Friday, January 27, 2012

1/27/12 Report - Old Sites and Silverware

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Old Silverware Found By Metal Detector.

If the poor Treasure Coast beach conditions were not enough, add to that the heavy hunting that seems to be going on at most of the Treasure Coast tourist and bathing beaches. It seems like most of those beaches are being picked clean, and there is little or no erosion to expose older coins. Hopefully conditions will improve before long, but until then you might want to try something else.

Of course water hunting is one option. The water has been calm enough to do some of that. And the proportion of gold to clad is usually much better in the water.

Another option is to do some research and find some areas that were heavily used in the past but are relatively unused or even forgotten today. There are areas where people used to congregate that have become deserted today.

If you travel along much of Federal Highway, you'll notice a variety of old buildings and businesses that are now vacant. Before the Interstate was built Federal Highway was the main strip.

There are a lot of areas like that that were once used but are now deserted. That goes for beaches, highways, rivers and even amusement parks and entire towns.

And many of those older places were built on top of even older sites. The places that were convenient in 1900 were often convenient much earlier. Some were built on elevated areas or areas that provided easy access by water.

Don't forget that our waterways were once the main highways.

If you do some research and find some old abandoned locations to hunt, one thing that you might find is old silverware.

I've mentioned before how people back around 1900 boated across the Indian River Lagoon and picnicked at areas like Walton Rocks.

I've found old silverware on different beaches as well as mainland gathering areas of previous centuries.

Silverware can be a difficult to date by looking at the design. Spoons, forks, and knives have been used for centuries and haven't changed a whole lot.

Silverware from the Atocha does not look a lot different from modern silverware, although there are differences, and you can tell older silverware by the design if you know what to look for.

Silverware is often well marked, which makes it a lot easier. Some of the pieces shown in the photo above are marked with the manufacturer's name. That makes it a lot easier to research. Some, though, do not have any markings and some are so corroded that the markings are unreadable.

Here is a web site that provides some good pictures of 17th and 18th century silverware.

Of course most silverware is not silver at all. Modern silverware is often stainless steel. And then there is silver plated silverware, and some of the older silverware is pewter.

In the photo above, about three items are marked "PLATED." One is pewter.

If you look at enough examples, you can learn to identify some of the indicators of older items.

Here is a quick summary of some of the most common ways to tell if silverware is actually silver.

In my July 10, 2009 post, I showed a silver plate that was found at the site of an old hotel that burned down many years ago. You might want to take a look at that.

If you do some research you can find some detecting sites where you can find old things. When you find one of those sites, you very well might find some old silverware. If it is not silver, it still can provide clues to the age of the site.

Probably tomorrow I'll give you a lead on another old Florida site that you might want to hunt if you can find it.

It was raining at the beach this morning. The wind is from the south. Seas are still pretty smooth. Higher seas are expected Monday.

Happy hunting,