Saturday, June 30, 2012

6/30/12 Report - Important Facts About Detecting

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

First a quiz.

Double Struck Escudo From SedwickCoins Internet-Only Summer Auction.
What do you think is more valuable, a miniature replica cannon or a Bogota Charles II double-struck 1-gold escudo?

Here is another question.  Which do you think is more valuable, an encrusted bent bronze shipwerck spike or a silver Mexico City, Philip IV, 8-reales.

You might be surprised by the answers.

The miniature cannon brought $885 including buyers premium, while the escudo brought in $767 in the recently concluded SedwickCoins Internet-only Summer Acution.

The encrusted shipwreck spike brought in $708, while the 17th Century 8-reales brought in only $157.

OK.  I cheated a little maybe.  The price for cobs and treasure coins varies widely depending upon a variety of factors including rarity and condition.  A cob in great condition can be worth hundreds of times what the same cob in poor condition is worth, but that doesn't change my point.

Actually there are a couple of points that I want to make today.  First, many detectorists target coins and maybe rings or other precious metals.   That is what they want to find and that is how they hunt.  They might not realize the value of many other types of items, and they pass up things that can be worth more than what they were hunting. 

As I often say, knowing something about a lot of different types of treasures can dramatically improve your success rate.   Read broadly, and study a variety of types of things. 

My second point is, if you are passing up things that appear from your discrimination settings or target ID to be junk, they could actually be valuable items.  There is no way in the world that either discrimination or target ID can tell you everything you need to know.

Artifacts can be more interesting and more valuable than coins, but there is no way that a metal detector can recognize all the different types of artifacts.  There is no substitute for digging up, holding, and looking at an object, and even then you might not know exactly what you have until you put in a couple of years of study and research. 

Target ID and discrimination can be useful under some circumstances, but they can turn around and bite you if you aren't careful.  If you use those features at the wrong time, you'll undoubtedly pass up some very good targets.  And you'll never know that you did.

Treasure Coast Beach Detecting Forecast.

No change in detecting conditions today or in the immediate future expected.

The seas will be calm today - one to two feet.  Calmer in the afternoon than in the morning.

Mostly west winds in the morning and south winds in the afternoon.

Happy hunting,

Friday, June 29, 2012

6/29/12 Report - Erosion on Gulf Coast & Treasure Coast Detecting Conditions and Forecast

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

NOAA Map Showing Remains of Debby
The remains of tropical storm Debby are now about 400 miles east of North Carolina and headed out to sea with no hint of future developement.

There is another disturance in the Atlantic, but it is still far out and not showing any signs of development for the immediate future..

I heard reports of erosion over by Tampa but none from the Outer Banks. 

Some say that some of the areas of the Gulf Coast had the worst erosion they every saw.  Very good shelling too.

Here is a video about the erosion from Pinellas County.

It looks like we're going to be stuck with poor beach detecting conditions and hot weather on the Treasure Coast this weekend.

The bad news for beach hunters is calm seas this weekend.  The good news for shallow water hunters, is calm seas this weekend.

Actually even beach hunters can take advantage of calm seas to hunt the low tide areas.  So that isn't all bad. 

If there isn't too much rain, the high temperatures might bring out a lot of beach goers.

I saw a tympanic bulla from a whale listed on eBay for $500.  It is similar to the one I showed a few days ago, but was in better shape than mine.  It somtimes pays to recognize treasures besides coins, gold and silver.  You can actually walk right past things that may be  worth more than what you are targeting.

Archaeologists used metal detectors to trace the path of a British retreat that occured in 1637.

I'd like to see greater cooperation instead of hostility between archaeologists and deterectorists.  This article give some idea of what could be accomplished.    Besides the military, treasure hunting has led to a lot of advances  in metal detector technology.  All of you who own detectors have contributed to that industry.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, June 28, 2012

6/28/12 Report - Emeralds in Conglomerate & $15 Million Cache Found by Detectorist

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Here are a variety of items reportedly found in a single encrustation about the size of a softball.  According to the eBay seller, the softball-sized encrustation was found while diving off the coast of Southeast Florida, and remained for years before the crust was taken apart and these items revealed.

The items include trade beads and stones that look very much like the Muzo emeralds found on the Atocha site, as well as other stones. 

A small part of the crust containing a couple of  remaining stones  is part of the lot.

If you want to find the listing, use "1715 Fleet" as key words.

Several people submitted the link for the following widely published story.  A cache consisting of hundreds of silver coins worth over $15 million was found.

The lucky detectorist had been detecting for 30 years before finding this cache.

Here is the link.  I think you'll want to read this.

Persistence paid off.   You never know when you might run across something amazing.

Thanks for all of you who take the time to submit links, reports, suggestions and questions.  It helps me do a better job.

I apologize for not being able to arrange personal meetings or phone calls.  Over 400 people have been reading this blog everyday so I hope you'll understand that I can't do that.  I barely have time to get to the beach and write this blog as it is.  Thanks for your understanding.

I do want to hear from readers via email.  It helps me know what you want to know and what you are interested in and thinking about.  It helps me do a better job on this blog.   I do attempt to answer all emails, but there are times when I forget, lose an email, or simply don't know how to best answer at the time, and then maybe don't get around to it.  If your email isn't answered, please know that it is nothing personal.  

I hate this blog editor.  I programmed better editors than this over 30 years ago.

