Friday, August 31, 2012

8/31/12 Report - Recent Treasure Coast Metal Detector Finds - Old Buttons

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

There were some nice finds on the Treasure Coast this past week.   I've received photos of a few.

Front of Button Found by William M.

Back of Button Found by William M.

A couple of nice old buttons were found on the Treasure Coast this week.  The photos above show William's button.
William also found a fossil sharks tooth, piece of a mastodon tusk, and horse tooth.

The photo below shows a similar period button found by another detectorist.

Another Nice Button Find.

Isaac also cut the beaches down at Jupiter and some nice shipwreck finds were recovered.  

Below is a photo of the cut at Jupiter, which was sent in by Tom Guidus of Wreckovery Salvage.

Tom found a cob and two small lead balls, which to me looked like they could have been the small balls loaded into a musket with a larger ball, the combination being called "buck and ball."

If you want to learn more about buck and ball, here is a link.

Cut at Jupiter.  Photo by Tom Guidus.
Thanks to those who sent in photos and reports.  It makes my job much easier.

Sorry I can't post every photo that I receive because of a variety of factors.  I appreciate receiving them all.  Even when I can't post a photo or report, it still helps me to get a more complete picture of what is going on, and that helps me to create a better blog.

There is a hurricane (Kirk) and a tropical storm in the Atlantic.  Both seem to be headed away from us.

We have very calm seas now.  I'm downgrading my beach conditions rating to a 1 again.

Early next week the seas are predicted to increase again, maybe up to five or six feet later in the week.

Keep watching.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, August 30, 2012

8/30/12 Report - Still a Lot to Be Found - Space Age to Ice Age

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Ice Age to Space Age Finds From the T. C. Yesterday
The other day I said that the improvements in beach conditions were short lived.  It turns out that I was a little premature with that.  I went to check one of the secondary beaches yesterday afternoon and found that there is still a lot out there.  I had  seen a lot of detectorists working the primary shipwreck beaches and assumed that the beaches would have been well worked over.  I was wrong about that.  Yesterday afternoon I visited one beach that is well known as a shipwreck beach and where a lot of people detect and found that there was still a lot of targets even though I would have expected it to be cleaned out.  
There are a couple of factors that might explain why this one area was not cleaned out yet.  First, it was not right by the beach access.  You had to walk a little way to get to it.

I've mentioned this before.  If you only detect right in front of the beach access, you're probably hunting in the same sand where everybody else has hunted.  It can pay to walk a little distance from the beach access.  People seem to think that the only place to find cobs is right in front of the beach accesses.

I've said before, if you want to improve your chances, don't do what everybody else is doing in the exact same place that everybody else is doing it. 

Yesterday I took a walk and found an area where there were a lot of easy targets without hardly any junk in between, and it was right in front of an obvious cut.  With so many detectorists out lately, I was really surprised to find such a good coin line so easily.  

The coins weren't buried deep.  In fact, they were laying very near the surface, as will most often be the case when you find a coin line or coin hole.  I saw a couple of them before digging.

Many of the coins were in black sand.  Maybe that is why they were missed.  Some detectorists don't know how to detect in black sand, even though it is often a good place to detect.

Maybe people think that you won't find many coins away from the beach access because it is away from where the people go.  I don't know how all of those coins got there.  I do know that it is not unusual to find good coin lines well away from where today's crowds go.  I don't know if these coins were moved a good distance by the forces of nature or not, but I know that it does happen.  I've done experiments on that before.

Most coin lines will be composed of modern clad.  That might not be of interest to you.  But if you find older modern clad that has been concentrated by nature over time, you will be getting closer to other older items and possibly gold.  

I always look at finds to see what they tell me about how the sand and other items are moving and where other types of items might be found.  One reason I don't use much discrimination is because even junk tells me something about how things are moving and where other things are likely to be found.

The photo above shows a sample of yesterday's finds.  It might actually go from the Space Age to the Ice Age. 

Another 14K Band Find
The first item on the left is titanium, and the second is a sea-tumbled fossil tooth from an extinct horse.  You can also see a piece of copper sheathing with a possible square nail hole in it, a piece of  spike, and the type of encrusted coins that were found in the coin line.

The photo to the right shows another 14k band find.  Some other unidentified items are being cleaned.

