Friday, November 30, 2012

11/30/12 Report - $1 Coin, Erosion & Tons of Silver

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Congress is considering doing away with the one dollar bill and replacing it with a $1 coin.   It is said that doing away with the one dollar bill would save $4.4 billion over 30 years. 

It seems people generally don't favor the $1 coin, but some, such as vending machine operators, do.  And of course you would expect that to increase the face value of detecting finds at the same time as the value of our money continues to decrease.
Here is the link to that article.

It seems there are still some of those Susan B. Anthony dollar coins around.  People certainly didn't take to them.

Here is a great explanation of how barrier islands are formed and eroded.  You'll see much of what I've mentioned in the past, but this article puts it all in one place, well organized and with helpful illustrations.   It would be one part of my beach detectors degree program.

It is a pdf file and will take a little time to load.

It is a little long, but well worth it if you are interested.

Thanks to Will B. for sending me that link.

Here is part of a 11/25/12 Reuters report.

Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. said it would delay retrieving millions of ounces of silver from two shipwrecks in the North Atlantic until next spring due to weather conditions, sending its stock down 20 percent.

Odyssey, famous for finding the $500 million Black Swan wreck off Portugal in 2007, posted a loss in the quarter ended June and had said it expected to recoup its losses from selling the silver it recovered from the SS Gairsoppa and SS Mantola.

The SS Gairsoppa was a 412-foot steel-hulled cargo ship torpedoed by a German U-boat during World War Two off the coast of Ireland. Mantola met the same fate in the same area during World War One.

The salvage firm has not disclosed the exact location of the wrecks.

Odyssey, which has already recovered about $44 million in silver bullion from the Gairsoppa, said it believes the ship still holds about 1.8 million ounces of insured silver and a large amount of uninsured silver.

At current prices, the insured silver is worth about $60 million.

The company said it believes there may be 600,000 ounces of insured silver, worth about $20.4 million, on the SS Mantola.

The wind changed direction at least a couple of times yesterday, blowing pretty good at times.   Seems a front came through.  Still blowing nicely this morning.

The surf is running three to five feet this morning.  That won't change much this week.

It is enough to keep the front beach stirred up a little but not enough to significantly improve conditions. 

The wave period is only like 7 seconds.  That means that there is not much scouring of the sea bottom.

I haven't seen a low low tide for months.  I've been waiting for a good low tide for quite some time.

Low tide today is around 3 PM.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, November 29, 2012

11/29/12 Report - Variety of Treasure Related Stories

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

One important tip before I get started.  Take your time to properly identify objects before selecting a method to clean them.  It can be difficult to identify objects before cleaning them, but it is important to have a good idea of what you are cleaning and what the metals are.   The wrong method could ruin nice objects.  Start very slowly and proceed very cautiously.  Don't throw things in a tumbler until you know that they aren't valuable, for example.

Trusty Old Rock Tumbler Used for Cleaning Unremarkable Coins 
A $4 million dollar gold coin was found concealed in an old book by a man browsing through an old book shop.

I like to look through old books.  You never know what you might find.

Maybe you've already found your boxes of gold coins and want to give your favorite treasure hunter a personal submarine that will allow them to explore the depths as dry as a Martini while looking as sporting as James Bond.  If so, you can get the inexpensive version for under $250,000.

Take a look.

Approximately one year ago a mastadon was uncovered during a construction project on the beach at Daytona.   I don't think I caught this story at the time. 

Here is the link to the story and video.

We occasionally see mastodon bones on the Treasure Coast too.

Some kids found a live WWII grenade in their Florida back yard.  Be careful what you dig.

The wind is now out of the east and the surf is around 2 - 4 feet, increasing just a little over the next few days.  

Low tide is close to 3 PM.

The beaches have mostly filled in and are mushy on the front beach.   There are some firm spots though.  Some small shells high on the beach.   Overall detecting conditions are poor.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

11/28/12 Report - Moving Sands & Boxes of Gold Coins

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Here are two photos submitted by Michael H. showing rocks exposed by erosion and then buried again a few days later. The area is immediately south of where archaeologists discovered remains of the old fort of Fort Lauderdale. Two piles of rocks marked the sides of the old and now filled inlet.  Not surprising that the old fort was near the old inlet.  Also, notice the cut above the exposed rocks in the first photo.

Rocks Exposed Thanksgiving Morning.
Sand Covering Rocks on Sunday.
Here is what Michael said.
Attached are two photos taken in the same exact spot at low tide four days apart at ft. lauderdale beach were exposed on thanksgiving morning and then on sunday completely buried in fresh sand several feet deep...notice how the shoreline has changed and the eroded area is now closer to the buildings in the background as opposed to first photo

if you enlarge second photo you can see a rock exposed at the shoreline in front on second building from the left and directly in front of the lifeguard stand, different outcrop of rocks than in forefront of first photo

ft lauderdale has lost the beach for several blocks north of sunrise blvd. to the ocean and this weekend cement barriers were put in place to prevent the water from entering A1A which went from two lanes each way to one each way because of encroaching seas and sand.

just found the drastic change in conditions interesting as they are rare for this area as i have never seen the rock outcrop in photo 1 completely buried in years or the rocks in photo 2 exposed...

Thanks for the photos and description Michael. 

$7 million in gold coins were found in boxes in the home of a deceased recluse.

Here is the link to that story.

And here is one more good reason not to buy a deserted island in the South Pacific, or anywhere else for that matter.  It could disappear.  This one did.

I'm not really that surprised. I can think of a variety of ways that could happen.  It is a big ocean with a lot of water and only a few feet less sand would be all that would be required for a small island to disappear. 

The other day when I showed Joan's photo of the layers of sand recently exposed at Bathtub Beach I said you should check out the various layers of sand on a beach.   Not only can you see the layers on the face of eroded dunes, but you can also sometimes see layers when you dig a hole on the beach. 

