Wednesday, January 30, 2013

1//30/13 Report - Early Maps of Florida, Rare 1913 Nickel & Swizzle Sticks

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Did you know there is a currently heated debate about renaming the barrier island south of Cape Canaveral?  There is. 

And did you know that some are recognizing 2013 as the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Florida by Europeans?  An earlier map, however, shows that Europeans mapped Florida several years earlier than Ponce de Leon's exploration in 1513.

Here is a link that shows a map supposedly made by Portuguese slavers around 1500 as well as other early Florida maps.

14K Beach Find
A rare 1913 Liberty Head nickel is soon coming up for auction and is expected to sell for  millions.

Here is that story.

A bunch of skulls were found were there was once a lake in Mexico near an ancient pyramid.  It appears there was mass sacrifice there around 600 to 850 AD.

Here is the link for more of the story.

Bill Gates proposes doing away with cash.  Here's why.

Even though cash is already becoming a smaller part of our economy and I think probably will disappear someday, I don't buy all the arguments.

Dan B. says the blue glass rods that I found are swizzle sticks, and I'd say that is right, but swizzle sticks have more history than I would have guessed.  Here is what Wikipedia says.

The original swizzle sticks were created in the 1700s at a rum plantation in the West Indies. They were used to stir up Bermudian cocktails called Rum Swizzles and were made from the branch of a plant. In the late 1800s and early 1900s stir sticks made of glass were created to shake out the bubbles from champagne, whose carbonation caused indigestion for some drinkers.

After Sandy and some other erosion we had towards the end of 2012, 2013 sure has started off slow.   Beach detecting for old shipwreck items has been poor.   With all of the gentle southeast winds it has been more like summer conditions on the Treasure Coast beaches, not winter.  That is the way it goes.

We've been having a 1 - 2 foot surf a lot of the time with occasional bumps up to 3 or 4 feet.  That just won't do much.  On top of that the sand has been accumulating on and near the beach fronts for weeks.  And according to the surf web sites, there is not reason to expect a change real soon.

That means you'll have to be patient and creative.   It is a good time to scout around, explore and experiment.

I'm starting to feel like our winter is over.  Very often we do get a storm in the Spring though.   What do they say?  Hope springs eternal.

Low tide this afternoon will be around 4 PM.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

1/29/13 Report - More Bottle and Glass Finds & Wreck of the Hunley

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Small Bottle Found Yesterday
Yesterday I showed a couple of bottles that I ran across.  I decided to go out again to see if I could find anymore - maybe better ones.   I did find a few more bottles and things, but not anything very good.  It was worth taking the time to check.

When you find one type of thing, whether it is a bottle, treasure coin, shipwreck spike, or whatever, there is a better than normal chance that you will find another in the same general area.  As I've explained before, things tend to group together - partly from movement of the sand or surf, and sometimes from being lost at the same time or in the same way.  Anyhow, if you find one of anything interesting, you should look for more because there is a good chance there will be more than one.  Even when you think you have cleaned out an area, return to look again.  Sometimes you will find that you missed some or that more has been exposed because of the movement of water and sand.

Use found items as signs or signals.  They can tell you of the possible presence of other similar items of similar age.  I know that I repeat that, but I feel that it is important.

Watch the appearance and disappearance of objects over time.  That can give you some important information and will help you learn to identify how things move in that area and how conditions are changing.  Signal finds don't have to be good finds or valuable to provide valuable information.

The bottle above has some nice heavy ribbing.  No name or anything though.  It is about six inches tall.  Found in the same general area as the bottles I posted yesterday.

Hires Root Beer Bottle
And the Hires root beer bottle was also found yesterday.  Too bad it has lost some of its paint.  A lot of people collect the painted bottles from that era.  Some of you will remember bottles like that.

Not too long ago I found a piece of blue rod.  Yesterday I found another.  Like I said, when you find one, there is a good chance you will find another.

 Found Broken Glass Rods
The new one is the longer one (about six inches long).  I don't know what they are.  If you have an idea, let me know.  I would guess they are simply stirring rods, but I don't know.

Like I always say, when conditions are poor for finding one type of item, they will be good for finding another.

The Confederate submarine Hunley sunk the Housatonic. in 1864.  How did it deliver the torpedo?  Have any idea?

Here is how it was done.

And here is what has recently been discovered.   The the same torpedo that sunk the Housatonic may have also sunk the Hunley.

Following up on the Cantrell Cochrane bottle that I showed yesterday,   One like the one I found was recently sold.  It saw a similar one that was listed as being from 1910 - a little older than I would have guessed.  A machine for making that type of soda bottle was used as early as 1903 and was producing a lot of bottles by 1910.

Here is a nice link on soda bottle history.

On the Treasure Coast there is a light wind from the southeast.  That means no improvement in beach detecting conditions.

Around a 2 - 3 foot surf.   That won't do anymore than shuffle around some of the beach fronts a little.  More sand and shell accumulation would be expected in some areas.

Low tide is around 3:30 PM today.

Happy hunting,

Monday, January 28, 2013

1/28/13 Report - Bottles and History Found

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Ink Bottle Found Yesterday
One thing leads to another.  That is today's subtitle, and it sure is true when hunting in the field or conducting research.

Someone recently told me they would like to see a photo of an Alfar Dairy bottle.  I was going to do that promptly but had a couple more half pint bottles from the same dairy and wanted to post them at the same time.  Well, I don't know where I put the half pint bottles so I put the photos off for a while.  Finally I decided I would post the photo of the larger bottle anyway.  I didn't know that I would find some more bottles before getting that done.  So today is mostly about bottles - and research.

I didn't intend to hunt bottles yesterday, but I noticed an area where pieces of glass and similar things were accumulating and knew it looked right for hunting bottles, so I decided to take a look.   In just a few minutes I picked up the ink and soda bottle shown in this post.  Both were partially covered by sand, but I could see a bit of the glass showing and pulled them out of the sand.  My eye is well tuned to bottles and things.

First the ink bottle.  I think some people might call it an umbrella bottle or a bell bottle.  I don't know which is most accurate or if both are right.

As you can see from the photo it is embossed on the bottom.  It says, MADE IN USA, NO. 5, and I think WATERS.