Treasure Coast Beach Detecting Forecast and Conditions.

One Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.
Despite the clouds, one of those red ball sunrises greeted me this morning.  That seemed to excite the mosquitos as they sipped their morning cup of red beverage.  Before hitting the beach, I fed a few of them.  Then the sand fleas were next in line at the buffet.  Be prepared for hungry pests, especially if you hit the beach early in the morning.

I first visisted the same beach that I showed in yesterday's post and was disappointed to see that the bottom cut was completely gone.  From the sand bar in front of the front beach, the sand sloped up to the foot of the old top cut.

Yesterday the wind was coming from the northeast for a little while, and I wanted to see what it did.  Unfortunately it made the beach worse rather than better.  In the first beach photo here, you can see the sand sloping up to the foot of the what was yesterday, the top cut.  Also note the new seaweed line that was deposited last night.  Beaches can change quickly.

About a mile away, I did find some cuts, as shown in the second photo.  The biggest was about four feet high.  The sand in front of that cut was mushy.  I don't think it was a new cut.

One Cut I Found This Morning.
As you know, not all cuts are created equal.  I've detailed that in older posts.  This one wasn't productive at all.  

Yesterday the front beach, from the shell line (See yesterday's beach photo.) below the bottom cut out to the front of the sand bar that was exposed in front of the beach at low tide, there were a good many targets in the newly piled up sand - mostly junk.

While there wasn't much of any wind or waves this morning, the surf web sites are predicting north winds today, and seas around three feet.

I don't expect any beach improvement today.  There is a lot of accumulated sand to be moved now. 

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

6/27/12 Report - Debby Comes Ashore & Another Millions-Year-Old Find

One Treasure Coast Beach Yesterday Afternoon.

Tropical Storm Debby has been hard to predict.  Some models had her going West to Texas, others North, others East and even a few, Southeast.  It was really all over the map.

Some of the mystery is now over.  Debby hit land near Steinhatchee and is headed across Florida above Orlando and then out into the Atlantic.

I would guess that the Outer Banks of North Carolina might get some action.   If you are up there or thinking of going up, get ready.

Speaking of hard to predict -  minor erosion can pop up almost anywhere at anytime.  I'm convinced that even local thunderstorms can create cuts.  That isn't the type of erosion that will create productive cuts though, unless conditions were already decent to begin with.  A few additional inches of erosion on top of beaches that are either borderline or already productive, will help.  In contrast, a few inches of erosion on a very sandy beach, won't help much other than to possibly bring a few modern finds within detector range.

Yesterday I looked at the white caps on the Indian River and wondered if the internet surf predictions were right.  Yes, the wind was coming from the south/southwest and the water was blowing out, as expected, but it looked a little too rough on the lagoon for the ocean to be smooth.  I also heard contradictory predictions.  A TV report said one thing, and an internet site said something else.  

The predictions are sometimes wrong.  And sometimes I wonder where they get them.  I've pointed out what appears to me to be a consistent error in one of the web sites a few months ago.

Anyhow, the curiosity got the best of me so I took a trip to the beach to take a look for myself.  You can see the photo (above) of what I found at one beach.  There was a new cut in front of the old cut.  It was only about a foot tall, and ran for a few hundred yards.  I didn't expect that.  That's why I went out - to see for myself.

Of course not all of the beaches were cut.  The others that I looked at showed only the slightest hint of erosion - not really any cuts at all on most beaches.

Remember, every beach is unique.  You can have deep erosion at one beach while none of the others in the area will be cut at all.  

Right now I would esepcially check beaches that are to the north of rocks or other obstructions to the flow of sand.

When I give a beach conditions rating upgrade, the rating is not determined by a single spot on the beach.  My ratings reflect general conditions of the treasure beaches along the Treasure Coast.  While I haven't seen enough to remove my "poor" rating, I'm keeping a watch on things.  Even though there is a protective sand bar in front of the beach along much of the Treasure Coast, at least some sand is moving now, and who knows, maybe Debby will turn around and come back south.  There is enough weather out there right now that we need to stay alert.

And remember, it is always possible for a treasure cob or two to pop up at almost any time.  As I've said many times in the past, my rating scale starts with a 1 instead of a zero because there is always a chance.  The probability might be very low, but it is never zero.

While we wait for the treasure window to open, there are always things of various kinds to be found.  Recently I told you about a find that was millions of years old.   Here is another.

Can you guess what it is?  I had my suspicions but didn't really know, so I asked Fred D.

Here is what he said.

Treasure Coast Beach Find - Millions of Years Old
It is a tympanic bulla from a rather sizable cetacean. Looks like it has been tossed around in the ocean or an ancient river for some time. Most of the early whale and dolphin material found usually dates back to the Miocene (23 million to 5 1/2 million years ago) ...

A cetacea is a water mammal such as a whale, porpoise or dolphin.  A tympanic bulla is a bone from the inner ear.

Just what you would expect to find?  Not me.  Who would ever guess?

Keep your eyes open while you detect.

Conditions today will be about the same as yesterday.  Still the seas are small.  The south winds continue. And the swells predicted to be small.   The shallow water will probably be choppy though, as small waves break on the bar in front of the beach.

While I'm not upgrading beach conditions yet, as I pointed out in today's post, there is some action and there could be some improvement in conditions in the near future.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

6/26/12 Report - Old Florida Maps & Tropical Storm Debby

Written by the TreaureGuide for the exclusive use of

Antique Map showing Fort Capron and The Old Indian River Inlet
There are a lot of antique maps that can be found online.  This is a portion of a map showing the location of Fort Capron and the old Indian River Inlet.

