Tuesday, May 24, 2011

5/24/11 Report - Atlantic Storm, OMEX, Modern Jewelry & Signal Finds

Two Encrusted Objects Recently Found on Treasure Coast Beaches. Front and Back of Each.

The one item looked like it might be a nickel even though I couldn't see any surface detail. It was the right size and had the green color that nickels often get.

The other looked the right size and shape to be a cob, but it didn't have the right color and from what I could see of the edge, it didn't look like a cob, but I wanted to be sure.

The first reason I want to talk about these two finds is that anytime you find something like this, even if it is nothing more than a nickle, it is a good sign. Why? Simply because it obviously has been on the beach for a while. It couldn't have been where it was found very long though, because the area is heavily detected, and it almost surely would have been picked up by another detectorist if it was within range very long. That tells me it probably either washed up onto the beach fairly recently or was recently uncovered.

Objects like that may have no value of their own, but they can have a lot of value as signals. An older object popping up on a very heavily detected beach tells you that something has changed, that there are possibly other older objects in the area, and that you should slow down and hunt that area thoroughly.

The second thing I want to mention is that unidentified objects like this should be slowly and carefully cleaned and inspected. Begin by trying to get some idea of what the object is and what it is made of before doing anything more drastic.

In this case I decided to use a little water, which didn't do much, and then some light WD-40 and very light brushing. The WD-40 was enough to reveal that the green object was indeed a Jefferson nickle. It didn't however reveal anything more about the cob-shaped object. The crust on that object wasn't reduced at all by the WD-40.

I decided to use a quick immersion in a diluted muriatic acid solution. I'm not recommending that as a second step, it is just what I did in this case based upon my hunch about this object. That did remove some of the crust and revealed a badly damaged and corroded zinc penny. (Muriatic acid will not damage either a silver cob or a copper maravedi.)

Again, my point is that these two objects had little value other than being signs that something was changing at that particular beach location and that there might be other older items to be found in the area. Their value in this case, therefore, was primarily informational. When you do find a spot where older objects are popping up, make sure to check that area thoroughly while you are there and then check it again in the near future to see if the process is continuing and more old items are showng up.

Secondly, clean unidentified items in stages. Only use processes that will not be harmful while you collect more information about what the item might be and then you will know how to better proceed.

On another subject, Odyssey Marine stock was up more than 15% this afternoon. That is some heavy duty action.

The main thing that probably contributed to that gain is the search for the S. S. Gairsoppa, which was sunk by a Nazi torpedo in 1941. Odyssey plans to spend less than 10 million in the search and hope to find the ship by October. The Gairsoppa was carrying silver that at current prices would be worth $260 million. The challenge is that it sunk in 14,000 feet of water.

For more on that story, here is the link.


Silver is making a bit of a comeback recently too. gold has been steady.

Some people don't like hunting modern jewelry because they don't like profiting off of someone else's loss. I understand that, but leaving the item lost doesn't help anyone, and you can sometimes find out who the lost item belonged to and return it. I've been able to return a number of lost items. I've also hunted and found items for people that reported them lost.

Don't expect a reward for your good deeds though. You might occasionally get one, but in many cases you won't get so much as a thank you for your time an effort. I don't know why that is. Maybe people are too stunned or simply don't know how to act. I would think that a person would be grateful to anyone who would spend their time and skill to find and return something they lost, but my experience shows that just as often no appreciation of any sort is shown - not even a thank you.

And be careful. I've said this once before, but there are people that will try to claim items that they did not lose. You might be surprised how often that happens. Some people will say that they lost a ring or something and just hope that you find one and then try to claim it. In some cases, they might have heard that someone else lost something and are hoping to get it if it is found. There are all kinds of people out there.

Always, always, always make sure that when someone says they lost something, that you get a good detailed description, complete with any inscriptions or markings on the item that would positively identify the item and hopefully some identifying mark that no one but the true owner would be likely to know about.

Secondly, do not show found items to people you don't know unless they have already provided a detailed description. That makes it too easy for unscrupulous people to claim that they lost the item.

Learn to scoop and retrieve items without others being able to see them. In the water that is particularly easy. Shake your scoop vigorously while it is full of sand and submerged a foot or two below the surface. The resulting suspended cloud of sand will obscure the view into your scoop. You can then put your hand into the scoop, find the item by feel, and quickly transfer the item to your pocket without the item being visible to anyone. Inspect the item when you are away from any observers. If you obtained a description of that lost item, you can then return it to the rightful owner.

Of course you don't have to worry about all of that with items that were lost hundreds of years ago. And many modern era finds were actually lost years or even decades ago before they were found. That is especially true when you hunt good water spots where you are digging items that have accumulated for a while. That can make it especially difficult to track down owners or family members of the original owners, especially in a tourist area where people are far from home and often only stay a few days.

Sometimes it is hard to tell if an item has been lost a long time or if it was old when it was lost. People do carry, wear and lose vintage and antique items every day.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Conditions remain unchanged. Not much of anything new to report except that the Atlantic is starting to act up. There is a new low pressure area located southeast of Bermuda that has less than a 20% chance of forming into a cyclone.

It is the time of year to start watching for forming storms in the Atlantic.

Here is a NOAA link showing the present low pressure zone. (Thanks to Jim M. for alerting me to this new weather.)


Not much chance of that affecting the Treasure Coast in my opinion.

Happy hunting.