The storms are pretty much out of the way by now.  Seas are back to calm (one or two feet) with South winds.  Things won't change much for a while, but like I showed today, it seems there are still some places to make a lot of finds if you are willing to check out some of the less popular spots.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

8/29/12 Report - Improved Conditions Short Lived

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

I'll undoubtedly be issuing a beach conditions downgrade before long.  We're back to one and two foot seas already.  And it looks like it will stay that way for a while again.
There is a new storm in the Atlantic named Kirk.  It will remain out in the middle of the Atlantic.  Another storm may be forming behind it though.

Sand Bar Forming in Front of Beach

In the mean time, on the Treasure Coast a bar is forming in the front of a number of the beaches.  The sand that was swept out a couple of days ago is building there and leaving a dip in between the bar and the beach at some locations.  

Yesterday I found that some of the cut beaches were already filling.  It wasn't real apparent, but spots that were previously flat were becoming more convex.  The cuts still looked pretty much the same, but the area in front of the cuts was filling.

A foot, or even less of new sand may not seem like much, especially when it is in front of a four foot or bigger cut, but it makes a world of difference.  It might not even be apparent at first glance, but it does make a difference.

Sand Accumulating in Front of Cut

When you find a productive beach and return to it another day, look closely for areas where new sand has accumulated or eroded a little more.  Even a few inches can make a difference.  

If you place a few stakes at key locations, you can better judge what has changed since your last visit.  Spots that were productive on the first visit may not longer be any good, and other unproductive spots may now be productive.  Carefully inspect the beach and remember what it looked like.

There are still cuts around the Treasure coast, but they are filling.  And there were a lot of detectorists out yesterday, so some beaches were heavily worked.

It would be a good time to check some of the secondary beaches looking for left overs on beaches that weren't worked as heavily, or looking for any spots that may have improved overnight on the more heavily worked beaches.

Below is pictured one find from Monday.    This one is just a plain 14K band, but the melt value is around $160.  From the patina that was on it, I would guess that it is not a recent loss, but had been buried for a few years.

I'd like to receive photos of any beach finds made the last couple of days, especially cobs or artifacts.

You might consider changing your focus from cobs to artifacts as beach conditions deteriorate

Like I said, I'll probably be issuing a beach conditions downgrade in a day or so. 

Happy hunting,

14K Band

Monday, August 27, 2012

8/27/12 Report - Beach Conditions Upgrade on Treasure Coast

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

NOTE: Additional material added to end of post this evening.

Eroded Treasure Coast Beach Monday Morning

Yesterday, none of the beaches on the Treasure Coast looked good.  In addition to the beaches I looked at and posted, Bernie C. sent in a report from some of the beaches that I didn't visit and his report verified what I said.  As of yesterday morning, beach detecting conditions around the Treasure Coast remained poor.

Between yesterday and this morning, the wind shifted, and some of the beaches got cut.  Here is one that I spent some time on this morning.  A five to six foot cut ran for hundreds of yards.

I visited another beach that had deteriorated even more from the poor conditions yesterday.

One beach will cut while another will build.  It has to do with a lot of factors, including the angle of the beach and how the waves hit it.

I'm upgrading my Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions from a 1 to a 2.   (The scale is a five point scale with 1 indicating poor and 5 excellent conditions.) 

That is the first beach conditions upgrade that I've issued for quite a while.  While that one beach looked good it is not as good as it looks.  And not all of the beaches improved, as I said. 

Beach Without Erosion Monday Morning
I would bet that the beaches with rocks or other obstacles to the flow of sand, probably eroded on the north side of the obstacles.

On the beach that I saw that was very eroded, the sand got pulled out to the shallow water, extending the beach.  A lot of shells were on the front of the beach.  

I don't have time for any more right now but wanted to get the upgrade in.  Hopefully, I'll have a chance to post more later today.

I have more to post, but don't have the time right now.

Added near 8 PM.

The wind is now from the southeast and the waves at many beaches are hitting from a southeast direction.  While northeast winds are much more effective in puttng cobs on the beach, southeast winds can cause erosion.  And erosion will lead to increased finds.

I know of a few gold rings that have been found in the last few days, including one this morning on one of the main 1715 Fleet beaches.  While people don't hunt modern jewelry much on the shipwreck beaches, some of them do produce a good bit, especially those beaches like the beach at Jupiter Inlet, which has had a lot of beach traffic over the years.