The layers of sand and shell can be a fraction of an inch thick to feet.  You should look at the layers when you dig a hole and notice where the coins or other objects are located.  Often you'll find that most coins are located in a particular layer and sometimes they'll be between layers, and sometimes laying near the top of a layer of shells.  That can all be useful information to consider when hunting.

The wind is from the west and the swells are down to 1 - 2 feet. That means you can get a little farther out in the low tide zone to check for any left overs from the recent high water.

The swells will begin to increase again soon, but not a great deal.

Low tide today will be after 1:30.

Happy hunting,

Monday, November 26, 2012

11/26/12 Report - Eroding Dunes, Coin News and More Info on the Gold Pelican of Piety

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Bathtub Beach Photo by Joan T.
I posted this photo by Joan T a few days ago and wanted to revisit it.  There is more to be seen than simply erosion.  Notice the different layers that were exposed.  Each layer was deposited at a different time and under most circumstances the older layers bearing older items will be on the bottom with the newer layers and newer objects near the surface.

When you see layers exposed like this, take a look.  Notice what they are made of and look for any clues that might reveal the age of the various layers.

Sometimes newer items will be found in lower layers and newer items in higher layers.  When sand is dug up and moved you can get million year old fossils in the same layer as plastic water bottles.

Shipwreck coins buried in the dunes will often be associated with a particular layer and type of sand or material.   When you can identify which layers are older and which contain old items, remember what that layer looks like.  

When the dunes erode, they will often undercut from the bottom and then the upper layers fall and get washed by the waves.  That can mix old items with newer items.  But what you want to do is identify when possible which layers contain the good targets and watch for those layers to erode.

You can now consign auction items for the Spring Sedwick Coin auction.  There are advantages to consigning early.  Cash advances are even possible.  The deadline is February 15.

The most recently completed Sedwick auction prices totaled over $2.25 million.

The Florida United Numasmitists (FUN) coin show will be in Orlando Jan. 10 -13 of 2013.  If you want to consign or see what they have, Sedwick will have a table at the FUN show.

For more info on the show, here is the link.

Below is another installment by Laura Strolia on the Pelican of Piety.  If you haven't been following this, check out the 10/7/12 and 11/4/12 posts in this blog.



The Gold Pelican in Piety of the 1715 Fleet – Part III

by Laura Strolia

(See 10/07/12 Report for Part I and 11/04/12 Report for Part II)


In previous content about the pelican in piety, it was revealed that it ruptured its heart to give its own blood as nourishment for the sake of others.  This, of course, was a representation of Jesus Christ who suffered and died for all mankind.  The last wound of Jesus happened on the Cross when the lance pierced His side and penetrated into His Sacred Heart.  Through Christ’s Sacred Heart of everlasting love, He permitted Himself to be sacrificed in order to save the world, just as the pelican in piety did to save its young. The 1715 Fleet ornament of the pelican in piety originally left the port city of Veracruz, with a strong likelihood it was made in Mexico City.  There is a high level of significance surrounding this sculptured pelican, exhibiting a Sacred Heart on its breast, because the artifact may be an important clue as to when the Sacred Heart devotion spread to New Spain.

St. Gertrude (d. 1302) and her story, in which Christ appeared to her under a form of a pelican with blood flowing from His Sacred Heart, continued on for centuries.  But it wasn’t until the late 1680s that the devotion of the Sacred Heart swept through Europe.  This was mostly due to the published works of Jesuit Father Claude La Colombière (canonized in 1992), in which he wrote about St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) and her apparitions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Furthermore, it has been speculated and theorized that the swift movement of this devotion from the Old World first entered the Far East before continuing on to what is now Mexico, Central America, and South America.  On the Spanish frontiers, it was the Jesuit missionaries who paved the way in making the devotion public.  They knew the concept of the Sacred Heart well, as this was their order’s object of devotion.  Likely, the Jesuits used visualizations of the pelican in piety in their Catechism teachings, which aided in the natives’ understanding of the Sacred Heart and Christ’s Passion.  The use of animal symbols became a tool to help the indigenous people grow in faith, as images and stories were things everyone related to while in the process of learning.

Special promises were made by the Lord to those devoted to his Sacred Heart and who worked for His glory, one being a gift of abundant blessings.  An example of a great wonder of Christ’s love and promise happened at the Colonial Jesuit mission of St. Gertrude, which was also called “La Piedad” (Piety).  The priest sent a blind catechist to manage the construction of the church, and when the building was complete, it amazingly ended up the best assembled initial church of all the surrounding missions.

If this devotion existed in Asia by 1709, when did it reach and impact regions in the Americas?  It is known, in 1732, a Jesuit from Puebla published a famous book that helped spread the popular piety surrounding the Sacred Heart. Perhaps though, it was between the earlier years of 1710-1720 that the first artistic representations of the Sacred Heart devotion emerged there.

The pelican in piety ornament from the year 1715 might have been one of the first symbolic art forms made in the New World of the Sacred Heart devotion, shedding light on its beginning popularity in Spain’s overseas colonies.

If the artifact would have reached its destination in Europe, it would have likely awakened the spirits of those who gathered for the procession of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Spain’s famous Feast Day of celebration.  In addition, if the ornament would have survived the years within its assigned Church, it might also have been acknowledged in great number on another important date in the Liturgical Church year. For it was in 1856 that the Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus was established as obligatory for all of the Church, held on the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi.

To see a beautiful mural of the pelican in piety, please visit the Loretto Chapel located in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Hopefully one of the chapters in my future book will be dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and reveal insight into the other 1715 Fleet artifacts containing this image.


