Friday, August 16, 2013

8/16/13 Report - Important Factors for Site Selection, Disappearing Sand, Treasure Dump

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Site selection is important.  Reading a beach is important, but that is not the type of site analysis I'm going to talk about right now.  Site analysis should be based partly upon both past and expected finds, their probability, expected frequency and value, and your personality.

If you've kept good records, you have a good idea of how much time it takes for a site to produce a significant find and the average value of those significant finds at that particular site.  If you haven't figured that out for sites that you regularly detect, you should. 

I use the term "significant find" because it depends upon what you are targeting and what you want to maximize.   For example, if you are interested in finding items with the highest economic value and have even a small amount of success in finding gold items, the number of modern coins found will not significantly affect the total value of your finds.  On the other hand, if you are targeting something else, like old treasure ship items, you will keep track of finds and make decisions on site selection using other criteria.

Let's assume you want to maximize the total economic value of your finds for the remainder of this discussion.

The first thing to realize is that one big find can be worth hundreds of little finds.  That will affect  site selection.  Some sites will never (almost never) produce a really big find.   Some sites will seldom produce any significant finds, and other sites will produce many finds, perhaps of lower quality, or possibly a good number of higher quality finds.   Both number and quality of finds is important.  So are site conditions, but I'm not talking about that right now.  For this discussion, consider beach detecting conditions equal for all sites even though we know they never are.

There are personal differences that will consciously or unconsciously affect your site selection decisions.  Some people, for example, prefer to take a chance, even if it is a very long chance, on a big payout.  Those people will buy a lottery ticket week after week hoping to win the biggest possible jackpot even if the probability of winning is very low.   Other, often less optimistic people, would rather play a game in which they have a much better chance of winning something even though the payout won't be nearly as good.  They'll play the games that pay maybe twenty dollars instead of millions because there is a better chance of getting something.   Those are different kinds of decision strategies made by different kinds of people.   Some people want to maximize the biggest possible win even though the chances are very poor, while other people want to win something on a regular basis even if the largest payout is not very big.   The same decision making processes are at work when it comes to site selection.   Some people can spend years and years going after one big target, like the Atocha, even though the odds are long, while other would give up without some kind of success on a more regular basis.  You should be aware of the decision strategies you use and be willing to reconsider how you make those decisions.

To maximize the long term value of your finds, which is the goal that I'm adopting for the remainder of this discussion, you need to have an idea of the average value of expected finds and the frequency of finds at different sites.  That comes from keeping good records over a good period of time and making some calculations.   The site that produces the greatest number of finds will not necessarily produce the greatest total economic value. 

Some beaches have items of a lot higher value than others.  One beach that was near where I used to live produced a lot of finds, but they were lower quality.  For example, many of the rings would be 10K or plated, and there were a lot of silver rings.  You could find a lot of gold, but seldom 18K, and if there were any gem stones, they would be small or low quality.  Other beaches produced much fewer significant finds, but the finds were higher quality.  If you want to find the highest total value over time, that is something to consider.  

You can approximate the average value of  finds for each site and how long it takes to make a significant find at each site. 

My main point is that it might be worth hunting a site with higher quality finds even if the frequency of finds is much lower.

One find worth tens of thousands of dollars can be worth more than a hundred other less valuable finds.  The results of one high quality find can be worth more than an entire year of finds at another site.   Consider that.  It comes down to math and decision strategies and personality.  Would you rather find something on a frequent basis even if it is not real valuable, or would you rather find higher ticket items even if they are not found as often?   Approximate the average value of finds for each site, and figure out how long it takes on average to make a significant find at each site.   If one particular site produces finds that are worth on average $500 and another produces finds that are worth something more like an average of $50 (as a simple and easy example) but you find only half as many significant items at the higher quality site, then over the long term, the total value of finds at the higher quality site will still be five times higher than the total value of finds at the lower quality site.

Of course there are other things to consider such as beach conditions.  If the higher quality site is sanded in and the probability of a significant find there has dropped to near zero while the lower quality site has at least average conditions, you might be better off at the lower quality site. 

With experience you can estimate and quantify how beach conditions affect the probability of a significant find and add that into your decision making.   This will help make you more aware of your decision making processes.  Maybe you've been making  decisions based on personality that wouldn't be supported by a conscious decision based upon total expected value.

Your estimations will also consider how heavily hunted the area has been.   Don't be intimidated or afraid of going in after a lot of others, but do realize that the total number of targets can be thinned. 

I specialized in finding my own spots and was always amazed at the number of good over-looked spots.  There are still many good producing areas that are relatively over-looked by most.

Spend some time exploring for those over-looked spots once in a while.  That is a type of field research.

Miami and Broward are running out of sources of sand for beach renourishment.  They are talking about getting it from the Bahamas or Treasure Coast.

I think they'll find it south of Miami down in the reserve.

Thanks to Doug for the submission.

Hundreds of ancient coins, oil lamps and gold jewelry have been discovered in Israel, mysteriously thrown away centuries ago in a Byzantine garbage dump.

Read more:

On the Treasure Coast today we're supposed to have a nice one-foot surf.   That will pick up a little in a couple of days.

The storms haven't changed much since yesterday.  Erin is still way out there.

Happy hunting,