Not long ago I talked about older modern items, and how theyy can indicate that you are possibly getting closer to the even older finds.

The seas will be decreasing through the night, and will be down to two or three feet tomorrow.   Continued south/southeast winds won't put many cobs on the beach, although a small number have undoubtedly been found in the past few days.  I am expecting some artifacts to be found on the beaches the next couple of days.

If you are a shell or fossil hunter, there were a lot of shells and a few fossils mixed in with the shells on at least one Treasure Coast beach today.

I didn't find any coin lines or holes today, just scattered items, with very light pieces of aluminum and gold being found in close proximity. 

Expect southerly winds and nearly flat seas Tuesday and Wednesday.   

The West Coast should provide some very interesting hunting after Isaac passes by.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, August 26, 2012

8/26/12 Report - Around the Treasure Coast This Morning

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

I'm just going to do a quick post right now to show you what is going on around the Treasure Coast this morning.  Later today I'll add more details to this post, but just wanted to give you a quick overview of what I saw this morning first.

Between Sebastian Inlet and McClarty.  Cut in dredged sand only.

Wabasso.  Not much of anything new.

Turtle Trail.  No cuts.

Green Turtle Beach, Fort Pierce.  Cuts smoothed out this morning.

I hope to add more detail later today if I get a chance.  Not much has happened here on the Treasure Coast so far.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, August 25, 2012

8/25/12 Report - Just a Little Erosion Beginning on Treasure Coast Beaches So Far.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

You are probably aware that Isaac is expected to go into the Gulf but give us some more windy rainy day.  The West Coast of Florida and the Panhandle will get a lot more of Isaac than us.
Erosion just beginning on one Treasure Coast beach.
I went out to see what was going on this afternoon around the time of high tide.  I looked at a half dozen different beaches.   Three showed absolutely  no new  erosion, one very little, an one a bit more.  Near high tide, it did not appear that the water would get to the dunes at any of those locations.

That is just a sample.  I am sure that there is probably a spot of two somewhere on the Treasure Coast that is better than anything that I saw.  Areas with rocks or other obstacles to the natural flow of sand are good prospects.

The first photo shows one beach where erosion was just beginning.  There was very little though when I was there.  This beach was actually better than it looks in the photo.  The front of the beach was becoming more steep and firm.

The second photo shows a beach where one foot high cuts and scallops ran for a few hundred yards.  The second beach looks good, but for finding cobs, is probably no better than the beach in the first photo. 

In front of the cuts was very mushy sand.  The sand that was being eroded was newly accumulated unproductive sand.

The fact that there was any erosion at all is a good thing.  Whether it continues or not depends upon how the water continues to hit the beach.
One foot cuts along one Treasure Coast beach.

I am not giving an upgrade on my Beach Detecting Conditions Rating Scale yet.  As I explained yesterday the rating scale rates beach conditions for finding old shipwreck treasure coins.  Even though the sand on some front beaches was stirred up enough to improve conditions for finding some types of artifacts, it hasn't improved significantly the chances of finding cobs at the vast majority of locations.   Therefore, I'll keep my 1 (poor) rating for now.   There is the chance, if we get enough additional improvement, of a rating upgrade in the next day or two.

The seas will continue to increase until later tomorrow (Sunday) and then decrease Monday and into next week, and then we'll get those all too familiar South winds again.  That won't give much time for erosion to occur.

Peak seas tomorrow will probably only be around seven feet.  That isn't really much.

Same beach as above.

A big gold and silver coin hoard was discovered in Bulgaria.

Happy hunting,

Friday, August 24, 2012

8/24/12 Report - Storms, Detecting Conditions, and Beach Rating Scale

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Friday 8 AM NHC Upate.
The predicted path of Isaac has drifted a little to the West again.   It looks to me like the West coast of Florida will get some good onshore winds and waves next week, and the Panhandle and around the Big Bend and the Apalachicola area will get a lot of waves and high water being piled up.  I expect all of those places to see improved detecting conditions next week. 

Remember that these things are uncertain though.  One computer model still has Isaac landing in Southeast Florida.

Joyce is still predicted to head towards Bermuda.  There is another area to watch coming off of Africa behind Joyce.

On the Treasure Coast, the seas will begin to increase later Friday, building to a peak of about seven feet later Sunday.   A day or two daya ago the peak was predicted for Monday.