“Every religious artifact from the 1715 Fleet is a significant piece of sacred art which reflects the Christian faith and life of the age.” – Laura Strolia




Sunday, November 25, 2012

11/25/12 Report - Beaches, Signals & Finds

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

The swells were three to five feet today. The wind was out of the west this morning. Low tide was around noon.

The swells will be decreasing the next few days, hitting a low of 1 -2 feet on Wednesday. That will give you a good chance to check out the low tide area after the big swells and high water that we have been having.

As I've been showing, there are both beaches that have eroded recently and others that haven't.  Some of the more heavily eroded include Bathtub Beach and Jensen Beach.   Here some that show little effect of our recent weather.  These photos were all submitted by Trae R.  Thanks Trae!

Rio Mar

Bon Steel

Turtle Trail

I'm dropping my Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions Rating back to a 1.  Remember, as often say, my rating scale begins with a 1 instead of a 0 because there is always some chance of a cob popping up somewhere.

Yesterday I posted a photo of a spike that Philip found.  Have you ever found a shipwreck spike?   If not, there are several possible reasons.  One might be that you use too much discrimination.   You could be discriminating spikes and other artifacts.

As I've explained in the past, you can tell a lot about a target from the sound even when you hunt in all metals or pinpoint mode.  With practice you can learn to pretty well tell the size, shape and depth of various objects.   However, if you usually target a particular type of object such as coins or gold rings you can easily get into the habit of passing up odd shaped or larger targets.  That could cause you to miss things like spikes and other artifacts.

I won't say there is never a time to use discrimination.  You might well use discrimination when there are simply too many targets and don't have enough time to dig them all, for example.  That happens.

I wonder if you would dig a large silver bar is you came across one, or a Rolex watch?   I'll bet that a lot of people miss targets like that because they are looking for coins and rings.

Mystery Object One
Here is an odd target that I dug a couple of days ago.

It is shaped something like a funnel, but not entirely.  As you can see it is battered and encrusted and I don't know yet what the metal is.   I'm not sure that it had an opening in the bottom.  The bottom, or what would be the bottom if it were a funnel, ends bluntly.

The reason I bring up this object is that it gave a loud signal, - what you might call an overloaded signal - loud screeching.  And of course I couldn't tell exactly what it was and was a little surprised when I dug it up.

The point is, if you want to dig artifacts, there is no way you can tell the various types of artifacts from the signal alone.

Here is another object that fooled me the other day.  More from how it looked than the sound. 

Recently Dug Object

Let's see how observant you are. 

When I dug it up I nearly tossed it in the junk bag. It had some sand on it and looked very much like a nut or washer or some type. As I nearly trashed it I halted, because the signal didn't sound like a nut or washer even though that is what it looked like to me at the time. 

I thought it was a nut or washer when I looked at it, it didn't sound like a nut or washer, so I didn't put it in my trash bag but kept it to examine later.    The whole thing is that the signal didn't match what I thought I was seeing.

If you noticed the little stone at the top of the item, you might have guessed it is a ring.  And it is silver -  heavily corroded silver.

Silver Ring With Stone.

I trusted my signal more than my eyes in this case.

The point being, pay attention to your signals and get to know them.  Practice with different types of objects to get to know what your detector is telling you.  And when you dig up something that is new to you, run your detector over it several times and try to remember what it sounded like.   Try to remember how your detector sounds for different types of materials, sizes and shapes at various depths.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, November 24, 2012

11/24/12 Report - Big Erosion Photos & Nice Shipwreck Spike Find

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Nice Complete Spike.
 Find and Photo by Philip I.

I hope everybody had a happy and safe Thanksgiving and nobody got injured shopping.

The finds are starting to come in from November 2012.  

Bathtub Beach. 
Photo by Joan T.
Sandy hit the dunes washing stuff out and up.   Then we had a short period of modest beach building in some locations followed by some nice swells and spotty erosion.  That is where we are now.  The effects from Sandy combined with continued high seas and north winds means that there are finds being made.  There are a lot of modern coins and jewelry plus some shipwreck items.

At the top of this post is a photo of a nice complete spike found by Philip I recently at Wabasso.  Congratulations Philip and thanks for the photo.  

Bathtub Beach. 
Photo by Joan T.
That tells you for sure that there are shipwreck items within range right now.

The Jensen Beach and Bathtub Beach areas have really been hit.  Bathtub Beach is in continual trouble because of the barriers to the flow of sand to the immediate north.

They keep dumping sand there, which eventually ends up in the inlet where they have to remove it.  Somebody makes money out of it.

At Jensen Beach there is a very nice dip.  Bernie, who has been hunting Jensen Beach for years, says that is the first time he has seen the old stairs and concrete debris that were recently uncovered.  

I do remember when the erosion was back in the Sea Grape trees at Jensen before they dumped a lot of sand there, but I don't recall the stairs and concrete either.  You will find course brown sand back there.

Jensen Beach.
Photo by Bernie C.
I've mentioned before the stories of a shipwreck not far from the north end of Jensen Beach where numbers of gold coins were found some decades ago.

Some places are eroded heavily, like those in the photos, and some not at all.  It can pay to scout around looking for more out of the way eroded spots.

Old Concrete Steps in Surf at Jensen Beach
Photo by Bernie C.

The wind is from the west today and as a result the swells are decreasing.  The swells are around four to six feet today and will continue to decrease to a low of one or two feed around Wednesday. 

The biggest erosion is over for now, I would say.

I'm going to stick with my 2 rating for beach detecting conditions.   There will be some more shipwreck finds made, but not as many as after Sandy.  That is my bet.

There will also be a lot of modern coins and jewelry found, but a you probably know, that is not reflected in my rating scale, which focuses on shipwreck treasure items.

Low tide today will be a little before noon.

