Friday, July 29, 2011

7/30/11 Report - Canadian Foreign Coins, Auction Results & the US Debt Tax

Some Canadian Coins Found on Florida Beaches by Detector.

It is not unusual to find Canadian coins in Florida. Some resort areas are heavily visited by our Canadian friends, who like everyone else, lose coins on the beach.

When I started detecting, to find the value of foreign coins, or any coins for that matter, you had to have a book. Now most everything can be found on the internet. That makes researching foreign coins much easier.

Here is a web site that gives the melt value for Canadian coins.

Don't forget there are foreign error coins that will bring a premium too, so you might want to check for foreign error coins too.

I've been browsing the recent Sedwick Coins Internet-Only auction results. There were what appeared to me to be some real bargains. Also some results that confused me a bit.

There were "imitation cobs" that brought good prices - in some cases higher prices than genuine cobs. I don't know what that is all about. I guess there is always something to be learned.

I also noticed some things you might not expect to find in a Sedwick Coins auction, such as the dinosaur tooth and dinosaur egg, both of which sold for over $400.

And a couple of Megaladon Teeth that sold for good prices too. You can find them over at the Peace River as well as other places around the state.

It is easy for detectorists to not be aware of the value of non-metallic items, but you can find valuable non-metallic items while detecting if you keep your eyes open.

There was a sliver of wood from a famous old ship that sold in the auction too.

On eBay I noticed a ten-foot iron galleon canon for sale. It looks like it hasn't been preserved. I would expect it to fall apart quickly if not properly conserved. In fact it might be too late already if it hasn't already been done.

I think it is well worth browsing all of the various resources to learn more about different types of treasure if you are a detectorist.

Back to the Sedwick auction. It seems to me that there were some good deals and opportunities to turn a profit if you were a knowledgeable buyer.

When you have a large number of lots and a lot of variety in an auction, some good deals can get overlooked.

The big news lately has been what the US is going to do or not do about the debt. No matter what else they may do, I expect the government to continue issuing more money to help pay-off or reduce the debt. Our money becomes worth less, and the existing dept is lessened. That means the money you now hold will be decreasing in value. If you are on a fixed income, you might get the same number of dollars, but every dollar will be worth less. The continuing increase in the prices of gold and silver is in part a reaction to that fact. Expect your dollars to continue becoming worth less while commodities, including gold, silver, food, gas, etc. cost more. This intentional inflationary movement acts like a tax that takes money out of your pocket to reduce the debt. Right now it seems you can better preserve your wealth by holding hard assets that will not decrease in value as fast as our money.

The Canadian Dollar, Australian Dollar and Swiss Franc are all worth more now than the US Dollar. You might have picked up a pocketful of Canadian change if you detect in certain parts of South Florida.

And if you want to see what it is worth, here is a currency calculator.

According to Daily Finance In 1990, there was just a little over $268 billion in currency in circulation, and around 1.4 billion $100 bills floating around. Today there are more than 7 billion Benjamins out there in the world -- $704 billion worth, according to figures from the Federal Reserve. The majority of those are held outside the country, the Fed estimates. The total value of cash currently in circulation, along with money in checking accounts, is just over $1.9 trillion.

The following link provides the above facts along with a discussion of the US debt.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is out of the east today and the seas are very calm - running about one foot. That won't change real soon.

The tropics are really heating up. Besides the tropical storm hitting Texas and Padre Island - too bad detecting isn't legal there anymore - there are two other tropical waves. It looks like the one down by Central America won't do much, but there is another that has a 70% chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours. That one is still out there pretty far, but bears watching.

Happy hunting,

7/29/11 Report - Silver Bar & Knife & Signal Finds

Great Silver Bar Sold at Sedwick Coins Internet-Only Auction.

Just look at all of those great markings!

The auction concluded yesterday and this bar sold for over $46,000 (not counting the buyer's premium). Nice bar and nice price.

The final prices for all lots sold are now available for inspection on the Sedwick Coins web site.

It is always instructive to browse artifacts, and especially interesting when you can see actual prices.

I recently received a photo of a knife that was found along the Treasure Coast. It didn't appear to me to be either Spanish or over 100 years old. I'm not an expert though and didn't personally inspect the knife. But there is more than Spanish treasure on the Treasure Coast and some items, as I've said before, are what I call signal finds.

Signal finds are finds that may or not have any significant economic value, but they have another type of value - informational. They provide information and provide a signal.

Even though the knife in my opinion was not centuries old, it was obviously not new and obviously not a recent drop. It looked like it had been out there for quite a while.

That to me sends up a signal. The find is a sign that people were in that area in the past, and there are probably more things to be found there. That information can be more valuable than a find that does have economic value. That signal would be all I need to justify investing additional time and effort in searching that area more thoroughly and looking for additional clues.

Remember, not all treasure is Spanish and not all treasure is hundreds of years old. There are many other types of treasures that have been found on the Treasure Coast.

There were the English, French, Seminoles, Ais, pirates, pioneers and more recent criminal gangs. Don't think that Spanish shipwreck treasure is the only treasure worth hunting on the Treasure Coast.

The knife I was talking about above was found in a mangrove area. A lot of people only hunt on the beach. That means you have a good chance of finding unhunted ground and possibly new treasures when you hunt off-beach.

My main point here is when you find a signal clue like that knife in an off-beach area, it would be a good idea to intensify your efforts in that area. It will almost always be interesting and could result in the recovery of a cache.

On the topic of knives, there is a large collector market for vintage and antique knives. I like to find different types of knives. If a knife is in decent shape, it will probably be easy to sell. Dive knives, for one example, sell very easily. So do vintage pen knives.

Since knives are so collectible, there are some good web sites for researching vintage and antique knives.

Here is the link to one.

In addition to the large catalog to browse, that site also has a lot of good technical articles. You'll find some listed at the end of the catalog.

Here is another good vintage knife web site. Notice the prices.

Added 10:56 AM: I wanted to remind you of the club hunt being held by the new St. Lucie Treasure Hunting Club this Sunday. Contact

Also I can't help but respond to what some politicians are saying this morning about a downgrade in US debt and the resulting interest rates being like a tax on all Americans.

They don't seem to want to tell you how printing more money to pay for the debt and the resulting inflation is like a tax on all Americans. It just takes the money out of your back pocket so you don't notice it so much. You get the same number of dollars but they are worth less. The result is the same. Very sneaky.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

It seems like the tropics are becoming more active. Tropical Storm Don seems about ready to hit Texas. And there is a new tropical wave in the South Atlantic still a good distance from us. This one looks like it will develop, but it is too early to guess where it might go. I'll keep you up to date on its development.

There were scattered showers along the coast this morning.

The seas are still running around two feet. It looks like that will continue for several days. Therefore, no change in beach hunting conditions yet.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, July 28, 2011

7/28/11 Report - Digging Up Friends

Not Just Toys.

To me these aren't just toys. They are some of the toys that I played with a few decades ago back where I grew up in Pennsylvania.

I once had the opportunity to return to where I was raised and detect the yard where I and my friends played. I dug up these old friends.

If you ever have a chance to detect the places you played as a child, I'd highly recommend doing it. Memories will come popping out of the ground. To me that is really special, and closer to what detecting is really all about than anything else I can imagine.

I showed these once before but decided to show them again because of something I'll mention below.

This is the last day for the Sedwick Coins Internet-Only Auction. Last chance to register and bid.

The newly formed St. Lucie Treasure Hunting Club will have a club hunt on 7/31/11. I gave contact information for the club in yesterday's post if you are interested. Contact Bernie C.

Some people talk about the time they dug a dime at three feet. Different things can happen that will make it appear that way.

When you take a scoop of sand in the water, if you lift the scoop quickly or if there are heavy currents in the water, items can fall out when you lift the scoop. If this happens repeatedly, the target can continue to fall back into the hole as the hole gets deeper. By the time you get it, it is three feet deep.

Sometimes a target will seem to disappear. That can happen when the target falls into the bottom of a deep hole as I just described.

