Friday, March 30, 2012

3/30/12 Report - To Clean or Not To Clean Finds

To clean or not to clean, that is the question for today.

Cob As Found.

I recently received an email asking if some found items should be cleaned or not.
That seems like an easy enough question, but it is actually a difficult question to answer. It depends upon a lot of factors. And some of it is personal preference. Some people like their finds to look like they were just made, and others like them to look like they did when they were found.

I've shown this cob before, but since I am talking about cleaning finds today, decided to show it again because it is a good example.

One thing that will determine if you should clean a find is the found condition. Some things will be in very nice condition when found, and others will be completely corroded or encrusted and completely unrecognizable.

Same Side of Same Cob After Cleaning

Corrosion is one thing you normally can't reverse. Sometimes a corroded item can be improved a bit by removing some of the corrosion or encrustation, but sometimes it will only get worse.

Encrustation can often be removed very effectively. And things can be very well preserved under the crust - depending in part upon the type of metal.

I've shown one good method for cleaning silver coins. Just take a look at Bill's silver coin cleaning lesson in my links list. Of course, it doesn't have to be a silver coin, it can be a silver artifact and the same procedure will work very nicely.

Bill's method is what was used on this cob.

It helps a lot to know what metal the object is of. I highly recommend an acid test kit and anything else that will help you positively determine what the metal is.

The first step is to study the object. Don't jump right into cleaning it. Not only is knowing the type of metal important, it also helps to have some idea what the object is, how valuable it is, and what condition it is in before starting.

Also your experience level is a big factor. Don't even think about cleaning something that might be valuable or that you really care about if you don't have some level of experience with the method of cleaning that should be used.

I had this cob for a couple of years before I finally decided to clean it. For one thing, my curiosity got the best of me. And I also got to the point where I was confident that I could do a good job of cleaning it.

I've found that all methods of cleaning coins or artifacts require frequent monitoring. Leaving something in a solution too long or continuing the process too long can sometimes cause irreversible damage.

Watch the process closely. Don't over do it.

Another alternative is to have your item professionally cleaned. Some of the museums and salvage operations will sometimes clean an item for a small fee. It might be worth checking into that option.

If the item is too encrusted to even know what it is, you can usually remove at least part of the crust if not all.

If the object is iron, it might have completely dissolved leaving only a mold of the original object. If you don't break the mold you can sometimes make a mold and create the original form of the object.

A light sand crust can be removed in a variety of ways. Sometimes by using a solution, and sometimes by using a dental pick and removing grains of sand one at a time.

A heavy crust can sometimes be cracked by using a vice or light tapping. This is a relatively dangerous process and should only be used when known to be a safe alternative.

Cleaning is a slightly different issue than conservation. Many objects will continue to deteriorate if they are not conserved. That is particularly true of iron. If it was submerged in salt water for a while, when removed it will eventually fall apart. It might look ok. You might not think that it is necessary to clean it, but it can fall apart.

Cleaning is often the first step in conservation, but conservation can be a more important issue than cleaning.

One web site that provides excellent information on conservation of iron, and virtually all other materials, is the Texas A&M University nautical archaeology web site.

Here is the link to the section on conserving iron objects.

Most shipwreck objects other than gold or silver should probably be conserved. Cleaning might be enough for silver, although a protective coating can be helpful.

Without trying to get into more detail and to sum things up. Deliberate long and hard before deciding if you are going to clean an object. Try your best to determine what the object is before proceeding. Study and make sure you experiment with the process that you plan to use on things you don't care about before trying it on something important. And closely watch the process as you proceed. Sometimes nothing is worse than over-cleaning. When it comes to cleaning objects, it is better to delay action than jump into something that you don't know enough about.

The bones of British soldiers dug up by archaeologists in 1950 were finally repatriated and buried.

Beach conditions remain poor. I did visit one beach that had a low flat front beach this morning and found a cheap ring.

Clustering is something I often talk about. It was very evident on that beach this morning. You could walk a good distance whithout a single signal and then run into a cluster of items.

The water looked really nice. Small swells were rolling in at long intervals. Find a dip and take a look.

Or, when sand bars are moving in as some of them will be now, if there have been a lot of swimmers on the bar, check the back (east side) of the bar.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, March 29, 2012

3/29/12 Report - Gold Chain Bringing Big Bids & Seal Identified

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Olive Blossom Chain from 1715 Fleet.

One item up for sale in the current Sedwick Coins auction already has a bid well over the auction estimate. I can see why. It is one of my favorites of the auction.

The item I am talking about is the long length of the gold "olive blossom" or "dragon whistle" chain from the 1715 Fleet.

The intricate links are obviously handmade because they are all slightly different. The 2-sided links each show 6-petal flowers, and are made of a high-grade gold.

If you've read much about the 1715 Fleet you probably know about the find of the "dragon-whistle" and 11' chain made by Kip Wagner and Rex Stocker in 1962.

Back a few months ago I reported on the September 10, 2011, find of a bronze seal by the the crew of the Magruder on the debris trail of the Atocha. It has been determined that the seal belonged to the most senior military official in the entire fleet, Don Pedro Pasquier y de Esparza.

Seal of Don Pedro Pasquier y de Esparza Found on Trail of Atocha.

Information and photo of the seal was received via email from the Mel Fisher organization.

Here is the story of Black Jack - the pirate, not the card game.

I just received an email concerning the possible use of a photo posted in this blog from a curriculum developer working with FPAN (Florida Public Archaeology Network). You might find the author's work of interest.

Here is the link.

My most recent poll has concluded and the results are in.

Fewer people responded to this poll than the others. The reason is obvious. I didn't have a choice for those who have not found or have not bought or sold treasure coins or artifacts. And that is a very significant number of this blog's readers.

Coins and artifacts are not easy to find, many people have not found their first yet and some never will before giving up. And despite popular characterizations, many that find such items do not buy or sell them. On top of that, beach conditions have more often than not been poor for the last year or two. All of that combined, decreases the number of people that qualify to respond to this poll.

Of the small number that have bought such items, the largest number made their purchase through eBay. Sedwick was close behind, and there were a few purchases from other auction sites.

One thing that should be made clear, that of the purchases reported in the poll, I sincerely doubt that many were rare historically significant high-priced items. It makes much more sense to buy an item like a shipwreck spike from eBay than it does to buy a gold coin from an unknown buyer in China.

I suspect the more valuable items were purchased through Sedwick rather than eBay, since you know Sedwick and their reputation. The poll didn't determine that though.

More people bought items at online auctions than sold these types of items online or offline combined. It is not common for detectorists to hunt these types of items for profit. It is much too difficult, and despite the mischaracterizations you might read, detectorists are not detecting for the profit of it. If it were, most would be found deep in debt and sadly disappointed.

Beach detecting conditions remain poor. The good news is that the seas are low and by Sunday will be nearly flat. That means easy water detecting, even if it isn't real productive.

As I've pointed out, there is a lot of sand on the beach fronts and in the shallow water. You can almost always find a bit of a dip some where though, and there are the modern drops.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

3/28/12 Report - Detectorist Returns 12 Class Rings To Owners & Alabama Archaeologists Misuse State Resources

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

One Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

Notice the low flat beach front.

I wouldn't expect any coins there, but maybe a spike or something like that.

Most of the beaches had a higher beach front and a lot of freshly piled up sand.