Happy hunting,

Friday, November 23, 2012

11/23/12 Report - Treasure Coast Beach Detecting Conditions Rating Upgrade

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Three to Four Foot Cut at North End of Jensen Beach
Yesterday Afternoon.
Update: Tomorrow's St. Lucie Metal Detecting Club hunt has been moved to Jensen Beach.  It is really eroded there.

I'm going to upgrade my Treasure Coast Beach Detecting Conditions Rating to a 2.  I would say it is a minimal two.  

Just to remind you, it is a five point scale rating the likelihood of finding a cob or shipwreck treasure coin on the beach.  1 indicates poor conditions, and 5 indicates excellent conditions for finding cobs or treasure coins on the beach.

I had a 3 rating on Sandy and in retrospect I think that could have been closer to a 3.5 but I don't use fractional numbers.  As you might know, 15 people reported in my blog poll that they found a cob or treasure coin during or after Sandy.  That information helped me fine-tune my rating scale a little.

Factors that I am considering in my rating include what happened during Sandy and any remaining effects including movement of sand and other objects, what happened after Sandy including additional movement of sand and coins, how high the water is getting now, erosion that is occurring now, and recent finds from various locations.  What is happening now interacts with the lingering effects of Sandy.

Things are improving.  Here are two photos of recent cuts.  Of course, cuts aren't the only things that indicate good conditions for cobs.  Sandy, for example produced cobs in areas that did not cut.  Sandy did erode the dunes and released cobs in some areas, but also some washed up out of the ocean during Sandy.
Nice Cut South of Jupiter Inlet
Photo and Submission by John B.
The cuts that are out there now are not to be found all along the Treasure Coast.  Some cuts are not very long.  And there are a lot of areas where there is no new cutting at all.

I'm not expecting to see the water get quite as high as it did during Sandy this weekend, but it might.  And it might in some areas but not in others. 

Substantial cuts are now occurring at some places on the Treasure Coast but not others.  Some locations are getting water to the toe of the dune but are not cutting otherwise either at the front, middle or back of the beach.

I still expect the key time to be Friday when 5 to 8 foot swells are expected.  By late morning I hadn't seen much improvement.   There are north/northwest winds today, but the wind isn't as strong as yesterday.

Beach at Frederick Douglas Park. 

Steps Cut Into Front of Dunes

Uncut Beach North of Walton Rocks

As you can see from today's photos, some beaches are cut and some not.  At some beaches that did not cut, the water came up over the berm similar to what happened during Sandy, but there were not as many shells. 

This morning I saw one beach that was losing more sand than most other spots.  Unfortunately it wasn't a spot that is known for a lot of shipwreck coins.

I did find a good number of modern coins and some silver and some unusual items that I haven't identified yet.

There are definitely some interesting looking beaches.  I feel rather confident that a small number of cobs will pop up somewhere, but at this point am not expecting near the number produced by Sandy.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, November 22, 2012

11/22/12 Report - Happy Thanksgiving!

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Just a short post today.

We have swells reaching six feet today and expecting seven foot swells Friday.  The weekend should be a good time to check around the Treasure Coast for areas where the water has either been hitting the dunes or causing some erosion.

As I mentioned yesterday, there are some beaches out there with a lot of targets.  Some of those beaches haven't changed much since Sandy, and most have been constantly stirring for quite a while.  On top of that we've had continual tides above normal.

I'm still not quite ready to up my beach detecting conditions rating for the Treasure Coast even though conditions area a bit improved.  I just don't think it is good enough for a two rating yet.   From what I saw yesterday, you can expect a good number of target but not much in the way of shipwreck cobs or treasure coins. 

There is a good possibility for a conditions upgrade for the weekend.  The wind is from the north now.  That might create some small cuts here and there. 

Low tide is just after 9 AM.

A feather headdress supposedly worn by Aztec emperor Moctezuma II and taken to Europe by conquistador Hernan Cortes is being put on display after being restored.   Of course Mexico wants it back.

Here is the link to that story.

One of the best things you can ever find is an attitude of thankfulness.  Giving thanks changes the complexion of everything.

It is easy enough to give thanks when everything seems to be going well, but one of the most powerful and effective things to do is give thanks when you can see no reason.   The act of thanksgiving, fanned from the slightest ember, chases evil, draws good and prepares the heart t receive. 

Give thanks first.  Then see what you receive.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

11/21/12 Report - Beach Conditions Improving Slowly. Friday Should Tell the Story.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Erosion on Treasure Coast.   Photo by Guy F.
Submitted by Bernie C.
We have four to six foot swells today.  A peak of 6 to eight foot swells are still expected Friday.  That should be the peak. 

Some places have a little erosion in front of the dunes.  And in some places the water is hitting the toe of the dunes. 

Some of the erosion is in sand that accumulated after Sandy.

The water has been pretty high though, and some things are getting washed up onto the beach. 

The places to look would be in places that were productive during Sandy but that didn't refill much.

I went out this morning and found a good number of coins and three rings.  There were a good number of targets, even a wheat penny and some older stuff.  I haven't even looked at most of it yet.

I don't think it is time to upgrade my conditions rating yet even though things are improving slowly.  It really is getting close to a "2" rating, but I just don't think it is quite there yet. 

If we can get some good swells Friday, like is predicted, along with some good wind, that should do it.   And you can't forget that the high tides are getting up there but are still not quite getting to the dunes in a lot of places.  I'm hoping the water hits the dunes good Friday.

I took a quick look at Wabasso Beach this morning but didn't stay there very long.

Seagrape Trail was closed.

Beach in Front of Disney This Morning Near Low Tide.
There were a lot of targets along another beach along the low tide zone just west of a dip between the beach and a sand bar.

Chris T. sent in this report about Turtle Trail yesterday.