Targets will also seem to disappear sometimes when you are digging on the beach. The most common cause of that is when a coin or something was first detected when it was laying flat and then is moved so that it is standing on end. When a signal disappears like that, check the sides of the hole to see if the coin is stuck to the side of the hole, and check the bottom of the hole to see if the coin has fallen deeper into the hole and beyond detecting range.

Take a dime or whatever and put it flat in the bottom of a hole and run your detecctor over it. If it isn't too deep you'll get a good strong signal. Then stand the coin on edge at a similar depth. Run your coil over it. You'll see that it gives a much more faint signal when stading on edge.

Some people detect the front face of cuts. Many of the coins they ind that way have fallen down the face of the cut and are then laying parallel to the face of the cut. Coins that are still buried will generally be laying flat and only present an edge to a coil that is sweeping parallel to the face of the cut, therefore only giving a faint signal, if any at all.

Another thing that will result in a disappearing signal, is when a small ring or other small item breaks. You will get a much stonger signal from a unbroken ring laying flat, for example, than you will from a ring standing on edge or a broken ring. If your scoop hits the ring and breaks it, the signal could disappear.

You can easily test that if you have a small broken gold ring. I often recommend testing various test obect under different conditions. That is a very good way to become more familiar with your detector and the signals it produces.

Another common cause of disappearing targets, occurs when digging in moving water, especially on a slope, such as the front of a cut beach where the waves are still hitting. The waves can quickly move items, sometimes surprising distances, especially if the object is light or thin.

It can be instructive to follow targets that are being moved by the water just to see how the waves are moving things. Sometimes I'll throw an object into the waves and follow it with my detector just to observe that.

If you've been detecting very long, you've probably found some old metal toy soldiers or metal diecast cars. Not all toys are worthless. Some are very collectable.

Kovels Komments says that Barclay Manufacturing Co. began making 3 1/2-inch lead soldiers in about 1935 and was the largest U.S. manufacturer of toy soldiers in the 1930s and 1940s. Most of the toy soldiers were sold in dime stores. Barclay did not make any toys between April 1942 and the end of World War II. It stopped production in 1971. The trademark was sold in the 1990s and reproductions are being made. Other companies have made toy soldiers similar to Barclay's ... Prices vary according to the maker, number of pieces in the set, types of pieces, and condition. A group of 40 lead soldiers sold for $70 last year. Individual soldiers can sell for about $10. Recent prices include $10 for a flag bearer and $9.95 for a shell loader.

I like finding vintage toys even if they aren't worth much. Detecting isn't all about money. In fact very little of it is. Many people don't understand that.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Premiminary results from the survey show that a lot of people are not hitting the beaches now. I'm not surprised. I always knew that the middle of summer was not the peak time for detecting on the Treasure Coast.

For one thing beach detecting conditions are usually poor during the summer until a good storm comes along. The weather is hot and a lot of people are out of town on vaction. The snow birds that like to detect aren't here either.

Detecting on the Treaure Coast usually picks up in the Fall.

I'll have the final results of the survey in a few days.

The wind is out of the southeast. That usually means more sand and shells piling up on the beach. Seas will be around two feet again, and continuing for a few days.

The tropical wave I've been talking about is now Tropical Storm Don and is located down by the Yucatan, heading into the Gulf. Won't do much of anything for us.

Conditions remain unchanged.

Happy Hunting,

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

7/27/11 Report - More on the Lost Merchant, Proposed Laws, & New Club

Side Scan Sonar Images of Lost Merchant Obtained by The Dare.

They got a 100 gamma hit that provides additional evidence that the target is indeed the shipwreck.

Information and picture received from the Mel Fisher organization via email.

Jim M. sent me an email informing me of a new government proposal that could severely affect detectorists.

As you probably know, Florida's navigable waterway's are considered state property, and anything old found in them belongs to the state. I'm talking about a few decades old, not just centuries.

I don't know much about this new proposal yet and am certainly not up on the details and technicalities of it, but it seems that it would give the EPA and Army Corp control over any and every drop of water in the US.

Hard to believe? Here is a link if you want to look into it.

Concerning the newly forming St. Lucie Treasure Hunting Club, Bernie C. says, We now have 9 members signed up 4 seasonal and 5 local. Let your friends know about the club if they're into detecting. We are planning a morning hunt on Sunday the 31st of July. Let me know who's interested, also send me any suggestions on locations you'd like to hunt. I am working on club decals/patches, and as soon as the need arises I will be upgrading the webpage. I have also started a Facebook page and will be making a Youtube page to post find videos for our out of town members so they can be updated on what treasures we find. Thanks to all who have showed interest in St Lucie Treasure Hunters Club and I'm looking forward to meeting everyone.

For additional information on the new St. Lucie Treasure Hunting Club, contact Bernie C. at

Parts of a German bomber were found in England by using an old photograph.

Here is the link.

I mention this because old photos and post cards can provide good treasure hunting leads.

The past few days I've given a lot of good old historical resources that could keep you busy for some time. I hope you make good use of them.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Watch out for the thunder storms. You can usually hear them a good ways off as static in your ear phones. Be careful on the beach.

As you undoubtedly know, lightening can send surges through your home wiring and damage electronics. You might want to unplug any detectors that are being charged, along with any other expensive electronics when a storm is nearby.

The rain also brought out tons of mosquitoes, so for your next trip to the beach, you might want to take some mosquito repellent.

The tropical wave that I've been talking about for the last few days now has an 80% chance of becoming a cyclone. It is now closer to the Yucatan and looks like it will move into the Gulf.

The wind is from the south and the seas remain calm - running about two feet. That will continue for the next week, only varying about a half foot one way or the other.

As a result conditions beach detecting conditions remain poor.

Storms do chase people off of the beach. While not so many people visit the beach, those that are there when a storm arises often lose things when they hurriedly collect their belongings for the mad dash to the car.

You might want to try something different - maybe a land site.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

7/26/11 Report - Civil War & Indian Research

Treasure Coast Sunrise This Morning.

Lobster Mini-season will begin tonight at midnight and runs through Thursday

Yesterday I gave you some good research leads from the Tequesta. The Tequesta is a great source of information on Florida history. I also showed a picture of a relic dug up in the Brickell area.

That area has a lot of history and a number of big treasure finds, including barrels and chests of treasure - the kind of thing dreams and fortunes are made of.

Some of the fresh water springs in that area were used by passing ships to replenish water supplies.

One treasure that was dug up in that general area was found by a man that invested in the early days of the Sears department stores.

With all of the focus on hunting modern jewelry down there, I think a lot of people would be surprised by the number of buried pirate and shipwreck treasures that have come from South Florida.

Key Biscayne and Coconut Grove have both produced more than their fair share, not to mention the lower Keys and up in the Broward and Palm Beach areas.

Here is a good article from the Tequesta on Miami during the Civil War. Also mentioned in the article are the Indian River and St. Lucie inlet.

Besides the local settlers and actions related to the war, it talks about the Sagamore, blockade running, wrecking, and shipping commerce in the area.

There is a good map too, as well as some nice old pictures and some good treasure hunting leads.

Here is the link if you are interested.

And here is another great article - this one on the Indians of Florida.

IF you want to do anything more than hit the same old beaches all the time, it is a good idea to do your library research.

I know of people that in recent years have found chests and buried silver bars. So it is still possible, but you have to branch out and explore a little to have a chance.

Those articles along with the ones I posed yesterday should get your detecting juices flowing. When beach conditions are not good, you can make good use of your spare time by doing some research.

I added a new survey to the blog this morning.

If you are a little crafty, you can turn sea shells into nice pieces of jewelry.

Here is what one person on the Treasure Coast is doing.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is from the south/southwest. The sea has picked up a little, now running around two feet. That could be enough to freshen up some spots.

Still my beach conditions rating is poor. My rating scale is based upon the probability of finding shipwreck cobs, in case I haven't mentioned that lately.

You can still find a few other things, such as iron artifacts, even though that is not as good as it was a few weeks ago.

That tropical wave is still down below Cuba. There is now a 20% chance that it will develop into a cyclone.

It looks to me like it will go into the Gulf if it does develop.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, July 23, 2011

7/25/11 Report - Pirate and Treasure Lore & Found Sword

Treasure Coast Beach Near Low Tide This Morning.