The wind will be from the northeast on Saturday and Sunday.  After that the wind will change to come from the South.   From that, I would expect best beach detecting conditions on the Treasure Coast to be Sunday and early Monday. 

On the West Coast of Florida best beach detecting should be after the storm center passes and the wind direction shifts from off-shore to on-shore.  I suspect the southwest winds will cause erosion along much of the lower and central West Coast.

Here is another good web site to check for hurricane and storm maps and information.

If you have been reading this blog for a few years, you know that I publish a Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions Rating Scale.  There are times when I post it on a regular basis, but lately (actually quite a while) I have not bothered because there were so few changes to report.  Conditions have been consistently poor for so long that I just didn't bother.

My rating scale is a five point scale, where a 1 indicates poor and 5 indicates excellent detecting conditions for finding old shipwreck cobs and coins.   Excellent detecting conditions occur when there is significant erosion to the beach and dunes.

Typically some beaches erode more than others at any given time.   My rating is an average rating for the beaches of the Treasure Coast.

It is important to note that the rating is for finding old shipwreck treasure coins and cobs.  Conditions for finding other items can be quite different.  For example, conditions for finding modern items or iron artifacts can be relatively good while the conditions for finding treasure coins are still poor.

At this point, conditions on the Treasure Coast are still poor, so the rating on my scale is a 1.   I'll update my rating when there is a change in conditions.

There is always some chance of something popping up, even if they odds are very very long.  That is why my scale begins with a 1 instead of a 0.

Tim J. sent in this link to a 35 foot treasure hunting boat equipped with blowers etc. in Sebastian listed for sale on Craig's List for $45900.  Maybe somebody got tired of digging up all that gold.
Here is the link.

Here's hoping for improved detecting conditions.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, August 23, 2012

8/23/12 Report - Isaac Heads Towards Keys and West Coast & Club News

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Thursday Morning National Hurricane Center Map
Isaac now looks like he will be crossing the Keys and skirting the West Coast of Florida, and then maybe heading towards the Panhandle.  It is looking like the West Coast will be getting more of Isaac than the Treasure Coast.

Joyce, on the other hand, looks like she'll head towards Bermuda.

The ocean is flat today.  The seas will begin to increase Friday, reaching a peak of around  8 foot seas on Monday.  The decrease in predicted seas on the Treasure Coast isn't as big a factor in my mind as the predicted change in wind direction due to Isaac's move west.  I'd like to see north/northeast winds, but we won't get much of that.  It looks like it will be more east winds.  Nonetheless, we'll surely still get some improvement in beach detecting conditions.  It can't get worse.

Low tide this afternoon is between 7 and 7:30.

There is still some chance that the predictions will change, but at this point, it looks like the Keys and West Coast will get most of the battering.

The next St. Lucie Metal Detecting Club hunt will be 8 AM, Saturday, August 25 at Stuart Beach, 889 NE Ocean Blvd, Stuart.

The next meeting will be September 15th, 6:00 PM at Bernie's house. For more information check  or email Bernie.  Bring your own beverage and finds.

The club is planning a trip to the Peace River in the Fall.  Maybe some of you West Coast guys will want to meet up with them.

If you don't have the money to buy that ultra rare gold bar or coin that you drool over and think would be the best investment in the world, it may soon be possible to buy shares in items like priceless gems, jewelry, wines, cars or Picassos.

The big fish were having a feeding frenzy in the Fort Pierce Inlet this morning.  I wish I got a picture of that.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

8/22/12 Report - Isaac Update

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Wednesday Morning NOAA Update

Isaac seems to be coming our way.  The track projected by NOAA has Isaac hitting Florida a little after 2 AM Monday near the northern end of the Keys.  However both the East and West Coast of Florida are within the cone and could be where the center lands.   At this point, the predicted wind gusts at that time would be up to 115 mph.  I guess that means it could easily be a Cat 2 or 3 hurricane when it gets here.

The most recent update has Isaac turning north sooner than previously predicted.   The earlier track took it more over Cuba, where I thought it could lose some intensity.

And we have another depression following right behind Isaac.

The surf web sites are now predicting around ten foot seas on the Treasure Coast by Monday.   That of course is higher than the five to eight foot seas predicted earlier.

The wind direction will be northeast over the weekend and into Monday too.  The combination of high seas and the northeast wind indicates a good chance of a lot of beach erosion and a very good chance of improved beach detecting conditions. 