The dune is still cut about 4 ft or so and then there is about a 8-10 foot wide "shelf" then another cut about 2-3 ft. The tide was washing up onto the shelf at spots and would probably get over it at high tide.

I'm thinking that the shelf is sand put back since Sandy and just that is what is getting cut at the moment.

Thanks Chris, Bernie and Guy.  I appreciate all reports.  As you know, I can't be everywhere.

Bernie C. also sent information about the St. Lucie Metal Detecting Club Hunt this weekend.

The time for Saturdays hunt is 8:00am The approx address is around 1400 SE McCarther Blvd, Stuart Fl. It's the beach just before you get to Bathtub Beach..There is parking on both sides of the street.

It looks like that might be a good time and place for a hunt.

Mexican mined silver showed up in English coins by 1550.  They can analyze the metal to determine where it came from.

Here is that link.

A woman found $11,000 in cash stuffed inside a pocket book that she thought was for sale in a retail store. 

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

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

11/20/12 Report - Detecting Conditions & Detecting Regrets to Avoid.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

There is a stationary storm offshore of the southeastern Atlantic seaboard that is funneling wind down the east coast into Florida.  Winds will be brisk out of the north through Thursday. when they will peak at 15-20 miles per hour with gusts to 25 mph. The weather service says Treasure Coast beaches may experience some erosion during high tides this week. 

Today we have 4-6 foot swells.  5-7 foot swells are predicted for Friday.  The key will be wind direction.

I'm not issuing an  upgrade in my detecting conditions rating yet.  It could happen in the next few days. 

Three of my biggest regrets related to detecting include what was done or not done after the find.  One is discarding a few items before I really knew enough about them, and the other is, not keeping enough records and documenting finds, and third, not properly conserving a few items.   

During the find, or should I say during the retrieval process, one of my regrets is not exercising enough care when digging up a fragile item.  When you get a signal you don't always know what might be down there or how fragile it might be.  It is easy to damage very nice items while digging them up.  Most of the time it doesn't matter much, but there are times when you will kick yourself for not being careful.

You might have a nice collection or only a few, but in either case it can pay to look for these seven high priced wheat pennies.

A detectorist dug up a nice hoard of antique items but the newspaper they were wrapped in showed that they were buried more recently.

Here is the link to that story.

I've mentioned before that just because an item is old doesn't mean it was lost a long time ago.  

Hundreds of shipwreck artifacts were found when drilling to load test a bridge.  The artifacts are believed to be from a wrecked SS City of Medicine Hat.

I just noticed an old post in which I reported a large collection of Spanish Colonial coins were stolen from a Port St. Lucie home.  As I've recommended several times in the past, keep any valuable finds in a bank safe deposit box, not at home. 

If you want to look up old posts, simply use the search box found at the top of the main page of the blog.

Keep watching for detecting conditions upgrades.

Happy hunting,

Monday, November 19, 2012

11/19/12 Report - Get Your Equipment Ready, Detecting Conditions May Improve Soon

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Water Coming Over Newly Formed Berm
Yesterday Near High Tide
Years ago we had a storm known as the Thanksgiving storm that produced a lot of treasure.  Right off I don't remember the year.  If the surf web site predictions are correct, it could happen again.

As I mentioned yesterday and previous to that, the tides have been consistently high for quite some time now.  Yesterday the surf was coming up over the recently accumulated berm at high tide.  It wasn't getting as high as the water did during Sandy, but it was getting up onto the flat beach and even in some spots hitting the foot of the dunes.

The swells along the Treasure Coast are now around three or four feet.  That usually isn't enough for good detecting conditions, but combined with the unusually high tides and what Sandy already did, it isn't far off.  I wouldn't be surprised if there were one or two spots where a cob or two was uncovered.  But that being said, the real news is that the swells along the Treasure Coast are predicted to continue for the next few days reaching a peak of 7 to 8 feet on Friday.  If that really happens, we might well expect significantly improved detecting conditions for the weekend after Thanksgiving Day.  I'll be watching to see if and when conditions improve.

Foot of Dune Eroding Yesterday
Two days ago I told about cremation tags.  Two readers sent me photos of the tags they found.  All were found in shallow water.

Below are photos of dug cremation tags.

Notice that they are different.   Some give more information than others.  As I said the other day, the tags are made of either aluminum or stainless  steel.

The ones I've run across were round and also found in shallow water.

I thought you should know what these are in case you happen to find any.

Finds and photo by William B.


Finds and photo by Michael H.


You've probably heard of Doomsday Preppers.  Some people are expecting a calamity to happen on the Winter Solstice, December 21.  According to this article, some people are heading to a location that they think will be safe.

Here is the link.|utmccn

Treasure hunting would seem to me to be the ideal activity for those expecting a collapse in the economy and civilization.  A good metal detector could be very handy for finding useful materials, not to mention all the good scrounging skills you would develop. 

Survivalism, if that is what you want to call it, has always been alive in some part of the metal detecting community.

Get your batteries charged.  We could have some good hunting after Thanksgiving.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, November 18, 2012

11/18/12 Report - Sherds or Shards & Water Getting High on the Beach


Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Six Different Treasure Coast Beach Shards
I looked it up.  My dictionary says that sherd is a variation of shard.  Some people say one and some the other, but there appears to be no difference.

As I said a few days ago, someone asked how to identify a shipwreck shard on the beach.  I wish I knew.  I've studied it a lot but still know very little about it.  It isn't easy.

First off, a shard is a piece.  So when we see a shard on the beach, we're just looking at a piece, and very often it is a small piece.  Furthermore, the shard has often been tumbled in the sands of time until it has become a smoothed out lump with a worn surface.

As with any item, one of the first things to do is to look for any man-made marks.  Look at the shard closely, carefully, and at different angles. 