This morning I'll point you to one of the best online resources for Florida history. It is the Tequesta, a scholarly journal published by the Historical Association of Southern Florida since 1941.

You can view the archives of the journal at the following link.

The articles also sometimes include information on other parts of Florida.

One classic articlle of particular interest to the readers of this blog, is the article Pirates and Treasure Trove of South Florida by David O. True.

This particular article, while focusing on South Florida mentions other parts of the state as well, including the Treasure Coast.

I think you'll wnat to read that article if you haven't already.

Here is the link.

That should get the creative juices going.

The article was written a number of years ago and so you'll find some inaccuracies according to what was known or beieved at the time.

Still it is a great article that can provide many interesting leads.

I think I'll follow up on some of them in future posts.

Dagger or Sword?

This item is now for sale on eBay. According to the item decription it was found in the Brickell area by a detectorist in South Florida.

This is the type of relic that you can sometimes find on land sites and that can really get your mind going. It opens a lot of very interesting questions.

I encourage beach hunters to consider land sites, because there are treasures to be found on land too.

You might want to take a look at the item description.

The eBay item number is 280706413175.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is from the south/southwest and the seas are running about 1.5 feet.

As you can see from the photo at the top of the blog, some dips are forming between the bar and the beach as the beach rebuilds.

If you stand on the beach and look north and south, you'll probably be able to spot the dips fairly easily. Generally speaking, the deeper they are the better they are.

This morning on the flatter beaches, I would be hunting the beach fronts, which seem to have a lot of targets. Most are junk, but there are a few more interesting things in between.

The seas will be increasing to about three feet later in the week.

7/23/11 Report - Vintage Watches, Gold Coins, Live Beach Cams

Interesting Band on Found Watch.

I always like to browse sites showing 17th an 18th century items. If there is one thing I regret, it is the times that I failed to recognize the approximate date of an item when I dug it up only to learn later that I should have paid more attention to the item.

I've mentioned before the time I dug a musket part and the musket flint and didn't recognize what it was at the time. That was when I was new to digging up things from earlier centuries. If I had recognized what I had, I would have stayed in the same area longer and hunted much more thoroughly than I did.

I once dug a gold enameled ring on a shipwreck beach and didn't think it looked three hundred years old. I didn't know that they did enameling centuries ago. But they did.

Anyhow, as a result of things like that, I like to study old artifacts of all types so I recognize them when I see them.

A big part of successful detecting, is recognizing the clues that you come across. If you find a 17th century artifact, for example, you should hunt that area very thoroughly before moving on.

Here is a nice web site where you can study some very nice examples of 17th and 18th century jewelry.

If you were detecting and found a Seiko watch, what is the oldest it could be?

Back of Watch Bearing Serial Numbers.

Sorry. The numbers on the back of the casing didn't show up in the photo very well, but they are there. You can clearly see the number on the band.

Did you guess how long ago Seiko watches were made?

The first Seiko brand watches were produced in 1924. Not exactly an antiquity, yet much older than I would have guessed. I would have thought something like 1970.

The Seiko company is even older than that, going back to the 1880s.

An interesting bit of trivia: the first crystal watches made by Seiko cost as much as a new car at the time.

Thanks to the internet a lot of information is available to help you decipher serial numbers. On a Seiko, for example, the first number of the six figure serial number gives the last digit of the year the watch was produced. 4 as the first digit indicates the watch was manufactured in a year such as 1964 or 1974, for example.

Unfortunately you have to figure out what the first three digits of the year would be from information about when that model of watch was produced or other sources.

The second digit of the serial number indicates the month. If you want to learn more about that just search Seiko and serial number.

Similar information is available for most other watches. There is a really great forum for Rolex watches as well as many other brands where you can get your questions answered.

Here is the link for the Rolex forum.

Vintage and antique watch collecting are very popular.

Ten rare Double Eagle gold coins worth 40 million were ruled to be the property of the U S Treasury. The coins have been in the possession of a family for a number of years, but were ruled to have been improperly removed from the mint and therefore the property of the Treasury.

Here is the link to that story.

The story suggests that the coins might go on display. Many people think they should be sold. Sounds right to me. Pay off some government debt.

I added a web site to my Tide and Surf Projection Section on this blog. It gives the links to many live web cams for Florida, including many for the Treasure Coast.

Thanks to Jim M. for submitting the site.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The low pressure area down by the Lesser Antilles has developed only a little. It now has a 30% chance of becoming a cyclone. The early projections that I saw, predict that it will most probably go into the Gulf.

I wouldn't be surprised if the surf predictions change a little in the next few days, but right now the wind is out of the south/southeast and the seas for the next several day will be about 1 to 2 feet. If that is accurate, the conditions will not be changing significantly for a while. I wouldn't be surprised to see the surf predictions changed in the next few days though.

Happy hunting,

PS: I don't usually post this early in the morning. If you usually check out the posts early in the day, you might have missed yesterday's post.

Friday, July 22, 2011

7/22/11 Report - Silver, Gold, Patinas, Tumbaga & More

Intricate Silver Bracelet Found.

Yesterday morning I was working the front beach where some new material had washed up over the past couple of days. I found some old almost completely dissolved spikes, crunched up copper sheeting and stuff and this silver bracelet.

I haven't found any markings on it at all, but maybe I'll be able to see some markings if it is cleaned. I don't know if I want to do that.

Viewed with a high powered loop, the sand encrustation really sparkles. It is unusual. I've seen a lot of black encrusted silver, but this really different under the loop.

I like all kinds of patinas and crusts. Sometimes I hate to remove them - and don't.

A patina can tell you a lot. Different patinas come from different environments.

When an item is under the sand or in the ocean, what it is next too can determine how it corrodes or what happens to it.

Bill P. reminded me yesterday that even gold can take on some coloration if it lays next to or on a cannon or anchor or something like that.

I've told before how even gold items can corrode. It isn't really the gold, but the alloys in the gold that corrode. You will often see green around where a gold ring has been soldered for example.

Much of the gold found by the Spaniards in South America was mined with some copper content. Copper gives color to gold and if there is a good bit, can make the gold more rigid.

Tumbaga refers to a copper, gold, and silver alloy that was often used by the South American groups to make religious items.

You might want to read more about that here.

The Mel Fisher organization says that the Dare is now on the Lost Merchant site and are checking out some hits.

You can still register to bid in the current Sedwick Online auction by using the following link.

This is the final week of the auction.

It might be a good time to check your scoop. Take a good look at the front edge. Any bends can make digging much more difficult. If you can't hammer the edge back into shape, you might consider getting a new scoop. Check to see how much the damaged edge affects digging.

If you dig in loose sand, you probably won't damage your scoop, but if you are digging in packed shells, rocks, or hard clay or anything like that, a bent scoop will cause a lot of additional effort.

I added an additional web site to my Tide and Surf Projections section. It gives access to the live web cams for Florida, including quite a number on the Treasure Coast.

Treasure Coast Beach forecast and Conditions.

As Bret and Cindy mover further away from us, a new tropical wave has formed about 500 miles east of the Windward Islands. This wave has about a 20% chance of developing into a cyclone in the next 48 hours.

The wind is from the south again and the seas very calm. You can expect 1.5 foot seas for the next week or so with little exception. That, of course, means very little change in conditions.

Maybe that low pressure area will develop and send us some waves before long.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, July 21, 2011

7/21/11 Report - Storing Finds, St. Lucie Club, Conditions Downgrade

Lazy Sea This Morning Just After Low Tide.

I was looking at some finds the other day and was reminded once again how what you do after the find is important.

I was looking at one small charm that was hard to tell how old it was. One little mark on the back caught my attention. It was too small to read, so I got it in good light and pulled out my jewelers loop. Only then could I see 925 stamped on it.

That, of course, means that is sterling silver, which also means that it is not centuries old. A mark like that can often help narrow down the age of found items. Carefully scan finds for small marks.

Some designs have been used basically the same for centuries, so they can be hard to identify by date, especially when they've been in salt water for a while.

It is good to have a good quality jewelers loop to inspect your finds.