The inlet shown here is now closed and is north of the present Fort Pierce Inlet and just north of the location of the Wedge Wreck.

The old inlet is also the area where the gold coins from the lost Fort Capron pay roll were found.

You can match up some of the islands and features on more modern maps and that will give you the location of the old inlet and fort.

Here is a link to the entire map as shown on the University of Florida map collection web site.

A few days ago I published a description of how James F. does research that helps him to find things like the steamboat strap that I also showed.  Old maps can be a nice part of any research effort.

Below is an old map of Cedar Key.  Isn't that a great example!  That type of image provides a 101 clues for detecting.

Old Map of Cedar Key

You can find the original digital image of this map on the same University of Florida web site listed above.  It has a lot of great detail.  Just plain fun to look at.

They have some other Florida maps that you might want to look at too.

The center of Tropical Storm Debby is near Appalachicola.   On the Gulf Coast Debby is producing rip currents and beach erosion with wind up to 50 mph.  Large waves with storm surges up to 5 feet are possible around  the area of Apalachee to Wacceasassa Bay.

On the Treasure Coast it is more south winds and rainy weather.  We're on the wrong side of this one.  Expect calm seas, down around one foot.  Of course that means no significant improvement in beach detecting conditions over here.

Here are a couple links for more details on Debby.

Happy research leads to happy hunting.

Happy hunting,

Monday, June 25, 2012

6/25/12 Report - Debby Heads For Florida Panhandle and How People Shop for a Detector

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Projected Path of Debby.  From NOAA.

As you know, the weather has a huge impact on treasure hunting on the beach and in the shallow water, especially when you are hunting old shipwreck items.   We depend upon the movement of sand to expose old accumulated items, and the weather sometimes does that for us. 

Newly lost items are another matter.  They haven't become as deeply buried, but if they remain on the beach for a while, they will eventually be buried, and then when the sand is moved, exposed again.

We all know that old shipwreck coins occasionally are washed up on the beach.  I know some people will not agree with that, believing that the old coins that are found on the beach are simply uncovered when the beaches erode.  I've proven to my own satisfaction that while sometimes old coins are simply uncovered, they are also sometimes washed up on the beach. 

Anyhow, the weather is a very important factor when looking for old treasure coins.  You often hear about northeasters that wash treasure coins onto the beach.  And north/northeast winds do seem to be the most effective in producing good hunting for shipwreck coins.   Old coins and things are uncovered when there is a lot of erosion, and old coins are also washed up onto the beach when there are strong north/northeast winds. 

I usually read about northeasters, but in my opinion north winds are just as effective or even more effective in producing good hunting conditions.   However south and southeast winds and swells can also uncover old things, mostly when there are obstructions to the natural flow of sand, such as rocks or jetties.  Usually south and southeast winds build beaches and create poor conditions.

The two above paragraphs assume that you are on the east coast of Florida. 

I didn't intend to discuss all of that today, I just brought it up because I wanted to mention the importance of weather conditions.

We've been watching Tropical Storm Debbie.  Debbie has been hard to predict.  She has shown little movement and now appears headed for the Florida Panhandle.  I'm sure they are already feeling the effects up there.  If I were up there, I'd certainly be checking the beaches now.

On the Treasure Coast the wind is from the south, as are the swells.  We're having around two or three foot seas.  I wouldn't expect that to improve conditions significantly, even though there might be a few isolated spots where things improve a touch temporarily.  I'm referring to those places where the angle of the swells and any obstructions to the flow of sand coincide.

Moving on, the most recent blog poll has concluded and the results are in.  The poll asked, What is the single most important thing you consider when looking to buy a metal detector?

"Reliability" was the response selected by most of the respondents (26%).   People want a detector that they can rely on.  People don't talk much about a detector's reliability, but they expect it.  You can't use a detector that is in the shop all of the time.  And you need to have a detector that is ready to go when the conditions are good.

"Depth" was the second most often selected response (20%).   That is something people talk about a lot more than reliability.  You hear a lot of talk about how deep this or that detector will detect coins or other items.  I wouldn't have been at all surprised if that was the most popular response.  But it wasn't. 

In my opinion the importance of depth is often evaluated too highly.   Depth is also poorly evaluated most of the time.  It is not always easy to very accurately determine how deep an object was under field conditions, and many things will affect depth in the field.  Black sand, salt mineralization, the sand or soil, and all kinds of things.   Detectors will generally detect deeper in hard-packed water-soaked sand than in loose shells, for example. 

An air test does not tell the entire story.  The best evaluation is done under field conditions when all the particulars are taken into account.

Of course, different detectors will detect different materials differently.  Because one detector detects a dime or quarter at great depths, doesn't mean it will do as well on gold.   You should match your detectors capabilities with the targets you want to find and the conditions where you want to hunt.

As I've said before, most of the old shipwreck cobs that I've found were found in the first couple inches of sand.  When conditions are right, they will be near the surface.

And the third most popular response was "ease of use" (19%).  Ease of use and depth were nearly tied.  The problem with detectors that have a lot of sophisticated features is that it takes a while to learn to use them.  Many people want a detector that they can turn on and go and don't want to fool around with a bunch of intricate adjustments.  Other people like fiddling with technology.