As I've commented before, there is something about north and northeast winds that results in more cobs being found on the beach.  Similar amounts of erosion produced by southeast winds just doesn't seem to produce as many cobs even when there is good erosion.  I think I've expressed my theory on that in the past.

I'd much rather these storms fall apart and become less than hurricanes.   If we take too much of a hit the beaches will be closed.  I'd rather not have a hurricane and it really doesn't take a hurricane hit to  improve beach detecting conditions.

The seas are still calm today.  They'll start to increase on Friday.

Low tide today is between 6 and 6:30.

If you want to see the anchor at Dollman Beach, take the path to the beach, turn right and walk 75 to 100 yards, I would guess.  Look for a big old log laying  up by Sea Oats.  The anchor is out in the water about 20 or 30 yards directly East of the log.  Just look.  It could easily disappear this weekend.

That is all for now.   I'll keep an eye on Isaac.

UPDATE:  As of 1 PM, it now looks like Isaac is predicted to pass more over Cuba again, as was predicted yesterday, and that will reduce the intensity.  It now seems like it will be a Cat 1 when it hits Florida, if it does, and the track takes it a little more to the West.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

8/21/12 Report - Hurricane Maybe Heading Our Way & More On Anchors

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Calm Seas on Treasure Coast This Morning.
The big news for me today is tropical depression number 9.  It could become a hurricane by Thursday when it will be south of Peurto Rico.  After that, it is expected to work its way West, passing below Haiti and then over Cuba.  It could also turn north towards us.

There is also another area that could turn into a good storm right behind that.  And a distrubance down in the Gulf by Mexico that could form.

Despite all of the activity out there, the seas along the Treasure Coast are still calm.  See photo. 

There is good visibility for snorkeling today.  Low tide will be about 5:30 PM.

The surf web sites are predicting increasing seas this weekend, reaching 5 to 8 feet by Monday.

We haven't had anything like that for quite a while.

After all of  the news about the recent anchor discovery on the Treasure Coast, I wanted to find a good source that would help people identify different types and ages of anchors.  I didn't find much of anything that I found real helpful until I found the following study.  

It is a thesis on the history and development of English anchors from 1550 to 1850 written by Harold Jobling in 1993.  It focuses on documented anchors found on British wrecks but also includes a lot of information on Spanish wrecks of the same era.  

It is a great study of about 150 pages and includes illustrations, sources and many useful bits of information.  The biggest problem you might find with this study is that it isn't easy reading.  It is very technical and can't be absorbed in one quick reading.   On the other hand, if you really want to know what you can learn about anchors, you must read this.  I certainly learned a lot from quickly browsing the study and plan to go back and read it more thoroughly.   I think I now have a good chance of telling the difference between a 17th Century British anchor and a 17th Century Spanish anchor.

Just as an example, the hole through which the ring was attached at the top of the anchor on British anchors was usually punched, while the hole on Spanish anchors of the period was typically made by looping the bar and  welding.  

Spanish anchors also generally had a longer thinner bar.  They often failed because of the design and how they were manufactured.

You might have trouble loading this PDF file if you don't have the latest Adobe Reader software, and even then it will probably be slow.  It is worth it if you are interested enough to work your way through all of the technical detail.  I found many interesting facts.

The Terra Nova, a three masted sailing schooner, was discovered off of Greenland.

Here is the link

Keep watching.  We might actually see improved beach detecting conditions before long.

Happy hunting,

Monday, August 20, 2012

8/20/12 Report - Spanish Coin, Lead Seals, and Foreign Laws

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Here is a Spanish silver coin.  See if you can identify it.

If you want to cheat, the coin is found pictured in Monedas Espanolas  Desde Juan y Carlos a Isabel II 1504 a 1868, by Calico, Calico and Trigo, 1985.

You can see the king in the first picture - Phillip III.  That gives you something of an age range.

You can see the date in the second picture - 1609.

That is the easy part, but the denomination is also displayed clearly in the first photo - 50.

Of course we are most familiar with the 8, 4, 2, 1 and half reales that were minted in the New World. 

This is a 50 reale.  Not common at all, and not made in the New World.

That would give a whopper signal in your ear phones.

The assayer mark is "C."

So where was it minted?

The answer is Segovia.  The Segovia mint was built in 1583 to process gold and silver coming in from the New World.