A loop can also help you determine the value of gem stones.

Another recommendation is to avoid storing different types of metals together. If one type of metal is stored touching another, the metals can leach or one can mar the surface of the other, leaving hard to remove marks that can ruin the look.

Pewter Medallion Marred By Being Stored In a Box With Other Metal Items.

This is one example. It survived the beach very nicely, but then was damaged by being stored with other metal items. It looks like it might be very difficult or impossible to get rid of the new damage. Although this isn't an important item, the same thing can happen to more important finds.

You don't have to worry about that much with gold, but silver is especially prone to being discolored or marred by other metals. Definitely don't store salt-water blackened silver with like-new silver.

When it comes to silver items, I'd individually wrap each item to keep each one from touching another.

Kovels Komments says, Vintage watches are fashionable again. Some men in their 30s who gave up watches for cell phones are now wearing watches as jewelry. Watch collectors say they have learned to appreciate "a proper mechanical timepiece." Grandpa's watch is cool, especially if it's an old Rolex. And wooden jewelry is back. Remember those carved costume jewelry pins made for children in the 1950s? Hip-hop artists have started a trend back to wooden jewelry. Wooden bracelets, beads, pendants, and even cufflinks and sunglasses are being made. But old wooden jewelry is still selling for bargain prices.

Bernie C. is interested in starting a detecting club in the St. Lucie area. I guess there was one there at one time. Bernie is willing to take the lead to get this thing started. Let him know if you are interested. His email is

He has a web site for you to look at too.

Don't forget that anytime you want to check out the Jupiter area beaches, you can find the photos at the following web site, that you can also find in my treasure links list in this blog.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Cindy is a tropical storm out in the Atlantic, and like Bret, is moving away from us. Neither will affect us.

The wind is from the south again, and the front of the beaches are building again.

I'm putting my beach conditions rating back to a 1 again.

That didn't last long, but there is a lot of summer left.

The next several days will see seas down around one foot, so we are back to the conditions that existed prior to the recent erosion.

I saw several guys out detecting the low tide area this morning.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

7/20/11 Report - Calming Seas, Gold Prices & Pencils

People often ask why I don't give the name of the beaches that I show in my photos or tell where the cuts are. There are a few main reasons.

First, I don't want everyone running out to the same beach. I've had complaints the few times in the past when I did name a specific beach from the people who always detect that beach because of all the detectorists that suddenly showed up. That isn't good for anyone.

Second, I can't be everywhere and on any particular day that I do visit a beach or two, I can pretty much tell what is going on around the Treasure Coast, there might be a spot or two with a surprise. Although I can give a good general report, I can't say what every spot along the Treasure Coast is doing. There often are one or two spots that for one reason or another are a bit different.

Third, even though I'll give my observations and generalizations, you need to go out and check some of the beaches yourself. That is what treasure "hunting" is all about. It is part of treasure "finding." No hunt - no find. Take the hunt out of it, and you take a lot of the fun out of it. At least that is the way I see it. Who wants to sit and work a claim day after day if there isn't any hunt left in it.
I'm not much interested if there is nothing to do except hourly pick and shovel work.

One archaeologist at Appalachian State University asked a bunch of school children what the archaeologist's most important tool is. His answer was - a pencil to write down what you find and where.

As you might know, I often recommend good record keeping. For the detectorist, I would add at least one more important piece of information to write down - the date it was found.

Most people, I think, use a computer these days though.

Here is the link to that story.

This article sounds to me like the white man wasn't the only one to waste buffalo.
I'm not sure you could kill as many as it seems was reported killed in the following story and use everything. And if you did use all of it, why would the bones still be stacked on top of one another at the bottom of the jump? Seems to me that the politically correct interpretation might not hold.

Here is the link.

And here is a nice basic article on rising gold prices.

A couple of days ago when the price of gold went up about $12, about half of that increase was actually due to the decreasing value of the dollar.

Treaure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is from the west again, and the swells are down to two feet. Tomorrow the ocean will be even more calm.

I'm not reducing my beach conditions rating yet. There will be some good low tide hunting during the calm seas.

If you can find water hunting outside of the leased areas, it would be a good time to check to see what happened to the bottom conditions in the past couple of days. You might be able to find a new dip or churned area.

Bret is now up north. There is another low pressure area out there, but it is up and east of Bermuda, so won't affect us.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

7/19/11 Report - Finally! Beach Conditions Upgrade.

Cut on Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

Yesterday I showed a photo of the beach. The photo today is of the same place. Where there were two to three-foot cuts yesterday there were four-foot plus cuts today.

I stopped quickly at two beaches that I was going by this morning. The first had only some scallops and small cuts at a few scattered locations. It didn't look good at all.

The second and last place I looked at this morning was the one shown in the photo above. There were four foot cuts running for hundreds of yards. Evidently last night's high tide took some more sand away. However, the sand in front of the cut was very mushy - ankle deep everywhere.

You could see that the erosion had stopped at the time. The sea weed tells you that the light materials are now washing in. Hopefully the high tide will bring some more erosion. A lot of sand needs to be moved.

In the photo you can see where the waves were breaking. The swells would quickly build and break on the sand that has built up on the front of the beach. That sand extends out in front of the beach quite a few yards and protects the beach from much of the wave energy.

Despite the mushy sand, I think there is enough erosion to increase my beach conditions rating from a one to a two on my five point rating scale. That is means beach conditions have gone from poor to fair. So chances of finding a cob or other old shipwreck coin is improved but still not real good. All of that accumulated mushy summer sand is not encouraging. I'm just happy to give anything but a one for a change.

I do think someone might get lucky today or tomorrow.

A day or two ago I mentioned this webs site about maravedis and cobs, and mentioned that it is in the Spanish language.

Brad C. says that ... if you use google chrome as your browser and you have the translate extension installed, you can right click on the web site and hit translate to have the site translated from Spanish to English. Very handy, easy, and free.

Download Google chrome -

Add Translate Extension -

Thanks for the info Brad.

Here is a link to a TV program from a series where they go after some of the most famous treasures. This segment is about the Ark of the Covenant and the Mayan Talking Cross. It's over forty minutes long.

I received an email indicating an interest in starting a St. Lucie area metal detecting club. I understand that there was one, but it is now inactive. Maybe I'll have more about that for you some other time.

TCAS is a very active club up in the Sebastian area. They have a web site if you want to look it up.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast

Bret is moving out to sea and away from us. He is now near 29.9N 75.9W.

The seas will be decreasing today and tomorrow will be really calm on Thursday.

That makes it unlikely that we'll have any additional improvement in beach conditions, but you never know.

There were some areas that I couldn't get to today, that I would have detected if the tide was lower. The calmer seas will make it easy to get out further into the low tide zone.

There was one target I couldn't retrieve today because the water kept filling the hole, but in a day or two those types of targets will be easier to retrieve.

Today I'd definitely be looking for any cuts, especially any that got to the bank at the back of the beach.

Happy hunting,

Monday, July 18, 2011

7/18/11 Report - Tropical Storm Bret & Beach Cutting Begins

Cut on Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

Thanks to Tom H. for the photo.

I'll jump right into the conditions report today since there is actually a change, even though it is only a slight change.

The low pressure area off of Cape Kennedy that I mentioned the other day, did develop. It is now tropical storm Bret, and is still in roughly the same position.

Bret caused an increase in seas on the Treasure Coast, up to around three to five feet. And more significant than that, it actually caused some erosion.

There were some cuts this morning, although not great cuts. I got a report of two foot cuts on one beach, but the slope in front of those cuts was not very steep and it was very mushy.

From what I can tell, the cuts were not good enough to cause a change in my beach conditions rating. I'm sticking with a 1 rating, but if there is much more erosion I might be issuing a 2 rating.

My scale is a five-point scale going from 1 to 5, with 1 indicating poor, and 5 excellent hunting conditions for finding cobs and other precious metals from shipwrecks on the beach.

Even though we got some cuts today, there is so much sand to be moved that I think it will take some more erosion to improve hunting conditions. There is so much mushy sand out in front of the beaches that I don't think they will become productive real quick.