If I combine discrimination (3%) and target identification (10%), which makes sense to me, the combined category of target analysis gets 13% of the responses, and comes in fourth.

12% selected "reputation" as the factor that they most consider.  They select a detector that other people have and talk about.  

Only 4% indicated that "price" is the most important factor.  From personal conversations, I'd have guessed that would have been higher. 

I recommend selecting an inexpensive detector for your first detector, but many of those who read this blog are very experienced and highly committed.  Many have been detecting for decades, so I'm sure that affected the responses.

And last (1%) was "product support."   I have heard a fair number of complaints about poor product support, mostly repair service, but also some good reports.  I think people expect good product support, and they expect a detector that is reliable and easy enough to use so that they won't need much product support.   That is why I think it was not rated higher.

People who have not used a detector before should consider different things than a very experienced detectorists.  For the new detectorist, I would advise a simple less-expensive detector for your first detector.   If possible, get a personal demonstration of the model you are interested in.  That will be a big help.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, June 24, 2012

6/24/12 Report - Debby Headed Towards Texas & Find Actually Millions of Years Old

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Sea Weed Covered Beach Before Low Tide Yesterday

I took a look at a few different beaches yesterday just to see what is going on.  They all looked pretty much the same.  There was a good bit of sea weed on all of the - some more than others.  The photos show that variation.  The one beach was pretty much covered by sea weed.  I understand it can be used as fertilizer.

There were also a good number of shells on the beaches -  again more on some beaches than others.  Unfortunately the shells were mostly small and broken pieces.  Not very good for either the shell collector nor the person that inspects shell piles for other goodies.

Both the sea weed and accumulation of small shells indicates building rather than eroding beaches.  Not a good sign for the detectorist.

The water was gentle - definitely smooth enough for the water detectorist, but murky.  Visibility near shore was poor.  The sea weed would also be a nuisance for both the beach and water detectorist.   Not to mention those little irritating pests that float in the sea weed.  A wet suit or some other  protection is recommended.

On the beach fronts in the accumulating sand, there were a variety of lighter targets, such as iron or aluminum, that got washed up with the new sand.  I've discussed before how it is really not weight that is important, but rather density and shape that influences where you will find objects on a beach, but I say light or heavy instead, simply because it is quicker, and I think you generally know what  I mean.

Another Beach Near Low Tide Yesterday Afternoon
I also recently mentioned that there are some dangerous sharp objects on some beaches now.  On one beach that doesn't have many targets of any kind, I dug a foot-long piece of barbed wire.  I don't know where that came from.  I haven't seen any barbed wire on that beach before.  While the barbed wire could possible cut you, it is not nearly as dangerous as those broken pieces of steel cable down at Walton Rocks.  Be careful of sharp objects that may appear on any beach.

I made a mistake the other day when I mentioned a possible age range for the horse magnum fossil that I showed.  Fred D., the fossil expert that often helps me to identify found fossils, indicated that I was not even in the ball park, for the age of that fossil find.  Instead of thousands of years, I should have been talking in terms of millions of years. 

Here is what Fred D. said.  The Pliocene goes back at least 5 million years to about 2 million before the present. Because of its dark coloration and degree of  mineralization, it is most definitely Pliocene. Judging by the size, it could be one of the two toed horses.

Thanks once again Fred.

Projected Path of Debby From NOAA.
It looks like Debby isn't headed towards Florida at all.  It looks like she is headed towards Texas.  That might be a good thing.  They had so much drought this year, that they can probably use the rain.

The sea is flat this morning.  It will increase a bit later in the day, but not much.

The wind is out of the south and will remain that day until later in the week, when we'll have a  few hours of a north wind, and the seas will increase up to about four or five feet around Thursday.

No change in detecting conditions expected for a few days.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, June 23, 2012

6/23/12 Report - Four Pounds of Gold Found & Dangers on Treasure Coast Beaches

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Part of Four-Pound Gold Treasure Trove
Four pounds of gold were found in a 3300-year old treasure trove in Northern Germany where a gas pipeline was being constructed.  The gold was analyzed and believed to have originated in Asia.

The photo here (from Spiegel OnLine), shows one item from that treasure trove.

Here is the link to the original story.

It is the time of year to start paying attention to the weather maps for tropical storms.  One weather system that has an 80% chance of developing into a cyclone is now in the Gulf.   I think it is expected to head on a northeast track and over Orlando.   If that happens, we'll probably only get west and south winds from it on the Treasure Coast.   Nonetheless it is time to start watching for tropical weather systems.  I'll keep an eye on this one.  It could change.

Tropical Storm Forming in Gulf of Mexico
CAUTION:  There are definitely some sharp and dangerous large pieces of metal showing up on at least one Treasure Coast beach.  Always take precautions, be careful and be safe. 

Besides other possible dangers, there might be very sharp edges on objects, maybe metal and glass for example.  While I've been careful enough to avoid ever cutting myself on a beach, it can easily happen.  I've cut myself while bottle hunting, and once while walking in the ocean.  That can't be avoided totally if you are out there a lot.  And I got a fishing lure stuck in my foot once. 