Waters appears to be the company name, and no. 5 is the type of ink that the bottle held.  I don't know if Waters is actually the company name or if it is an abbreviation for Waterman, a common ink company.

I wrote this before really researching it, or even looking at it real good.  I think it says "Waters" even though that is blurry and I'll have to take a better look at it..

Notice the bubbles in the ink bottle.

Embossed Bottle - Probably Soda
The other bottle that I found in a few minutes of looking is embossed Cantrell Cochrane.   They are an old company, but this particular bottle is not that old.  I would say that it probably had a paper label above the embossing and would go back to the period when bottling companies were moving from embossing to paper labels.

I haven't done my research yet.  As you can see from the photos, I haven't even washed them well yet.

One additional note about the Cantrell bottle.  When I took it home, I thought it had weeds or roots in it.  It turned out that some one had stuffed a bunch of copper wire into the bottle and that is what was actually in it.  I guess the lesson there is that people sometimes stuff things into bottles and it might be worth taking a look to see what if anything might be in an old bottle.

And one tip for surface-hunting for bottles:  when there is a lot of broken glass, look for smaller bottles.  It seems they are more likely to survive but more difficult to see.

And below is the one bottle that I originally planned to show today.  It is the Alfar Dairy bottle.

Alfar provided the Palm Beach schools with milk in the 1960s.  The schools paid just under 6 cents per half pint back then.  It was the half pint bottles that I have somewhere and couldn't find.

Alfar Dairy Bottle
After WWII Alfar delivered milk to Stuart and Fort Pierce.  You'll also see milk bottles labeled Alfar Boutwell.  The two dairies combined at some point.

In the process of looking up the Alfar Dairy I discovered a lot of interesting things.  That is why I said above, "One thing leads to another."

For one thing, I discovered that you can look up online the 1940 census.  Just to check it out, I took a look at the census reports for Ankona, Eldred and White City.  It gave the residents names, ages, occupations, etc.

That could be a very useful research tool.  I won't get into that any more now.  Maybe some time in the future.  It is a little tricky to use.

I also found a web site giving history on the dairies but which also provided great clues to other old historic sites, including a fort.  

You won't find many articles that give this many good clues to historic locations.  And the only reason I found it was because I was looking up information on the Alfar Dairy.

Check it out.

Good site for learning a little about Florida history.

Well, that isn't exactly what I planned to show today.  It just all fell together.  It leaves me with some other topics to finish in the future.

It looks like we'll have southeast winds today on the Treasure Coast.  That probably means more accumulation of sand, shells, ceramics and glass on some beaches, and continued poor detecting conditions.

The surf is predicted to be around three or four feet.  That is a touch higher than recent days.  Not enough to improve conditions though.

Low tide will be a little before 3 PM.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, January 27, 2013

1/27/13 Old or New? Don't Assume. Gold Chalice. 1812 Battle

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Gold Chalice From Margarita Wreck Site
Photo from Mel Fisher Organization via email.
Beach detecting conditions remain poor on the Treasure Coast.  The surfing web sites are predicting a 1 - 2 foot surf today.  That will allow you to work the low tide or shallow water fairly easily.

Low tide will be a little after 2 PM.

Detectorists helped trace a War of 1812 battle near Fairlee, Maryland.  Mapping the distribution of lead shot helped tell the story of precisely where the British and Americans were when the battle took place.

This is a good detailed article you might want to read.  Here is a link.,0,7463090.story

A few days ago I mentioned the book Two Years on the Alabama.  More recently I noticed a few copies of about the same book selling for $150 and up on eBay.

Even though the rare and collectible book market is not what it once was, there are still some books that are worth a bit.

Here are a few recent miscellaneous junk finds that I've been wondering about.  They weren't found together.  Different sites and different times.  Penny for size comparison of course.

The thing at the top looks like something that I've seen before, but just can't put my finger on what it is.  It is broken.  Notice the "2" on it.  I suspect that some one will be able to easily identify that one.  Any help?

The glass sea shell - uhhhh, I won't say.   What do you think?

The brass thing is possibly the oldest of the group.  It has three tabs on top.  The rod coming down from the middle at the bottom has about three or four turns of heavily worn and almost smooth screw threading.  You might be able to see that in the photo.  Any ideas?  I suspect that one will be the most difficult to ID.

Sometimes you'll dig something on shipwreck beach and you might conclude that the object is modern simply because you didn't know that that type of thing was used long ago.  I've explained before that I used to immediately assume that any screws that I dug were modern, but screws have actually been around quite a long time.

I've dug a few thimbles on beaches over the years too.  I immediately assumed that they were modern and simply thought it was odd that somebody would be sewing on a beach.  The fact is that thimbles were very common hundreds of years ago and have been found on shipwrecks and other Spanish colonial sites in good numbers.  If you think about it, hand sewing was undoubtedly done a lot more in the old days than now.  It has been a long time since I've seen anyone use a thimble.  Yet I made the mistake of thinking that the thimbles that I dug were modern.  In retrospect that seems pretty stupid.

I've also dug bent spectacle frames.   I also assumed they were modern and they probably were, but they could have been quite old.  They have also been found at Spanish Colonial archaeological sites in Florida.

I once dug an enameled ring on a shipwreck beach that I assumed was modern until I learned better.  I thought enameling was a modern thing, but it also goes back hundreds of years.  Enameled items have been found on Spanish shipwrecks.

Those are just a few examples.  Don't make the mistakes that I did by assuming that things like that are modern.

Happy hunting,

Friday, January 25, 2013

1/26/13 Report - Sand Continues to Accumulate While They Dump Even More

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Cannon I saw the other day.
I saw this cannon Thursday and it reminded me of the cannon that sat in Central Park in New York for years before they discovered it was loaded.

Robert K. found a web site that identified the star fish I showed in a post the other day.  It is actually a  Luidia Senegalensis, or Nine-Armed Sea Star.  If you were really paying attention, as Robert was, you might have seen that it had nine arms, although I referred to eight in my post.  As I told Robert, I only counted eight because at that point I ran out of fingers.

Here is the link for more about the Sea Star if you are interested.

Thanks Robert.