In a couple days you might find improved hunting in the low tide areas. The wave action is probably enough to freshen up the beach fronts.

I didn't hear of any shells in the splash zone and don't believe that the water got to the banks anywhere.

I believe you will find the cuts where the coast slopes more from northeast to southwest. I wouldn't expect much on the beaches that run directly north to south.

If you hunt long and hard or are just lucky enough to be in the right spot, you might find a surprise or two.

Gold and silver are doing really well. Gold is at about $1600 an ounce. Unless I'm mistaken that is a new high.

At the same time the dollar is strong this morning. Otherwise the increase in gold and silver prices in dollar terms would have been even bigger.

I'm still expecting continued dollar weakening and increasing precious metals prices for some time. But who knows? Certainly not I.

I've been cleaning some shipwreck items lately and noticed how quickly iron artifacts fall apart if they come from a salt water environment and are left in open air.

If you don't want your artifacts to deteriorate, start the preservation process right away.

I've given a web site in the past that tells how to clean and preserve various materials.

I really regret letting some things go in the past. There is a lot to do after you find an item. Don't let your artifacts sit and deteriorate.

When you find something and don't know what it is, treat it gently. Don't over-clean it or use the wrong cleaning process.

Special care should be taken with heavily encrusted objects and iron objects. You never know what might be under the crust.

Remove crust very carefully and very gently. Use the least harsh methods first even if it seems you aren't getting anywhere fast.

It can be disappointing to find out that you had a very nice item but damaged it somehow.

Learn about cleaning and preservation techniques and ask questions when you aren't sure.

Here is a great web site that might help you learn to identify old reigious items.

I have a correction for my 7/10/11 post. Laura Strolia conducted further research and found that the scapular showing a galleon on it was actually Carmelite.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast.

Seas are now expected to reach five feet on the Treasure Coast later today. That is more than I was expecting this morning.

The wind is from the northeast and the swells coming in from a direction that makes more cutting a distinct possibility. I would expect more cuts after high tide today, but nothing really major. Yet compared to what we've been having it is at least something.

I remember when people used to say that I was too optimistic. Well, I haven't given anything but a poor rating for a long time now.

After today the seas will be decreasing again, down to about two or three feet tomorrow, and then down to about one foot later this week.

Later this week should be a good time to get out to see if there is anything new in the low tide area and in the water.

I think that is all for now.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, July 17, 2011

7/17/11 Report - Cobs, Maravedis, Odyssey Marine, LaSalle Shipreck, and Conditions

1731 Reale.

You'll find this cob, with many more examples, on the web site that I mention below.

Odyssey Marine common stock jumped over 10 percent Friday. That is pretty good return for a single day. You can't make that much on a ten year CD.

OMEX has been very volatile lately, increasing rapidly right before the issuance of millions of new shares, and then falling just as rapidly. If you are a short-term speculator and your timing was good, you could have made a lot of money quickly with this stock, but if your timing was wrong you could have lost just as much.

The big moves in the price of this stock have been happening before the news comes out. That probably means that some of the big traders inside knowledge have been making trading on information that most people don't yet have and making the big gains and leaving the loses to the amateurs.

This is neither a recommendation to buy or sell the stock. Buyer beware.

I found a nice web site showing a lot of Spanish cobs, especially a lot of small denomination maravedis and reales.

Maravedis are smaller denomination Spanish coins made of copper. In earlier centuries (14th and 15th) I understand there were maravedis that were made of gold and silver. In later centuries, they were made of copper and that is the type that would most likely be found on New World wreck sites.

You can find a lot of maravedis on sale on eBay relatively cheap.

Unfortunately that web site is in the Spanish language. If you have a little knowledge of the language, you can probably figure it out.

From the first display, select the name of the king for the time period that you are interested in. You'll then see photos and descriptions of coins. Click on aqui (here) to enlarge the picture of the coin that you want to see enlarged.

Here is the link.

I used the term coin and cob as synonymous, and as you might know, that is not entirely accurate.

I also found a nice shipwreck web site showing a cofferdam being used by archaeologists to excavate the La Salle shipwreck in Texas. You might be interested in taking a look at the artifacts and other pictures on that webs site.

Here is the link.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions

I have never seen a more prolonged period of consistently poor beach hunting conditions. It has to change sometime.

The wind has changed a little after two weeks of west/southwest winds. It is now out of the north/northwest. And the seas are predicted to increase up to 3.5 feet today and tomorrow.

I suppose that is due to the low pressure area that is now about a hundred miles east of Cape Kennedy. NOAA says there is some chance (30%) of development.

As I've said in the past, we don't need a hurricane to improve the beaches, but we do need a significant prolonged northeaster.

There is really a lot of sand to be moved right now.

Among the first places to erode, will be the spots where there has been beach renourishment. I'm not kidding! That new sand will be the first to go because it sticks out like a sore thumb where it isn't supposed to be and doesn't have the natural protection that a natural beach would have.

Anyhow, we will have higher seas today and tomorrow. That should help a little but probably not enough for me to change my beach conditions rating from a 1 (poor).

Happy hunting,

Friday, July 15, 2011

7/15/11 Report - Where People Detect the Most Around the Treasure Coast

The most recent blog poll has concluded and the results are in. Participation was low. I don't know if people didn't want to tell where they hunt or what.

Of the areas listed in the poll, the one receiving the greatest number of votes was Fort Pierce Inlet to Jensen Beach. I found that a little surprising although it does include a number of frequently detected beaches. In that area there is the beach immediately south of Fort Pierce Inlet, which is not very productive and moderately detected, then the Nieves site down at Green Turtle Beach, then down a ways, Walton Rocks, and then again, Jensen Beach.

I guess that is a pretty big area and does include a number of frequently detected beaches, but I haven't personally seen many detectorists near the inlet or at the Nieves site lately. I have seen more at Walton Rocks and Jensen Beach, which is very heavily detected. Jensen Beach is detected very well on a daily basis. Maybe people are focusing more on modern stuff these days than shipwreck sites since the conditions have been so poor for finding the old stuff. And Jensen Beach is heavily used by the pubic, so there is daily replenishment.

The second most frequently detected area listed in the survey was the area from Sebastian River to the Amber Sands Beach Access. 16% of the respondents indicated that is where they most often detect. It is indeed a good area and includes a long unbroken stretch for some good shipwreck hunting. In the middle you have the beach in front of the old Spanish salvage camp and the "cabin." Shipwreck coins and artifacts have been found all along that beach, and there are few if any spots to be skipped along there.

The third most frequently hunted was Seagrape Trail south to the town of Vero Beach, with 14% of the votes. Included, of course, are Seagrape Trail and Turtle Trail, towards the north. A lot of good coins and artifacts have come from both of those.

The Seagrape Trail area also produces a lot of smaller shark teeth when conditions are right.

The area to the south of there is a long stretch of relatively undetected beach that would be a good place to explore. I wouldn't be surprised if a big find is made there someday.

And of course treasure coins have come from the beach at Vero.

Next in frequency is Jupiter south to Boca (12%). Jupiter beach is a good beach for shipwreck coins when the conditions are right. When conditions are not right, you can also find some modern era items, and occasionally some older US coins. And of course, to the south there are a number of parks and accesses to hunt.

Next at 10% is Boca and south. Spanish shipwreck coins are found near the Boca Inlet at times, but that area also includes Lauderdale, Miami, etc. I get a number of emails from readers down that way even though it is part of the Treasure Coast.

Also with 10% is the area from Amber Sands through Wabasso. From my personal observations I would have to believe this one is way under counted. Every time I stop at Wabasso, I see one or more detectorists. I just find this one hard to believe. Maybe the Wabasso boys are trying to fool someone or something.

Anyhow, Wabasso is a good place to detect. With shipwrecks to both the north and south and the Disney Resort for modern items, what more could you want.

Next in order is south of Jensen Beach to the Jupiter Inlet (8%). That is a long stretch that includes Stuart Beach, Bathtub Beach, and Hobe Sound, among others.

And last are two areas. Sebastian River north, and Rio Mar to the Fort Pierce Inlet.