Heavy Shard With White.
Unfortunately we don't usually have either the background or equipment to do a scientific analysis of our finds, and sometimes that is what is required.  However, if you read and look at a lot of different photos and examples you will learn to identify some pieces.

People can easily mistake pieces of modern clay items like drain pipes or roofing tiles for old pot shards.  I recently discovered one thing that will help you tell the difference.

Same Shard.  Notice Lumps and Large and Small Holes.
If you look at how those modern items like roof tiles are produced, you will find that they are extruded into molds.  The material is pushed under pressure and looks something like coprolite (dinosaur doodoo or fossil dung).  It has that toothpaste look.  (Did you know that the the tooth paste tube was invented after a man observed a horse's anal sphincter in operation?)  OK, lets get our mind out of the cesspool now!

Below is a photo of a broken piece of drain pipe.  You might be able to see in the photo how the material looks like it has been pushed through small openings and how it seems to be composed of a number of tubes of paste smashed together.  You can see striations when you look at the broken edges very closely.  Of course, it is easier to see in real life.

You do not see the same signs of extruded material on pieces that were produced on a wheel or by hand.  For me, that has become one of my best first clues to distinguish between modern items like modern roofing tiles and older items.  The modern items also seem to have a much heavier glaze, which I guess you would expect from their intended function and also the fact that if we are talking about beach finds, the older items were probably tumbled much longer.

Speaking of color - olive jars come in a variety of colors.  You might see anything from orange to beige or tan to whitish.  The archaeology journal articles that I've read bears that out.  They also tell what type of clay was used.  Kaolite was one, for example. 

Piece of Broken Red Drain Pipe Showing Extruded Material

Concerning the white layer that is sometimes seen on the outer surface olive jars, I've seen it discussed as being an intentionally applied layer, the result of the firing process, or the result of a reaction with salt water.  It seems there are a lot of ideas on that.

There are a lot of different types of ceramics you can find on the beaches.  From shipwrecks there are anything from olive jars, to bowls, to galley bricks and tiles.  And you can also occasionally see Native American shards as well as much more modern pieces.

Take a look at size and shape and try to figure out the type of vessel and its function.  Take a look at its composition and see if you can tell how it was made.  And also consider what else has been found in the area.  Are there other pieces that might be related that help give a more complete picture? 

If you look at a lot of different examples, both old and new, you will learn to identify some pieces, but like I said at the beginning, it isn't easy, and sometimes it might be impossible.  One thing for sure is that you'll learn a lot in the process.

If you need to correct anything I said today, please feel free. 

If you look at the photo at the top of the page, the most left item in the top row, could be either a piece of a brick or a heavy rim.  I'm guessing the second right now from the shape.  (I've seen complete galley bricks on the beach.)

The third item in the top row has some remaining glaze in the corner, as does the small reddish item beside it.

The first item in the bottom row has a straight line running across it.

The black item, I take to be Native American.  I have also seen a black check-stamped shard on the beach.

I just got back from the beach.   The water is getting up there.  It is not as high as it got during Sandy, but pretty high.   It is not a dune banger yet, but the water is hitting the toe of the dunes in at least one place that was heavily eroded during Sandy. 

You might want to start checking spots that produced during Sandy but that didn't refill since. 

I'm not ready to issue an upgrade in conditions yet, but if the water gets much higher, I probably will.

Overall, conditions remain poor, but it won't take much more for us to be in the money again.

I'll be watching closely.  The swells are supposed to be a bit higher the next couple of days, and that combined with the higher tides we've been having might just do the job.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, November 17, 2012

11/17/12 Report - New Gold & Did You Ever Find a Cremation Tags

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

New 14K Ring Find.
Old items brought to the surface by Sandy are becoming more scarce and detectorists along the Treasure Coast are having to make do with modern finds.  Here is a 14K gold find with some type of pinkish stone. Although it is undoubtedly worth more than a lot of the old junk that you could dig up, it just doesn't seem as much fun as the old stuff.  It doesn't have the same kind of history behind it.  Yes, there is a story behind it, and yes there is research to do if there is any hope of finding the owner, but somehow it just isn't the same as finding something really old.  Yet the story of this type of item can come alive - if and when the owner is found and the item returned.  Then it has a personal story and significance beyond any material value.  Some items are found not long after they were lost and are sometimes returned to their owners, others remain hidden for decades or even centuries to become antiquities, while others possibly remain lost forever.

Here is a nice general article about metal-detecting.  Nothing much to learn from it, but it is a pleasant read.

You can find all kinds of things on a beach or in the ocean. Did you notice the part in the article mentioning cremation tags.   I don't think I've ever mentioned those before even though I've found a number of them, mostly in shallow water.     If you dig up a small metal tag with a hole in it and a serial number, you might have found one yourself.

One reader of this blog (Will) recently wrote in about finding some of those cremation tags. He also provided some information that I didn't know.

Here is part of what Will said.

I found my fifth and sixth cremation tags this week. I don't recall you ever mentioning them, so I thought I would share what I know about them. A cremation tag is placed in the container with the ashes of the deceased, for identification purposes, while the ashes are being processed. The fact that they end up in the ocean is incidental, not intentional. By law, you're supposed to be at least 3 nautical miles from shore before releasing the ashes into the ocean, and in many parts of Florida, the water has to be at least 1800ft deep. After finding 6 tags in 2 years, I doubt that very many people actually go the 3 miles out. I know that in the case of my father, a couple of years ago, my brother and I just kayaked out a couple of hundred yards offshore...

Unfortunately I can't find Will's photos right now or I would post them.   Cremation tags come in slightly different shapes but are often round, are usually a little over an inch, can be stainless steel or aluminum, show serial numbers and sometimes a funeral home name. 

As you know, after Sandy a lot of things were showing up on the beaches. Here is a nice piece of copper sheeting found by Joan T.