You can actually see the mint mark above the assayer mark.  It is a representation of the city's aqueduct.

I posted a dug lead bale seal not long ago and was doing some research on bale seals when I found this site with a nice large collection of bale seal examples.   You might want to take a look.

If you travel outside of the country with a metal detector, you should be aware of the laws on taking anything old you find with you when you leave.   If you look at the above web site, for example, there is a tab labeled "exporting."   If you select that tab, you'll see the following statement.   No find over 50 years old can be taken home without the correct documentation i.e. export licence. Anyone attempting to smuggle an artifact out of the country will be liable to imprisonment fine or both. 

I would say that is pretty typical, and that many countries have similar laws these days.  While I think it is absurd to consider a 50 year old item to be an antiquity, that is the way it is these days.   I got a nickel in change yesterday that is older than that.  I have clothes older than that.  These laws must be written by 20 something year-olds.   Just bump it up another fifty years, and that will include absolutely everything.  .    

No matter how senseless it may seem to be, you need to be aware of the laws, especially when traveling to foreign countries.

Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Forecast and Conditions

The wind is still from the south, seas are calm and beach conditions remain poor.   Nothing much has changed.

There are however two low pressure areas in the Atlantic that bear watching.  They are still far out there and won't be any threat for a few days.   One has an 80% chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours. 

Happy hunting,

Sunday, August 19, 2012

8/19/12 Report - Atocha Emerald Ring, More Anchors, and Storm to Watch

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Photo Received Via Email From Mel Fisher Organization.
Here is another view of the recent Atocha emerald ring find.  I like to study examples like this so I can more easily identify  finds.

One feature on this ring that I haven't seen before is the raised point of gold at the corners of the stone.

I mentioned the recent Treasure Coast anchor find in my most recent post.  It is not real unusual to find anchors around the Treasure Coast.  Most, of course, won't be from Spanish galleons.

Mostly they are small anchors.  And some pretty new.

Here is a photo of one small anchor that was found on the Treasure Coast some years ago.  Nothing great, but it is an older style.  I'm guessing, maybe from the nineteen forties or fifties.  

Small Anchor Found on Treasure Coast

I think it might be called a Byers stockless anchor.

Below is a picture of the stock of another anchor found on the Treasure Coast.   It is very much like the anchors on the boardwalk of Jaycee Park in Vero, but is not nearly as big.   I would say late 18 or early 1900s.

You can see some interesting anchors as you drive along A1A.  

As you go north from Perry Park, there are two on the right side of the road before you get to Indian River County.  These two are very easy to miss as you drive.

Anchor Found on Treasure Coast
A really old and big anchor is in front of some condos on the left of A1A as you go north towards Turtle Trail.  It has a marker and bench beside it.

Old anchors can be seen all around the Treasure Coast.  Some people have them in the front yard and some even to hold up their mail box. 

There is now a tropical wave in the Atlantic that bears watching.  It already has a 70% chance of becoming a cyclone and appears to be heading towards the Windward Isles.   This one has some chance of affecting us.  Presently it is moving westward.

No change in conditions yet.  Keep watching.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, August 18, 2012

8/18/12 Report - Comments on Anchor Find

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Salvage Boats on Nieves Site Thursday

It has been in the papers and it has been on the news.  It seems like it has been everywhere and is the most talked about treasure story of the Treasure Coast this week.  You've probably already heard about it - the anchor found in the ocean near Dollman Beach.

It hasn't been identified yet, in fact as far as I know it hasn't been excavated yet.  A firefighter and his kids were snorkeling and there it was - at least a piece of it.  The entire anchor might be there, but all they reported seeing is part of it sticking out of the sand.

I always say when the sand is building one place it is coming from someplace else.  It appears that after hiding for years and years, this anchor was finally uncovered.

Actually it could have been in plain view for a long time because it was found in one of those areas that is NOT typically hunted and hunted and hunted, like the Nieves site that had four dive boats working on it this week. 

You might remember one of the more remarkable finds on the Nieves site in recent years, the gold pelican monstrance.  (See

But the recent anchor find is not in one of those hot spots of activity.  And that isn't surprising to me.  If it was, it might have been found before.   And there is a possibility that it was, but just wasn't brought into the center of attention.

I know that a lot of you when you read "shipwreck" will automatically think "Spanish treasure galleon," but most shipwrecks are not.  Take a look at this map of Florida shipwrecks.  They're all over the place, but most aren't treasure galleons.