It looks like they dredged up more than sand for the fill at the Fort Pierce inlet. There is a heck of a lot of junk, especially pieces of plastic sheets.

That and the tangled line could be a danger to the sea turtles.

I'm surprised that they didn't somehow filter out or at least clean up this junk.

Junk Left After Beach Renourishment Project.

Not real Beautifying!

Bob M. emailed me with the following. I searched and found my old log book, Aug, 89-Oct, 94. I have found 13 and returned 12. Off Ft. Laud. beach.

He was talking about class rings, and that is a great return rate. You can't always find the owners, but he evidently did a lot of work and found all but one.

Thanks Bob. That is great.

If metal detecting wasn't allowed that would be 12 class rings that would be lost forever.

Those 12 people are undoubtedly very glad that there are people who metal detect. It also shows how wrong it is to characterize detectorists as greedy looters and grave robbers.

I wish I knew how many lost items of sentimental value have been returned by the thousands and thousands of detectorists around the country.

Yesterday I said that there are people on both sides that don't always do the right thing. Alabama state employees (archaeologists) were caught using the state office, time and equipment to fight legislation.

The Alabama Political Reporter says that "In what should have been a routine change to clarify an existing statute a vicious battle has erupted where a state agency and some of its employees may have misused their office and broken standard employee protocol."

“The problem is that the current law is confusing to local law enforcement officers who have been misled by some bureaucrats and told that divers or prospectors could not dive and find items that are not cultural resources,” said Steve Phillips.

But evidently not otherwise having much to do, the archaeologists jumped into what seems to be one of their primary occupations these days - lobbying for legislation to turn the world into their private sandbox.

You might want to contact the Alabama legislature if you are an Alabama citizen.

Here is the link if you want to read more about that.

Thanks to James F. for submitting the link.

Stay active and involved. Our voices were heard recently in Florida, but evidently the other side is not ready to rest.

I've heard a number of complaints from people that have donated items to museums and the items disappeared and they never got them back.

It would be better if the archaeological community would quit making enemies of the tax-paing public who funds much of their work. That is simply self-defeating. I hope they come to realize that. It would be better for them and the public who they are supposed to serve.

One Guy Cleaning Up Junk at Fort Pierce Jetty Park.


If we all remove one small bag of junk when we go to the beach, before long it will be cleaned up.

We'll have three or four foot seas for a couple of days and then decreasing seas, down to one foot or so by Sunday.

You might want to do a little shallow water hunting this weekend - not in leased salvage areas though.

If you dig up some small pieces of metal stamped TG XXXX. The last four digits are numbers.

We might have a little experiment.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

3/27/12 Report - Tax Tokens & PAS

Written by the Treasreguide for the exclusive use of

Two Alabama Tax Tokens Found With Metal Detector.

These were found at an old hotel site. The hotel had burned down a long time before.

The site looked like a battlefield with bomb craters and fox holes everywhere. Evidently someone who didn't know what they were doing had been there.

Anyhow, there were a variety of targets to be found. These are two.

You'll love this! Here is a list of the top ten archaeological finds made in Britain - and almost all made by detectorists.

Take a look.

That site can be a little difficult to navigate but it is worth it.

How about the chap that found a pot full of coins on his first outing.

It happens. But not often.

One lady found a gold escudo on the Treasure Coast on her first outing.

Some people hit the lotto too.

Detectorists and other amateur hunters make important contributions and deserve to be acknowledged rather than slandered. Just look at these amazing discoveries from England.

When I look at the top ten discoveries made in the world in 2011 as ranked by Archaeology Magazine, not one was made in the US. I wonder why?

Nothing to be found? I don't think that's it.

If you consider how England, for example, handles its history and relations with the public relatively well it seems. They have what is called the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS).

The PAS encourages detectorists to report find and creates much better relationships and results than the illegal-to-do-anything approach preferred by many archaeologists in the US. In the US, instead of protecting history for the public, they seem to want to keep the public from their history. Just shut-up and pay your taxes, fund archaeology and the museums, and maybe someday we'll dig something out of our dusty basements to put on display so you can pay to see it, and then we'll wonder why so few people are interested.

I think the US archaeological community should quit trying to portray the people who fund their salaries and museums as a bunch of ignorant looters and grave robbers. They would be much better off getting to actually know the people who have an active interest in history and arcaheology and encourage pubic interest and involvement.

Yes there are people who do things wrong. That goes for both detectorists and archaeologists. How many artifacts sit in the homes or offices of archaeologists? How many artifacts that belong to the public are stored in dusty basements, or worse yet, lost?

I recently posted a story about an artifact sent to a Wyoming school by Luis Leaky that turned up after many years of being lost in a basement. That is not the type of collection management that the tax payers should expect.

I hate to get on one of these rants but some of the stupid, out-of-touch, ignorant things that are said and done by some of the archaeological community just sets me off.

I spent a lot of my career in academia, and I know how insulated and out-of-touch academic communities can be. Like I said, they should actually get to know the people that they seem to view as enemies.

I could go on for pages and pages, but I'll stop there. I think I made my point.

If you want to know more abut PAS, here is a link.

Yesterday I mentioned proposed legislation in Kentucky that you should support before it is too late.

Here is a link to read more about that.

it was Some of the things in that article that set set me off today.

Treasure Coast Beach Conditions and Forecast.

Yesterday we had some north winds but the seas were only about three feet. Today they aren't much bigger. That means beach conditions will not improve. However, by the weekend the seas will be down to one or two feet. That should mean easy water hunting.

Unfortunately I suspect that the shallow water will be very sandy too.

Happy hunting,

Monday, March 26, 2012

3/26/12 Report - Silver Finds & More

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

JUST IN: Instead of waiting for tomorrow's post, I thought you needed to see this today.

You might want to contact your Kentuky representative. Our recent actions in Florida effectively blocked one unwanted bill. You might want to support this one in Kentucky.

Piece of Ornate Silver Found At Treasure Coast Shipwreck Beach.

This was obviously used on some object as ornamentation. I think it looks like it might have been on a gun, but I don't have any good evidence of that. I do think it is off of something utilitarian. It appears shaped to fit around working parts. But I don't know.

It reminds me of my first shipwreck silver find on the Treasure Coast. At first I thought that first find was a very worn coin - what they used to call a razor, but now I really don't think it was a coin.

It was rectangular and about the size of a four reale, but had no detail left on the surface at all. I think it was a part of some artifact, but there isn't enough detail remaining to give any clues.

One of the problems with beach detecting is the effect of salt water, especially on metals like silver. Older items are usually not in good shape, but there are some rare exceptions.

1923 Beach Found Coin.

This coin, for example, is in unusually nice condition for being found on a salt water beach.

Silver coins like this are more often black and/or encrusted.

One nice half reale that I found at Jupiter Beach a few years ago had one side that was heavily encrusted with sand. When the sand was removed I found the side that was protected by the crust to be very sharp - almost like it had just been struck.

The side that wasn't encrusted was not nearly as nice.

Silver Dime Found in Cold Fresh Water Lake.

I've mentioned this before, but I very often like silver coins that are found in fresh water lakes, especially in cold water. When I hunted one lake in Minnesota, the coins, like the one shown here, all had a nice blue patina and little or no corrosion.

The remains of the historic Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company were recently uncovered.

Here is the link to that story.