Beach Renourishment Project in Front of FPL Nuclear Plant
Just north of Walton Rocks they are dumping sand and grading the sand up to the top of the cliffs at the back of the beach.   I previously showed a photo of the south end of that project where they started.  It seems they are now finishing that project at the north end, which is shown in this photo.

The photo was taken Friday morning.

They filled that area just a few months ago, planted sea oats and everything, but that fill sand had completely disappeared.

A couple of days ago I showed a beach that had two steps cut into it.   The sand has accumulated in front of the lower step and shells were piled along the front of that lower cut yesterday.

Here is a quick video clip showing that beach as it looked Friday morning at John Brooks Park.

.The cuts hadn't changed much since I last showed them, but more sand had accumulated in front of the cuts.

The Mel Fisher organization has acquired an additional subcontractor to work the Margarita wreck site because the Dare is going to be working the Lost Merchant site this summer.  With the additional boats on the Margarita as well as continuing work on the Atocha, and the Dare working the Lost Merchant, it appears they are well positioned to make exciting new discoveries this summer.

You might know of some of the finds from the Margarita, including a gold chalice and reliquary.

On the Treasure Coast conditions remain poor for finding shipwreck treasure coins or cobs on the Treasure Coast beaches.

The surf was only about 1 -2 feet on Friday morning, then increased slightly in the evening and will remain at about 2 - 4 feet Saturday.   Low tide Saturday will be about 1:30 Saturday.

Nothing in the predictions give much hope that detecting conditions will improve on the Treasure Coast for at least several days.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, January 24, 2013

1/24/13 Report - On Cleaning Old Dug Silver Coins & More

I'm going to talk about that coin I dug Monday again.  I wasn't going to but when I cleaned it up I saw some neat things I wanted to show.
Same Spanish Silver Coin Dug Monday After Being Cleaned

I used Bill Popp's coin cleaning instructions as found in my treasure coins link list.  I diluted some acid and put the coin in the acid for a short while.  I then used baking soda.

If you haven't already, you should read Bills' coin cleaning instructions.  You'll see how nice this coin came out.  Really pretty, I think.

I really like the nice silver tone with some of the tarnish remaining.  I could get rid of some of the dark but don't want to.  I like it just like it is.

This coin surprised me in several way.

If you look at the date, there are stars on each side of the date.  The star on the left is imprinted with a "19" and the star on the right, imprinted with a "66" in it.

And if you look at the edge of the coin, the edge has writing on it.  I have a picture of that below.

Other Sid of the Same Coin
Warning:  Some coins should not be cleaned at all.  Cleaning can severely reduce the value of nice rare coins.  Don't clean a coin unless you know that it will not hurt the value of the coin.

Coins that are dug are most often not in great shape and can therefore often be cleaned without hurting
the value.

Sedwick Coins tells me that people often like salvaged cobs to be cleaned and toned to some extent, but don't clean coins unless you know what you are doing and know that you are not going to reduce the value of a valuable coin.

I always advise experimenting on junk coins first.

Edge of Same Coin.

Be safe when you are on the beach or in the water.  A man drowned in the Fort Pierce inlet this past weekend when his boat got swamped.

I thought this was interesting.  If you look at the picture below you'll see a faint eight pointed figure below the center of the picture.  It is a starfish that was in about a foot of water with a thin layer of sand over it.  I don't believe I've seen one just like that before.  It was about a foot across.

Starfish in Water.

Here is a little quiz.  Do you know when and where air conditioning was invented?   If you don't, you might be surprised to learn that it was invented in Florida in the 1850s.  John Gorrie was the inventor, and it happened in the bustling metropolis and research center of Apalachicola Florida.

The area around Apalachicola doesn't receive much attention, but it has a lot of interesting history and its fair share of shipwrecks and treasure.  You might want to look into it sometime.

The surf is supposed to be down around 1 - 2 feet today.  That could work out well.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

1/23/13 Report - True Identity of Dug Spanish Silver Coin

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Partially Cleaned Dug Coin
Yesterday I was talking about this coin that I was trying to identify.  It is still not very clean, but it is now clean enough that I have figured out what it is.

One small thing that originally made me think it was a fake treasure coin when I first saw it was a very shiny gold colored spot, which I thought could be the remains of some gold plating.  That isn't what it was at all.

There was a spot of gold colored encrustation that looked very much like gold.  Pretty amazing.  It really fooled me until I looked at it under magnification.  And it turns out that that gold spot was right on top of the date and prevented me from seeing the date.

It  really helped when I finally could see the letters PTAS and the number 100.

After I could tell that the coin was a Spanish 100 Pesetas coin, I was able to find pictures and details on the exact coin.       

A little internet research revealed that the dug coin is a silver bullion coin containing .489 Troy ounces of silver.  So it is worth a few bucks after all.

And here is a link from Dan B. showing what it is.

And another link.

You can see what it really looks like in those links.

So it turns out that the coin is not a fake, is Spanish, and is silver, but not real old.  How it came to be in that location with a bunch of US coins of similar date is anyone's guess.  I haven't cleaned all the coins that I presume to be US yet, so there might be another surprise or two.

Part of an old shipwreck recently washed up onto Cumberland Island GA.  Here is the link.

Here is a little video clip showing one Treasure Coast treasure beach as I found it Tuesday morning.

Saturday this beach had some cuts.  By Monday it had pretty much filled in again, but by Tuesday morning it had cut again.

What I found Tuesday morning was that there were new cuts closer to the water than the remains of the previous cuts at that one beach.  That made the steps you see here.  This steps were all along the beach.  The new cuts were from nothing up to about 4.5 feet.

The sand in front of the lower step was more firm than the soft beach front that I found Monday.

Another beach that I saw Tuesday morning had no cuts at all.

Although we have some new cuts like this, it is not enough to significantly improve the probability of  finding old shipwreck cobs on the beach.

Tuesday afternoon, the wind increased and the waves increased some.  There may be some additional erosion from that.  I'm not expecting much though.  The surf is predicted to be in the area of 2 - 3 feet.  That normally won't improve beach detecting conditions much.  It looks to me like the sea might actually get a little rougher than what is predicted.