Take a look at this Florida shipwreck map

Bill F., speaking of the anchor find, wrote in to say,  This is just 1/4 mile from where the "America" wrecked in the late 1800's. I found the keel for that wreck after the last hurricane, 1/4 mile north of the anchor. This find was verified by Tommy Gore.

Sure, it's possible it's from another wreck, but it's a strong coincidence. It's also in what appears to be S-25, a leased area from Fisher.

Thanks for the info Bill.

As you should know anyhow, historical items in state waters are the property of the State.

There is another beach several miles south of that where shipwreck spikes and rods were being found recently.

Like I always say, there is always someplace to hunt and something to be found.

Despite one or two eroded areas along the Treasure Coast, overall conditions for finding old shipwreck cobs remain poor.  

The wind is still from the west and the seas calm.  Low tide this afternoon will be just after 3 PM.

One tropical wave over by Africa has a 40% chance of becoming a cyclone, while Gordon heads east towards Spain. 

Happy hunting,

Friday, August 17, 2012

8/17/12 Report - Investigating Shell Piles & Freeze Dried La Belle

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Shell piles on Treasure Coast Beach Yesterday

I mentioned yesterday that I saw some big shell piles on Treasure Coast beaches.  Shell piles can be both fun and productive.

If you are targeting old shipwreck coins or gold jewelry, shell piles are not a good place to spend your time.  If you are trying to make a living at metal detecting or trying to get the absolute greatest economic value out of your time, they are not the best place to spend your time. Or if you have some other good hot spots, they are not a good place to spend your time.   However, if none of the above apply, you might enjoy scanning big shell piles.

The most productive shell piles are those with  the greatest concentration of large shells.  Those made of smaller shells or piles that are small or scattered are not as good.

The type of shell pile I'm talking about today is the type shown in the photo above.

Once you find a dense pile of larger shells, there are several types of things you should look for.  One thing to look for is nice shells.  Some shells are collected and can be sold.  As usual, the most valuable are the most rare.

Also look for fossils, glass, ceramics, Indian artifacts, metal, and other types of interesting things. Many of those things can be sold. The Native Americans often made useful or decorative items out of shell.

Not all areas will produce all of those types of items.  Some areas will have fossils, for example, while the shell piles in other areas will not.  There are some good Treasure Coast beaches for collecting sharks teeth.

A good shell pile containing larger shells, can also produce stone artifacts.  The larger and heavier the shells, the better.  I've seen spear and arrowhead points in better shell piles.

Sea glass is collected and used in crafts and can be sold.  Red and yellow sea glass is unusual and highly sought after.

The metal you find in shell piles usually consists of thin flat pieces, including  a lot of aluminum junk, but some interesting metal items can sometimes be found in shell piles. 

I have found both coins and gold jewelry in shell piles, but that is the exception rather than the rule. 

Cobs are also sometimes found associated with shells, but that is most often not in the type of shell pile that I am talking about now. 
Heavier, or should I say more dense, items can often be found under or around shell piles, sometimes deposited separately but overlaid by the shells.  It is good to understand how things get sifted and deposited on a beach.

Iron artifacts will often be found around large shell piles, and occasionally under nice shell piles.

Sample of Items Found in a Shell Pile Yesterday.
In the photo you see a piece of green seas glass, a piece of fossilized mammal tooth, a small piece of sheet copper and a piece of a bullet casing.

That is just a sample to give you an idea. 

None of these have much value, but they are what I call "signal finds" that tell you something about the history of the beach and other things that might be found there.

Evaluate the age and source of any signal finds.

There were a lot of fossils in the shell piles yesterday, besides the piece of tooth.   The shell piles were composed of decent size but not large shells.  The fossils were not the larger ones, but fossils don't need to be large to be interesting.

The tooth was found sticking out of the edge of a shell pile that was in the process of eroding.  I like watching shell piles as the water moves the surface items.  Even if someone scanned the pile a few minutes earlier, new things will appear.

You never know what you might find in a shell pile.  It can be worth looking.

La Salle's ship, La Belle, sank in 1686 in Matagorda Bay between Galveston and Corpus Christi.  It is being freeze dried and reconstructed for display.

Here is the link to that story.

Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Forecast and Conditions.