Some people don't always like how I sometimes use the word "story." It seems that to them it implies fiction. I don't always mean it that way.

I was looking for shipwrecks near the island of St. Lucia the other day and ran across this list of shipwrecks. You might find it useful or interesting.

A fishing boat that washed out to seas when a tsunami hit Japan over a year ago has been discovered floating off of British Columbia.

Treasure Coast Beach Detecting Conditions.

Well the wind is from the north again. Another front passe through and we got some cooler air this morning.

The seas are calm, though. The swells will be increasing to a peak of around five feet by tomorrow morning. Unfortunately by that time the wind will have shifted and will be coming out of the east.

These fronts passing through quickly and not doing much. We need a long sustained northeaster and we haven't had one for a long time.

I don't really want a hurricane, just a nice northeaster that sits of the coast and blows for a while.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, March 24, 2012

3/24/12 - Excalibur Discrimination Experiment

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

A Treasure Coast Beach Yesterday Morning.

I think that shows the way it is. Conditions are not good. The seas have decreased a bit.

You might look near the water line.

One of my best finds came when conditions were poor. It wasn't what I was hunting, or what I expected to find, but nonetheless, it was a good find.

Don't forget that my beach conditions rating is based upon the probability of finding old shipwreck treasure coins. That is what a lot of people on the Treasure Coast are most interested in and that is what a lot of people travel to the Treasure Coast to find. But like anywhere else, that isn't all there is to be found on the Treasure Coast.

Conditions might be poor for finding treasure coins, but you still might run across something else - maybe something unexpected and good. You never know when that might happen.

Metal detecting can be a game of patience. I don't know what percentage of people stick with detecting year after year. I think that more than half of the people that try detecting don't stick with it long enough to really get good at it. I think that a lot of people drop out after a year or so. I'll have to do some sort of poll on that sometime.

People don't tend to remember how long it took Mel Fisher to hit the big one. And the price.

I think most people would have given up.

You have to be optimistic. Without that, it can be hard to stick it out through the slow spells. And there will be slow spells, but if you do stick with it, there will also be times when you are on a hot streak. And there will be surprises.

But if you give up too soon, you'll never know.

I've been talking about an experiment I did. I always recommend experimenting with your detector's settings and listening to the signals caused by different objects. You can get pretty good at identifying objects from the signal even in pin-point mode.

The experiment that I did recently was to show the different signals from foreign coins at different levels of discrimination.

I used the same small foreign coins that I showed a couple of days ago.

For convenient reference, here they are again.

Starting with the top row going left to right, first is the penny, and then a 1 Kopek from the CCCP. Next is a 10 Ore, from Sweden. Then a 1 Pfennig from Germany. And 5 French centimes.

In the other row is 25 centimes from Costa Rica, 5 ore from Denmark, 10 pesos from Columbia, and 10 centavos from Argentina.

In the following videos the sequence of coins from left to right is the same. The rows however were exchanged.

I left the detector in Auto Sensitivity, put it in discriminate mode, and for the first part of the experiment put the discrimination at level 1 (the lowest).

With the coins spread out on a large wooden table, I swept the coil across each of the coins in order, listening to the signal.

Here is that part of the experiment.

Did you notice that the pfennig did not give a signal?

Did you notice other changes in the signal such as the lower tone on the Kopek (the small coin right beside the penny)as compared to the penny?

The pfennig is far from the smallest coin, but the composition is different. The pfennig is composed partly of steel.

If you look at this particular pfennig closely you can even see some rust on it.

Next I increased the discrimination level to 7. Now watch what happens.

Did you notice the weaker signals on some coins. The 10 ore, immediately left of the pfennig, was nearly discriminated out with the higher level of discrimination. And this is at near 0 depth.

Again, I recommend playing with your detector to master it.

Use a variety of types of targets, but be sure to test your detector and various settings on the types of targets you most want to find.

I hope you got something out of this. It took me a while to get the video right.

As Yogi Berra might have said, it's deja vu all over again. A bill was recently introduced to change the composition of US pennies from zinc to steel. As you probably know, that was done back in 1943 for the war effort.

If they are then made more like the pfennig, that could mean that you'll be detecting fewer of them.

In the past nickles were the US coin most likely to be missed, especially with the type of discrimintion used on some detectors.

And if you didn't need one more reason to cut down on discrimination, Kovels Komments says, Iron is selling extremely well today. Doorstops, bookends, doorknockers, pans, tools, and even furniture are among the most sought-after iron collectibles.

You can see that if you visit antique stores.

Don't forget to participate in the poll on the main page of the blog.

Happy hunting,

Friday, March 23, 2012

3/23/12 Report - Sunken Cities, Artifacts in the Basement & the Lighter Side

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Need a Light.

Like I was saying the other day. You can find all kinds of things on Florida beaches.

Lighters used to be common beach finds. Not so much anymore.

There was once a good market for vintage and antique smoking related items. But that market, like many others, is not what it used to be.

It seems the older looking copper color lighter was owned by "Oliver." At least that is the name inscribed on it. I think you might be able to see that in the photo.

Did you guess which of the coins that I showed yesterday will be missed by an Excalibur when using a discrimination setting of 1? I'll give you the answer below.

Sunken cities? Seme say there are over 200 in the Mediterranean alone.

Here is a nice video about that.

A million year old artifact sent to a Montana school from Kenya By Luis Leaky was recently discovered in the schools basement.

Is that what happens to artifacts?

Here is the link.

Glad they found it anyhow. But now the secret is out, I wouldn't be surprised if they heard from Kenya asking them to send the artifact back.

And they'll have one heck of a time figuring out what the context of the artifact was. Don't they always say it's not the artifact, but the context that is important?

Too bad the academic communities aren't consistent with their arguments and actions.

I saw a Ghost Hunters International TV program the other day that was shot in Peru around Mayan sites. One of the Peruvians said the archaeologists working there were seeing apparitions and were afraid to work there. I thought that seemed funny. Aren't these academics trained to adopt a materialistic world view? Don't they believe in the Big Bang Theory and evolution? Come on guys! Do you believe in spirits or not? Make up your mind.

Treasure Coast Beach Yesterday Morning.

As you can see, there is a lot of sand and seaweed out there. Hunting conditions are poor even though the weather is absolutely beautiful.

I tried to miss most of the junk that I was talking about yesterday, but you can see one big piece in this photo.

The seas are decreasing daily, reaching a low about Sunday and then increasing again.

The coin that will be missed by an Excalibur with the discrimination set to 1, is the German 1 pfennig coin.

I am certain that many other detectors would miss it too.

Tomorrow I'll show two videos using the Excalibur on those coins. One video will be with the discrimination set at 1, the other will use the Excalibur with a discrimination setting of 7.

Guess what coin drops out when the discrimination is increased to 10.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, March 22, 2012

3/22/12 Report - Foreign Coin Detector Finds & More

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

A Few Small Foreign Coins Found Using a Metal Detector on Florida Beaches.

These are a few of the modern era foreign coins that I've found on Florida beaches or in the shallow water. Of course the penny is for comparison.

I got these out to do a metal detector test. I wanted to do a video showing how the detector responded to the different coins. They vary quite a bit in composition.

Starting with the top row going left to right, first is the penny, and then a 1 something (I think maybe Kopek) from the CCCP. Next is a 10 Ore, from Sweden, Then a 1 Pfennig from Germany. And 5 French centimes.