There are some very dangerous pieces of metal on the beach by the power plant on Hutchinson Island now.  There are pieces of a large broken metal cable.  I saw pieces near a foot long, and the cable appears like it was maybe six inches in diameter.  But what is most dangerous are the ends of the smaller pieces that were wound together to create the cable.  The ends are broken and corroded and stick out like a bunch of needles.   You could easily hurt yourself on one of those.  To make it worse, some are buried and others are partially buried.  Use your scoop and don't probe around with your hands when you don't know what you are going after.  If you are not wearing shoes, watch where you step.

 Take adequate precautions and be very careful.

The St. Lucie Metal Detecting Club was expecting to have a club hunt this morning.  I didn't get the notice early enough to let you know in advance.  Hope the weather holds out and it goes well..

Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Forecast.

The wind will be mostly from the south for a few days, and the seas will be running down around
two or three feet.

Conditions remain poor for finding shipwreck cobs, but there are other things to be found.

There was some surprise erosion last week.  Not very productive though, as far as I know.  Just the same old sand being washed out and then up onto the beach again.

Happy hunting,

Friday, June 22, 2012

6/22/12 Report - Thousand-Year-Old Find, Returned Ring and Conditions

Here is something I found on a beach. It is about an inch and a half, measuring left to right.

Do you know what it is?  It's not a mushroom.  I didn't know what it is, but one of my expert readers did. 

I'll post what he said below.

Two Views of Beach Find in the Palm of My Hand
You might have seen the recent story about the wedding ring that was found under the seat of a used car by the new owner.   It just goes to show how things are lost and how they fall down in cracks and crevices where they remain hidden.  Every time I vacuum my car, I check in the vacuum before I dump it out.  I usually find coins there.

But another thing to take away from that story is how the person that found the ring tracked down the owner.  I guess they tracked the service record of the car.

There is a lot of information kept on people these days.   Don't forget that, especially when trying to locate the previous owner of lost items.

Many expensive items have serial numbers or other identifying numbers inscribed on them, sometimes microscopically. Information is sometimes laser-inscribed on expensive diamonds, for example.

Here is the link to the returned ring story.

I thought the mystery object shown above might be a fossil, but wasn't totally sure.  It is unusually dense.

I contacted Fred D., who really knows fossils, to see if he could tell me what it is.  Of course he could.  
Here is what he said.   That is a magnum from a small horse. It is part of the wrist assembly. Looks to be very early Pleistocene but my best guess would be Pliocene judging by some of the fossils you have found.

That means it could be 2500 or more years old.  

I haven't posted any fossil finds for a while, but think detectorists should know about other kinds of treasures they might find while on a beach besides coins and jewelry.   Sometimes different types of things will pop up in your scoop totally unexpectedly.

My first fossil find, which I recognized as something that I should keep even though I didn't know what it was at the time, appeared in my scoop after digging an object in the ocean.   Years later I found out what it is.

Anyhow, you can prevent passing up different types of treasures by becoming more broadly aware.  That is one thing I try to do in this blog.  I try to show a variety of types of treasures besides coins and rings.

Another idea that I promote is that a find is more than a find.  It is not only an object to keep, but also something that should be studied and can provide important information.

 Any object you might see or might dig up can provide useful information.  That is one reason I seldom use discrimination.  A pull tab or any other item that you find on a beach or in the water tells you something about how items are being moved and distributed, and therefore where you will find different types of things.  Finding a fossil can tell you that there is a source of old (very old) things that has been exposed somewhere not too far away. 

There is just a little time left to enter your response for the poll.  

Treasure Coast Beach Treasure Detecting Forecast and Conditions.

Yesterday I was very surprised to see a two to four foot cut on one beach.  The beach I showed a few days ago with the mushy one foot cut, got cut some more.  In front of the cut, though, was still a lot of mushy sand, and in front of that extending out into the water was even more sand.   My rating for finding old shipwreck cobs is still poor, but there are still other things to be found.

I thought I was going to have a photo of the cut for you, but asked my wife to take the photo, and somehow, she totally missed the cut.   I really don't know how she managed that.

The wind will be out the the south/southeast for the next few days and the seas running down around one to three feet.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

7/21/12 Report - Internet-Only Treasure Auction

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

This nice Bogata Charles II 2-escudo from the 1715 Fleet is one of the cobs for sale in the current Sedwick Coins internet-only action. 

As I write this, the current bid is only $950, but there is plenty of time remaining in the auction.

Here is the link if you want to see more treasure cobs, coins and artifacts from the auction catalog.

Here is additional information about the auction that I received in an email from Sedwick Coins.

Just 8 days remain before our second INTERNET-ONLY AUCTION closes, starting at 6 pm EDT on June 28. Each lot will close in sequence every 20 seconds, so you will have time to adjust your bids on later lots as you observe what you have won and lost. Bidding has already begun, so if you have not done so already, please register and bid TODAY!

Registration and bidding on iCollector is easy 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. Since this auction is INTERNET-ONLY, there is no live bidding at the end (also there is no printed catalog), and if you wait till the last second to enter your top bids, you might lose the lots for less than you are willing to pay! Terms and conditions are the same as for any of our other auctions. Since everything in our Internet-Only auctions starts at LOW levels, we expect high participation, and there is NO post-auction sale.This auction of 676 lots features a mix of shipwreck coins, cobs and general world coins (as well as hundreds of tokens) at levels that everybody can afford, many starting at just $1. There is plenty here for the budget-conscious buyer.

Also remember that until August 15 we are accepting consignments for our TREASURE AND WORLD COIN AUCTION #12 (October, 2012).