Nothing has changed much.   Still a west wind and calm seas - down around one foot.  Still sandy, and still some shell piles.  A lot of sand in the shallow water too.  No change is expected real soon.

There is one new tropical wave just coming off of Africa.  Too early to say much about that.

Low tide will be around 2:30 PM today.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, August 16, 2012

8/16/12 Report - La Galga, Steamboat Arabia & Clams

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Find and photo by Ken A.  See below.
Here is a great article.  It was published in an antique bottle magazine.  You can find good clues and information in a lot of different types of places.

The article is about the excavation of the steamboat Arabia.  It was found under tons of earth in a cornfield.

Waterways change.  Beaches change.   Inlets come and go.

A few days ago I showed how much the coast of Florida has changed over the thousands of years.  It  changes constantly.

I'm convinced that there are shipwrecks under some of our beaches, especially in areas where the sand tends to accumulate.  I've mentioned that before, as well as my guess as to some of the more likely places.

The presence of a shipwreck can change the shoreline.  It will trap sand, which can continue to build.

Here is the link to that article on the steamboat Arabia.

Great photo showing how deeply it was buried and how well preserved it was?

I received an email from John Amrhein, who wrote a book on the La Galga of the 1750 Fleet.   His research indicates that La Galga is now buried where an old inlet used to run.

Here is a link to one older article on that.

Ken A. recently visited Ruck's Pit and said he had a great time.  Above is a photo of one of his finds.  Look at those crystals!

He said it was hot.   You definitely have to be prepared for that this time of year.

Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Forecast and Conditions.

It is hot.  The wind is from the southwest.   The swells were rolling in a little bigger than I expected this morning.    The surf web sites are predicting one foot seas for today with not much change for a while.

We have Tropical Storm Gordon now, but Gordon is already well north of us and headed towards Europe, not the US.

Four boats were working the Nieves site this morning.

I saw a lot of big shell piles this morning, which gave up some small metal objects, fossils, sea glass, and pot shards.   More on that tomorrow.

Although conditions are not good at all for finding old shipwreck coins on the beach, there is stilll a lot out there to keep a person entertained.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

8/15/12 Report - $200 Million Treasure, Big Fin & Good Book

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Photo and Find by William M.
I was standing in a little less than waist deep in the water in the Indian River Lagoon Tuesday evening  as the sun was going down and spotted a fin at some distance.  I didn't know how much distance for a while.  I continued to watch, and the fin came closer, and closer, and got bigger and bigger -  bigger than I ever expected.

I was doing some cast netting and kept my eye on the fin as it came closer.   I wondered what type of fish it might be.  For while I entertained the idea of seeing if I could catch it to get a closer look.   It would have been an exciting adventure for sure, but also stupid.   It is probably a very good thing it never got close enough for that because there is some possibility that stupid might have won out over common sense.  I am now pretty sure that it was a shark - and a pretty healthy one at that.

There are sharks in the Lagoon.  In fact the Florida Museum of Natural History has been studying them and says that the Lagoon is a very important Bull Shark nursery.

Here is a link for more information about that.

Above is a picture of the lead seal found by William M. after a good cleaning.  The cleaning didn't reveal any more detail. 

If anyone can identify this seal, please let me know.

A  famous British archaeologist is looking for more than $200 million in gold, silver and jewels on a deserted island in the Pacific.  The treasure is the famed Treasure of Lima, thought to be buried on the island in 1821 by Captain William Thompson.

There is one book that I recently read that I'll mention.  Not because anyone contacted me or that I get anything at all from it, but because I think it would be very useful for any novice Floria fossil hunter.  The name of that book is Florida's Fossils: A Guide to Location, Identification and Enjoyment by Robin Brown.

There are a number of good books on Florida Fossils that I've read, and they all have their good points.  This one isn't real technical but gives you the information you need to get started collecting Florida fossils. One thing I really like about this book is the maps that show a number of good places where you can access good fossil sites.

The capsized Costa Concordia hasn't been moved yet and might not be moved until Spring.  Here is the link for more about that.

Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Forecast and Conditions.

The wind  is out of the southwest and the seas flat to knee high.  No change in the calm seas and sandy beaches is expected for at least a few days.

The low tide today will be about 1:00 PM.

There is a low pressure area in the Atlantic that has an 80% chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours, however it looks like it will turn north and not affect us on the Treasure Coast.

Happy hunting,