I often see detectorists at Rio Mar. Besides being a wreck site, it often produces modern jewelry and older US coins. Then there is the Sandy Point wreck. And in this area is also Pepper Park, which is detected well. I'm surprised those two combined didn't do better.

The one thing that surprised me about Pepper Park is the number of pull tabs considering how often it is detected.

Another area I expect to hear about a big new find some day is the long stretch between Sandy Point and Pepper Park. As far as I know, that stretch is not detected very much.

And the other area with 4% is from the Sebastian River north, including Bon Steel Park, and the Melborne and Cocoa areas. I get a fair number of emails from people up that way.

So there it is. The one conclusion you can safely reach is that there are detectorists that hit beaches all along and above and below the Treasure Coast. I don't think the numbers are accurate for all areas, especially the Wabasso area.

Some areas are very heavily detected while there are still some very long stretches of beach that are seldom detected.

I've read that the Chinese discovered America before Christopher Columbus. Here is a web site that tells about an early Chinese artifact found on the West Coast of Mexico, but it came from a Spanish galleon.

Interesting reading.

If you want to read more about early Chinese exploration, here is a good link.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Still no real change in conditions. Wind is still from the west and the seas calm tomorrow the seas will begin to increase a little, up to about three feet on Sunday, and then decreasing again next week.

That won't do much for us. Conditions for beach hunting the shipwreck beaches, remains poor.

There is one tropical wave down by Costa Rico. It isn't expected to develop.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

7/14/11 Report - Sedwick Coin Auctions, Odyssey Exhibit, and Mel Fisher Coin Info

Shipwreck Spikes.

Shipwreck spikes have at least two kinds of value. One is that they can point you to good shipwreck sites to hunt. Old shipwrecks often produce a lot of old spikes, and they are often one of the first clues to a nearby wreck for beach hunters.

They can have economic value too, especially when they are be documented to a named shipwreck.

These particular spikes are now on sale on ebay.

Two announcements from Sedwick Coins.

Our first “Internet only” auction has just been updated to show all the descriptions (also note a few corrections), and just TWO WEEKS remain until bidding ends at 9 pm EDT on July 28. Unlike our main auctions, this one is absentee-bid only, with no live session at the end, so don’t wait until the last minute!

As usual, the auction is hosted by iCollector (click here). Simply register to bid (or set up a new account on iCollector in seconds), browse the lots, and bid on them or bookmark them to watch. Bid your maximum so you won’t lose the item you really want. The iCollector platform will treat your bid as a “secret maximum” and only show the current high bid (which is reduced to one increment above the next highest bid). Your maximum can only be seen by YOU. If you are outbid, iCollector will notify you instantly. The difference is that there is no LIVE bidding at the end, and all the lots will close at the same time. Terms and conditions are the same as for any of our other auctions.

This auction of 789 lots features our first offering of silver cobs from the Sao Jose wreck of 1622, consisting of over 350 coins in over 90 lots, most most of them in groups of 3, 6 and 9 coins, as well as key dates and rarities in individual lots. You will also find a large Atocha silver bar, shipwreck and world coins (silver and gold), artifacts, books and documents. There is plenty here for the budget-conscious buyer, so take a look and plan to BUY!

If you missed the chance to view the auction lots in person at the Summer FUN show last week, please make an appointment to view the lots at our office in Winter Park (up until July 27, weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm).

Now is also the time to consign to our Treasure and World Coin Auction #10 (October, 2011). We are extending the consignment deadline to the ANA’s “World’s Fair of Money,” August 16-20, in Rosemont (Chicago, IL). If you want to consign at that show, please let us know ahead of time so we can adjust for insurance and baggage space. If you are not coming to the ANA show, please plan to ship your consignments to arrive BEFORE August 16, as we will not have time to process anything new after the show. We encourage you to come to the show and discuss your consignments in person.

SHIPWRECK! Pirates & Treasure, an exhibit produced by Odyssey Marine will be at the Witte Museum in San Antonio, TX beginning October 1, 2011. The exhibit will be in Sarasota in late August. At the exhibit you can see 500 authentic artifacts,plus a variety of other exhibit and interactive displays.

For some good information on Spanish treasure coins, you might want to visit the Mel Fisher site.

Here is a link to that information.

Thanks to Jim M. for pointing this out to me.

Only a little more time to vote on the survey. I'd appreciate your input on that.

I'm going to skip the forecast and conditions report today. I don't have much time today and nothing has changed from yesterday anyhow.

It will be nice when the beaches finally change. Maybe we'll get a decent storm before long.

Happy hunting,

7/13/11 Report - Recording and Analyzing Hunts and Finds

Chart Showing Exploration and Recent Finds on the Trail of the Atocha.

I just received an email showing this chart produced by Captain Andy Matroci, who is seeking the sterncastle of the Atocha. As I've mentioned in recent months there have been some good finds that could be from the sterncastle where wealthy passengers would have had their private treasures. Three recent finds that indicate they may be on the right track are a gold rosary, a gold bar and a large emerald gold ring. Those artifacts are shown on the chart as labeled yellow circles and fall pretty much in a straight line.

Each circle on the chart represents a hole and some are labeled to indicate what was found in the hole. SC indicates silver coin. You can see where additional artifacts were found.

There are a couple of general things that can be learned from this that applies to beach or almost any type of hunting. One big thing is that records can be helpful.

It is good to know where you have hunted, when, and what was found. Yesterday I talked about hunting hot spots. Hot spots often show up in the same place. Some show up frequently and others less frequently, but most hot spots are replenished from time to time.

I've known some hot spots that tend to show up in the same place during approximately the same time of the year. Of course, when they show up depends upon the waves and weather.

When you do find a hot spot and work it out, you will probably not forget the spot. Check that spot every once in a while, or when conditions would lead you to believe that it is the right time. Remember what the conditions were like when the spot was good - the direction of the wind and the waves are important.

Another thing you can get from the chart is that items form shipwrecks that have been subject to the oceans sifting and sorting, are not distributed randomly. There are forces at work, and they work according to certain principles.

I get the feeling sometimes that some people go out hunting without any real reason for looking one place rather than another. If that is you, ask yourself why you chose the spot you did? I'm not discounting intuition or anything like that, but there are things you can discover and there are reasons to be one place rather than another. Knowing which place to hunt first comes in part from studying what you have done in the past and learning from experience.

It really helps to know the beaches that you hunt. Learn what it is made of, what the different layer are, how it i building or eroding, etc. etc. You can make your hunting much more efficient if you study and get to know the various beaches.

When you are hunting, exercise your mind as well as your body. Observe, question, wonder, and put two and two together.

I consider knew knowledge to be as important as any find. If I learn something on an outing, what I learned can point to many more future finds.

Notice how they analyzed the chart above. The gathered information and are now working on the hypothesis that they are on the trail of the sterncastle and many more finds.

Analyze the finds you make on the beach. Are heavy objects in one location, light objects in another location or layer? That kind of analysis is important and can tell you a lot.

One find as often as not will lead to another, especially when you are talking about old items in the wet sand areas.

When you find a singe item, check to see if it is a part of a distribution pattern. Is it a part of a cluster, line or hole. I've talked about those kinds of things before. Don't just assume it is a random find, and then fail to see if it is a part of a larger pattern.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

No change in conditions yet. Wind is still from the west and seas calm

There is a change coming though. Not a particularly significant change, but something that could refresh a few spots again.

This coming weekend the seas will be increasing to two feet or so and then maybe a little more next week.

There isn't much going on in the tropics now. Just a tropical wave down by Mexico. There is very little chance that it will deveop.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

7/12/11 Report - Two Crude Silver Finds and the Issue of Depth

Two Crude Unmarked Silver Beach Finds.

Both test as silver, and both are unmarked. The cross has the Latin word for Peace, PAX, on the front of it even though I don't think you can see that in the photo. It appears that it once had a loop on it that broke off.

I don't know what the symbol on the ring is. I'm always happy to hear your thoughts on unidentified beach finds like this.

Google Books provides a very good resource. Some books can be read in part or entirely online. One book in Google Books that you might be interested in and that you can scan (partly) is Buried Treasure of the Atlantic Coast by Jameson.