In the other row is 25 centimes from Costa Rica, 5 ore from Denmark, 10 pesos from Columbia, and 10 centavos from Argentina.

Obviously metal detecting is a good idea if you are interested in foreign coins. There are some beaches in Florida where you have a lot of international flavor. What better way to introduce young people to geography and foreign languages that looking for foreign coins. Not to mention other topics such as history, numismatics, or metallurgy.

Speaking of metallurgy, you might be able to guess which of these coins would be the hardest to detect.

Here is a good web site for basic research on old and vintage world coins. Recent dates of little value are not included in this database.

I mentioned the other day that some coins would not be detected at all by one very popular detector used on the Treasure Coast using a discrimination setting of 1 (lowest). That coin is one of these. See if you can guess which coin would least likely be detected under low discrimination? I'll have a video in a day or two to show you more about that.

I was having all kinds of trouble making that video. The first eight times I shot the sky, my foot and everything but what I wanted. I think I finally got it right though.

I did a search to see if the CCCP coin is a Kopek and found that is what it is.

The 1924 and 25 1 Kopek coins can be worth over a hundred dollars according to at least one web site.

This one is a 1982.

It's always a good idea to check your finds anyhow.

If you want to join Bernie and some of the gang from the St. Lucie Metal Detecting club for a hunt on Saturday give Bernie a call at 786-246-9335.

This is Fort Pierce Jetty Park this morning. All the snowbirds must be loving beautiful Fort Pierce Beach. It was closed this morning. It appears that they are done with dumping sand and are taking the equipment away. I suspect that it will be open this weekend.

Speaking of junk - I've never seen our beaches looking worse. There is a lot of sand and seaweed. You can expect that, but the amount of plastic and trash spread around is disgusting. I don't know why that is or who is leaving their trash all over the beach, but it is bad. Some of it probably washed up, but a lot of it was left recently by I don't know who.

If any of you want to send me a photo of how much trash you picked up, I'd be pleased to post it.

It might be a good idea to take a trash bag along with you when you detect. If the other beach-goers aren't going to respect our beaches, the detectorists can set a good example. It might be a good club project.

I picked up a little this morning, but didn't go equipped to pick up the tons of trash that I saw. I thought it was thoroughly disgusting. I'm sure that people don't realize how much trash detectorists remove from the beaches.

The weather is beautiful, but along with being trashy, beach detecting conditions remain poor. There is a lot of seaweed now too. And a few Portuguese Man-O-War (those blue stinging jelly fish).

The surf is a little rough, but not in a way that would cause erosion or any improvement in detecting conditions.

The seas will be decreasing slowly until about Sunday and then start increasing slowly again.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

3/21/12 Report - Miniature Detector Finds, & Other News

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Small Religious Medallion.

Just a couple of small curiosities today. This religious medallion is one of the smaller ones that I've found. It is heavily corroded and I don't know how old it is. The back is too encrusted to see if there is any information there. I might clean it someday to find out if it says anything.

I don't know how the shiny image was create either.

I once found a religious medallion that was even smaller than this one and seemed to be one of those miniature paintings that was done under magnification with a single hair as a brush. Unbelievably small and intricate.

Three Small Pewter Plates.

I am not absolutely sure they are plates, but that is what they look like to me. And I am not absolutely certain that they are pewter, but that is my best guess. They were not found at the same beach or at the same time. They seem to be plates like a little girl might use with her dolls, but I never could understand why they were in the ocean. I guess they could have been lost on the beach and washed into the surf.

There are no markings at all that I can see, and I looked at them under magnification. I don't have any idea of the source or age.

Just a few of the detector finds that make me scratch my head.

As you know if you've been reading this blog, the Sedwick Coins auction is now online and many bids have been received. The auction will culminate with seven sessions on April 10 and 11.

If you are in the Baltimore area, you can see the coin lots in person this week at the Baltimore Coin & Currency Convention (Thursday-Saturday).

Don't forget, the 4th Annual Treasure Hunters Cookout will be held on April 28. Use the following link for more information.

I posted a new poll on this blog last night. Take a look. I haven't done that for a while. Other things came up lately and I just didn't get one or two polls posted when I really planned on it.

You never know what you might find. Some of my odd finds include a plastic leg with jointed knee, complete with sock and shoe, a few sets of dentures, and bowling balls in the ocean. I think my total on bowling ball finds is four. Oh, I found a couple of pool balls in the ocean too.

If you have any finds that seem a little odd or bizarre, let us know. Keep it clean though.

I guess anything a person might have could end up in the surf.

I've been thinking of doing a few different things in this blog but haven't worked them out yet.

Did you know that some of the most commonly used detectors on the Treasure Coast will not detect some modern coins at any depth (1 inch or less) with a discrimination setting of 1 (lowest)?

I am making a video to show you that. I'll have it ready in a day or two.

Treasure Coast Beach Detecting Conditions.

2012 has started off slow. Not much happening to change conditions. There have been times in years past when it seemed that I was changing my beach conditions rating almost every week. It hasn't been like that for quite a while.

When you have better conditions, there are more changes - sometimes up and sometimes down. But when there is a lot of sand on the beach fronts, there is only one way to go and that takes a lot of wave action coming in the right direction.

It looks like we'll have more of the same for another few days. The wind is coming from the east/southeast and the swells from the east. About four foot seas.

Around Sunday it looks like the wind will shift. The wind is predicted to come out of the north. Maybe another front. Unfortunately when the wind is coming out of the north, the seas are small. That won't do much of anything for us.

There are some rain clouds and a few drops of rain out there this morning.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

3/20/12 Report - Royal Die & More

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Die for 1726 Royal.

As you probably know, the 11th Sedwick Coin auction is now online and bidding has begun.

One of the most interesting things to me is this die.

It is an original die for the pillars side of a 1725 Potosi 8 reales Royal.

You don't see these very often. This one seems to be in very good condition and was used to create Royals, and therefore is an exceptional example.

Imagine how a die like this was used and how it would have become dull or damaged over time, and then possibly repaired or sharpened.

Some cobs seem to show evidence of being made from repaired or resharpened dies. The 1/2 reale that I've shown from Jupiter Beach definitely seems to me to be from a repaired die.

I'm still looking for another example with a similar crown.

Cobs are so unique. That is one reason that I like them. There are so many varieties.

If you want a better look or want to know more about the die shown above, here is the link.

Skeletons of archers from the 16th Century wreck of the Mary Rose are being studied by sports scientists to discover the effect of archery on human bones.

You hear so much about grave robbers these days, is it just me or in the light of all of that, does it seem that this use of human remains is less than respectful. I mean we're not talking about the cure of some disease that threatens the existence of human kind. Certainly if these skeletal remains were those of Native Americans, they would be treated differently.

The archaeological and scientific communities throw out so much inconsistent hyperbole that they totally discredit themselves.

Anyhow, if you want to read the story, here is the link.

And here is a story about an archaeologist doing a dig in her own backyard. Good idea.

Too bad that a Ph. D. anthropologist can't tell the difference between pig bones an human bones, but they do seem to have great imaginations.

Now that archaeology is concerned with anything over five minutes old, do you know of any ground that might not qualify as an archaeological site?

Why do I like to watch the meteorite guys on TV? Have you seen the show? A couple fellows walk around fields looking for meteorites. It certainly doesn't sound exciting. It doesn't look exciting either. But I like watching them.