I received a new question from one detectorist planning on visiting the Treasure Coast.  Are dogs allowed on Treasure Coast beaches?  As far as I know, dogs are generally allowed on Treasure Coast beaches if they are on a leash.  Indian River and St. Lucie County seem to permit dogs on the beaches.   Walton Rocks is a dog park, where dogs can run free.   If you know of beaches on the Treasure Coast where dogs or not allowed, please let me know.

In the past month Odyssey Marine stock has gone from $2.75 to up around $3.75 per share.  Very nice gain.  Maybe a good time to start thinking about taking profits.

Here is an article about an archaeological dig at a War of 1812 fort.

Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions and Forecast.

The wind has shifted and is now coming more from the southeast.   Low tide will be around 3:30 or 4:00 today.  The seas will begin to decrease today and will lessen into the weekend.

This weekend might be a good time to see what the rougher seas did to the beach fronts. 

I'd still rate conditions for finding beach cobs as poor.  You might be able to find some other things, such as artifacts, though. 

The rougher seas may have caused people to lose more things in the surf.

Happy Hunting,

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

6/20/12 Report - CTX 3030 Detector Capabilities & Current Beach Condtions

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Last night it was windy and rainy.  The wind has been coming in at over 20 mph.  It looks almost like winter again, but summer-like conditions have prevailed on the beach too long for detecting conditions to change that quickly.

Here is what one Treasure Coast beach looked like shortly before sunset last night.  Notice the cut that was slightly over one foot high.   It evidently happened earlier - a day or two.   I would guess at least two high-tides earlier.  This is the first I saw it though. 

(Cisco sent me a new HD Flipcam to replace the one that was not working.  I'll have some nicer pictures now.)

Also notice the seaweed, which indicates that the beach has been filling since it was originally cut.  Testing the beach in front of the cut confirmed that it had been filling.  The sand there was real mushy.

The cut had also deteriorated.  Notice the angled and messy slope.

Although the beach was cut, it would not likely have been productive when it was freshly cut.  And now it shows even less promise.
There has, however, been some movement of sand and when the ocean calms down a bit, it might be worth checking at low tide.

I saw another beach last night where there was no cut, but there was a little erosion and some small scallops.  A lot of seaweed there too.

Low tide tomorrow is a little after three.

The seas will be decreasing, but not as quickly as earlier predicted.  Based upon the earlier predictions, I was expecting nice calm seas this weekend, but now it appears that it will be days later.

The wind is still blowing pretty strong and the seas will remain rough for at least a couple more days.  That might help beach conditions a bit, especially for iron artifacts and other less dense and easily moved objects, but not enough to significantly increase the probably of finding old shipwreck coins.

Unfortunately it appears that the wind and seas will continue to hit the beach pretty much directly from the east.

A few months ago I conducted a poll asking which detector manufacturer people thought provided the best discrimination.  Minelab came out on top. 

Here is a video showing the impressive discrimination capabilities of their CPX 3030 model.

You will want to see this.

This is not an inexpensive detector.

I do hate messing around with a lot of settings and screens when I could simply dig an item up and look at it with my own eyes, but there are times when that is not the best choice. 

Below is a quick look at the sea from last night.   Pretty rough.  I would say it is about the same today.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

6/19/12 Report - Tips on Research & More

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

I was telling you a few days ago about the smart educated and informed people that read this blog.  James F. is a good example.  Being an engineer and a writer that contributes to magazines, he provided us with some tips on how he conducts research that leads to finds like the recent bronze steamboat strap and ring that I showed a few days ago.

Steamboat Parts.  Photo from

First though, here is a nice article that he submitted that is about a historic Florida fort site where old steamboat parts remained neglected and abandoned until recently.

The parts seen in the above photo were dredged from the Apalachicola River and were left on the grounds of  the Fort Gadsden Recreation Area in Franklin County, Florida. They were rusting away until a few months ago when when a new project to rescue them began

Here is the link for more of this story.

I asked James to give me some tips on how he conducts research that leads to nice old finds like the steamboat strap and ring. 

One of the things he said is that  although the internet and computer makes finding certain facts quite easy, the overwhelming majority of historical information...maps, narratives, and photographs still exist only in hardcopy form.

Here is more of what he said.

The first thing I did to locate the steamboat artifact was a quick on-line search looking for generalities like major areas of steamboat activity in Florida. On-line sources indicated the St. Johns River (which flows northward, by the way) and the chain of lakes it includes (Lake Jesup, Mullet Lake, Lake Monroe, Lake Poinsett, et al) where almost teeming with steamboat traffic for almost 80 years ago, all the way from Jacksonville to Rockledge (Cocoa Beach) Florida. With this general data, I went to my local library and specifically searched for information about 19th century steamboat activity within my region...Sanford, Geneva, Oveido, Lake Mary etc. I then looked for historic facts specifically targeting those town's level of involvement with steamboat operations; Fruit and vegetable shipments, cargo and passenger operations, Seminole and Civil War materials and troops movements by steamboat, etc. It is all readily publicly available information using a few keywords like steamboat, shipping and check the index in the back of hardcover books. Once I identified the towns involved, I narrowed the focus down even further, by selecting a specific town or area to hunt.