Happy hunting,

[After this post I got the coin cleaned almost like new and a few more surprises were in store. I'll have that for you tomorrow.]

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

1/22/13 Report - Dug Coins & Beach Filling

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

I don't know what happened, but I noticed that yesterday's post, which should have appeared in the morning, wasn't there when it should have been.  I went back and fixed that, but it was late Monday before I got it fixed.  Sorry about that.

Beach Monday Morning
Some days you have to wear your long pants, even in Florida.  Its not the cold but those darn no-see-ems that can be a real pain on mornings when the sand is wet from rain.  They were eating me alive on Monday morning.

Another solution if you just can't bear long pants is insect repellant or getting in the water when it really gets bad.  They can't get to you under the water.

Anyhow, you might want to remember to be prepared for those little pests, expecially on mornings after a rain.

The cuts that I found Saturday morning were nearly gone Monday morning.  They were about half what they were Saturday.  Some filling had already taken place.

I was digging a good number of what looked like green encrusted US coins Monday morning when I dug a bigger coin.  At first glance I thought it was a half or something.  It was green and encrusted too, and I couldn't see very much of the surface of the coin, but I after some rubbing and eye-straining I could make out a cross.  And then a tressure.  Hmmm, looks Spanish, I thought.

Some Coins Dug Monday Morning
I couldn't see anything else at the time.  I figured that I had just found another one of those all-too-common fakes.  I wasn't going to take time to clean it off and inspect it there.  And from where I was and the other coins I was digging, I just figured it had to be a fake.

After I got it home and did a little more gentle cleaneing, I wasn't so sure it was a fake.   It didn't look like a fake.  It wasn't a cob.  It was round and had a rim.

After some more cleaning, I started to see some of the words.   Espana.  De.  00.

If it is a fake, it is a heavy fake.  Weighs .61 Troy Oz.  But I've found some heavy fakes.  The weight is about right for silver.

It is starting to look silver but isn't really clean enough to test yet.

Coin Dug Monday Mornin
I'd like to be able to read some more of the coin, but that will take more cleaning.

Below is what it looks like so far.

You might be able to make out the cross and crown at the top.

I'll probably have it figured out by tomorrow and will give you the verdict then.

Did you ever notice how prominent the cross is on Spanish treasure coins?   Have you ever thought about that?  It wasn't accidental.

The surf will be down around 1 -2 feet Tuesday morning and then increasing just a touch later in the day.  That makes for easy hunting.

The high tide will not be very high and the low tide will not be very low.  I'd like to see some lower low tides about now, but it isn't expected.

As I said, the cuts that I saw Saturday are already mostly filled in.

Treasure Coast beach detecting conditions are poor for finding shipwreck treasure coins on the beach, but you might be able to find some other types of things.

There is always some place to hunt and something to find.

Happy hunting,

Monday, January 21, 2013

1/21/13 Report - Time to Bust Out & Easy Silver

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Dan B. recently found this lump.   Of course he didn't know what was inside but was curious, as he should have been.  You never know.

See if you can guess what is in there.  I'll show the cleaned item(s) below.

I don't think most people take the time to check for silver coins in their change.  One way to easily find silver coins is to run your change through a machine.  Some banks (TD Bank for one) have machines that the public can use for counting change for conversion into bills.  The bank machine doesn't charge a fee like some machines in other retail locations.

That is an easy way to check a lot of coins for silver.  Of course you could still be missing some nice error or other valuable coins.

This YouTube video was made by a fellow that recovered two silver quarters worth nearly $10 that the machine wouldn't accept when he tried to cash in some coins.

Most vending machines and toll booth machines will also kick out silver coins as well as foreign and damaged coins.  When I was driving the Florida Toll Pike frequently I found silver coins simply by checking the change tray every time I went through.  I guess people simply threw in another coin when one was rejected.  If your car was not well positioned, it could be difficult to reach the tray and so I guess people just didn't bother.

Another thing about vending machines: it is an easy way to launder coins that are discolored from salt water.  Just put it in the vending machine and hit the coin return button.  You'll get a shiny new coin.  

I once asking a vending machine operator if he cared about that.  He said it didn't make any difference to him what color the coin was.

The first month of 2013 is about two thirds over.  Can you believe it?   Time flies.

How has the year been going for you?  Has it been frantic or dull, productive or a waste?  It could be time for a break out.

People tend to get into a rut.  They do the same thing over and over.  Trying something new takes some thought, initiative and investment of time, energy or money.

Everybody has there own style, but most of the time people are not very imaginative.  If you watch Bering Sea Gold on TV, you'll see most everybody doing things pretty much the same.  Some have bigger rigs than others, but generally speaking they do things pretty much the same.  And those are some pretty tough independent people.  It is even worse for the general run of the mill person in a hum drum life.  There is a lot of inertia.  It is easier to fall into the beaten path.

You might say there is a reason everybody does things about the same thing.  Maybe they know that is what has worked.   But somebody had to do it first!  And that is often where the biggest results are found.  And what worked at first, often quits working.  After a while the same old thing starts to produce diminishing results and it is time to try something new.

When I watch some of those TV shows I can think of a variety of ways to approach things differently.   And they are not all expensive.  Some are the result of applying creativity - just trying something new and different.

It does take time.  It does take thought.  It does take some effort.   And there is the risk of failure - but not really.   Even when you fail you learn something and move onto the next step.  You often find out what will work right after you find out a lot of things that won't work.    People don't want to go through that learning process, but you'll never be the first if you won't give it a shot.

You don't have to go to Alaska to try something new.  There is an opportunity and challenge right in your own back yard waiting to be discovered.

This doesn't only apply to treasure hunting.   It applies to life in general.  Trying something new won't guarantee immediate success, but staying in the rut will pretty much guarantee a lot less.  Take the time to evaluate things and see if it is time for you to try something new.

Here is what Dan B. found in the lump shown at the top of the blog.  Not big gobs of coins - but like I said, you never know.   So check it out.

The surf will decrease a little today on the Treasure Coast.  The surf will be around 2 - 4 feet with the wind out of the northeast.

The tides are modest now.  Low tide this morning will be around 9:45 AM.

