard way. Even though I kept good records on my hunts in the past, I didn't keep good records of objects that I couldn't identify or just didn't know much about. I've lost track of some objects that after learning more about them, I wish I had.

So keep your mystery finds and the relevant information or you'll probably regret it some day.

One example where I kept an item that I misidentified could have been a big mistake. Long ago when I hadn't been detecting very long, I found a diamond ring that at the time I thought was gold plated and probably held a zircon. I was wrong. The "KP" marking that I found on it did not mean gold plated but rather "plumb gold," or in other words, exactly the karat value actually stated within very small tolerances, and the stone was almost a 3 carat solitaire.

If you are like me you can and will make mistakes, but by keeping items with the relevant information until they are positively identified, you can avoid making some of those mistakes.

I hope to find the most readable percussion caps so I can research the markings.

If you haven't taken the time to browse the new Sedwick Coins #9 auction catalog, I think you will find it interesting and informative.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is coming out of the southwest and the seas are around three feet. There is supposed to be a storm system moving through the Treasure Coast this afternoon. I don't know if it will actually show up.

The sea is supposed to decrease later today and then go up close to five feet tomorrow. I don't see anything that indicates a significant change in conditions. I'd still be doing the tourist beaches or hunting the front of the shipwreck beaches for artifacts. Get in the water where and when you can as the winds switch around.

Have fun,