One of my favorite sources of research material in this regard is best obtained from small local museums or historical societies. Many of these little (or not so little) organizations have some very specific resources available to you, you cannot find anywhere else; self-published books on the local area, old maps on display, people who can tell you, through family history, of certain things or places not found in a book. It was from a couple of these organizations I discovered information regarding several close-by areas where steamboat traffic and operations were very prevalent in the mid-19th Century. Using this information...old maps, photographs, drawings and other facts, I managed to piece together a promising site. A quick look on-line of aerial map views through either Google or Bing Bird's Eye (I like Bing best for this sort of search as it has very, very clear aerials that get within 25 feet of the ground) will yield current information about the site before your actual recon of the physical place. This gives you site coordinates that you will use to navigate to the location; nearby roads, landmarks and GPS information, etc.

From there, I find the online website of the local tax assessor and locate the property platt, which also gets me the name and address (sometimes even the phone number) of the owner. Again, all publicly available information. I then make a cursory visit to the site, and if it looks searchable (i.e. not swampy or too snake infested) I'll call or visit the owner and try to get permission. I always offer something in return: a free 2-hour metal detection search anytime in the future if they or someone they know loses a valuable item, or I ask if they would like to accompany me while I hunt and have their pick of the items recovered. It is their land. If you have any people skills at all, you should be able to get on site, and maybe even an invitation to come back by the landowner. That's it in a nutshell...remember to look out for snakes!

There it is.   Some great tips that have proven out.   Thanks James!

Let me repeat and summarize a few of the main points.

1.  Do a preliminary search to become more familiar with the topic, identify important key words that can lead to other resources, and reiteratively refine your search.

2.  Check with local museums and historical societies.

3.  Talk to people who may have personal knowledge.

4.  Use the internet but go beyond that.

Your research will become more productive as you accumulate a depth of knowledge and variety resources on specific locales and topics.

Of course everyone is interested in the 1715 Fleet, but it seems to me that Florida steamboat history is a thoroughly fascinating and a much overlooked are of interest.

If there is a knife/dagger collector out there, I'm sure you can give us some idea of the date on the dagger I posted yesterday.   Thanks.

Treasure Coast Beach Treasure Detecting Conditions and Forecast.

Treasure beach detecting conditions remain poor.  Conditions haven't changed for a few days.  We've had 3 or 4 foot seas for a while now, but that is about to change. 

The seas will decrease as the weekend approaches, finally going down nearly zero.  That means we'll have very nice water conditions again, and probably very good visibility.

Happy hunting,

Monday, June 18, 2012

6/18/12 Reort - More on Found Dagger & Restoring Rusted Objects

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Wood Handle of Bill's Dagger
Hollow Grommet
Yesterday I showed a dagger found by Bill M.   When I looked at the photo of the guard, it looked to me like there were some stamped numbers or letters on the guard.  I wanted to see if we could make those out before I posted more of the photos. 

The dagger was taken apart for cleaning and restoration.

To the left is the wood handle, and to the right, the hollow grommet for storing additional blades or other tools.

I tried some photo processing software to see if I could make whatever might be stamped on the guard a little more clear.  Sometimes you can manipulate images to show more detail than you would otherwise see.

Guard and Remaining Portion of Blade
In the photo to the right, you might be able to see where it appears there are markings on the guard.  Bill thinks it might possibly say either  5d24 or 5d27, but it is very unclear and we can't say that is what it is with any degree of confidence.

Using another very similar photo, but with a different orientation, I increased the contrast and sharpened the image a bit.  You can see the result in the enhanced photo shown below.

In the image below, left and above center I think you can see what appears to be a clear 2.  I am not sure, though, if the 2 is stamped or a superficial marking.  I think most likely, superficial.

If you blow up that image, it appears that the lighting is coming from about the 4:30 position, and you can see some of the edges of stamped depressions as reflecting the light and appearing very bright.

Although I had minimal success in this case, you can sometimes use image processing software to bring out additional details.  Sometimes you can see something you would otherwise miss by converting the image to greyscale or negative.   There are a lot of things you can try, depending upon the software you have.  I just downloaded some free software from the net.

The angle of any lighting is important when trying to photograph objects to expose the most possible detail.  I think if this object was rotated 90 degrees three times and photos taken after each rotation, the stampings could reveal a lot more information.

Anyhow, that is the best I could do up to this point. 

If any of you can give us a time period or any other thoughts or information on this dagger, it would be very much appreciated.

About four depressions to the right of the 2 on the guard, could that possibly be a Broad Arrow?

Manipulated Image

I found a product called  Metal Rescue that looks like it might be great for removing rust from antiques.  I haven't tried it yet myself, so I am judging by the video.  If it works as good as the video shows, it could be a BIG help.

Here is the video.

I wouldn't use it on very rusted objects.  You ight not have anything left.

If you haven't noticed, I posted a new poll and would appreciate your responses.   Thanks!

Happy hunting,

Sunday, June 17, 2012

6/17/12 Report - Dagger Found

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Happy Father's Day.  And here is new find that would make a lot of fathers very happy.

Bill M., who found the olive jar rim and lead seal that I posted in the past, found this nifty dagger at the same St. Lucie County site.

There appeared to be some numbers of letters on it that could not really be read from the photos.   I asked Bill to do a little work and see if he could provide an image of whatever it appears to say on the guard.

I'll post more photos of the item after Bill lets me know if he can provide additional clues as to what, if anything, is stamped on the item.

Like I said the other day, research can pay off.  I know Bill did some good research to find the site that is yielding these interesting finds.