Here is the link to the section on Georgia/Florida.

I often talk to people that think their detector is not detecting deep enough. They are concerned about how deep their detector will detect, and want the deepest seeking detector they can afford. They seem to think that if they can detect another foot deeper their finds will increase dramatically. In my opinion, depth is an issue that is highly over-rated when it comes to beach detecting.

Of course you need a detector that will detect targets at some depth. That is what a detector is supposed to do. But your goal isn't to find the deepest targets that you can.

First of all, you have to consider the type of target. A lot of the time I hear people talk about how deep a detector will detect a quarter. That might provide one estimate of a detector's power, but that isn't the most important thing unless your primary target is quarters.

Some detectors are better at detecting small pieces of silver and gold than others. Other detectors are better at detecting other metals such as copper or iron, for example. And others are good at detecting large pieces of metal at depth, but not very good at detecting smaller pieces of shallow precious metals. You would often be better off with a detector that will detect smaller items made of precious metals than detecting large pieces of metal two or three feet deep.

Tesoro detectors, from my experience, seem to be very good at detecting small pieces of precious metals but not so good at detecting clad coins at great depth, especially in wet salt mineralized sand. Which would you be most interested in?

Many people that read this blog want to find silver or gold shipwreck cobs on the beach. Many beach cobs are small, particularly those that wash in from the ocean on certain beaches. The cobs that come from Bon Steel Park, for example, tend to be small half reales.

Half reales can be very small. Some people are surprised when they first see them. Back in the eighties, many people hunting the Treasure Coast beaches were missing almost all of the small denomination cobs, because they were using too much discrimination. I suspect that is still the case.

I remember once showing a couple of guys that showed up on the beach where to look and how to set their detector settings and in less than an hour they found their first cobs (half reale in the sea weed line). I think most experienced detectorists these days know enough to not run around looking for cobs while using too much discrimination. (The conditions were good that day, not like the current beach conditions.)

It is funny to me that it seems so many people are so concerned about depth, but then they run around using too much discrimination. If you want to find the smaller denomination cobs, you shouldn't be using very much discrimination. I prefer not using any.

The guy that made some of my detectors once told me that he had a new modification that would make my detector detect deeper. I told him that I didn't want any deeper. We both laughed. But it was true. I didn't want or need any more depth.

My primary focus is on finding hot spots such as the coin lines or holes that I've talked about in the past. I don't have a lot of interest in covering hundreds of yards of sand for a few scattered targets. The first thing I hunt is the location of any hot spots. When I go out on a beach, that is what I am looking for.

By "hot spots" I mean any good concentration of old coins or items made of precious metals. Hot spots are generally not deep. They are concentrations of items that have been either recently uncovered or recently deposited on the beach. The vast majority of them are not under tons of sand. And the first step is to find the hot spot and clean out the shallow targets before really getting down to cleaning out any of the deeper items that may be under the shallower items.

It is something like hunting wild game. The wise old Indian will stalk game at watering spots or grazing areas where he can get a good shot at an easy target. That is my primary focus - finding concentrations of easy targets. If you can find a hot spot, you can pick up a number of targets in a short period of time.

I don't want to spend fifteen minutes trying to dig a hole to China. There are times to dig deep holes, but that is not the most important thing or the most productive way to spend your time if you want to find old valuable coins or jewelry on a beach. The last three words in that sentence are important, because beach hunting is different. In other locations, the approach would be different.

I've been digging some deep targets lately. It is time consuming. But I only resorted to that because local beach conditions have been so poor, and I wanted to dig some shipwreck spikes and things like that. Even doing that, it is not important to have a real deep seeking detector. Those items are relatively large and can be detected at depth with little difficulty. If they are really deep, you might not want to spend the time digging really big holes on the beach, and when you get down to the water table, you probably won't be able to get them out anyhow - at least not easily. Again, you don't need the deepest seeking detector. Any decent detector will be able to detect those types of targets about as deep as you'll want to dig.

If you are interested in digging deep artifacts on the beaches right now, definitely switch to all-metals or pin-point mode and dig everything. It might help if you take a shovel with you. Be prepared for a lot of hard work and few good finds.

I've said this before, but I've seldom had to dig more than a couple inches for shipwreck cobs. When they are on the beach and in detector range, they are usually shallow. I've eye-balled as many cobs laying on the sand in plain sight than I've dug deeper than two or three inches deep.

If you remember the old stories, cobs were often found laying right on the surface after storms. That confirms what I am telling you. If you are digging deep holes in the sand, my bet is that you won't be finding many cobs. You might be lucky enough to find a ton of gold bars, but I wouldn't count on it.

To sum this all up, detecting depth, in my opinion, is highly over-rated when it comes to hunting shipwreck cobs on a beach. There are other factors to consider that are just as important as depth, and probably more important. Know what you really want to find and the conditions and select your detector based upon those factors - not how deep a detector will detect a clad coin in an air test.

By the way, you probably realized that an air test is not a highy accurate way of judging the depth you will get in the field.

And once again, I highly recommend experimenting in the field with sample targets like those you want to find.

If you want to find cobs, focus on the small ones, and the larger ones will take care of themselves. I've given this advice before, but if you don't have a small half reale to use as a test target, take an old worn silver dime, cut it in quarters, and use one quarter as your test target. Take it to the beach and set your detector to get a good clear signal on the test item. You'll then be pretty much ready to detect half reales and larger denomination reales.

When hunting the dry sand tourist beaches you don't generally need much depth for the vast majority of targets. You should however use a detector that will detect tiny pieces of gold. Too much discrimination will hurt you more than not having the deepest seeking detector.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Beach conditions remain unchanged. More of the same.

The wind is still from the west and the sea running down around one foot.

There is however a little action in the tropics. There is one low pressure wave over Central America and the Yucatan and the one still down by the islands. Neither will likely form into a cyclone though, and it will be a while before either directly affects us.

Happy hunting,

Monday, July 11, 2011

7/11/11 Report - Ice Age Treasure Coast Finds & Blaming Detectors

Fossilized Ice Age Antlers (Tine & Base in Matrix)

I recently found the tine on the beach. I found the base sometime ago. I like the matrix.

I am thinking of making the tine into a pendant.

A lot of people think that if they aren't finding anything, or not what they want to find, that the reason is their detector. That is usually not the case.

Most detectorists (those that I see anyway) have a decent detector. It is seldom that I see someone using one of those cheap models that won't detect anything but huge pieces of metal.

Most people that I see have a mid or upper range Garrett, Whites, Fisher, Tesoro, or Minelab detector. There are a few others good detectors that you see from time to time on the beach, but seldom do you see a detector being used that is simply not any good. Of course, some are better for one thing or better under specific conditions than another. Some that are fine on dry sand are not very good in the wet sand, for example, But generally speaking, the detector is not the biggest reason for a lack of finds, especially if you paid a few hundred dollar and purchased a detector marketed by one of the major manufacturers.

One way to avoid selecting the wrong detector for your needs is to read detector reviews and talk to others. Another thing you should do is do a test of any detector that you might want to buy using the type of target that you most want to find.

Some detector stores have test gardens. If they don't, at least do an air test. Take a sample of what you want to be able to find. The sample should be on the small side.

Assuming that you have a detector that will detect the targets that you are interested in under field conditions, you have to use it well. Learn how to set the settings for the conditions you are hunting in.

Take a test object, or several, to the beach or wherever you plan to hunt, and practice. Change the settings on your detector until you get the best signal on the targets that you want to find. Modify your sweep until you get the best sweep speed.

I would recommend using test objects and trying to learn the sounds of different objects every once in a while. By practicing you can better learn to recognize what your detector is telling you.

The other part of detecting well is where you look on the beach. Some people do the same thing over and over again. They get stuck in a rut or assume that the targets will be where they found them in the past. Beaches change. Targets will be found at the same place, or zone, until you clean them out OR the beach changes.

I highly recommend sampling a beach, either to see where targets are accumulating, or to see if targets are present, or if they are moving.

In order to sample a beach, run a loose pattern, hitting all of the different beach zones, until you get a few hits, and then when you see where different types of objects are being found, focus your time on the most promising areas.