Sometimes they just use a magnet on a stick and sometimes they use metal detectors. It seems I can watch almost anyone metal detecting - but a magnet on a stick?!

I think part of it is that I wouldn't recognize a meteorite in the field if I stepped on one. I've never found one myself - that I know of.

I like to watch people metal detecting no matter what they are or aren't finding. And I like to watch people discovering things. And I like to learn things myself - even if it isn't anything more than how to recognize a meteorite. I guess it is just the basic human drive to discover and learn.

Beach conditions on the Treasure Coast aren't very good and haven't been changing much. The wind is out of the east/southeast. Seas are running around four or five feet.

After Wednesday the seas will begin to decrease a little, getting down to around one or two feet by the weekend.

It looks like water hunting season is upon us.

Happhy hunting,

Monday, March 19, 2012

3/19/12 Report - Tumbaga Bar & Detecting Watches

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

10 Pound Tumbaga Bar in Current Sedwick Auction

This bar currently has a bid of over $4000 and the auction has just begun.

In the very early days of Spanish exploration in the New World, Native American artifacts were melted down for transportation back to Spain. The melted materials were often cast into bars that varied widely in the amount of gold and other metals. These melted metals were referred to as Tumbaga.

In a Tumbaga bar there might be as much as 97% gold or there might be as much as 97% copper. Mixtures of gold and copper containing a lot of copper can be very brittle and will easily break.

I still think that IF Spain can claim the treasure of the Nuestra Senora de Las Mercedes after it was recovered by Odyssey, that the native American groups actually have a more just claim.

In my last post I was talking about watches. I mentioned that detectors might have a tough time identifying a watch. Watches come in a lot of varieties and I don't know how you could expect a detector to correctly identify a watch.

I also mention from time to time that it is important to know your detector and how it responds to different situations and different targets.

I decided to do a little experiment.

I took three watches. The first is a small cheap women's watch, like a Timex. It has a non-metallic band.

The second watch is a large men's Seiko.

The Third is a rather typical dive watch.

I chose an Excalibur for the experiment since it is a commonly used detector on the Treasure Coast. I set the Excalibur on discriminate mode. Then I set the discrimination setting on 15.

Then I swept the coil over all three watches. As you might expect the high discrimination setting resulted in a relatively small signal on all of the watches. Using that high discrimination setting you could easily miss all three watches.

In this experiment, the dive watch gave virtually no signal when the detector had this high discrimination setting. The others gave some signal.

These watches are not buried either, and I was sweeping only about four inches over the watches.

Then I moved the discrimination setting back to about 10. As you would expect, the signals were then stronger, but on some watches still weak.

Then I set the discrimination on 1, and as you might guess, the signals were better. You probably would be able to detect all four watches easily with this setting in field conditions.

I had a video of the experiment but was having trouble with the link and took it out.

How the watch lays is also important.

If the coil is angled to detect more of the face of the watch you will generally get a louder signal, but watches generally don't lay flat in the sand unless the band is not present.

If a metallic band more squashed together rather than being in an open circle you will get a signal something more like a spike or some long elongated object.

I highly recommend that you experiment with your detector and different objects under different circumstances. Learn the different sounds and what they are telling you and learn the effect of different detector settings.

If you experiment enough, you can get a good idea of the size and shape and depth of an object from the signal.

The more variations you try and the more you experiment, the better off you will be.

If you come across a nice watch or anything nice, you don't want to be fooled by your detector. A lot of good objects are missed because of too much discrimination or too much reliance on the detector's target ID.

As I've said before, I usually use pinpoint or all-metals mode on the beach no matter what detector I am using.

If you really know your detector, pinpoint mode will generally yield the information you need to determine the size, shape and depth of the object, as well as some information about the composition of the object.

Well, beach detecting conditions on the Treasure Coast remain pretty much the same. I don't see any significant changes coming for the next few days.

The wind is pretty much from the east and the seas running around four or five feet.

Nothing promising.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, March 17, 2012

3/17/12 Report - Watches, Test Pens, & Other Connections

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

11 Million Dollar Watch.

Watches are common detector finds. Anything from Philip Patek to Timex. Just beware that some can be very valuable and other can be useful even if not valuable.

Even if you find a drowned or destroyed watch it can still have value. Remember, some watch cases are made of gold or platinum.

You can miss a lot of watches if you use discrimination. It can be hard for a detector to correctly identify a watch.

Don't throw a watch away right away after you dig it up even if you find that it is not working. Check it out first.

There are some nice watch reference guides that provide lot of good information. The one shown here is The Complete Price Guide to Watches by Shugart and Gilbert. Over a 1000 pages covering everything from American Watch Co. to Zodiac.

Here is a list of 20 watches running from $75,000 up to a million.

There are a lot of nice but cheaper watches. I always like finding working dive watches. And sliders.

Watch Price Guide.

According to a March 16, 2012, The Associated Press story, Spain is now trying to get the courts to force Odyssey Marine to give them the artifacts found on the Nuestra Senora de Las Mercedes to go along with the 600,000 coins that were already sent to Spain. A hearing is scheduled.

Thanks to Jorge Y. for sending that story to me.

We're making connections here on the Treasure Beaches Report. I guess that is what this is all about.

A few days ago I posted what appeared to be a 19th Century button for ID. On it was the motto "This I'll Defend". We learned that the motto was connected with a couple of surnames. Last night I received an email from someone with a similar surname saying they didn't know the origin of the button but wondered if it was for sale. Wouldn't that be nice if the button found its way to the descendants of a family somehow connected to the button?

Even if the button is not for sale, bringing it to light might have added some knowledge or provided a hint to someone looking to get a better understanding of their family tree. I was thinking that it was an interesting coincidence that the connection was made on St. Patricks Day, but the name seems to be Scottish rather than Irish.

With around four hundred hits a day, there are going to be connections made here.

I recommend having test acid to test your finds. But test acid can deteriorate over time, so you might eventually need something to test your test acid.

You can get pens tipped with different precious metals and purities of gold to do that.

Test Pens.

These test pens are marked. You might be able to see 10K, 14K, etc. near the base of the pens.

Rub the tip of the pen on the touch stone and the apply the acid. Since you know the metal and its purity, you can then see if the acid is reacting properly.

You won't really need test pens if you have objects of different metals of known purity. Maybe they are marked or you've previously tested them.

I'm not expecting any change in detecting conditons on the Treasure Coast for a few days.

It is getting close to the time when the water hunting should get a little easier. Summer is coming.

Happy hunting,

Friday, March 16, 2012

3/16/12 Report - 8 Escudo, Pot of Gold and More

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Almost Royal.

This Mexico City, 8 escudos, 1714J cob is listed in the most recent Sedwick Coins auction, and is expected to bring the highest price of any of the gold coins in the first session. The reason is that it appears to have been struck with Royal dies, but on a regular flan. That makes it an especially interesting case. I would not be surprised if it brings more than the estimated value. It is really a nice looking cob.

You can find a lot of good research material online these days. I ran across the following passage in A Guide to Miami and Dade County.

Even the soil produces strange fauna. Captain Charles J. Rose,
one of Miami's oldest pioneers, possesses a large copper kettle inlaid
with gold, product of the Aztecs or Spanish artizans, which was com-
pletely imbedded in rock blasted from a canal bed near the mouth
of the Miami River.