I'll try to get some new beach photos posted later.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, January 19, 2013

1/19/13 Report - Some Cutting on the Treasure Coast From Last Night

Written by the Treasure Guide for the exclusive use of

This Morning Near Low Tide on the Treasure Coast
Last night it was pretty windy.  This morning I took a look near low tide and some sand had been moved.  One of the primary treasure beaches on the Treasure Coast was scalloped.

Here is a photo of what I saw.  The beach was scalloped for a at least a mile or so, and the cuts, like the one shown here, were from roughly two to four feet.  A lot of shells were behind the cuts and scallops, and the sand in front was generally mushy.

I could see that sand was in front of the beach extending out some thirty yards or so where the waves were crashing.

Since the surf was predicted to get up to 4 - 6 feet today, I'd expect a little more erosion near high tide (around 2 PM today) but not much.

That bit of sand movement might help a little but not enough for me to upgrade my beach detecting conditions rating yet.

A few days ago I mentioned the Craigslist Lost and Found ads and one listing that I thought was a scam, and I gave some tips for avoiding scams like that.   It might be useful to check those ads to see what jewelry or other items might have been lost or to list fund items that you have found.

Will B. say that he checks the lost and found ads often and has noticed another scam that often appears in them.  Here is what he said.

 I check them all the time. another scam I noticed was someone placing an ad claiming to have found a very expensive ring. He then proceeded to request that anybody who had lost a ring to describe the ring itself and more specifically EXACTLY where they lost it. It appeared to me that he was trying to bait people into giving him information so that he can go look for the jewelry and maybe keep it for himself. I have seen the ad regularly over the course of the last 2 years. I usually flag it.

Thanks Will.  These days it pays to be alert.  There are so many scams out there.

Here is a quick clip showing a big project at Fort Pierce Riverside Park.

They've been bringing in rocks and material for months for this project.   I've seen some rocks arriving by truck and others coming up the river on barges from the South.  Does anyone know where those rocks are coming from?  I'd like to know.

Also, I've not found out where the sand that they are dumping on the beach in front of the power plant is coming from.  I'm thinking from the east side of the island, but I don't know.

The surf is predicted to decrease tomorrow.

Happy hutning,

Friday, January 18, 2013

1/18/13 Report - BIGGGG Gold Nugget & Front Coming Through

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Gold Nugget Found With Metal Detector
From BBC linked story. 
How's that for a gold nugget?  177 ounces, found by a man with a metal detector, and the largest by far known to prospectors in the area.

Here is the link to the article.

Link submitted by Oliver J., a new reader of this blog and Dan B.

Another reader is seeking someone who can repair detectors.  I've asked about this before in my blog and never found anyone who said they would do it.  If you do detector repairs, let me know and I'll let others know.

Bill P., author of the coin cleaning instructions listed in my reference link list, has found gold rings on both of his last two outings to a beach in Northern Florida.  Both were found in the low tide zone.

That is what I've been talking about recently.  The low tide zones on several beaches have been productive lately even though they don't look particularly good.  I think that Sandy might have something to do with that. Sandy might have churned up some older stuff that is still being shifted around in the shallow water and on the front of the beaches.

Below is a short video of the beach at Pepper Park this morning around low tide.  Only one to two foot surf, as you can see.  This beach was pretty clean, but there was one spot near the water that held some good targets.  This beach seems to get hit hard by snow birds every winter.

It was chilly this morning.  Almost reminded me of some of my best cob days in years past when it was really cold. 

Tomorrow a 4 - 6 foot surf is expected along with northeast winds.  Right now the wind is too much out of the East.  If the surf does get up to six feet and the wind is more from the north, there is some chance that beach detecting conditions will improve a little.  There is lot of sand to be moved though. 

I do expect that some of the spots that have been producing recently could improve a little more.  That will be on the beach fronts.  I don't expect the water to get back to the dunes like it did during Sandy.

I dug a wheat penny today that looked like it had just been dropped.  They are still being found in pocket change occasionally.   Just goes to show that you can't tell how recently a coin might have been dropped by the date alone.

Have you seen what they are doing at the Fort Pierce river front.  A lot of money is being spent there.  Some of those rocks are coming in by truck and some by barge up the river from the South.  Does anyone know exactly where those rocks are coming from?  If so, I'd like to know.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, January 17, 2013

1/17/13 Report - More on the CSS Alabama, Books & Vero Coin Show

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Alabama and Kearsarge
Photo From US Naval History Center
2013 is marching right along at a peppy pace and the first month is more than half gone.

I want to follow up on yesterday's post in which I posted a link to a site showing a 3-D image of the wreck of the USS Hatteras in the Gulf of Mexico and then followed up with information on a book about the CSS Alabama, which sunk the Hatteras.

Yesterday I also showed an old book about the Alabama.  The Alabama was eventually sunk by the USS Kearsarge, which interestingly was draped in chain armor to protect the hull.

According to the account provided by Lieutenant Sinclair in the above mentioned book, the lock box of the Alabama was filled with official valuables as well as any valuables of the crew and sent to shore before the battle took place.  In this case the box was undoubtedly safely kept at port, but in other cases I would imagine that similar boxes might indeed have been buried on some deserted shore.

One interesting thing about this battle is that a private yacht followed the Alabama and Kearsarge to watch the battle.  Battle, it appears, was often treated like a spectator sport during the Civil War period.  The same private yacht also saved many of the crew of the sinking Alabama.  Maybe that is another reason they followed the battle.  In that case, a more noble objective.

Once again, I highly recommend the book Two Years on the Alabama by Sinclair.  There are not many accounts of life on board a Civil War vessel given from the perspective of a crew member.

Not only are old books good sources for research, but they can have some value too.  Keep your eyes open for valuable books at thrift stores where you might be able to find some real bargains.  It helps to know what to look for.

Books can be valuable if they are first editions of books by famous authors.  It is not always easy to identify a first edition book.  Different companies use different methods to indicate a true first edition.   However, if you look at the copyright page and the title page and the copyright year is the same as the year of the printing, that could be a first edition.

For fiction books, the book probably won't be valuable unless it is a first edition by a famous or highly collected author.  If the book was one of the author's early works, is in great condition, has a dust jacket, or is signed by the author or some other famous person, there is some chance it might have some value.