If you are highly selective and hunting only one or two different types of objects, it might be that beach conditions are simply not good for finding what you want in that area at the present time.

Once you have a decent detector and know how to use it well, the next determinant of success on a regular basis is being at the right place at the right time. That is not luck. It comes from learning about the beach and learning how objects are sifted and sorted by the ocean.

As you might know, conditions have not been very good for finding shipwreck coins on the beach on the Treasure Coast for quite some time. That happens sometimes. That means that you have to learn where and when to look, and it also means that you will have a better chance if you are flexible.

When conditions are poor for finding one type of target, I don't mind finding something else. I take whatever the beach is offering. Fortunately there is usually something to find - either old shipwreck coins, or artifacts, or modern coins and jewelry, or fossils, or something. As I often say, when conditions are not good for one thing, they usually will be good for something else.

At different times I like to focus on one thing or another, but if the beach isn't offering that particular thing, I might switch targets, which involves changing both the area that I focus on and the way that I hunt.

I'll always do some sampling, no matter what my target. There is no use in spending lots of time in an area that simply does not hold any, or just a few, targets.

To summarize my main point, the detector you own will seldom be the primary determinant of success. Once you have a decent detector, you must learn how to use it and how to find the most productive places to look.

I know that I've said a lot of this before, but there are new readers, and some things need to be repeated.

Much of this blog focuses on how to find the most productive place to hunt at various times. That is why I spend so much time on the beach conditions and the forecast.

If you ever start to think that your detector isn't working or isn't any good, just take some sample targets out to the beach and test your detector. You'll most likely find that there is nothing wrong with your detector, and you'll be able to fine tune the settings, and your ears. That is a very simple thing to do, but a lot of people do not do it enough.

In my next post I think I'll talk about the misunderstood issue of depth.

The Dow Jones Newswires, 07-07-11, says that Odyssey Marine could in two to five years receive more revenue from mining than treasure hunting, and be a more consistent source of income.

As you probably know, Odyssey Marine is a Florida based treasure hunting company that has a number of famous finds, salvage contracts and prospects.

I received a nice email the other day talking about the old pineapple plantations along Indian River Drive.

Did you know that there was a pineapple plantation near the town of Jensen that had its own dock, which extended out 1500 feet into the river, and its own railway depot?

There is a lot of history along our Indian River Lagoon. Sometimes that is not appreciated enough.

Here are a few hints about some of the old communities around there.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Conditions haven't changed for quite a while. The wind is still from the southwest and the seas are running about one foot. The calm seas and good visibility are good for water hunting. Too bad there aren't more places where you can water hunt on the Treasure Coast.

Beach hunting is a real challenge on the Treasure Coast right now. Even a lot of the dry sand tourist sites are pretty well cleaned out.

The surf web sites are showing one foot seas for another week.

There is a tropical wave now, 600 miles south of the Windward Isles. There is only a 10% chance that it will turn into a cyclone.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, July 10, 2011

7/10/11 Report - Fog on the Treasure Coast Ocean

Low Tide This Morning on a Treasure Coast Beach.

As you can see it was a little foggy out on the ocean this morning. I have a video of the waves below. Also a little virtual snorkeling video that I experimented with.

Some of the beach accesses have a lot of mosquitoes now. If you don't want to feed the mosquitoes, you might want to take some repellent.

It looks like we'll be having scattered thunder showers for at least another week if the forecasts are correct.

If you want to get a first look at a different metal detector, you might try YouTube. There are now a lot of videos on Youtube, and quite a few by detectorists showing field experiences. While most of these videos are definitely amature productions, they can still be useful. You can't always believe everything you see, but you can often get a glimpse at some of the various technologies that are being used and you can often get a bit of a sense of how well they work. I certainly wouldn't use YouTube videos as my only source of information, but the videos there can sometimes be helpful.

The internet is a really good research tool for researching finds too. I found an old blob top bottle that has the address of the bottling company embossed on the front. It was on Bedford Ave. in New York. I was able to find the address and photos of the buildings on the street where the bottle was made or distributed. I don't know if the existing building at that address is the original building, but it is interesting to actually be able to see the location where the item once was used nearly a hundred years ago. Found on the Treasure Coast but traced back to a New York address. I wonder if it was tossed overboard from a steam ship or what?

The question about the scapular has been answered. Laura Strolia, author of The Marigalera of the 1715 Fleet, found that the scapular with a picture of a galleon is a Carmelite scapular for Our Lady Star of the Sea.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

Here is the video of the beach this morning.

Notice how wide the beach is becoming. It seems that sand is continuing to wash in building a wider beach at locations like this. The new sand is real fine and silty, and covering old layers of shells.

I've been working this beach for a few days or maybe even weeks now and still finding iron and other items.

The finds are coming from just behind the wet sand area and are down a foot or more laying under the sand towards the top of packed shells near the water table.

I'm finding that once you get down a foot or so, sometimes you can remove the material from the hole more successfully by hand. You can keep the sides of the hole from falling in by carefully removing the material by hand rather than using the scoop. Also, when you get near the object you can feel around for it and retrieve it by sticking your hand down through the water and looser materials.

There is almost always a zone where you will find most targets. At different times the zone will be at different places. The zone on this beach right now, and I'd bet others like it in this area is in the area is back from the water and where the beach just starts to slant upwards - not too close to the water, and not in the dry fluffy sand.

You'll have some hard digging. As I said, sand is on top of a layer of packed shells, then you'll hit the water table.

The wind is still out of the southwest and the seas calm, running about one foot. that is predicted to remain the same for the next week.

There is nothing significant in the tropics now either.

Blogger is giving me trouble today. it seems I've lost some of what I typed. I'll give up for now.

I'll just leave you with this little virtual snorkeling tour.

Happy hunting,

Friday, July 8, 2011

7/8/11 Report - Rock Traps, Shuttle Debris, & Big Caches

Treasure Coast Beach at Low Tide This Morning.

This is one of those beaches with a broad flat low tide one that I've been talking about.

They seem slightly more promising than the more convex beaches with the steeper front.

Here is a shout out to Steve and Bernie.

The last space shuttle launch took off today. I couldn't see it at all from my area because of the clouds. I've been finding a lot of titanium lately too. It is light enough to come in with the new sand and shells.

Here is a tooth-shaped one that I found yesterday.

It seems like I've been running into and talking a lot about rocks lately. Some people think I have rocks in my head. Maybe they're right.

Anyhow this morning I decided to detect one of those spots where there is a broad low flat front beach. I had a lot of signals, but most of the targets were trapped by ..... you guessed it - rocks. And when I say trapped, I mean trapped. Not only were they caught by the rocks, but they were down in cracks and crevices where I couldn't get them out. Well, I could have gotten them out, but it would have taken a chisel or something and a lot more work than I was ready for, and it wouldn't have looked good with me out there chipping away at those rocks. So most of them are still there.

In the process I picked up some fossil teeth and some neat sea glass.

One problem with those broad flat low tide areas is the sheer amount of space to be covered. It is better to run a loose pattern to try to locate the better spots to focus on. That is what I call sampling.

It seems I've been running across information about huge hoards lately. First there was the one in the temple in India, and now I see 4 tons of ancient coins were found in China.

Here is the link to the story about the hoard in China.

And here is a story about piles of old coins found in Pennsylvania home.

Wouldn't that be a lot of fun? Not only finding the coins, but then researching them.

Cache hunting is low probability but high reward. That's the way it usually is. High probability, low reward, or low probability, high reward.

You have to have extra patience and perseverance to target the low probability high reward targets. It helps to know yourself. Some people are always frustrated because they don't match their goals with their characteristics.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is still out of the southwest. The seas are relatively calm, running about two feet.

It looks like the seas will gradually decrease further until they are down to less than a foot towards the end of next week.

There is a low pressure zone hanging over Florida and bringing us rain. It doesn't look like it will disappear real soon.

It looks like the tourist and sun bathing areas on the Treasure Coast are pretty clean. You'll probably have to work some of the harder areas to do very well. Most of the dry sand is pretty clean, except for the firework junk, of course,

Happy hunting,