Here is the link to that online book.

A surfer was bit by a shark yesterday at Jensen Beach. It seems there are a variety of sharks in the shallow water right now. So be careful if you are a wader.

I got the impression that sharks are repelled by the signals sent out by a metal detector, but don't know that. I've seen them heading my direction and then quickly turn and flee. Of course that could have been for some other reason.

You've probably heard of the discovery of an osuary that is said by some to bear an inscription referring to Jesus. Well, the person who claims to have discovered it went on trial and that trial recently concluded.

The case and reaction to the case has a lot of far reaching implications. Too many for me to address here.

Here is the link.

I didn't know those state quarters had any value. They don't have much, but I found out that are worth more than face value if they are in mint condition.

Here is site that provides a list of values.

Beach conditions remain the same, and it looks like they will remain the same for several days. Around four foot seas.

You can probably still find some miscellaneous junk and a few interesting items along the water line at low tide.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, March 15, 2012

3/15/12 Report - Sedwick Auction 11 Now Online & Fisher Not Affected By Odyssey Decision

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

From Secwick Coins Auction.

The 11th Sedwick Coins Auction is now online. I looked through all of the lots yesterday. Being especially interested in artifacts I first looked at those even though they will be sold in the last session of the auction. I then looked at the gold bars and ingots, and then any half reales I could find, and then the gold coins, which will be sold in the first session of the auction.

There is a lot to look at.

Here is the link.

I received an email from the Mel Fisher organization stating that the Odyssey Marine case in which the treasure of the Nuestra Senora da La Mercedes was awarded to Spain would not affect the Fisher's ownership of the Margarita or Atocha. Furthermore, their newer projects are focused on merchant vessels which are not subject to the Sovereign Immunity issues that plagued Odyssey.

Individual detectorists everywhere stood up along with the big treasure salvers such as the Fishers against the threat of SR 868. It is my hope that the treasure salvers will support the individual detectorists the same way when that is needed.

The Spanish taught silversmithing to Native Americans. You can sometimes see the influence in Native American work.

Here is a link to an article that tells about that.

There are now so many laws that you are probably violating one right now! Did you know that it is illegal in many states to collect rainwater on your property because it belongs to "everybody." "Everybody" really means big government.

Here is the source article.

Ok, so next thing is that you won't be able to drink rainwater, bathe in it, or put it in a dish for your pet to drink. Or is that already illegal? Maybe someplace! Where are we going with this?

I saw a list of 19 laws that you wouldn't believe, including this one, but lost track of that article.

Dredging has begun on the St. Lucie inlet.

The high tides aren't as high as they were a few days ago. We're having something around four foot swells decreasing just a little until around Sunday when the seas will begin to increase a little again.

The wind is calm and looks like it will be from the east for a few days.

Overall, no real changes expected. You might want to sort through the junk in the low tide area. Like I said yesterday, there are miscellaneous targets there.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

3/14/12 Report - OMD marks, LiDAR, Fake Struck Coins

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

OMD Eight-Reale.

I was talking yesterday about OMD marks like those sometimes seen on reales from the Mexican mint. Here are two examples.

The one to the right is an 1620 eight reale.

The one below is a 1620 four reale.

The D on both of these would indicate the assayer Diego de Godoy. And of course both are from the Mexico mint.

The O is typically a little smaller than the M, as is the case on these two cobs and was the case for the mystery object bearing an OMD mark that I showed a couple of days ago.

OMD Four-Reale.

Here is a nice web site that talks about how forgeries of struck coins are made. Very interesting.

Learning about how fake coins are made will help you identify fakes, but it will also teach you a little about genuine coins.

A gold coin worth $45,000 was found by archaeologists in San Antonio on a construction project.

LiDAR is a technology that helps identify archaeological sites and where structures existed in the past.

Here is an article about that.

The beaches are sandy and the seas relatively calm with lazy waves hitting the beach almost directly from the east.

Here is a photo of Frederick Douglas Beach this morning.

I saw a whale breaching in the distance. Too far away to catch on my Flip Cam though.

It looks like we'll be stuck with about four foot swells for at least a week. It looks like conditions won't be improving.

There were a number of targets near the water line near low tide though. Nothing great, but if you keep at it you might come up with a spike or something like that.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

3/13/12 Report - Whatzits, Bale Seals and Beach Conditions

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Treasure Coast Beach As Seen Monday.

You can see the seaweed. A couple days earlier there was a cut here.

At low tide you could see a low wide front beach. That is one reason there wasn't more erosion here. There is a lot of sand in front of the beach.

The seas will be decreasing a little every day this week until they are down around three feet by the weekend.

No improvement in beach conditions seems likely.

Ron K. sent in the following regarding the button that I posted yesterday for ID.

There are several possibilities relative to the origin of this button, but all I found evolve around King George IIII (IV):

"This I'll defend" was the motto of the clans Kincaid and Macfarlane.

Plus apparently the visit of King George IV to Scotland in 1822 spurred 19th century interest in the clans and a reawakening of Scottish culture and pride.

King George IV made a royal visit to Edinburgh in 1822. It was the first time a monarch had come to Scotland since 1641 and his tour was stage-managed by Sir Walter Scott. Scott engineered an image of Scotland similar to the country in his romantic novels for the visit.

This may be a button from The Royal Company of Archers. It's a ceremonial unit that serves as the Sovereign's Bodyguard in Scotland, a role it has performed since 1822 and the reign of King George IV, when the company provided a personal bodyguard to the King on his visit to Scotland. It is currently known as the Queen's Bodyguard For Scotland, and is located at Edinburgh. The Royal Company of Archers has a long history in Scotland as a body that celebrated both the recreation and talent of local archers.

A couple of those alternatives leave the distinct possibility that the button may have shown the date 1822 to commemorate an event such as the King George's visit rather than being the current date. Or it could have been made for the event.

On the other item I posted yesterday (showing OMD) we've made less progress at this point, as I expected would be the case.

One possibility is that it is a bale seal.

For examples of metal detected bale seals, take a look at this web site.

OMD is a common combination found on Mexican minted cobs, indicating the Mexican mint and assayer "D."

According to Sewall Menzel, the D assayer initial was used for Mexican minted cobs 1598-1599 (Francisco de Quintana Duenas), 1618-1634 (Diego de Godoy) and 1724-1729 (Domingo Garcia de Mendiola).

I don't see any evidence of this object being a coin. I don't see any shield, cross, or monogram.

Could it be that a die was being tested? Or perhaps the mint and assayer mark used to certify something other than a coin as being official?

While I'm far from reaching a conclusion, right now to me the most likely of the alternatives that I've considered, is that it is a broken bale seal.

The OMD on the object really looks a lot like a maker's mark though, like you might find on silver jewelry.

Sometimes research like this only yields results over a period of months or years.

Yesterday I had the privilege of reading a new chapter for a book that hasn't yet been published. It was about a very interesting relic from the 1715 Fleet.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, March 11, 2012

3/11/12 Report - Spring Ahead & Mystery Objects

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Did you remember to turn your clock ahead? It is hard for me to believe we are already well into the third month of the year.

Button For ID.

This item was found with other items such as the St. Ignatius religious medallion that I posted two days ago and other items such as musket balls.

There is a lot of very good information clearly visible on this one.

By the way, someone mentioned that the religious medallion reminded him of St. Patrick who is often depicted killing snakes. Good point.