I'm studying pot shards to learn to better identify them.  It is often difficult to tell how old a pot shard might be.  There are so many types.  I've studied scientific reports that tell about the paste that was used to create Spanish Colonial pottery but would like to see any and all photos that show good closeup photos of shards.  Many of the pictures don't show the composition of the paste in detail.  If you see any photos of shipwreck pot shards, I'd appreciate it if you would let me know about them.

The swells are running around three to five feet on the Treasure Coast.  They will decease a couple of days and then increase again around Thanksgiving Day and a little after.

The tides have been high continuously.  The very front of the beach should be fresh for whenever we get some smooth seas and low tides.

For now, no change in detecting conditions.

Happy hunting,

Friday, November 16, 2012

11/16/12 Report - Special Returned Ring & Miscellaneous Finds

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

It is always good to hear about one of the many rings or other items that are returned.   We hear about some of those, but not the vast majority.

I was glad to receive an email from Chris B. providing a link to an article about a Vietnam vet who lost a special ring 41 years ago while swimming in a lake.  The ring was found and returned by a detectorist who was detecting a lake bottom after the water was lowered. 

Here is the link to that article.

Chris,who submitted the link, said he reads this blog daily even though he doesn't live near a beach and rarely gets a chance to detect.

Chris said,

I am an Army officer with a wife and three boys (two still at home, one in the Air Force) and we move about every 2-3 years, unfortunately rarely near a beach. In the last two years, we've been close enough to make trips to the Treasure Coast, which we think is the best "family" friendly beach area in the state. We tried searching the beach areas from public accesses in Melbourne Beach, Indiatlantic, and down near Sebastian Inlet. We didn't find anything but some old pop tops, but enjoyed looking anyway.

Several years ago, when we lived in Arizona, my dad gave me an inexpensive metal detector to look for gold in the mountains. We didn't have too much luck with it, but my boys and I really enjoyed using the detector and searching together. Someday, probably after I retire, I hope to learn more about detecting and teach my boys...

I read your blog everyday, even though I don't live near a beach and very rarely do any detecting. First, let me say that I thoroughly enjoy your blogs! Thanks for the time, effort, and research you put into these blogs, I am learning a lot about detecting and enjoying "detecting vicariously" through you and the members of your forum!

I ran across this story on Fox News this morning and thought of how many times you have mentioned the positive side of detecting that often gets neglected in public reporting. As a Veteran, it also meant a lot to me that a detectorist went to so much trouble to find the owner and return the ring... it would have been much easier to just sell it for scrap gold, and with the economy the way it is now that might have been understandable.


Sorry this was so long, I've been meaning to write and say thanks for awhile now but the Army keeps me busy and I sometimes don't get everything done that I intended.

Thanks to you Chris!  Not only for the link but also for your service and the kind and thoughtful sentiments you expressed.

The recent benefit cookout that many of you supported in different ways shows the kind of people that are part of the treasure hunting community.  We don't hear about the vast majority of the items that are returned.

Chris' email also made me think about many of the benefits of detecting including  family, friends, fun, as well as finds, not to mention the adventure and education.   Sometimes it is good to slow down and reflect on the bigger picture and the more important things in life.

St. Ann Medallion.
Here are  few miscellaneous old Treasure Coast beach finds.

First a religious medallion that on the other side has more crust but also some remaining gold gilt.

Silver and Onyx Cross Medallion
Second, a silver and onyx cross.

And third, an unusual shaped ring with missing stone.

Unusual Ring.

The swells along the Treasure Coast are around three to five feet today, decreasing just a little the nest two days.

The wind will remain from the east.

I'm surprised at how long the tides have been relatively high.   We've had fairly high tides for a couple of months now.  I'm still waiting for a good low tide.

Detecting conditions along the Treasure Coast remain poor for finding shipwreck cobs and treasure coins.

I got a late start today. 

Happy hunting,


Thursday, November 15, 2012

11/15/12 Report - 1715 Fleet Bronze Coin?? & Florida Rhinoceras

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Here is something odd.  I noticed it while browsing eBay.  It is said to be a bronze Spanish coin mounted in a cross. 

1715 Fleet Coin??
Photo from eBay.

The coin, if you believe the story, was found at Sandy Point in 1933, and then mounted in the cross.

It might be possible to track down this story from newspapers or other sources of local history. 

If someone went to the trouble to mount the coin (bronze?), they might have told the newspapers or something.

I couldn't get a good enough look at the coin to see what it is, but the story suggests that it is from a 1715 fleet wreck.  Of course we know of the Sandy Point wreck, but it all seems very sketchy.

The item would make an interesting project for someone who wants to do the research.

The asking price is $175.

Here is the link.

Here is something else to think about -  a Florida rhinoceros.

I showed some beach fossils a few days ago.  It turns out that Fred D., a fossil expert and friend of this blog, has identified one of those as being a rhino skull cap.

Here is what Fred said.

...It is from an early form of rhino, Menoceras (could be Teleoceras) from the Miocene but, nonetheless, a rhino skull cap from the back of the skull. I have one exactly like it in my collection only it is from the Peace River. A great find indeed...

The rhino skull cap is the second item from the left in the bottom row of the fossil picture in my 11/10/12 report, in case you want to take a look.

That is going back in time.

The swells on the Treasure Coast today and tomorrow will be about 3 to 5 feet.  I'm not expecting any change in detecting conditions.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

11/14/12 Report - Fascinating Artifact Whatzit & Fossils on the Beach

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Here are two photos of the artifact found by hangingfor8 that I mentioned yesterday.   If you have seen an item like this before or have any thoughts on the identity of the item, please let me know.

Two Views of Whatzit.
Photos Submitted by Haningfor8.
It is three inches long.  The metal is undetermined and may be Tumbaga or bronze.