For non-fiction books to have value, most will be 19th century or earlier.  There are however some later books that might have value for one reason or another.

Collecting or investing in rare books can be interesting and even profitable if you really know what you are doing.

I simply like old books, especially non-fiction.

Also check in old books to see if there might be old letters, cards, photos or even money hidden.

As you know, the ocean has been calm this winter leading to poor beach detecting conditions.  There is always someplace to hunt and something to be found though.  While the weather has been good for detecting the beaches of the Treasure Coast, the unusually calm seas have made it possible for salvors to be at work during a time of the year when it is usually too rough.   Two ships are now out and working on the site of the Atocha -  in mid-January.

I noticed that the tide in the river was out pretty far yesterday morning.  That has been rare lately.

I've done a few posts mentioning Indian mounds recently.  One reader mentioned that he found a couple silver Spanish coins near one of the well known local mounds.  You might eventually read more about that in a future book.

One thing I really enjoy about doing this blog is all of the fine people that I hear from.  Some have become good friends even though we've never personally met.

The Treasure Coast Coin Club will be holding their  49th annual coin show at the community center at 2266 14th Avenue Vero Beach, FL. 10am-5pm Sat. & 10am-3pm on Sun., January 19-20.

Sedwick Coins will be at the coin show if you want to consign items for the upcoming May auction.

The surf this morning near low tide along the Treasure Coast was only about a foot or two.  The beach fronts that I saw are still accumulating sand.  Also, there were shell lines.  It seemed there were places where small metal items were being washed onto the beach from the small dip in front of the beach.   Modern coins and miscellaneous targets were found between the shell line and the water.   There were enough targets to keep it interesting.  

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

1/16/12 Report - CSS Alabama & USS Hatteras & Dating Bottles

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Lieutenants Armstrong and Sinclair on the Deck of
the CSS Alabama Next to 32 Pounder.

See below for more on this.
I always look for signs and clues to treasure.  As I've mentioned before, one of the first signs that you will often see that might hint of the presence of other old items is ceramics, glass or bottles.  It can therefore be helpful if you are able to identify the approximate age of any bottles or bottle parts that you might see. 

Here is a link to one web site that gives almost every clue that might help you identify the age of a bottle.

This is a very thorough and detailed treatment of the subject and might actually not be the best place to start for someone that is just beginning.  If, however, you are patient and really want to learn or already have some background with old bottles, you will find it well worth while.

Here is just one quick and easy way to identify the approximate age of some very common bottles that you might see.  Any bottle that is embossed Federal Law Forbids Sale or Reuse of this Bottle dates from the mid-thirties to the mid-sixties.  That is easy enough, and you will see a lot of those.

Coastal erosion revealed an Iron Age archaeological site and then covered it up again.

Two Years on the Alabama by Arthur Sinclair
Published 1896.

A 3-D map of a Civil War shipwreck (USS Hatteras) in the Gulf of Mexico can be seen by using the following link.  Be sure to scroll down to the end.

You can also read about the CSS Alabama's encounter leading to the sinking of the Hatteras in this book.  Really a good book.  It has a complete list of officers and seamen as well as events during those two years.

Maybe one of your ancestors was on board.

Books can be real treasures too.

Oh, the encounter between the USS Hatteras and the CSS Alabama starts on page 71 of this book.

I'm running late and won't bother to comment on Treasure Coast conditions today.  Nothing much new anyhow.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

1/15/13 Report - How to Avoid Some Treasure Scams & More

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Here is an article from Florida -  Dan Sedwick: Where Does Sunken Treasure Go?  It is a good introductory article.

Dug Gold Ear Ring

I mentioned the Craigslist lost and found section the other day.  I noticed a few listings that I suspect are scams.  They offered fairly large amounts of money for lost items that were not described.  For example, one lost item was listed simply as a "engagement ring" and the amount of reward offered for the return of the ring was $5000, a sizable amount indeed.  The really odd thing though is that the person that listed the lost item said that the finder would have to provide a very detailed description of the item to receive the reward.  That is different.  Normally, and what I highly recommend, is the person claiming the lost item needing to provide a detailed description to prove the item is actually theirs.

If the finder provides a description of the found item rather than the person claiming the item, the person offering the reward has the opportunity to claim a found item if the description convinces them that the item is worth considerably more than the reward they offered.  Doesn't smell right, does it?

 I noticed more than one listing offering a specified reward if the finder would provide a detailed description of the found item.  If this is not a scam, it easily could be.

I''ve written before about how people have attempted to claim valuable finds that they did not lose.  I've seen it happen several times.  They'll simply say I lost that or say that they lost an item and only give a very general description and try to claim whatever was found.

I've never seen anyone else write about this, but it happens.  That is why I highly recommend not showing found items until after a description including specific details that could not be guessed have been obtained.  If a dug item has already been seen, be sure to require specific information that could not likely be guessed (such as concealed inscriptions) before concluding the claimant is the real owner.  

Likewise, before you agree to hunt an item for someone, obtain a very specific and detailed description BEFORE hunting,  Get it in writing too, so you will not later hear something like "Oh, that is what I meant."  Or, "I forgot about that."

Also when hunting a lost item for someone, require that they remain at a safe distance from the search area so that you have plenty of space to work.  You want to have enough room to swing your coil and properly cover an area in a tight grid pattern and not have to worry about banging someone on the ankle as you concentrate.  Also they do not need to see whatever else you might dig as you hunt the targeted item.  Stopping to inspect and discuss each and every item dug would only distract you from the work at hand.   You have a defined target and you should concentrate your time on that until it is found.

Also, people are not always as thankful as you might expect.  I've seen people claim valuable items and take the item and run without so much as saying "Thanks."   On the other hand, some people are truly grateful for your time, effort and honesty and express that fact.  You never know what you will run into.  That is why it is good to be forewarned.

Here is an older story but one worth bringing up again. For one thing, it refers to a treasure that to my knowledge that has never been found. And for another, it shows that when you go looking for one thing, you might find something else, and that something else might be more valuable than gold.

Here is the link.