The wind is from the east again. Too bad! Later tomorrow the seas should be peaking at above seven feet and then decreasing a bit by Monday.

Although the high tides have been fairly high, I'm not expecting much erosion, and i am not expecting an increase in my beach detecting conditions rating. It looks like the wind will continue out of the east.

There may be a few spots were there will be some sand loss. That would be where there are local obstructions and erosion earlier in 2012.

Here is another item for ID. Unfortunately we don't have a lot to go on other than this photo which was submitted by one reader.

The object appears to be about two fingers in diameter. I asked about the material, and was told they thought it was lead. The whitish crust on the bottom left of the object in the photo seems consistent with that. If you look at the upper right of the object, it appears to be maybe a quarter inch deep with a flat edge.

That is all I can offer on this one at this point.

The three letters (OMD) immediately make me think of something, but I won't say what yet because I don't want to affect your responses.

On eBay, there is now listed a 1 reale that was minted in Seville that it is said could possibly be from the Atocha. I don't know how many Spanish coins minted in Spain have been found on Florida galleon wrecks, but as far as I know they are very few.

I would not doubt that the Atocha reference was thrown in to make the coin more interesting to potential buyers. My observation is that coins from famous shipwrecks like the Atocha generally bring better prices than coins minted in Spain. The coins from mints in Spain are often not as interesting to collectors as the New World coins.

I remember someone once asking what coins minted in Spain have been found on 1715 Fleet wrecks. This coin might be of interest to anyone seeking that answer, although this coin is not said to be definitely from the Atocha.

If you are interested, I'm sure you can find the coin on eBay.

Happy Hunting,

Saturday, March 10, 2012

9/10/12 Report - Alvaro Mexia, Florida History Resources & More

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Very Recent Find.

Submitted by Bernie C.

This spike was found by some newly exposed rocks and required a lot of hard work to get it out.

I've talked about how things get trapped by rocks. Rocks, like other obstructions, also affect the flow of sand. Obstructions can result in sand loss when the wind is coming from a direction that will build the beaches elsewhere. To learn more about how that works, watch how the sand moves around jetties and other major obstructions like that.

Alvaro Mexia was sent to Florida in 1605 to explore the land and peoples south of St. Augustine. Among other things, he created a map of the land of the Ais and wrote an account of his journey for the king. His mission resulted in Capitan Grande (Ais Chief)making a deal to safely return shipwrecked Spaniards. A copy of his report would be a valuable resource.

Speaking of valuable resources, here is a link to the Indian River Journal.

If you didn't know about that, it is well worth the price of admission to this blog. Actually not, since the price of admission to this blog is 0.

Did you know that 15th and 16th Century Spanish artifacts have been found as far north as Western Colorado not far from Grand Junction. I don't know if you've ever been there, but that is the area with those big buttes and dinosaur bones.

As you realize, I often take pictures of the beach. I carry a video camera. A recording device can come in handy in many ways.

Besides assisting your memory, if there is an auto accident or some issue comes up, you can capture a good record of what actually happened.

One time I parked next to (not in) a handicapped parking space at a beach parking lot when no one else was there. A security guard who evidently got out of the wrong side of the bed and wanted to make trouble wanted to make me move my car farther away from the handicapped parking space. The sand covered the lot so you couldn't actually see the lines dividing the spaces. I did what he asked with no flak, as that is my general policy, but I also took a video showing where my car was parked before being moved so if the issue went any further I had the evidence. While taking the video of my car, the camera accidentally also caught part of the conversation. That was that. I'm just saying that with all the rules and regulations, as well as crime and other things these days, having the hard evidence that you are in the right is not a bad thing.

Many cameras are not able to take closeups. If you don't have a camera that can make clear images of small objects, move the object far enough away from the camera so that you can get a clear image. It is better to have a distant but well focused image than a large poorly focused image.

Although I often use less than excellent photos in this blog, I need clear photos to ID objects. It is hard enough to ID an object from a photo to begin with, even if the image is clear. So if you submit a photo of an object for ID, please make sure it is clear or else I can not post it.

For some purposes I can use less than excellent photos. I often post blurry photos myself, especially when I really want to show something but didn't have one of my better cameras with me at the time.

Treasure Coast Beach Forecast and Conditions.

The wind is back to coming from the north again. Seas are down to around four feet today, but predicted to be back up around 7.5 feet Sunday. The high tides are also pretty high.

I'm not increasing my beach conditions rating yet, but that might happen Sunday or Monday.

Happy hunting,

Friday, March 9, 2012

3/9/12 Report - Info on Religious Medallion, Detecting Self-Test & Blockade Runners

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

A Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.

After two days of southeast winds, this isn't surprising. A lot of seaweed was washing up on our beaches.

Sea weed is a bad sign that indicates that a beach is filling.

The cut beach that i showed a day or two ago deteriorated. It still had some cliffs, but also had sea weed and had filled in. The beach in front of what remained of the cut was now mushy where it was firm before. All of that means that the sand was coming in.

I'm downgrading my Treasure Coast Beach Conditions rating to a 1(poor) again.

The Whites Dual Pulse is an easy swinging detector. That is what I used today because I sprained my back the other day and it feels lighter than a lot of other detectors because it is well balanced.

One detecting tip that I have for today is when going along a beach and you aren't hearing hardly any signals, deposit a few test targets of your own behind you, then on the way back see how many of them you miss. That will give you a self-check. I'll bet that at least 50% of detectorists will be surprised how many they miss.

If you try this self-check where the waves might hit, bury the test objects under a couple of inches of sand so they won't be washed away.

I'm not saying that it is always necessary to cover every inch of sand on a beach. I often use a loose scan pattern when I am sampling an area, but there are times when you should cover every inch. By using some test objects you will learn just how much you might be missing.

Concerning the medallion that I posted yesterday for ID, Laura Strolia, author the the book, The Marigalera of the 1715 Fleet, sent in some good information. I thought she might know something about the medallion.

Here is what she said.

The lettering on the one side refers to St. Ignatius of Loyola of the Society of Jesus. He is shown as a courageous Christian knight, as he fought in many battles early on in his life. The image depicts St. Ignatius defeating a dragon like St. George had done centuries before. This act represents ideal Christian chivalry, thus making him the patron saint of all soldiers. St. Ignatius was said to have laid down his sword under the Blessed Virgin Mary of Montserrat, and he then dedicated his life to God.

The letters and image on the reverse side refer to the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception who was born without original sin.

The Jesuit collection at St. Louis University holds a silver reliquary showing St. Ignatius of Loyola on one side and the Immaculate Conception on the back of it. It dates back to 1650, so the combination of these two images on artifacts goes back a couple hundred years.

Thanks for the help Laura.

When you send in an item for ID, please try to get a good clear photo. Many cameras won't focus well when the object is to close to the lens. Also provide as much information as possible, such as size, material, and any associated finds or anything that might provide some clues.

I can not post every submitted item. And i certainly can't ID every item.

Just because an item is old doesn't necessarily mean that it was lost a long time ago. For example, I dug up a wheat penny the other day, but I also recently found one in circulation.

People sometimes carry around old things. If it shows the wear of time and is found with other similarly old items, that might help to narrow things down a bit.

Unfortunately items that have been in salt water can corrode very quickly. I recently dug up one of the new state quarters that was completely green encrusted and corroded. It certainly wan't old, but it looked like it would be. The soil or context that items are lost in have a lot to do with how they are protected or how they corrode.