I hope we can figure it out.

That is one nice find.  Congratulations!

I got word from Aquanut John that the cookout was a big success.  I'm glad of that. 

If you spend enough time on Florida beaches you will probably see some fossils whether you realize it or not. 

I recently received an email from someone asking how to identify fossils and pot shards.   Those are two subjects that I would like to know a lot more about myself.   I'll try to address the matter of fossils to some extent today.

If you spend much time on Florida's beaches you will probably at one time or another see a few fossils.  They are there from time to time, whether you recognize them or not.

The paleontology community works very well with amateurs and you should not be afraid of thembut rather cooperate with them in all ways possible.  You will find them very helpful. 

I once reported on a meeting that I attended where Richard Hulbert of the Florida Museum of Natural History invited people to bring fossils they found and he helped to identify them.

Be aware of the fact that there are laws governing the collecting of fossils, so if you want to do any more than recognize the examples you see on the beach, you should look into obtaining a fossil permit that will allow you to collect fossils on land owned or leased by the State of Florida, which includes submerged lands such as those in creeks. 

The cost is $5 and the requirements are very reasonable.  If you want to look into it, look at Florida Statute 240.516.

In any case, if you think you might have found something significant, report it to the Florida Museum of Natural History.

First off, I don't know much about fossils but I have learned to recognize some types that are commonly seen on Treasure Coast beaches.  I depend upon experts to tell me exactly what they are.

As I've said many times, keep your eyes open and try to be tuned into anything that does not look natural or common.  If you develop the habit, you'll be surprised at what you might see, including possibly an occasional fossil.

There are a lot of different types of fossils.  For example, there are the impressions of leaves and things that you might see in coal or sandstone up north.  The type of fossil that you might see on  Treasure Coast beaches include plants or bones that have been mineralized. 

Most of those that I've seen on Treasure Coast beaches are either black or brown - most often black. 

Of course reading is a good way to learn to recognize fossils.  Browsing online resources is another.  I like to go to eBay, for example, and browse "Florida fossils."  You'll see a lot of examples that way.  The more examples you see the better off you will be.

In Florida there are experienced fossil guides (with pemits to search state lands) that for a fee will take you to a good fossil hunting locations such as the Peace River.  They will show you where to dig and what to look for and then explain what you found.  That is a very good way to learn.  You can learn a lot very quickly that way.

From my experience, most of the fossils on the Treasure Coast beaches are black and shiny.  They are generally harder and feel heavier than unfossilized bone.  Tap it with something hard and if it sounds like you are tapping china it might be a fossil.  Regular bone will give more of a dull thud.   I've also read that if you put a match flame to an unfossilized bone it will smell a little like hair burning.  I've never tried that.

To tell a piece of fossil bone from rocks or other things, besides looking for characteristic shapes, if the bone is broken you will very often see a spongy or webbed surface  inside.  The contrast of the smooth outer surface and the spongy inside will often help you tell the difference between rocks or other things and fossil bones.

Two Fossilized Bones Showing Smooth Surfaces and Spongy Insides Exposed.
Well, I only touched one small part of that subject, but you can use some of the resources I mentioned to start learning more about fossils.  I just keep my eyes open while detecting and have a lot of fun seeing all the kinds of things that are out there on the beach.

If I made any mistakes in any of this let me know and I'll be glad to correct it.

The wind is from the east today.  We have four to six foot swells along the Treasure Coast today, decreasing a touch tomorrow.

No change in conditions.

Let me know if you have any ideas about the mystery item.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

11/13/12 Report - Blog Poll Results and Finds

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Old Silver Ring Found During Sandy.  
Submitted by haningfor8.
This silver ring was found during Sandy by Will (hangingfor8) who also found a 2 reale, silver US coins and another really neat artifact that I hope to post in the near future for help with identification.

The blog poll has concluded and the results are in.   Sandy was a very productive storm for us.  Even though there was virtually no cutting to the front of the beach, the water did get up into the dunes and washed out the face of the dunes in some locations.

I can't believe I'm still talking about Sandy.  That just tells you how productive that storm was.

15 readers found cobs or old shipwreck treasure coins on the Treasure Coast beaches after Sandy.   That is a real good number (16% of the poll respondents).   Of course that is still far from a majority but more than anything we've seen in the past two or three years for sure.

From what  I've seen and heard, some of those coins were found shortly after the high seas begun, some later, and some a few days after the storm subsided.

The poll numbers will help me validate and fine tune my detecting conditions rating scale. 

I'll do a similar poll for future storms.

One of the problems with this poll is the sample.  I will have to be a little more specific in the future.  If you remember, the Blogger poll feature wasn't working correctly at first, so I had to redo the poll and made it simpler so I could tell if it was working properly.

90 people responded.  That is a slightly smaller sample than usual but I expected that because the poll question applied only to the Treasure Coast, and as you know, a good number of readers of this blog are from other parts of the country.

Congratulations to the 15 of you who found cobs or treasure coins from Sandy!

Silver US Dimes Found During Sandy.
Submitted by haningfor8.
Here are some silver US coins found by hangingfor8.

As I've mentioned in the past, old US coins can tell you that you are getting into the older stuff and possibly getting closer to the old shipwreck stuff.

Today the swells are three to four feet, increasing a touch tomorrow.  The waves are hitting almost directly from the east.  The high tides are still getting up pretty high on the beaches.   The swells will peak Wednesday and then decrease after that.

The beaches seem to be filling now.  Detecting conditions on the Treasure Coast are now poor.

A lot of the shells have disappeared too.

Here is a photo of Fort Pierce South Jetty Park this morning.  A good amount of sand disappeared.

I've been busy lately and still have a big backlog of things to talk about.

Happy hunting,