If you go to the we site on clay pipes that I posted yesterday, the web site tells how clay pipes changed over the years.  That will help you narrow down the age of any clay pipe.

Clay pipes were first used in England after the early colonists observed the Native Americans smoking.  It became such a fad that King James wanted to ban smoking but didn't get it done.

The Mel Fisher organization reported via email that part of a water jar and some other pottery, a silver shoe buckle, spikes, some encrusted objects and one silver coin was recently found by the crew of the Dare on the site of the Margarita.

The Dare is going north to work the Lost Merchant.

The crew of the Magruder will continue working the Atocha where they recently found spikes, a cannon ball, encrusted scissors one silver coin and some other encrusted objects.

Even the big guys don't make amazing finds all of the time.  Be patient.

Low tide is a little after one.   The swells are still coming in at near four feet.

No significant change in conditions.

Despite poor beach detecting conditions a few good finds are being made on the beach..   Some really good off-beach finds have been made by people who did their research.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, June 16, 2012

6/16/12 Report - Clay Pipes, Found Stash & Increased Seas

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

First off, James F. wanted to express his gratitude to those who identified the makers mark on his bronzze strap and ring.  He didn't think he'd ever figure it out.

It looks like James might be on to a good site.  It was all because of good research. 

Whether you hunt on land or in the water, you might find something like this floating water proof cell phone case to be a handy addition.

Even land hunters can get caught in a sudden downpour.

A homeless man found a bag full of cash and gold coins worth $77,000 while washing his feet in the Colorado River. The money was confiscated by the police but after no evidence of a crime was found and the previous owner was not located,  the homeless man was awarded the money.

Here is the link.

Here is the bowl of a clay pipe found by Jorge Y. while diving off Gibraltar.  He wondered if anyone might be able to narrow down the date for it.

As you know, while this particular pipe was found overseas, clay pipes are occasionally found in Florida, and some in connection with shipwrecks.

I found two good web sites on clay pipes, one of which gives a number of ways of narrowing down a pipes manufacture date.  The size of the bowl and the size of the hole both changed over time, as did certain other design features.  For example, over time the bowl became more upright.

Here is a great web site that tells about that..

And here is another great web site that provides a list of makers marks for clay pipes.

The winds are now from the east, and the seas have increased a bit, now running up around 3 or 4 feet.  That isn't much, but it could create a few small cuts.  While the cuts, if you can find them, won't produce any old coins unless the particular area has been eroding in the recent past for some reason, such as obstructions to the flow of sand, it could expose some  newer targets.   More generally though, don't expect much change.

Happy hunting,

Friday, June 15, 2012

6/15/12 Report - Bronze Strap and Ring Identified & And Key to Good Finds

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Good news!  The readers of this blog came through again.   The amount of knowledge displayed by my readers is really impressive. 

You might not know who reads this blog, but you might be surprised.  It is not at all how the archaeologists or media tend to characterize detectorists.  When you see a detectorist on TV, he usually is portrayed comically.   Nothing wrong with that other than the image being inaccurate and  misleading.  You can tell from those fleeting images that the media don't know much about detecting or detectorists.  For one thing, the guy is usually swinging his detector a foot or so in the air like he is swatting flies.  That might not be ignorance on he part of the media so much as the fact that if you are showing a detectorist in the background, you might not notice what he is doing if he actually does it correctly.  Artistic license, I guess.

Anyhow, the reality of the detecting community is far different than how it is portrayed.  The readers of this blog who I hear from include physicians, attorneys, architects, historians, authors and all kinds of intelligent informed people.

Yeterday I posted an object with the hope of getting some information about it.  Well, in less than 24 hours from the time the object was posted,  I heard from two people who have worked in the boating industry and knew exactly what the object is.

Bronze Strap & Ring.  See 6/14 Post For Larger Photo
Here is part of the email I received from John L.

The bronze (definitely not brass) strap, (not cleat) and ring in today's post is a product of the Wilcox Crittenden company. That is undoubtedly their logo.

Here is a link to a modern cleat made by them currently listed on Ebay in which you can clearly see the same logo.

Here is a link detailing the history of the company, originally established in 1847, which became Wilcox Crittenden in 1869.

Thus, the item could be as old as 140+years old.

Thanks John!

Then I received an email from Eric L. with the following information.

The makers mark is a Wilcox Crittenden mark. It should be cast bronze. This company made hardware for the marine industry from the 1800's to modern day. I worked as a shipwright for many years and their stuff is on everything from dingies to commercial vessels...

This could have been a ring for a tie down point or possibly attaching a small snatch block. Their old hardware catalogs can still be found with a little searching online.

Thanks Eric!

As I mentioned a few days ago, these are the types of stories I really like.   It started with the research that James F. conducted that led him to this find, but the research wasn't over when he dug up the object.  Then there was the research to identify the find, and I don't doubt that there will be more finds and more to learn.

If you are tired of hunting the same old over-hunted places and want to find some interesting old things, take a few tips from James F. whose research led him to this find.  This wasn't something that James just happened to run into.  His research led him to believe that he might find old steamboat related objects at the location.

James said, I always find it strange I never see anyone else with a metal detector where I hunt...    I always do a little research before targeting an area to hunt...

He does a lot of library research with what he calls "real" books.  He says it only took him about 30 minutes in the library to find another promising 19th century site to hunt.

You might want to try the library too. 

No change in beach detecting conditions.   I won't bother to comment more on that today.

Happy hunting,