I mentioned the Diggers TV program the other day. I found it hard to believe that they were digging up such old items in such good condition. Some of those items didn't look like they had been used at all.

Artifacts from the blockade runner, Modern Greece, will be preserved after sitting for fifty years in storage tanks.

A systematic survey of blockade runners off the North Carolina Coast is planned before those wrecks deteriorate even more.

Here is the link.

The seas will be slacking off a bit tomorrow and then return to about seven feet or so Sunday. I'm not encouraged by the predicted wind direction though.

The high tide this evening is going to be higher than normal.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, March 8, 2012

3/8/12 Report - Medallion, Spear of Destiny & Spanish Mission

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

This medallion was submitted for help with identification. It was found with musket balls and other items including a button marked 1822.

I've received a lot of good information from this blog's readers about other religious medallions that were posted, so I'm hoping to hear from you about this one too.

One side seems to say: b virg sine yb cc orig concez

And the other side: s.igna.loy ol.soc.ies.f.

Here is a link to an article on the legend of the Spear of Destiny.

University of North Florida archaeologists are going to be looking for the location of Santa Cruz y San Buenaventura de Guadalaquini Mission on
St. Simons Island this month.

Here is a link for more about that.

Concerning the Cocoa ordinance against unsafe holes, Terry T. said 10 new beach patrols have been hired to issue fines if they deem a whole unsafe.

We had hall monitors in school, I guess they now have hole monitors.

I was going through some of my books the other day and noticed this inscription.

Bob lived in St. Lucie and is now gone like a number of the people that I met while detecting. I remember Bob mostly from the time he was working on the Nieves site on the Virgalona, if memory serves correctly. That was probably back in the eighties.

A few of his finds included a gold 8 Royal and a bunch of gold 1715 Fleet rings.

The seas are still a little rough, up around six feet today, decreasing just a little until Sunday when they are predicted to be up around seven feet again.

I'll keep my beach conditions rating at a 2 for now. Unfortunately the wind is coming from the southeast, so I'm not expecting much, if any, improvement for a while.

Have you ever heard the song The Circle of Life? I like the lyrics. Here is the beginning.

From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There's more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There's far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found

I suppose it is better if you know the music that goes with it. It's really nicely done in the Festival of the Lion King show at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

There are a bunch of ways I could go with those lyrics, but I'll just let you ponder it for yourself today if you are so inclined.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

3/7/12 Report - Beach Conditions Upgrade, 868 Pulled & TV

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Wabasso This Morning.

A few surfers were trying to surf here this morning. Despite the waves and the steep cliff that you see at the back of the beach from earlier times, it didn't look very promising here.

To the south, both north and south of the Seagrape access there were some scallops, but nothing very interesting.

Seagrape Trail Looking North This Morning.

I saw one other dectectorist here this morning, but it didn't seem that there were many out this morning. Probably partly because of the timing of the tides.

You can see some of the scallops. You can also see that despite the seven foot seas, the water didn't get real high on the beach.

There is just too much of that beach renourishment sand in front of the beach. That stuff will have to move before these areas become very productive.

The beach at Turtle Trail wasn't much different from that at Seagrape Trail, although to me, it looked a touch better around Seagrape Trail.

Turtle Trail Looking North This Morning.

So you're probably wondering why the conditions upgrade.

There were some spots that were eroded on South Hutchinson Island.

I found three to five foot cuts down there on a couple of beaches.

Here is one of those.

Nice Four Foot Cut.

Besides the sand in front of the beaches, another problem was that the swells were hitting the beaches directly from the east. In fact this cut was being washed out more from the south.

The sand in front of this cut was fairly firm. There were stil very few targets despite the nice looking cut.

I've recently explained why I think that is.

My beach conditions upgrade today is from a 1 to a 2. As you probably know by now, my rating scale is a five point scale with one being poor and five, excellent.

Your voice has been heard. SR 868 was pulled. And it was pulled because of all of your calls and letters. It is important to be informed and active.

Two communities that worked together on this effort are the salvers and beach hunters. I hope that relationship is not just a one time act of desperation. That relationship hasn't always been great.

I caught parts of two different treasure hunting TV programs on the National Geographic channel yesterday evening.

The first was Diggers. I just saw the end. They were detecting on private property at a 17th Century mansion in Savannah Georgia, where evidently Civil War and Revolutionary War battles were fought.

They were digging up artifacts all over the place, but what surprised me is the condition of those artifacts. They looked like they were near mint. That made me a bit suspicious.

They showed digging the items and then went immediately to finding out the values. I guess the producers thought that is what people would want to see. I would have liked to learned more about the history of the sites and the artifacts. I might have missed some of the history of the site at the beginning of the program.

It sure made it look like anyone could get a detector and go out and find wonderful old artifacts left and right without any trouble at all.

The second program I saw was a psychic, remote reader and dowser trying to find an old buried Spanish Treasure. They were unsuccessful. That program didn't end how you might expect.

The seas are predicted to remain about the same through tomorrow and then decrease a little.

I'm not expecting much improvement from today if any.

I have some finds to show and a lot of other things that I don't have time for today.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

3/6/12 Report - Metal Detecting Robot, Safe Holes, & Increasing Seas

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Metal Detecting Robot.

That image is from the following YouTube video.

This is hilarious. You won't want to miss it.

I can't help but laugh when I watch that.

If you put a blade on it instead of a coil, it could cut the weeds.

Here is another, but not as funny.

I would redesign both of those.

Michael K. said there is now an ordinance (1545) that bans digging of "unsafe" holes on Cocoa beach. It isn't aimed at detectorists but could be if you did dig what is considered to be an unsafe hole.

As I pointed out yesterday, the big holes on the beach are usually dug by children or youth that spend their day playing games. Fill your holes anyhow.

One thing I always thought was more dangerous than holes is those fishing lines with hooks attached that get partially buried in the sand or tied up in sea weed. I once got a hook from a fishing lure stuck in my foot. Instead of banning fishing though, or fining people for leaving fishing hooks on the beach, I'd say just wear footwear and be careful.

Detectorists pick up thousands of fishing hooks and lead sinkers. I know I've picked up hundreds of each.

If I didn't know better (let's say I'm an archaeologists that discovers all of these sinkers on the beach and in the water sometime in the distant future) there are so many I might think they were thrown at the fish to knock them out or give them lead poisoning.

Talking about trash, it looks like they dredged up a lot of trash at Fort Pierce. I have some photos and video of that, but didn't upload it. Just take a look at the garbage piled up near the water line near the jetty. Disgusting.

Bathtub Beach has reopened once again.

I've mentioned the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) a few times lately. The FPAN site for the Treasure Coast is in the East Central FPAN region. And the contacts for that region are located in Cocoa where they maintain a nice Florida History library.

Here is a link to a web site that will tell you more about that.

You might want to volunteer to work with FPAN or support the Florida Historical Society. It might help them learn the difference between a grave robber or looter and a detectorist who shares their interests in history and archaeology.

Treasure Coast Beach Detecting Conditions.

Conditions are poor right now, but the seas will be increasing through the day, reaching up to seven feet or more Wednesday and Thursday. That could do quite a bit to improve conditions.

I'll have more on how that actually turns out tomorrow.

Happy hunting,