I'm sure getting tired of the southeast breezes. That is what we've been getting for weeks now.  Seems almost like summer again.   Conditions remain poor for finding shipwreck cobs on the beach.

Low tide along the Treasure Coast will be close to 5 PM.

Happy hunting,

Monday, January 14, 2013

1/14/13 Report - Gold and Bloosdstone, Loaded Cannon & Lost and Found

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Gold and Bloodstone Ring Found with Metal Detector
I mentioned the other day that now they sometimes actually mount diamonds on silver rings.  Well, I was just at Sams Club and noticed that they are also mounting diamonds on steel rings these days.  It is not safe to assume that if you find a ring that is not gold that the stones are no good.

Here is an 18K and bloodstone ring dug on a beach.

Bloodstone is actually heliotrope and is generally dark green with spots of iron oxide red.  Bloodstone has been known and used for centuries and was once thought to have powers.

It has been used to make jewelry and small cases and was often carved into small objects and used for signet or other carved rings.

A Revolutionary War cannon that was donated in 1865 has been sitting in Central Park for a long time.  When conservators were recently working on restoration of the cannon, a cement plug was removed and the cannon was found loaded with powder and ball.  Police were then called in to dispose of the load.

Here is the link.

Just a reminder to be careful about what you dig up.  You never know when something might be dangerous.

We got the fall storm that I was expecting in 2012, but I'm still expecting at least one more.  As I've said in the past, more often than not January and February is often the most productive beach detecting time of the year.  We normally get a good winter cold front or two by then and the accumulation or rough winter weather normally wears the beaches down by then.

This year after Sandy we've had a lot of southeast winds.  Southeast winds normally build the beaches.  Therefore the winter hasn't been as productive as normal up to this point even after the Sandy moved a lot of sand.

I'm hoping we get back into a more typical winter weather pattern before Spring.   It has been an unusual winter so far.

I can also remember quite a few times when the beaches got good around Easter.  Hopefully we won't have to wait that long this year.

Did you know that craigslist has a lost and found department for the Treasure Coast area.   It could be worth checking out.  Maybe you can find one of the reported lost items, or report a lost item of your own.

Just browsing through the items for this year the listings included a lost silver ring in Fort Pierce, a found diamond ring in Stuart and a lost camera at the dog park beach, along with a couple sets of lost car keys.

Here is a link.

The surf today is around  - 3 feet.  Low tide is just around 4 PM.

The water will be a touch rougher tomorrow.  Nothing very significant though.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, January 13, 2013

1/13/13 Report - Treasure Coast Pirate

Written by the Treasure Guide for the exclusive use of

Illustration of Don Pedro Gibert's Pirate Ship Panda
From free ebook.  Link found below.

A few days ago I provided a link to an old out-of-copyright collection of anthropology papers, which among other thing,s, presented articles on Indian mounds around Florida and other states.  Some included maps of those mounds.  Some very good maps of mounds around West Florida were included.  And a few of those mounds were the source of Spanish artifacts.

If you took the time to read those through those papers you would found the following.

Mention of Mount Pisgah Found in Smithsonian Collection of Anthropology Papers
While the Treasure Coast does not have the amount of pirate lore that is associated with much of the West Coast of Florida, it does have some.

Mount Pisgah, not far from Sewall's point, is a mound that is said to have been a haunt of our local pirate Don Pedro Gibert (or sometimes Gilbert), after whom Gilbert's Bar is said to be named.

1830 Map Showing Indian River Inlet
If you want to read more about pirate Gibert, his crew and exploits, you can read a free ebook reporting on his trial that took place in the 1830s.  Unfortunately his trial to not focus on Florida or the Treasure Coast but rather the evidence against him and the circumstances of his capture.  I still think you will find it interesting reading.  See link below.

At the right is an 1830 map showing the Treasure Coast and the Indian River Inlet.  Notice that the inlet is north of present day Fort Pierce.  The old inlet was nearly opposite Fort Capron and was north of present day Pepper Park.

I've mentioned that before, but that can be something that causes a lot of confusion so I mention it again.  The inlets have changed since 1830, and of course 1715 etc.  Remember that when you read old documents.

You'll also read of the area opposite Fort Capron in the Smithsonian collection of anthropology papers.  It mentions a midden near the old inlet.

Here is the link to the ebook about Gibert's trail.

In the Roman baths of long ago people lost things just like they do in the water today.  Here is a link to an article about what archaeologists found in the Roman drains.

The surf along the Treasure Coast today is expected to be calm, 1 - 2 foot surf, with continued southeast wind.  Tomorrow it will be a little rougher, but nothing that will improved detecting conditions.  I'd say the best bet is still the wet sand near low tide.

Low tide today will be around 3 PM.

They are getting some cold out west.  Maybe we'll get a cold front in the near future to stir things up a little.

Happy hunting,

Friday, January 11, 2013

1/11/12 Report - Some Dug Finds & Club Meeting

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Cross Metal Detector Find.
 This cross was recently found.  It is heavily encrusted, especially at the top and bottom which have a thick rock-like build up.   Enough of the encrustation has been removed from the middle part to see the triangle and eye symbols.

It is hard to know how to clean this one since there are different types of build-up and it is hard to determine the metal under all of that.

I don't know why the top and bottom attracted so much more heavy concretion.

The eye in the triangle is a symbol that goes back many centuries.  The eye is sometimes the Eye of Providence, or the Eye of the Lord and can represent the all-seeing eye of Go.  And the triangle in religious applications represents the Trinity.

Silver Eye Ring Posted in 2009.
Besides the purely religious use of those symbols, the triangle and eye are sometimes associated with the Illuminati or Freemasonry, and the eye is sometimes used simply as a talisman or amulet.

I've shown dug items displaying an eye before, such as the silver ring shown here.   The ring would appear to be for protection from evil eye.

The only thing I can say about the cross at this time is the amount of encrustation suggests that it has some age to it.  How much, I have no idea.   The design could be from modern to centuries old.  For now, I'm guessing that it is relatively modern even though I have little evidence for a date or time period.

Recently Dug Silver Ring.
Here is recently dug silver ring with clear stones.  As you can see it is nicely salt-water blackened, or what I call sea-seasoned.  It is marked 925 and definitely modern.  There is a good mix of slightly aged modern and older items being dug recently.

In the past I usually assumed that clear stones in silver settings were probably not much good, but these days they are sometimes putting diamonds in silver jewelry.  These should be checked, just in case.  It appears that a little time was put into setting these stones, whatever they are.  Only about a tenth of an ounce of silver in this one.

Items like this are a good sign since they are obviously not just dropped.

I always planned to do an experiment to see how long it takes silver to turn black in salt water.  I haven't done it yet.  Maybe some day.

Here is a message from Bernie C.  This Saturday, January 12th is our bi-monthly club meeting @ 6:00 pm at my house: 1256 SE Palm Beach Road PSL.  Don't forget to bring your favorite beverage. Also if you have any interesting finds bring them along. I will be doing some cooking for this meeting.

For more information on the St. Lucie Metal Detecting Club or the meeting, contact

Today on the Treasure Coast we still have a southeast wind and two to three foot surf.  That will continue pretty much through the weekend.  Then next week the surf will increase a little.  Maybe up around 3 to 5 feet.

Low tide today is around 1:30 PM.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, January 10, 2013

1/10/13 Report - Silver and Dumping Money in the Ocean

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

1.825 Ounces of Silver Dug Yesterday
If you really watch the beach you know that it changes everyday.  It constantly changes.  The casual visitor might not notice that, but it's true.   As a detectorist, it is helpful to notice the small changes that take place constantly.

On the beach front where the water is hitting, the sand is always moving.  It moves along the beach, north to south, and also onto or off of the beach.

The movement of a few inches of sand can make a big difference in the number of signals you hear.

Items get covered or uncovered all the time.  Sometimes when people think that items get washed in or out, those items are actually getting uncovered or covered.

What got me onto that is another of those beach projects that different agencies or organizations love to throw money at - mostly government but also some other organizations that have a near endless supply of cash.  FPL is moving sand again.

Sand Replenishment Project North of Walton Rocks
You might remember last year's project where they covered the end of a canal that had been exposed by erosion.  Not only did they move unknown tons of sand but they planted sea oats on the new bank.  Well, just a few months later all of that newly dumped sand and the sea oats are gone.  Not a trace is left.  In fact the sand is back farther now than before they started just a few months ago.

You can't dump sand on a beach and expect it to stay.  It won't.  In fact I believe there is something about putting sand where erosion has been occurring that actually speeds up the erosion.

Anyhow, they are at it again.  This time a little farther south - a little closer to the Walton Rocks beach access.

They are covering up and sloping the cliffs that were at the back of the beach.  Here are a couple of photos of that project.  We'll see how long that lasts.

The sand is being brought in from across A1A by dump trucks.  I don't know the source of the sand.
Maybe it is from the area of the rumored pirate ship sunk in the Indian River there.  Or maybe not.

As I've been telling you this week, there are a good number of signals out there.  I'm not expecting any cobs even though one might eventually pop up.  I'd say detecting conditions are poor for finding cobs.  But other things are out there to be found.

The "salt-water seasoned" chain shown above was one silver item dug yesterday.  It is obviously modern, and has been out there long enough to have blackened.

Note the broken claw clasp.  It isn't unusual to see a broken clasp when a chain is dug.

Silver at the close of yesterday's market was $30.40 per Troy Ounce.  As I've explained before silver and gold prices are given in Troy Ounces.  If you don't know about that you might want to look it up.

It seems that there are a good number of items on the beach fronts lately.

I've heard from people commenting on the usefulness of the link to the Smithsonian collection of anthropology papers that I recently posted.  I thought it was especially good and others evidently did too.

I recently mentioned that screws have been around since at least the 1500s.  Wikipedia says, The metal screw did not become a common fastener until machine tools for their mass production were developed toward the end of the 18th century. This development blossomed in the 1760s and 1770s.  

We still have a mild southeast wind, so don't expect erosion for a little while.  There will probably be a small amount of sand accumulating on the beach fronts.

The surf is running two to three feet.  It's a little choppy out there.  No real change expected soon.

Low tide today will be around noon.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

1/9/13 Report - Rosaries and Stuff

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Yesterday I posted a photo of a dug copper rosary center piece.  Laura Strolia, researcher and author of The Marigalera of the 1715 Fleet and who has contributed a lot of good information to this blog, sent this photo of two rosaries from the museum of the National Shrine of St. Therese in Illinois.

You will notice that both show a triangular center piece that are attached at holes on three corners.

The Miraculous Medal was created and approved in the 1830s after the Blessed Virgin appeared to Saint Catherine Laboure.  Therefore the dug medallion that I showed the other day could not have come from an 18th Century wreck.

If you can't read the labels on the display in the photo, the inner rosary was made of cedar wood beads by the Yaqui Indians (1840), and the other one is a Mexican jet rosary, circa 1906.  

Shipping contract show that many rosaries were shipped to the New World colonies.  Wood, bone, glass, and jet beads were common.

A few days ago I mentioned carved jet and religious items and amulets were shipped to the New World colonies. 

It is good to be familiar with the items that were common during different time periods.  I regret that I didn't know more about identifying Spanish Colonial items earlier.  I probably didn't pay attention to some nice artifacts simply because I misjudged their identity and time period.

There was a time when I thought screws were all relatively modern.  I later learned that screws were being used back in the 1500s.  Now I have a better idea of when different types of nails and screws were used.   Something as seemingly insignificant as that can provide an important clue to the possible presence of a shipwreck or other old items.

And I didn't think enameling was that old, but it is.  So don't take lightly enameled items found near shipwreck beaches.

The surf on the Treasure Coast was a little rougher than I expected this morning.  Below is a video showing the surf just before low tide.

I took a shovel hoping to dig some big deep targets that I couldn't get a couple of days ago but was unsuccessful on those targets again today.  I did, however, pick up nearly two ounces of silver.  There were still modern coins and other items down in the wet sand today.


The surf web sites were predicting two to three foot surf today.  I thought it looked a little bigger.

Low tide was around 11:40 AM.

Not much change is expected for a day or more.

There seems to still be a good number of miscellaneous items out there in some spots.

Happy hunting,